Marmoset Track Syncs with Ford and Jose Cuervo's Latest Sustainability Mission

Ford Motor Company and Jose Cuervo are teaming up in a sustainably-charged mission to produce eco-friendly auto parts out from agave plants . The duo partnered together to craft an announcement explaining their unlikely alliance and its environmental benefits, and we were stoked to help find the perfect soundtrack for their story.

The spot features the effervescent track, “Mexico,” by Marmoset artist, Tigers in the Sky, and follows the agave life cycle -- from when the plant is first farmed in Tequila, Mexico to being processed and distilled and then finally to when the used agave fibers are packed up and sent across the continent in a Ford pick-up truck, all the way to Dearborn, Michigan. Ford plans to use the durable agave plant to make bioplastic cup holders, fuse boxes and smaller auto parts. This initiative is part of a string of Ford’s consistent efforts to cultivate sustainable auto production processes. We’re excited to be a part of this forward-thinking “#FarmToCar” movement

Featured Marmoset Track: "Mexico" by Tigers in the Sky

Posted on August 26, 2016 .

Field Notes #96: An Interview with Documentary Filmmaker, Robert Apse

Always stay curious.

For documentary filmmaker, Robert Apse, it’s all about curiosity. Curiosity, adventure and the need to explore provided the inspiration behind his recently launched website, wandergroove, which Apse calls a “visual journal” and production company focused around stories told about the state of New England and its nearby people and adventures. Apse fell in love with the beauty and accessibility that New England offered during a recent trip, and has since created a handful of short, inspirational documentary-style videos detailing the lives and journeys of its inhabitants. 

We chatted with Apse about how he got into filmmaking, the importance of curiosity and his latest short film, The Bazooka, about a professional boxer turned Marine. Enjoy.

Tell us your story. How did you get into filmmaking?

Robert Apse: When I was about eight or nine, I came across all of my grandfather’s home movies that dated back to the 60s, when my mom was a kid. Every time we would visit his house in Maine, I'd want to watch them. When he realized I was interested in film, he gave me his VHS camcorder (it literally took giant VHS tapes). I think I spent more time trying to fix it than actually filming with it, but I guess that's how it all started. Those home movies are probably why I gravitate toward documentary filmmaking. And when he gave me that camcorder, that was our little passing of the torch moment.

What makes a good story?

RA: A good story is one you can't design, even in fiction. I think you have to take bits and pieces of your own life to formulate something great. I try not to do too much research on a subject before I film them -- it's better to experience it first hand and let them tell you their story. And in that way, documentary filmmaking can become like a treasure hunt. But a great story -- you can feel in your bones. It can hit you deep and it'll scare the shit out of you.

What does the relationship between film and music look like to you?

RA: That's a tough question. Not sure you can describe what that relationship looks like. I'd say it's elusive, like a unicorn or bigfoot. Something majestic, so probably more like a unicorn. Music is really the soul of a film. It evokes or elevates the emotion you want your viewer to feel. I don't think you can ever really say what it looks like, but you definitely know it's there when it's a good one.

What inspired you to start wandergroove?

RA: I'm not sure if wandergroove ever really had a true beginning like any other idea. I sort of just fell upon it. My fiancé and I love to take mini road trips, and New England has such a gorgeous and diverse landscape and culture. You can go from the beach, to a major city, to a waterfall in the middle of nowhere in a short drive. And the more I traveled around the area, the more I realized there was a unique story around every corner. I also grew up in a working class family -- my parents are very self made people that carved their own path. That's really the culture of New England. Hardworking, blue collar individuals. And the more people I met like that, the more stories I wanted to tell. Boston in particular gets such a bad rap for being unfriendly -- but strangers can become family here. Everyone has welcomed me into their lives, their homes and shared their own personal journey. I can't thank them enough for helping me get this started.

What does “You Were Born Curious” mean to you? Where did this come from?

RA: As wandergroove began to develop into something, I wanted to create an anthem film for this journey to help launch the idea. The first words that I wrote on paper were "You were born curious," and that became the platform. From there, the anthem was written to inspire people to do what they were meant to do or be whoever they wanted to be. It can seem as if the world has no more frontiers, that there's nothing left to explore. But if you think the world is still flat, you'll come across some amazing things. You don't have to go scale the world’s tallest mountain or live in the woods for a year -- instead you can literally walk out your backdoor and find an adventure. Hopefully people are inspired by that and find truth in that line. And if so, stay curious.

