Artist Spotlight: Owen Dawson

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Dawson in his makeshift studio, which doubles as his dorm room in Gillson Hall. WILLIAM WIN/FOGHORN

Gillson Hall residents may know Owen Dawson as “The Pumpkin Guy,” due to an incident that occurred in October which involved many Trader Joe’s pumpkins and one unnamed thief. However, Dawson is more than just a dude with a love for squash plants. The freshman is also a talented drummer and videographer. You can see him showing off his skills in his band, Glavin.

Callie Fausey: I want to address the whole pumpkin situation that went down last October. Can you explain what happened?

Owen Dawson: Well, I work at Trader Joe’s, so I get a discount on items from the store. I originally started handing out and putting Trader Joe’s pumpkins on the steps of Gillson because it was a fun way for me to greet the school and put a little bit of flare into the celebration of Halloween at USF. My intention was to provide spooky joy for the students of the school. When someone started stealing them, that’s when it got serious, and I began making vlogs about the mysterious disappearances. My third “Where is The Pumpkin” video, available for viewing on my YouTube channel, provided a kind of conclusion, but overall I never really did get to catch the pumpkin thief. That really would’ve been the adrenaline rush I was looking for.

CF: How would you describe your relationship with music?

OD: Music can get me into a headspace really easily. It has always been a good way for me to get in the zone, no matter what I’m feeling. Drumming takes my mind off of outside pressures, and the cool part about it is I can play with other people and just go with the flow. I like to make music videos, too. It’s fun to script them out and write a story that flows with the song. It started out as an entertainment thing. I really just like to make people laugh, so [the music videos] usually have a humorous aspect to them.

CF: Are you planning on making music videos for Glavin?

OD: Yeah! Once we have some songs recorded I would love to do that. Making music videos is a fun way for me to express myself, so it would be cool to make a video to the music I play and the songs I help create.

CF: What made you want to pursue playing the drums?

OD: In sophomore year [of high school], my friend Brian and I randomly decided it would be a fun idea to start a little garage band. The next day, I went out and bought a cheap drum set and set it up in my garage, ready to go. We played one or two shows but never formally came up with a name for our band.

CF: Did you get formal drumming lessons or did you figure out how to play by yourself?

OD: I figured out how to play mostly by myself. I took one lesson but didn’t continue with it. Ever since I just keep learning and improvising with different beats. When I’m drumming with the band, I try to stay on beat, but sometimes I switch between staying on beat with the guitar and staying on beat with the bass, so I find myself having to improvise frequently. Improvising can be really fun, though.

CF: You’re in a band now. What has your experience been like playing local shows around San Francisco and playing drums live?

OD: Yeah, I play with my friend Alex Glavin. We play semi-regularly. We’ve played a few shows around town. Playing shows is a good chance for me to put myself out there in a creative way. It’s really cool playing for people. Sometimes it can be a little nerve-wracking, but once we start playing I just get lost in the music and my anxiety goes away.

CF: How can students at USF see more of your work?

OD: Through my YouTube channel, Owen Dawson. I also want to get some podcasts going. Keep on the lookout for our posters which we usually hang up around campus. They’ll be hard to miss.

Owen also invites you to add him on Snapchat @owen514 for snippets of music videos he makes.

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