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Northeastern’s own artist collective

Emily Schuna

by Jordana Torres

Emily Schuna’s journey to create her own record label began with an insightful dis­covery: Most of the bands she lis­tened to had some­thing in common—their label. This real­iza­tion struck a chord with the third-​​year music industry major, who quickly sought out a co-​​op at a record label to learn more about the field.

This pur­suit ulti­mately led to a pow­erful expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity in the spring of 2013, when she con­nected with Cap­tured Tracks in Brooklyn, N.Y. There, Schuna worked in web store dis­tri­b­u­tion and inven­tory, ship­ping orders, updating product counts, and adding new stock to the store.

The co-​​op expe­ri­ence com­pelled the young entre­pre­neur to find her own spot in the record industry. Ear­lier this year, Schuna cre­ated her own record label and artist col­lec­tive, which she dubbed Human Nature Records. Adding to its small inde­pen­dent appeal, the Human Nature team has since turned a campus dorm into a par­tial recording studio out­fitted with the bands’ own gui­tars, basses, drums, and synthesizers.

Schuna, a National Merit Scholar, describes the Human Nature aes­thetic as a blend between post-​​punk, indie alter­na­tive, and elec­tronic. This unique genre com­bines the musical pref­er­ences Schuna shares with her close friend and Human Nature co-​​founder Theji Jayaratne, a third-​​year elec­trical engi­neering major.

“Theji and I always wanted to put out music together, and one day we just decided to do it,” Schuna said. But they’re not going at it alone—there are three more artists in the col­lec­tive, two of whom attend Northeastern.

Though work on Human Nature Records and Schuna’s first EP began only a few months ago, the group is already on the fast track toward success.

Schuna has been writing and recording under the name The Vacuum Party since she was 15 years old. The base­ment project’s small YouTube and Face­book fol­lowing, along with Schuna’s expe­ri­ence at Cap­tured Tracks, helped fuel her ambi­tion to start her own label.

This summer, Schuna took an advanced writing course in which she wrote Human Nature’s busi­ness plan, and she credits the peer editing she received from busi­ness stu­dents with helping her get the label off the ground. She’s also worked closely with Jim Anderson, a lec­turer in music pro­duc­tion and music industry in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design, to record an EP with her band Modes, which she expects will be released through her label early next year. She said Anderson, who once owned a recording studio, has been a con­stant source of feed­back and encour­age­ment for this pas­sionate group of students.

“I’ve always been obsessed with music. I moved around a lot growing up, and when you move from place to place, you may not be able to have a band, but there’s no reason why you can’t still play,” said Schuna, who sits on the exec­u­tive board of Northeastern’s Live Music Asso­ci­a­tion. “Music has always been a self-​​driven thing in my life. As long as I can put my music out there, I’m happy.”

This article was originally published by News@Northeastern
Photograph by Mariah Tauger