Let’s hear more about The Bazooka. What drew you to this particular story? Why was it an important story for you to tell?

RA: I love Boston sports, but I barely knew anything about the boxing world that existed in the area. A friend of mine, who trained at Peter Welch's Gym, recommended Mark "The Bazooka" De Luca as a subject when I was looking to do a story on boxing. So one day I walked over to the fighter’s gym and started talking with Mark. If you ask anyone about Mark, it's all positive. Professional, humble, hardworking. He's the definition of work ethic. And above all, he's a marine who served in Afghanistan. For me, any time you're given the opportunity to tell a story about someone who served your country, you do it.  I can't say I know everything about Mark, but I know he never would've personally asked for his story to be told. He probably did it more for me than for himself.

Featured Marmoset Tracks: "Glimpse" by Bell Plaines and "Steps" by SUNNE

How do you know when you’ve found the perfect song for your film?

RA: I don't have a musical bone in my body. I've tried to learn, but I don't have it in me. So for me, the perfect song is based on feel. You know right away when you find the perfect song. It's never a “Maybe” or an “I think so…” It's just a straight, “Yeah, that's the right track.” And when you play it back for the first time, you realize your story is complete.

Use your recent film, The Bazooka, as an example. What drew you to the final tracks?

RA: I love music throughout a film. I can't stand silence sometimes -- it makes me cringe. There's such a variety of music that Marmoset has to offer, no matter what emotion you want your viewer to feel. For The Bazooka, I ended up using two instrumental tracks: “Glimpse” by Bell Plaines and “Steps” by Sunne, since the story is two parts; the journey that led Mark to becoming a fighter, and the journey he is about to go on as a full-time professional fighter. The first journey really needed to sound like a dark fairy tale, because that's what boxing is -- it can be poetic and artistic, but on the other side, it's dark and medieval. As for the back half, the music needed to convey this uphill battle Mark is on right now. He took time out of his career to serve his country, and now he's trying to catch up the time he lost. His story isn't even close to being over, though -- it's really just beginning. So those two tracks were the perfect elixir to tell this story.

What’s coming up next for you and wandergroove?

RA: I think what's great about wandergroove is that I don't really know what's ahead, but I know what I want to do. It's really at an infant stage. There are more stories I haven't released yet and there are more stories I plan to film. I just want the journey to continue. To grow beyond New England and into new regions. To hear new stories and hear from people who watch these films. I want people to strike up a conversation. And not just people, but brands. Brands who believe in the same ideas and values, who are curious, who will hop on board and be a part of this and collaborate. It's hard sometimes for me to admit I need help, but I do. I'm basically rolling change to pay for these films. But when brands like Marmoset step in and help create films you believe in, you start to build this incredible community. I'm also on the search for a VW Bus that I can convert into a traveling film/editing suite. I've been restricted to staying in locations where I have family, but with a van, I can only imagine the places I'd be able to travel. I really dream of parking on the side of the road in Acadia National Park, looking out at Otter Cliffs at sunrise with a cup of coffee and my camera. I'll make it happen. One way or another.

Posted on August 23, 2016 .

On the Rise: Inc. 5000 Recognizes Marmoset

We are excited to announce that Marmoset has made the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-growing Companies in America. Landing at 612th, we’re stoked to secure a spot in the list’s top quartile for the second year in a row.

Inc. 5000 is a compilation of the nation’s fastest growing companies, from gritty startups to well established corporations. We’re honored to be in such good company, both nationally and in our home state. We were also recognized as a leading company in three sub-categories: Top Portland, Oregon companies (#8), Top Oregon companies (#10), and Top Media companies (#11). Take a look at the complete list, here.  

Posted on August 22, 2016 .

Coke Snags Marmo-beats for Summer Snapchat Series

Watermelon, ice cold Coca-Cola and blistering heat are all things that remind us of sweet, sweet summertime and the simplicity of youth. In their latest Snapchat campaign, Coke pairs these universal trademarks of summer with a handful of upbeat and refreshing tracks, creating a nostalgic connection that leaves viewers thirsting for summertime -- all in under 10 seconds.

