KOXY brings Henny D and Mndsgn to perform a sunset concert on a flower-strewn stage

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Henrik de la Torre (junior) performs original music for the student body at the Gilman Fountain at Occidental College in Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Ava Ciosek/The Occidental
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The student-run radio station KOXY sponsored a show featuring student opener Henny D with his high school classmate Noah Viray, and hip-hop and synthesized funk producer Ringgo Ancheta, stage name Mndsgn, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. The show took place at Gilman Fountain, where the stage was adorned with fresh flowers as an intimate crowd watched. Despite initial sound technical difficulties, the audience danced, sang along and enjoyed the free juice from Jugos Azteca, provided by KOXY.

“The twilight concert was exactly what I needed on a Friday to end the week,” Chloe Wheeler (senior) said via Facebook Messenger. “Pastels streaked the sky and Henny D’s words echoed out over the Gilman Fountain.”

Henrik De La Torre, known by his stage name “Henny D,” is a junior at Occidental, and this show was his first live performance. He has been making music for approximately three years. Despite having some butterflies, De La Torre said it is great to be in a community that is so supportive and excited for the show. De La Torre is originally from Southgate, CA, and went to high school with his performance partner, Viray. The connection for the show came from Adnan Shihabi (junior), who is a friend of De La Torre’s and suggested that he come out and perform.

“When I started out, I thought I was just a Soundcloud rapper, making music with my friends,” De La Torre said. “As time went on and I became more musically literate, I became much more interested in melodic [music].”

Henrik de la Torre (junior), left, and Noah Viray (artist name Mndsgn), right, perform original music for the student body at the Gilman fountain at Occidental College in Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, 2018. Ava Ciosek/The Occidental

Many of his songs come from real life experiences, according to De La Torre. A lot of his song lyrics include references to flowers and sunsets, so the ambiance of the performance space was the best possible way to encapsulate those images for the audience, De La Torre said.

“The flowers and sunset over the fountain really set the mood,” Gillian Matthes (senior) said via Facebook Messenger. “It was pretty cool how Henny D’s set got progressively more hype as the sun went down.”

Besides some piano lessons in elementary school, De La Torre has not been formally trained in music production.

“[My music] has moved more away from rap and more towards R&B and indie as I have become more musically literate,” De La Torre said.

One of De La Torre’s favorite parts of creating music is the lyrics. As a philosophy major and English minor, De La Torre says writing and the human range of emotions are two themes that carry through his music.

“The music that I like to make is music that communicates experiences that I’ve felt,” De La Torre said. “Philosophy and English work together in writing this musical diary.”

For the show, De La Torre and Viray talked to each other a week prior to the performance in order to generate a setlist built on their greatest hits, according to De La Torre. When creating the setlist, De La Torre said it was important for both artists to have a mix of upbeat and downbeat songs and positive and negative tones.

“We’re trying to have some sort of catharsis [for the show],” De La Torre said.

KOXY Station Manager Mariana Martinez (senior) wanted to create a different vibe for their second show as compared to their first one featuring Kari Faux, according to Martinez.

“We wanted to take advantage of the really nice weather and the fountain being up again, and see how we could use that space for a show,” Martinez said.

This show specifically allowed for a lot of creative opportunities for both artists, according to Martinez. The incorporation of natural and stage lighting created a unique ambiance. Additionally, Mndsgn used the base of Gilman Fountain to project images and visuals throughout the duration of the performance.

“It’s definitely a show that I guess has been inspired by us wanting to be really creative and to make a really creative space,” Martinez said.

Generally, most KOXY shows are planned between five to six weeks before they happen, according to Martinez. KOXY Event Director Luis Arias (sophomore) is in charge of booking a variety of artists for shows, all within the KOXY budget. One of their goals is to invite artists whom Occidental students like and listen to, Martinez said.

“We always try to see how we can meet the [KOXY] budget and meet students’ expectations with artists and shows,” Martinez said.

Since Mndsgn is an electronic and experimental artist, the goal was to have the stage set the mood and positively impact the performance as a whole, according to Martinez. The audience really enjoyed the show and everyone was dancing and hanging out with friends throughout the performance.

“It was Oxy’s Camp Flog Gnaw,” Logan Mcintyre (junior) said.