It’s a M.A.D World

It’s a M.A.D World

It’s Friday afternoon and small group of George Brown staff and students gather in classroom 108. This seems like a pretty typical day at the college. But today, this room is being transformed from a place of learning to a makeshift concert hall/recording studio/collaborative space for all to jam in.

Black boxes litter the floor: guitar cases, amplifiers and microphones get unpacked, tested and tuned. A rough drum track set's everything in motion. A guitar riff plays which triggers a vocal line. Surprisingly, nothing is planned, yet the group is off to the races. The session is a constant iteration around the same melody. "We create an extended recording through our jamming." Paul describes, "from these recordings we design songs: write final lyrics, determine arrangements, choose keys, set tempos, and decide who will play and sing on the final recordings."

The inspiration for the M.A.D club originated from Shepard Fairey's work at Obey Records. His belief is that “graphic design and music are simply two expressions of the same artistic spirit.” In an interview for M-AUDIO he describes his studio and practice: "We're trying to bring it back to where music is an all-encompassing cultural experience rather than something you just click on iTunes and that's it. We want to give music some physical presence and real culture."

This is the underlining spirit of the M.A.D club: improvisation, creativity, spontaneous, punk, and Do-It-Yourself. And this is why students and staff have such a strong pull to the environment.

"M.A.D has allowed me to connect with other like minded individuals and express myself creatively without fear of being judged or critiqued. In the design world we are often hired guns shelling out our creativity to those who seem to lack it. Very rarely ever allowing us to explore own creative depths. M.A.D is a space where not only can we design, M.A.D. grants us those opportunities to be rewarded and compensated for own creative works and joys, best part is no brief needed."

-Liam Zalitach, Graphic Design, 2015, George Brown College

But, for those that aren’t musically inclined, there are opportunities to take part in other activities other than jamming. “I joined M.A.D. in 2014, and helped produce a CD album, and designed the listening party poster.” Jian (Bill) Feng, Graphic Design Student, George Brown College adds, “In M.A.D., I can be super creative and free in the design [process], and also [with] ideas for the music.”

Paul Royes I Faculty, School of Design

Richelle Sibolboro I IwB, 2011

For more information about M.A.D. or to purchase CD’s please visit

Article written by Paul Royes and Richelle Sibolboro.

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