It makes sense that Coke has taken to Snapchat, the fastest growing social media platform and third most popular social network among millennials for their latest project. With more than 150 million daily users, Snapchat has quickly become an advertising mecca for both small and big brands alike. And unlike a television spot, Snapchat only allots 10 seconds per advertisement, forcing directors to maximize their screen time.

This search for the perfect 10-second marriage of image and sound has opened the door to a new realm of advertising where music -- not dialogue -- is the focus, broadening the scope of opportunity for indie artists to have their work shared. We’re excited to be a part of Coke’s “Taste Of Summer” and "Beat the Heat" summer Snapchat series, serving up a refreshing dose of nostalgia with a side of modern beats.

Check out the videos below to hear some fresh Marmoset tracks -- “All the People” by 60 Cycles, “Summer People” by OKKAH and "Lorane" by Marmoset -- set to timeless scenes of summertime. Enjoy!

Posted on August 19, 2016 .

It’s All About Community: An Interview with Composer, Peter Young

As an artist and composer, Peter Young is a pro at crafting cinematic, ascending songs with notes of hope and optimism. Working solo and in cinematic duo Continent Drift, Young applies his many years of composition theory and experience to craft the perfect pairing for music and picture. When not working on his next composition, Young works as the Director of Business Development at Sparkplug, fostering community among musicians who want to rent or rent out gear, instruments and even studio space.

We chatted with Marmoset artist and friend, Peter Young, about his drive to become a composer, things he looks out for when starting a project and his work with Sparkplug. Enjoy.

Tell us your story. Who are you and what do you do in the world?

Peter Young: My name is Peter Young and I am a music person through and through. Music has always been an integral part of my world.  I’m an active musician, composer, songwriter, producer, and sound designer, as well as a music business industry executive. Over the past 2+ years, I worked at an established music licensing company as Director of Accounts, while simultaneously moonlighting as a composer writing and scoring compositions for ad campaigns and digital brand agencies.

Most recently, I have stepped into a new role as Director of Business Development for a quickly growing company called Sparkplug. Sparkplug is an online platform that connects musicians and artists facilitating the rental of music equipment, instruments and studio space. Think Airbnb, but instead of houses and apartments, instruments and gear.

Most kids who get into music want to be in bands. What made you decide to become a composer?

PY: I was actually in bands ever since my high school days. I continued to play and record in bands through college and all the way up until about five years ago. Now, I still actively produce and record artists as well as working on my own music (I'd gladly still play in a band if The Shins or another Portland band is looking for a keyboardist!) But I ultimately got into it because I majored in composition and piano performance in college. Composition goes hand-in-hand with songwriting and playing in bands. As I started writing more and more music for various bands and recording projects, I started getting requests for my music to be placed in ads, commercials and movies. Ultimately, I think my focus on studying composition and employing those skills into my band's songs and recording projects helped me to hone my skills in composition, which quickly allowed me to become a working composer.

“Musicians want to feel connected to a culture and to a community of other musicians who they can engage with.”

What makes a good composer?

PY: It's difficult to answer this question in a generalized way. But ultimately a good composer knows what has come before. They have some level of knowledge and understanding about composition forms and structures that have been honed and crafted over time. I think a good composer plays to their strengths, while also working on their weaknesses by learning other ways of composing music. Trying to write in an unfamiliar genre, or emulating the drum or synth sounds in a pop song, or mimicking a classical piece structure to see how a song was formed. Being dynamic is also a strong trait to have as a composer. Being able to compose in at least two or three different genres/styles.

When you are first brought onto a composition project, what questions do you tend to ask? What information about the project do you prefer to know?

PY: When writing a custom composition, I've found that it's good to get every bit of information possible from the producer or whomever it is that you are working with on the agency side. Almost always, you want to make sure that you get a very nuanced description of what the music should sound like, ideally with some musical language as well. A temp track is also very helpful if the project requires a very specific sound.  Often, however, after an agency or licensing company gets to know your style a bit, they'll rely more on your creative sense and often let you run with the composition within the parameters of the brief.

It's always good to know what key elements that the creative team deems essential. If the brief refers to the drums and the energy of the driving rhythm, I'll often make sure to ask follow up questions and send back a few temp track examples of songs that might be examples of what they are hearing. Regardless of how original a composition is supposed to sound, it's always good to feel like you are starting on common ground with whomever wrote the brief. In some ways, writing a custom track for a specific piece of content is like being a journalist for a newspaper.  

