Marmoset Artists to Watch in 2017

If we can count on anything this year, it’s the promise of new, amazing music from our artist community. From Grammy nominees to emerging artists on the rise, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year of touring, releases and re-releases for Marmoset artists. While there’s undoubtedly more to come, here are 17 Marmoset artists to keep on your radar in the upcoming months.


It’s pretty much impossible not to love the energetic underground pop of Norway’s newest breakout band, Hajk. Tiding us over with their addictive song, “Magazine,” the group is releasing a full length album on February 10th, and we can’t wait to get out hands on it.

The smooth, psychedelic stylings of M Ross Perkins are just what the doctor ordered to get through this year’s trying times.

 

Patternist

A romantic, cinematic experience, Federale channels the spirit of Europe’s Golden Age of film. Specifically inspired by 1960s spaghetti westerns, the seven-piece ensemble is giving the film world a much welcomed vintage revival.

bed.

Portland’s Gabe Mouer is set to release a fresh new EP of electronic compositions in 2017. A delicate balance of orchestral and modern elements, his music feels like traveling through the best of every decade in a single song.

 

The Portland-based trio blew us away in 2016 with their “slow-fi” EP, klickitat. Rolling into 2017, we eagerly await more shoegaze goodness with the release of their first full-length album this spring.

Typhoon never fails to blow us away with their indie-folk masterpieces. This year, we look forward to a new album with the same big orchestral arrangements.

Producing electropop bangers rivaling the likes of Ellie Goulding and Grimes with the attitude of M.I.A, Michele Wylen is a force to be reckoned with. Born and raised in the Northwest, Wylen is a refreshing ray of light in the foggy haze of the PNW.

 

Small Million

Bella Loka’s unique brand of alt-pop has made it all the way from Camden Town, London to the Marmoset roster, where it quickly landed on a Canadian Starbucks branding project. Paving their way with their own take on electronic music -- combining elegant orchestral elements with glowing synth progressions -- we’re sure only great things lie ahead for the dynamic duo.

starRo

The combination of smooth, soulful vocals and airy, ethereal synths is what sets Small Million apart from other electropop duos. A new addition to the Marmoset family, we’re excited to see the different places their unique compositions will land.

 

Frances England

Starting out in 2016 driving for Uber in order to pay his rent and ending with a Grammy nomination for  “Best Remix Recording,” starRo has had a heck of a year. Making waves with his innovative approach to electronic music all the way from Japan, we know there’s nothing but good things ahead for this artist in 2017.

 

Gringo

A 2017 Grammy nominee for “Best Children’s Album," Frances England’s children’s music has reached far beyond the ears of babes. England’s calming vocals and simplistic melodies make for a musical treat for all ages.

This lo-fi surf rock band will be coming out with a full-length album this spring -- just in time for lazing around on long summer days.

Coming off the re-release of her 2004 indie pop album, Mountain Rock, Dear Nora (aka Marmoset Original Producer Katy Davidson) is currently touring the West Coast to promote the album’s vinyl reissue. Her earnest lyricism seems more relative than ever and has caught the attention of music publications like Pitchfork and Fader, as well as the hearts of fans old and new.

These Hawaii natives create music as bright and sunny as their home state. Look out for more brassy horns, island drums and gorgeous harmonies on their upcoming EP.

 

Since retiring from his legendary tenure as “Tambourine Man” for Brian Jonestown Massacre, Joel Gion has embarked on a new kind of musical journey as a solo artist. Rooted in heavy ‘70s influence and the wisdom that can only come from being a lone wolf, Gion takes the reins on guitar, drums, bass and keys in his new project -- proving he’s much more than a tambourinist.

Piero Piccioni

Pulling inspiration from classic staples like Fleetwood Mac and composers Maurice Ravel and Debussy, Lapland is the intimate bedroom project of Los Angeles songwriter, Josh Mease.  His songs feel like melancholy meanderings, content to be suspended in the space between dreams and reality.

