Community, Edge, Music

Creative collective fuses arts, music, multimedia content

Sophomores Justin Pack (left) and Imari Conway (right) are co-founders of FireSquad Collective, a spoken-word oriented music group on campus. Esther Ponce de Leon // Contributing Photographer

Sophomores Justin Pack (left) and Imari Conway (right) are co-founders of FireSquad Collective, a spoken-word oriented music group on campus. Esther Ponce de Leon // Contributing Photographer

Sophomores Imari Conway and Justin Pack are bringing a new wave of integrated artistry to campus. They are the co-founders of FireSquad Collective, a creative unit that hopes to revolutionize the way students enjoy all kinds of talents.

While the group has mainly created music so far, FireSquad Collective aims to combine all of the arts. That is, they aim to tie in music, visual art, photography, writing and more, all in one organization.

Conway and Pack met as freshmen last year. Conway studies musicianship, artistry development and entrepreneurship and specializes in classical piano. Pack is majoring in motion pictures with minors in music business and entrepreneurship.

When it came to music, the duo hit the right chord together.

“It actually started with us making music together,” Conway said. “We freestyled. From that, we decided we need to get our name out.”

FireSquad is part of Speak What You Feel (SWYF), a club devoted to poetry and the spoken word.

While members of SWYF can join FireSquad, Pack emphasizes that FireSquad is its own entity.

“As long as SWYF is helping us achieve what we have to achieve right now, we’re fine with collaborating with them and working with them,” Pack said. “If, down the line, we want to split off and do something else, we have that mutual love for each other and mutual respect for each other. Throughout all of this, we’ll be fine.”

Because FireSquad is not an official club, it does not receive university funding. However, being its own collective allows members to have full creative control of the music, videos, photos and art they create.

In the future, Conway and Pack plan to create clubs, including one called “RAP.”

“I would like to retain the exclusivity FireSquad has as its own brand and its own collective,” Pack said. “‘RAP,’ which is an idea we threw around, includes rhythm and poetry, but it’s more geared toward artistry and musicianship.”

Conway and Pack are working toward making      FireSquad known around campus. They created stickers with the FireSquad logo and filmed a music video that has not yet been released online. The group stays very active on social media.

The collective is not very large, as FireSquad consists of five core members who work on all its projects.

“For right now, we meet kind of closed-off,” Conway said. “It’s the plan before the plan. We’re getting everything ready so we can bring everyone else along later.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Pack said. “We can’t rush it and skip steps to get where we want to be.”

Because FireSquad consists of a small, cohesive group, it is only accepting new members who share its ambition and drive.

“I’ve never been a settler,” Conway said. “I’m getting serious about this music. We can do this if we have the promotional push, and we have to be together. Eventually, we’ll get a big enough fanbase to pay the bills and do what we love. We just want your ears.”

Pack echoed this sentiment.

“Whenever we put something out or we perform, you’re going to get 120 percent of us every time,” he said.

FireSquad plans to have its first performance on the Lakeside Patio at the end of September.

With such passionate and driven co-founders, be prepared to watch FireSquad become a “dorm-room name.”

To keep up with FireSquad Collective, follow the group on Twitter at @FireSquaD__ or on Instagram at @FireSquaDCollective. For more information and to get involved, email Conway at iic4@miami.edu.

September 7, 2016

Reporters

Esther Ponce De Leon


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