Everyone has a story to share. Yet as humans we’re inclined to stick with what we know, to stay in our lane of what feels familiar. It’s a mode of avoidance that works well until we’re required to see beyond our own experiences. But it’s a cycle we can break and should.
To do just this, the creative studio powered by filmmakers, Even/Odd teamed up with Lyft to create “America is an Idea, Not a Geography” — a stirring series incorporating photography and filmmaking to amplify the voices and stories of immigrants.
The project circulates around immigrant families of different national backgrounds, all connected through Lyft as a means for generating a living wage.
A big “conversation” on how immigrants fit into the economic picture continues to exist — American born citizens equating the influx of immigrants to less job opportunities across the board. But one piece of the discussion rarely is addressed: how immigrant workers are carrying the weight of the burdensome, more intensely laborious work. They’re showing up for the work many are rejecting and refusing to own. Most importantly, many are sidestepping the human rights portion.
Lyft’s short film series tackles this very notion in the most ambitious way possible, by passing the mic to their community — the drivers who uphold the services, the oil and wheel to their machine.
The series “Nine Numbers” film, directed by Mohammed Gorjestani and Andrew Batista, follows Cesar Virto’s life as a business man/writer/Lyft driver — he happens to be undocumented. A recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Virto’s story has a weight of unpleasant truth; his youth plagued with barriers due to his undocumented status.
The project features background music from Marmoset artist, Drew Barefoot. The licensed song “The Forest in Bloom” sets the stage for this complex, heavyhearted issue. The song is meandering and reflective — Virto’s story isn’t of defeat but is the glimpse of a long journey, contrasting moments of highs and lows.
Virto’s story is ongoing, he still faces many questions of his status as a DACA recipient. We invite and encourage you to watch & listen to his story here.
Announcing the latest FIFA game means getting soccer fans — or football fans, depending on where you’re reading this — and video game enthusiasts revved up. Searching for music that triggers good ol’ competitive sports induced adrenaline, our creative licensing team knew what FIFA’s latest video game trailer called for.
Turning to the energetic and upbeat anthem of music collab, Fritzwa and Jeffrey Brodsky, “The Best” drives home the rivalrous spirit of the game.
Frtizwa and J. Brodsky’s bouncy beat is strong enough to standalone, a perfect example of artists making music they love — the kind of music that pops up on your Spotify playlist but also happens to license on epic video game trailers too.
When making a movie, music inspiration can arrive at any stage imaginable — maybe it’s when using temp music while editing. Or maybe it’s getting hooked by a timeless vintage love ballad and upholding the song as the film’s inspirational axis.
In the case of Tribeca film, Clementine music inspiration struck early, Writer & Director Lara Jean Gallagher working closely with Marmoset’s Film & TV Music Licensing Team early on to find music for her independent film.
While Clementine was still being filmed, Marmoset’s Jackie Westfall stepped in as the movie’s Music Supervisor. In the midst of production, earnestness fueled the music searching process, Gallagher’s clear vision for the film’s narrative—and how it would sound via its musical components—the compass for Jackie’s music supervision.
Clementine being Gallagher’s first feature film, the writer/director is no novice in grasping how music’s presence (or lack thereof) can shape a scene — her past work includes a slew of music videos she’s directed, showcasing at SXSW and published on Pitchfork. One look through Gallagher’s portfolio is telling of her recognition of both art forms, a usage of compelling visuals and music/sound to tell a unified story.
”Gallagher had a very distinct vision for the film, how she wanted it to sound and look like,” says Jackie. “One of the interesting things is she wanted music to only play in scenes organically. So if you saw a radio or if you were in the car or somewhere you knew that music could play out of — that was an original idea that she had.”
Like any creative project, there’s an unlimited number of ways production details can go awry. Getting music rights for a film doesn’t have to live in the same vein. Jackie at the music supervising helm and Marmoset’s Jamie McMullen offering support as music coordinator, the collaboration kicked off with an in-depth spotting session. It’s the kind of channel for getting filmmaker and music supervisor on the same page, to dig deep into the philosophy behind music placement in film.
“There’s nothing like sitting in the room with the creator, writer, director to really get a peek behind the curtain of what would you like to say?” says Jackie. “It’s a lot of exploring what the characters are thinking in a scene or asking what do you want the audience to know and then making suggestions through music.”