The author of more than 300 film soundtracks, Piero Piccioni is a prolific and legendary composer. Comprised of a vast array of cinematic arrangements and prohibition-era jazz numbers, we are honored to have part of his songography on our roster, and anxiously await the re-release of Camille 2000 on February 10th.

Posted on January 17, 2017 .

Label Spotlight: The Artists of Jansen Plateproduksjon

Since Marmoset was founded in 2010, we’ve grown from supporting local musicians to representing independent bands and artists from all over the world. Because we want artists everywhere to have the opportunity to make a living from their craft, our  A&R Team is constantly searching for rare gems hidden among the vast musical stratosphere and, once in awhile, we find a bunch all in one place. This was the case with Jansen Plateproduksjon, an indie record label based out of Oslo, Norway.  


In partnering with Jansen, we’ve recently welcomed nine exceptional artists to the roster, all with their own unique genre and flair, and we are thrilled to help share their music with the rest of the world. From the beautiful folk harmonies of Mona & Maria to Bror Forsgren’s retro-modern arrangements, each artist is as impressive and extraordinary as the last. Get to know a little more about each of them below and enjoy.


Hanne Kolstø is a prolific Norwegian artist and songwriter, releasing seven albums in the last six years. Her edgy approach to electropop and poetic Norwegian lyrics make her a choice selection for any turntable.

Songs we love: "Stein / Saks," "We Don’t See Ourselves (Instrumental)," "White Noise Static (Instrumental)

 

Electric Eye

Incorporating the sitar, bongos and tape echo, Electric Eye is a psych rock band with a number of worldly influences. While their instrumentation and abstract melodies borrow from the styles of the ‘60s and ‘70s, their sound is its own entity, blazing its own path in the world of music.

Songs we love: "Heavy Steps on the Desert Floor (Instrumental)," "Mercury Rise (Instrumental)," "Silent by the River (Instrumental)"

 

Death by Unga Bunga

Five guys, '60s influences and grunge guitar -- nothing but good vibes coming from this carefree surf rock group.  

Songs we love: "Best Friends," "Dollar Slice (Instrumental)"

 

Chain Wallet

Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Chain Wallet’s sound calls to mind the towering mountains and rainy days that befall their hometown. Lo-fi soundscapes support melancholy vocals and drizzling synths, making for indie pop gold.

Songs we love: "Abroad," "Change of Heart," "Muted Colors (Instrumental)"

 

Bror Forsgren

It’s hard to believe that Bror Forsgren is a one-man show. Marcus Forsgren combines Beach Boys-inspired vocals with beautiful orchestral strings, sparkling synths and anthemic pop that builds to create a lush kaleidoscope of sound.

Songs we love: "Any Day Now," "La La Land," "Tired of the Sun"

 

Hajk

Okay, so we only have one song (so far) by Hajk, but it is so, so good. The five piece group offers a refreshing splash of spirit into the underground dream pop scene, and their song “Magazine” will have you bobbing your head within the first ten seconds. We're looking forward to acquiring more awesome material from this band upon their February 10th album release, but in the meantime, this song should tide you over.

Song we love: "Magazine"

 

Atlanter

Jens Carelius and Arild Hammerø make up Atlanter, a smooth pairing of sultry psychedelic rock and glowing electropop.

Songs we love: "Human vs Human (Instrumental)," "Jewels of Crime (Instrumental)," "Light"

 

Mona & Maria

Mona & Maria combine all the beauty and elegance of a church choir with streaks of synths and classic folk. Their poetic lyrics and hypnotizing harmonies make it easy to get lost in their music and float away to simpler times.

Songs we love: "My Sun," "Healing Song," "Golden Mind"

 

Perry Dear and The Deerstalkers

Clearly lovers of anything and everything 1960s, Perry Dear and The Deerstalkers craft their songs with the surf-themed, bass-heavy influences of yesteryear. Each composition is a high energy, action-packed glimpse into the Golden Age of rock music.

Songs we love:  "Half Pit (Instrumental)," "LJK (Instrumental)"

Posted on January 13, 2017 .

