By Summer MacPherson
Dylan Kersten is a musician heavily involved in the Pittsburgh music scene. You may know him from his band String Machine where he plays the synth, or via his DJing, where he goes by the name Ron Mist and produces his own music. He is also involved in many other projects, including Common Loon, JAXYN, and LifeGuard. Someone this involved in music must really love the craft, which he does. I reached out to Dylan and asked him about what it’s like to be a musician in Pittsburgh, and to be a part of so many projects.
Pittsburgh has a pretty wide range of sound when it comes to the music scene. This can be seen through Dylan alone, as he goes from indie music all the way to EDM with the projects that he is involved with. When asked about why he is so involved in the Pittsburgh scene Dylan stated that, “The scene in Pittsburgh is familial and rather inclusive compared to some other big cities; there’s a decent amount of scenes within the scene as a whole for the wide span of genres being played. I’m involved heavily for a few core reasons: I love this city, I love performing and I love dancing with people.”
I was curious as to how different the process of making music with a band is compared to making it on your own. Dylan said, “With String Machine being a 7 piece band, the Ron Mist project is a starkly different creative process. Both have their charm! The cool thing about String Machine is that everyone is so talented, and each member has a unique set of influences, so the writing process is challenging in the best way. We go back and forth on ideas for weeks until we slide into what feels best. With Ron mist, I have no pressure to work at a particular pace (which is sometimes bad cause I’ll just default to watching It’s Always Sunny in my free time), but when I’m in the zone that means I can work on really small parts for hours. Common Loon is a four piece guitar rock bad, and I have been given a lot of freedom to write my arts almost completely which has been a blast. The JAXYN project has been the most pure fun; Jackson has a whole song written lyrically with the vocal melody and I build the instrumental around it. Writing with a band is like making a collage where some stuff eventually gets covered up to serve the whole piece, whereas solo work/production work feels more like a sculpture.”
Dylan has been part of many events as Ron Mist, and has even had the chance to host his own. The event is called Mistified, which is a silent disco that features many Pittsburgh based DJs. In regards to the event, Dylan considers them to be very successful being they are only just getting started. He expressed how excited and grateful he was of this event and stated that, “ I was blessed with getting to spin next to literally all of my favorite DJs in the city, and a lot of people came out to the event who found it purely from advertisements, which is really encouraging that people just think the concept is cool enough to go to some random dude named Ron Mist’s event. There will definitely be more to come!”
By Austyn Hutchison
On a humid summer evening in Pittsburgh, I walked into “The Rodeo”, a house venue in Mount Washington. One of the bands on the bill was “Sweat” a local band I had never heard before, but the name already had my interest when I first saw the flier. Their performance only set the hook. Their sound was unlike any other band I had heard at DIY shows in the city. It is more akin to Fleetwood Mac and Rush than Black Flag and Nirvana.
Their first single, “Jane”, a song that would fit right in with the soundtrack of “Dazed and Confused”, came out on October 14th. Their retro sound shines through, starting with a foot-tapping buildup that jumps into a head banging, full speed ahead rock song. After the second chorus, a quiet bridge leads into a guitar solo full of hot licks reminiscent of southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd. Be on the lookout for more music, as they have more to come in 2023.