Forging ahead for licensing the right music for the film, Jackie applied her previous film supervision experience (a music coordinator for two Noah Baumbach films) to deliver the best undiscovered music songs for commercial use to Gallagher. There’s a harmonious balance within this kind of creative exchange, Jackie mindfully inquisitive within her communication style, leading in her music expertise but never imposing on the filmmaker’s vision.
This kind intentionality and awareness in upholding creative integrity is what any filmmaker can expect when collaborating with Marmoset’s music team. There’s an active understanding between art forms, visuals and music mutually integral to one another.
With Clementine and other notable films, music supervision can punctuate the story without losing sight of what’s unfolding visually. Experts like Jackie note the importance in knowing how to exercise music as a tool in aiding any narrative.
“It’s about elevating the art that’s already there,” says Jackie. “You don’t want your film or project to sound like a music video. It shouldn’t be that the story is in service to the music, it should be the other way around.”
Clementine premiers at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on April 24th and is being showcased through May 5th. Learn more about festival times and the film here.
Givenchy’s Spring + Summer 2019 Campaign is a blend of avant-garde and retro culture — a crisp black and white landscape, where the characters look as though they were plucked out of Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory.
Alongside the androgynous collective, Givenchy features Marmoset artist, Damon Boucher’s “K I N” as its musical backdrop. Electronic synth beats, the music ensures the seasonal campaign reaches full circle. To learn more about Boucher’s musical journey, the fashion undercurrent of his LP — N K I and where he’s headed, we connected with the artist earlier this month.
Marmoset: Could you tell us a little bit how you first got into making music?
Boucher: I grew up taking classical lessons, and performing contemporary music in a Pentecostal Christian church. In church, I learned to improvise pop music, although church also kept me closeted. But, I’ve been writing music since that time. I played and wrote music all throughout college; then began to produce music after I graduated in 2008.
M: Listening through NKI, your music has such a dreamy kind of presence along with an energetic pulse to it. How would you describe your music to listeners? What kind of visuals come to mind?
B: I try to make it watery, but clean. Clean can sometimes mean dry and airy which plays off the watery thing. Visually, I always think of clean, stark contrasts; light and dark meeting in balance. I think of an ocean horizon, fashion runways or queer nightlife culture.
M: Do you collaborate with your work or do you tend to flourish more as a solo creator? Yes! Most of my work is collaborative. My main project for the past few years has been producing music for Chanti Darling. I’ve also worked with The Last Artful, Dodgr, Maarquii, Natasha Kmeto, Nafisaria, The Portland Cello Project, Ripley Snell, Neill Von Tally, DJ Sappho, Pocket Rock-it and many more. (Click here to listen).
I’ve also had a chance to teach and collaborate with several of my students over the years. I’ve taught piano and composition at School of Rock since 2010 and have directed over 40 shows there; and since they let me keep my studio inside their building, all of my projects are made out of there. I call that studio Zip Zap Studios.
I’m super proud of the work I’ve done with others. However, even though I’m often in collaborative environments, I find that I work best alone. When producing music with others, I oftentimes meet to record, then polish the songs when I’m by myself. There’s less pressure when I’m alone so I find those times to be more experimental and fruitful.
M: Who are some artists you've been listening to this year?
Current new stuff from: The Internet, Roisin Murphy, Against All Logic, Travis Scott.
Older stuff from: Missy Elliott, Gary Numan, Four Tet
M: What went through your head when you heard your music being featured on the Givenchy Spring/Summer campaign?
I sincerely wanted that music to be used for fashion so I was excited to see it used in that capacity! A lot of the track names on N K I have fashion related titles, all for the reason that I imagined this record being used just as you now see it.
M: What inspires you about the Portland music scene?
Someone once described Portland to me as a great “incubator” for creative ideas, which I think is both bizarre and accurate. It rains forever so I want to stay inside and work on music until the weather’s good. I am completely privileged to be able to work on music with the setup I have in Portland and I am forever grateful for that. I would not be able to do that in a variety of other places or lives.