Filmmaking with Drones: An Interview with Michael Shainblum

Field Notes Interview: Michael Shainblum, Photographer/Filmmaker

Known for his uncanny ability to capture stunning landscapes, Michael Shainblum is no stranger to the beauty of nature. A photographer at heart, Shainblum figured that the next logical step in his creative progression would be experimenting with drones. After some encouragement from a few friends, he set out on a series of trips that would eventually make up his first aerial short video, Rise.  

The entirety of the film is shot throughout our beautiful state of Oregon, bringing a new perspective to some of the wondrous landmarks we know and love while also shedding light on a few hidden gems. We chatted with the San Francisco-based filmmaker and photographer about the making of Rise and the challenges and nuances that go into filmmaking with drones. Enjoy.


Rise is your first aerial short film. What inspired you to take this new approach and were there any challenges involved?

It was always something I was very interested in. It's like, you get in the plane, you take off, you're up in the sky, you look out the window and you see a familiar landscape that maybe you've driven past, or you see your house from above. I was always very interested by that concept of getting a new perspective of a familiar place.

I spent a lot of time shooting Oregon before I got into aerial photography. I've been to a lot of these places before multiple times and I've shot them from the ground. But to be able to capture it from above and get that new perspective was something that I was always really interested in, even well before aerial photography with a drone was even possible. Even before I ever got my first drone, I did a few aerial shoots just in a regular helicopter, and I always thought that was really fun.

The only problem is, logistically, it's so much more of a hurdle to make that work. It's more expensive, it's more planning. With a drone, besides making sure of regulations and everything, you just go to show up at a spot, take off, and within five minutes you're looking at a location in a way you haven't before. I think that's really interesting, just that whole concept.

Yeah, that's awesome.

I definitely got into aerial photography just because it seemed like a natural evolution of what was possible. It seemed like it would tie in really well with the sort of nature stuff I was doing before, with timelapse and a little bit of slow motion. Aerial just seemed like the perfect fit to allow me to keep expressing my creativity, while still trying to challenge myself and get into something a little bit new.

What was the learning curve with using the drone and doing aerial film and photography? How did you know the drone's not going to crash into a tree or anything like that?

That's a good question. They're pretty easy to fly -- like, somebody could just pick one up and fly it and not crash it, first flight, easy. I think the learning curve comes a little bit more with understanding how to use the drone for filmmaking, like actually creating interesting shots that tell a story.

That definitely took a little bit of time to learn. The first shots I was doing with the drone, I went to Oregon and I spent, I think, two and a half weeks the first time. At that time, there were a lot of places that I shot that now aren't okay to shoot…regulations have come in so much in the past two, two and a half years. By the end of the trip, after two weeks, the footage that I was shooting was so much better than some of the footage I was shooting at the start of the trip. Just shooting 10 times a day, I felt like I was learning more, I was understanding what is possible, understanding the limitations.

A lot of the footage from that first trip even didn't make it into the cut, because I had done like four or five trips after that. Every single time I would go out and shoot, the footage would come out better and better to where I am now.  I probably could've made a six minute video with that first trip. A lot of that footage got replaced with cleaner footage or more interesting shots or even the drone itself going from the Phantom 3 to the Phantom 4. The Phantom 4 quality got better, the devices did better in the wind. The technology improving helped improve the shots. Some of those original shots that I did do at that first trip did end up making it into the piece.

Going off that, how did you compile all that footage from your first trip and second trip -- especially as it got better and you maybe started to favor the later footage -- into this under five minute video?

That was probably the hardest part. That's one of the reasons why I've sat on that footage for two years. Every single time I would make a video cut -- which I went through like at least 40 different cuts over two years -- I would just find little things I wanted to change or basically the way I wanted to tell the story, or change the song.

The whole concept of the video, though, is moving through Oregon, through different scenes. You'll notice the video starts out on the coast and then you start moving through the different areas, like the [Columbia River] Gorge. I just wanted it to start out on the coast and then end going through the waterfalls, which I think is probably one of the most unique parts about Oregon -- the beautiful waterfalls, beautiful gorges, stuff like that. I wanted to create a journey with the piece.