How did you initially get involved with Sparkplug?

PY: I was introduced to Sparkplug through a fellow music licensing industry colleague in New York. Since a great deal of artists who license their music are also touring musicians who own gear and are in need of gear to rent, it was an easy introduction and partnership to make with Sparkplug. With Sparkplug being a well established platform in NYC, Austin and some other larger cities in the US, I was hired as Director of Business Development to establish some of the other younger markets especially on the West Coast and in my hometown of Portland!

I should also give you a quick description of what Sparkplug is all about:  

Sparkplug is a community marketplace where musicians and artists rent instruments, equipment and space to and from each other. Sparkplug makes touring, recording and creating less expensive and more convenient, while also letting artists make money from their gear and space when it’s not in use.

We feel that by connecting through Sparkplug, artists can access a widespread inventory of creative equipment and space, finding whatever they need wherever they are and building real relationships with other creatives from all over the world.

How do you feel Sparkplug is changing the game for musicians?

PY: In terms of what Sparkplug provides in a purely functional way for musicians, I think it gives them a direct avenue to engage other artists, musicians and studio owners to access gear and space, usually priced much lower than what they could expect to rent from a more traditional rental shop. It also allows artists another real way to actually make some additional money on gear that they own. Very similarly to Uber and Airbnb, it gives everyday people the ability to monetize their own personal possessions in whatever capacity they choose.  

You mentioned that you’re a musician yourself. Do you ever find that your work as a musician influences your work with Sparkplug? If so, how?

PY: These days, I primarily work as a music producer and composer. In this capacity, Sparkplug allows me to easily access an array of microphones and other recording equipment that I’ve always wanted to try out, that I may not have in my own studio or can afford to purchase. It allows musicians test out gear either for a live show or in the studio to see if they want to make that purchase down the line for themselves.  I’ve also seen it commonly used to book studio time in local quality studios, which has allowed me to widen my music community by meeting other studio owners, artists and engineers.

As a musician, how important is having a community of musicians?

PY: For the most part, I think community is essential to any artist or musician. Whether you are making music solely for yourself or for an audience of listeners, at the core, musicians want to feel connected to a culture and to a community of other musicians who they can engage with. Sparkplug organically offers another connection to a larger global community, while also offering a very practical solution for gear needs.

Sparkplug 1.jpg

Do you have any advice to others about how to make the best use out of the platform? Something others don’t know?

PY: If you want to utilize it as a place to rent out your gear, I’d say to just make your photos look clean and authentic to what the gear’s quality is.  Once you become a reliable gear “renter-outer", people will give you high quality ratings and you’ll likely see your gear rentals increase over time.

As for someone who rents gear, especially while planning a tour for your own band or as tour manager, I’d say that it’s a really great resource for making sure that all the backline gear and instruments are going to be ready for you in whatever capacity you rented that gear. This will provide you a lot of peace of mind and flexibility while you are on tour even if you are in a bind. It’s not uncommon for Sparkplug users to rent an acoustic guitar or a kick drum pedal an hour before a gig in a pinch.

What’s best/coolest instrument you’ve had the opportunity to use through this program?

PY: I’d say that some of the most unique gear we get on the site is great recording gear including some high end microphones and pre-amps. This is always great for artists who might want to try out a certain piece of gear in their home studio or on their recording project that they might otherwise have not had the access to before. Some mics I’ve seen include the Neumann U 87 to something a little less available like an Altec 175a Lipstick Tube Omnidirectional Mic. I’d love to see a didgeridoo and a musical saw on the platform at some point, though.

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

Marmoset Takes on Pickathon -- A Photo Recap

Last weekend, thousands of indie music fans (ourselves included) flocked to Happy Valley for Oregon’s biggest little music festival, Pickathon. Before making our way to the beloved Pendarvis Farm, we packed up our worn concert shoes, bug spray and a bottle of whiskey. Throughout the weekend, we listened, sang and danced, and three days later we emerged back into the city a little dirtier, with a handful of new artists and camera full of photos. And with that, we'll just leave a few of our favorite weekend snapshots for you to enjoy.

Posted on August 12, 2016 .