The bodacious women of Broad City are delivering their final and highly anticipated fifth season to fans, with the first episode of the closing chapter premiering just last week. And with this bittersweet goodbye to the show’s two queens/kweens (if you haven’t seen the show, what are you even really doing), their finale trailer is explosive with neon color and a punchy musical soundtrack.
One of the three songs, “Soda Pop” (feat. Hot Air Balloon) by Stony Pony is purely electronic, party pop bliss. The song catapults viewers through the video’s quick intercutting, reminding fans this seasons the epic New York journey isn’t over just yet.
To learn more about creating a song that delivers this kind of energy and vibrancy, we hit up Stony Pony and Hot Air Balloon with some questions on their collaboration with “Soda Pop.”
Marmoset: Can you tell us a little bit about the constructing of “Soda Pop” — it feels sort of like an electric party anthem, what did the process look like with incorporating the zany lyrics by Hot Air Balloon?
Stony Pony: Yeehaw! I was getting my pump on at the gym one day and it hit me: water is great for hydration. I took a few swigs from my bottle and realized the hair metal playing at the gym wasn’t cutting it. I really needed something that could make me sweat and realized what we all need in life is something that can make us sweat.
So I did some math with Hot Air Balloon and we figured out how all the best workout music exhibited three iconic qualities: 1.) The lyrics are always about getting stoked to do meal prep; 2.) The tempo is always intense like a pre-workout face burn; 3.) The beat is always crispy, straight out of the tanning bed. I know you may be thinking ‘Pulitzer Prize’, but really our purpose on earth is just to perspire and inspire.
M: How would you describe Stony Pony's work and what can listeners expect next?
SP: Stony Pony produces hot workout music that’s also sauna and bowling alley friendly. I’m really excited to release the new material I’m working on. While I’m not at the gym, I love to make videos and do photo shoots, so you’ll see more of that. You’ll hear more workout music!! Loud, bouncy, and sincerely fun!!
M: What’s a go-to party song you play to get pumped up? (Can be a guilty pleasure!)
SP: I absolutely love CRANKING Nobody Rides For Free by Ratt. It takes you on an emotional journey with terrible grammar, but showcases one of the best riffs before their mid-90s hiatus.
M: Who would you rather go on a NYC adventure with — Abbi or Ilana?
SP: I’m positive Abbi would be able to show me all of the places Oprah has visited around town. We would listen to Eye of the Tiger, take pictures of all the stairs Oprah has climbed in NYC, and post them on our insta stories.
Marmoset: Can you share a little insight into what the lyrics writing process looked like for "Soda Pop?"
HAB: Two simple steps: I went shopping for ingredients and then I followed the recipe.
M: Where did the food theme come from (crunchy, toasted, sautéed, snacking, etc.) and does it make you hungry when listening to the song now?
HAB: My dude Stony Pony is always rocking the protein shakes, and meal prepping for his workout flow.
Me, I'm a total chip chomper. I love finding new snacks and new bevs to try. The crunch of chips, or the carbonated crack of opening a fresh beverage sounds like beats and music to me.
Also, if I'm being really real I was raised in a soda family. My Dad worked for Coca-Cola my whole life. It's bubbling throughout my blood.
M: If you were marooned on an island with cases of soda pop, what would it be?
HAB: I'm especially a fan of regional or rare sodas. When traveling I have to try that soda you can only find there. I narrowed it down to three — 1.) So. Cal's and the Southwest's Cactus Cooler, which is an orange pineapple soda that puts off the perfect party vibe. 2.) There's a ginger & citrus soda that comes out of Kentucky called Ale 81 (or "A Late One" if you're local) that provides just enough spice. 3.) Gotta throw it back to the 90's Gen X soda, OK Soda that was the perfect Bev for the disillusioned. Shoutout to the 1-800-IFEELOK hotline
M: Who would you rather go on a NYC adventure with — Abbi or Ilana?
HAB: So tough. They are both so amazing. I'm kinda more of an Abbi, and have always been in awe by Ilana's boldness. She's a nonstop party machine, and if you saw the first episode of the final season she's pretty amazing at documenting a day to last forever. Also, Abbi would be down with me stopping at all the bodegas checking for fun chips.
Credits: “Soda Pop” produced by Katy Davidson // Creative licensing by Jamie McMullen and Jackie Westfall.
Follow Stony Pony on Instagram @realstonypony