As far as picking locations...it's basically just picking my favorite spots from Oregon, I guess. Especially Sparks Lake. To be able to go to that spot specifically and see it from above was really, really cool. We got some really interesting light, really beautiful sunrise shots and sunset shots, as well. It was like that with most of the locations. I'd say all the locations that are in that video I had been before and I had shot from the ground and I said to myself, "Okay, this place is going to work perfect for an aerial shot."

Why Oregon, in particular? Just because you were so familiar with the different spots? Is there any reason beyond that?

I think it's mostly the diversity of the landscape. There's so much to offer in Oregon. Just as far as beautiful rugged coastline, amazing waterfalls, incredible mountains with lakes. There's so many incredible places in Oregon. Depending on where you are, you could drive like an hour or two and it feels like you're in a completely different place, you know?

You could be seeing a waterfall in the middle of a rain forest and then two hours later be on the coast, which I thought was really cool. It just made for this perfect location to experiment and try out all the different aerial techniques that I wanted to. Plus it's also a nice getaway from California.

Now that you've finished this first aerial short video, do you think this is something that you'll continue to do in different landscapes and places?

I'd like to, definitely. It is quite tough to figure out which places I can and can't shoot. Especially in California, there's so many regulations...That's probably the biggest hurdle. It's just trying to figure out where to fly.

I think it'd be cool to shoot some stuff in other countries, because there are places where you're a little bit more free to go around and shoot. Whereas here, especially with possible incidence occurring, it's getting a little bit more tough to find places to fly. As far as doing it in the future...the cool thing is the technology every year is changing so much that in the near future the cameras that are going to be on these drones are going to be really high-end. They're adding more features every single time. I'm sure you've seen the smaller drones. Now they're making them smaller. The technology is evolving so fast that there's going to be so many new possibilities with aerial photography.

Stills from Rise.

What advice would you give to somebody making their first aerial video now that you've crossed one off your list?

I think just having a vision for what you want to do. Tell some sort of story. It doesn't need to be an actual narrative, but some sort of flow with the visuals in some sort of overall concept of what you want to show, rather than just random scenes.

Then I think it's important to remember that it is actually a camera, because it's overwhelming to just have the drone and take it up into the sky. Sometimes the fact that you're in the sky makes it hard to actually focus on getting an interesting shot. You forget the fact that it is just a camera, that you can move and change the angle and do certain movements. I think that's a hard thing to get over at first -- it's a camera and to treat it like you would any other camera.

Do interesting shots. Remember you can point the camera down completely and get abstract views from above. You could tilt the camera, pan the camera, move the camera in pretty much every direction. Just get over the fact that it's overwhelming and take it step by step. A lot of the times when I fly, I bring tons of batteries with me…

My first flight, I almost never actually shoot anything. The first flight is just to plan out where I actually do want to shoot. I'll take the drone up, I'll practice some different views. I'll look at some different shots I might want to get and then I'll bring the drone back, replace the battery and then actually shoot what I wanted and practice getting a shot. I'll do some shots like two or three, maybe four or five times before I actually get the movement that I was looking for.

That makes sense. I like how you said just get over the fact that it's overwhelming.
 

Yeah, I think anything that's new can be a little bit overwhelming, and sometimes for people it's hard to translate doing a cinematic shot from the ground and then doing a cinematic shot from the air. Sometimes it's hard to get over the fact that you've now put your camera in the sky and you're looking at everything from above. Then also practicing safety, too. I don't really preach too much about that, but... just be safe. If there's people around you, let them know that you're flying. It's like if you go to a park or something and there's people around, it's so easy to just go up to them and be like, "Hey, you guys mind if I fly? I know it's a little loud."

As long as you let people know, they're usually really appreciative that you've taken them and their experience into consideration. I have had one or two people who were like, "Yeah, I just I don't really want anyone flying near me." No problem. You don't want to ruin somebody's experience just because you want to get a shot. 

Posted on January 11, 2017 .

