Wildstock jumpstarts future opportunities for performers like The Black Creatures

Wildcat 91.9 and UPC hosted Wildstock 2021 featuring DJ Krys, Ben Chaverin, The Black Creatures and Spencer Sutherland. (Madison Riebel | Collegian Media Group)

After the inaugural Wildstock music festival, members of the Wildcat community are ready for more live music.

Union Program Council and Wildcat 91.9 hosted the concert on Sept. 10, welcoming students back to in-person events. The concert featured Kansas State’s own DJ Krys, K-State alumni Ben Chaverin, hip-hop duo The Black Creatures and headliner Spencer Sutherland.

Jackson Berland, junior in theatre and promotions director for Wildcat 91.9, helped pitch and plan the Wildstock concert with the goal of hosting local and national talent.

“As promotions director for Wildcat 91.9, my main priority coming into the school year was to reestablish our standards of supporting the music and arts community to the best of our ability,” Berland said. “A huge part of that is in-person concerts. I had the idea to have a major back-to-school concert that could host both local and national talent alike.”

He first pitched the idea during the spring semester. Once the event was insured, Berland and Ian Punnett, chief operator of Wildcat 91.9 and professor of practice for the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, started planning who to invite.

“UPC had already scouted out Spencer Sutherland, and me and Ian had about 12 hours to fill … the rest of the concert,” Berland said.

Berland heard about The Black Creatures in June while researching for his “Jax n’ Max in the Morning” show on Wildcat 91.9, and said he thought they might be a great addition to the concert.

(Photo courtesy of Center Cut Records)
(Photo courtesy of Center Cut Records)

When Ian said he was looking for a good R&B group, my mind went directly to them,” Berland said.

Those who attended listened live to the bands’ unique sound built off different genres and influences.

“My favorite performance was for sure The Black Creatures,” Erick Echegaray, junior in political science, said. “They were fantastic in their mix of R&B and hip-hop. A well-balanced set that really impressed people.”

The Black Creatures constantly explore new sounds and rhythms to make music that sets them apart from other artists.

“The new record is crazy, it’s more of you,” Patrick Sprehe, president and head of Center Cut Records, said to Xavier, a member of The Black Creatures. “It is also exploring different sounds unlike other artists that are put into a box where Spotify can find you, but the fact is you have so many influences that come out through your music as well.”

Xavier said the music he and Jade Green produce not only has meaning but layers that can be broken down and enjoyed on their own as well as together.

“[Our songs] definitely have layers, … like a cake or even more like a parfait in that the further down you go into it, consuming those layers, it gets more and more complicated,” Xavier said. “But you can find yourself enjoying any individual layer by itself and call that good.”

The Black Creatures make it a point to blur lines within genres while keeping cohesiveness. The band combines pop, hip-hop, dance, R&B, EDM and soul while infusing influences of Kansas City, history, storytelling, sci-fi and fantasy to express their personal creativity and complexity.

“We kind of wanted to make pop music sound much more eclectic, much more ironically acceptable, and I think us working for two years, not in front of people, helped us get that edge to pursue that,” Xavier said. “Those two years of making stuff let us hammer down on our sound before getting in front of people, and we have been sharpening our tools ever since then.”

Manhattan has heard The Black Creatures’ music before over the air at the radio station, at previous Public Hall performances and during interviews with Xavier and Green on air. The band and record label even gave Wildcat 91.9 a first chance to listen to the bands’ newest single, “True Friends,” releasing on Sept. 17.

“They have been playing music at the station, and we sent them the new single to have the first crack at it besides some other stations in Kansas City,” Sprehe said.

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The team at Wildcat 91.9 plans to continue bringing new music and artists to the community and classrooms at K-State by bringing back the classroom series, where artists come to campus and play for the radio station and Wildcat Watch in an old classroom-turned-performance studio.

“The next year is going to be filled with incredible music from some incredible artists,” Berland said. “Our main priority is highlighting the local Kansas music community as much as we can.”

Members of the Wildcat 91.9 team said they are excited to bring more music events to Manhattan, and some students said they are excited to attend more of these events in the coming year.

“I would definitely go to more cultural and artistic events like these on campus,” Echegaray said. “It’s what we need more of at the university.”

For some students, it was just good to be back on Bosco Student Plaza with other students having a good time.

It was nice to finally get back to seeing artists perform live,” Broderick Sieh, senior in mechanical and nuclear engineering, said.

More information about The Black Creatures is available on their website, and details on other musicians signed to Center Cut Records are featured on the label website.