Marmoset Hosts Second Annual XRAY FM Awards

Join us for a night of celebrating music, creativity and community with XRAY.FM. On January 21st, Marmoset is hosting the Second Annual XRAY Awards, honoring the winners of the “Radio is Yours” contest and recognizing some folks who have been strong advocates of equality and justice in Portland over the past year.  

There will be plenty of (FREE) tacos, pizza, and, best of all, music --  featuring appearances from the likes of Lenore., Vikesh Kapoor, DJ Tex Clark, Maggie Morris of Genders, XRAY DJs Bobby D and Klyph, Nocturnal Habits, and Fred and Toody Cole of Dead Moon. Drinks will be available for purchase and all of proceeds will go directly to XRAY.FM, allowing them to continue to support and foster Portland’s rare creative gems.

So, if you’d like to enjoy a night filled with free tacos and great music, all while supporting a worthy cause, buy tickets HERE and check out the details below.

When: Saturday, January 21

5:00p Doors open for VIP-only cocktail hour (featuring Lenore., Vikesh Kapoor, and DJ Tex Clark)

6:30p Doors open for General Admission

Where:  Marmoset

2105 SE 7th Ave, 977214

Posted on January 9, 2017 .

Storytelling Through Animated Videos

A Guest Blog from Sarah Ramler at Demo Duck

You’ve always wanted to use animated videos in your marketing campaign, but you worry that it won’t show the “human” side of your company. Or it seems too cute, which doesn’t fit your branding. Plus, a lot of the times animated videos are used on websites as how-to or explainer videos and you really want to tell your company story or the story of how your product came to be. So you start researching live-action video production companies and scan your company directory to see who wouldn’t turn bright red on camera.

Of course live-action is a great way to tell a story and show real people solving real problems. We over at Demo Duck do them all the time! However, there is real power to an animated video and it’s anything but cutesy. Animation allows you to tell a story on a whole new level -- one that isn’t bound by the limits of the real world. Animated videos are great at storytelling because they allow you to create a world that embodies your brand’s essence. This may sound a little abstract, and a little out-there, but hear me out.

Animated Videos are a Logistical Dream

Have you ever tried planning a dinner date with some friends? Think about it. When you ask your friends where they want to eat, what kind of food, and what day and time, you just invited yourself to an email string that seems to never end. No one can seem to agree to anything and everyone’s schedules never seem to align.

Now imagine doing it for a live-action video production. You have to make sure that the crew, producers, the talent, the weather, and the space are all synced up. Now let’s say it starts to rain and it’s an outdoor shoot. Or, your actor can’t perform because they have strep throat. This is just an example and even I got a headache!

With animated videos, you can kiss that headache goodbye. You’re no longer subjected to the messy world of people’s schedules. All you need is to hire the creative talent you can trust. No more actor auditions or location scouting. Austin Saylor, in an interview with Wistia, says that animation is also a great option when you want to tell a story that takes place in a faraway location -- but because of budget or what-have-you, it might not be feasible.

Having less to worry about means you can stick to a tighter timeline -- and getting a project done on time always feels good. But that’s not the only benefit for picking animation over live-action. When you have an animated video, it’s easier over the long term to edit and refine to meet future needs (like a product update or a UI change). You won’t have to worry about booking a reshoot or hoping that your talent is still available. Animated videos make great evergreen content.

In the end, animation is more cost-effective. So if you’re a startup or a small business, it makes sense to go with an animated video. Not only because you may have a smaller budget, but you might have a lot of product updates in the next year or two. When you have a rapidly changing product or app, an animated video is easier to maintain and can keep up with your growing company.

Animated Characters Allow For Stronger Brand Connections

In a typical live-action video, you may only have two to three actors in it, which means there is a chance that potential customers may not identify with the actor. Returning to the Wistia and Austin Saylor interview, he says, “So while live video certainly helps humanize your company, animation with simple characters could help your audience connect with the hero character that your brand is there to help.” In short, it means that you can create a character that embodies a feeling or an idea and there are no physicalities that can create superficial barriers. For example, we did an animated video for Wheels for Wishes where the star was a fox cub that demonstrated the innocence of a child:

The focus was less on the character itself and more about telling Wheels for Wishes’ story.

Animated Videos Explain Complex or Abstract Ideas, Simply

When you are no longer bound by the limits of the physical world, it becomes easier to explain some of your more abstract ideas. For example, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea of cloud-based software, and having a talking head explain it may not help explain it at all. With an animated video, the idea of a “cloud” can be drawn out and provide a visual aid in explaining the concept.

A great example is the old “bouncing ball” or “blob” animated video for Zoloft (an anti-depressant). People tend to understand the generalities of depression — they know people are sad, sleepy, or lose interest in activities if they suffer from it.

However, this bouncing ball removes any associations we would have with the person suffering from depression and focuses solely on the feeling. We all know what it’s like to be sad, but this animated video helps people identify that depression is much more than sadness.  

Animated Videos Helps Viewers Understand Characters’ Stories

The same is true for the environments that the characters live in. In National Geographic’s short clip on Storytelling Through Animation, Davis Guggenheim (director) was asked why he chose animation when telling the story of Malala Yousafzai (who is, of course, a living person). His response was about how it allowed him to depict the world as she remembered it. It provided a sense of nostalgia for the viewer to get a better understanding of her world. With that foundation, we can better understand the challenges she faced.

When the viewer resonates with a character, it builds empathy. When there is empathy, there are relatable problems and relatable solutions, and your company provides those relatable solutions. Returning back to the topic of depression, a viewer may not think they have depression, but it could be because they don’t recognize what it is. When they see the animated video that projects a certain feeling, and if they align themselves with that feeling, they may discover that they too suffer and there is a solution.

Animated Videos Create a Controlled Environment

Along the same lines, animation allows for the control of the character’s environment. In the same National Geographic clip, Jason Carpenter (animation supervisor) says that using animation in telling Malala’s story allowed him to create a world that is more poetic and impressionistic, which puts more power into the storyteller. Want to show that your product makes things easier? An animation of simple and clean workspace in bright, vibrant colors  leaves the viewer feeling joy -- which is a great feeling to associate with your product or service.

Music is also a very important aid in creating this. The world has become multisensory, which makes your video more memorable. In a campaign that Marmoset did with Nike+, they used music to create a sense of upbeat speed and empowerment -- a great partner when it comes to speaking to runners and joggers. I mean, that’s why they partake in those hobbies.

Wrap-up on Animated Videos

Animated videos allow you to create a beautiful world -- one where things can be explained simply, characters project feelings that are recognizable, and viewers are presented with relatable solutions. So forget about cutesy and think about impressions. You want your viewers to walk away with a strong, positive feeling and an association with your company’s product or service. Trust us, nothing drives impact like shared stories.

When deciding between an animated or a live-action video, consider your budget, the longevity of the product or service, and the feeling you want to impress upon potential customers. If you feel that you’ll need something that can be updated frequently or you’re not sure who to cast to star in it, an animated video may be the way to go. Either way, it’s important to build empathy with your viewers and understand their world and challenges.


About the Author

Sarah Ramler is the Marketing Coordinator for Demo Duck, a Chicago-based video production company. When she’s not writing about video marketing tips, she’s mostly tweeting about ice cream. Follow Demo Duck on Google+ and Twitter.  

Posted on January 6, 2017 and filed under Filmmaking.

New Year, New Music

Each new year brings its own new set of dreams, goals and challenges. Maybe you want to start working on your first feature length film or finally get that passion project of yours off the ground… or maybe you just want to start going to yoga again. Either way, it’s easy to forget about all your exciting plans and convictions once the glimmer of the new year begins to wear off. For this reason, we’ve created a New Year’s Pump-Up Mixtape.  

This fun mix of danceable electropop will help revive your waning enthusiasm and tackle whatever obstacles stand in your way. From the retro pop rock of Hotbloods to Michele Wylen's bouncy, electronic beats, enjoy this endless arsenal of motivation.

Posted on January 5, 2017 .