A week focused on celebrating music and our community (check out the Portland Design Week event we hosted on Wednesday) can only properly be wrapped up with a good cause.
This Saturday April 13th, gather at Marmoset and join fellow education supporters for a memorable fundraiser; emphasis on fun. With proceeds going toward local education institute St. Andrew Nativity School, attendees will get a front row seat music experience — the night featuring a live performance of pop sensation, Frankie Simone.
The evening also includes a live auction for one of a kind experiences and amazing food & drinks. Show your support and RSVP by following the link below. See you there!
Steady Holiday is Dre Babinski, the moniker that encapsulates the nostalgic nature of her work — there’s a kind of beautiful sentimentality that surfaces when listening to Steady Holiday’s music, comparative to watching a Cary Grant film or a warm idyllic memory washing over you.
Growing up, Babinski recalls her father always listening to oldies on the radio. At the time it was something that merely underscored her childhood upbringing it wouldn’t be until later she would translate this environment as a source of inspiration.
“I loved it but I also didn’t question it,” says Babinski. “I began playing the violin at school when I was 10 and started playing along to songs like “Downtown” by Petula Clark or “Crying” by Roy Orbison. When I sit down to write music nowadays, I think I unconsciously come back to the sensibilities of that era.”
While Steady Holiday is Babinski’s solo musical act, the artist is no stranger to a range of collaboration. Having recorded and toured as a violinist and backup vocalist for Dusty Rhodes and the River Band and the other half of Miracle Days’ partnership, Babinski brings her transformative experiences to her arrival as a solo artist.
Perhaps it was this accumulation of experiences that propelled the artist into the solo role she was destined to fulfill — the new venture sparking a new kind of inspiration that isn’t always so easily achievable when working closely with other artists.
In early 2015, Babinski put the wheels in motion by beginning the recording process under Steady Holiday. With the release of her single “Your Version of Me” the artist gained even more momentum through the single’s success — the work receiving praise from both critics and fans alike. By 2016, Steady Holiday released her debut solo album Under The Influence (produced by Gus Seyffert). Described as hauntingly expressive, listeners began crediting the album’s success to Babinski’s vocals, which enlivened the album’s themes and emotional atmosphere.
“Help me I’m a superstar
but narrowly I’ve missed the mark
drifting, fading, no regard
I’ve slipped into a cycle”
“Superstar” is the seventh song on Under The Influence, imparting a message that could very well describe the artist’s artistic journey — there’s a nod here to the range of Babinski’s achievements earned thus far in her musical career, along with identifying her place and status with the release of her debut album.
These personal touches radiate throughout Under The Influence, the melancholic filled verses paired with the stunning string arrangements set the soundscape for Steady Holiday’s emergence into the world. When asked about what she chooses to explore in her writing, she dives deep into the lyrics from the listener’s standpoint.
“I’m always looking to uncover things about myself and universals in human nature,” says Babinski. “Which is an interest much bigger than music but tends to show up in my songs. It helps me make sense of the world and soften to what I don’t understand. I’ve been writing from perspectives other than my own recently, and empathy is the best tool for that.”
With the circulation of Under The Influence, Steady Holiday is soon called to perform at Coachella by the festival’s very own co-founder Paul Tollet. With this caliber of a platform, Babinski boldly begins her new chapter of sharing what was once a private channel of expression to thousands of listeners.
“I want people to have their own experience with my music rather than explain all my intentions,” notes Babinski. “I do hope that it’s inclusive and evocative enough for people to create their own meaning and memories with it, in the same way that Hallelujah wasn’t written for me, but it was.”
In terms of Babinski’s songwriting process, she often draws inspiration from words that resonate with her on a creative level. “Most of my song ideas begin with the stuff that sits on top, the vocal melody and lyrics,” says Babinski. “Usually it’s a phrase I read or overhear that sticks with me then I’ll find a melody that shapes nicely around it.” Such inspiration can strike almost anywhere but Babinski notes it happens commonly when driving or walking about yet hardly ever when sitting down to intentionally write.
This fluidity in her craft, Babinski keeps her process balanced by focusing heavily on where a song’s inspiration goes — spending time on refining an idea, rebuilding it, then deciding if it should be fully fleshed out to be shared with the world.
“Sometimes a complete thought is the result of a lot of conscious work,” says Babinski. “And sometimes it just appears like tethered magic. I never know when or how it’s going to happen.”
Steady Holiday’s music is available for licensing through Marmoset. Listeners can also check out Steady Holiday’s second album Nobody’s Watching, released in 2018 on Barsuk Records. The artist’s second album is a collection of stories that align with recurring themes of fear and greed throughout history — something Babinski notes as a fitting encapsulation of today’s climate.
The fifth installment of A/VEC is tonight at Marmoset headquarters. Need a reminder of what A/VEC is? We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Last year’s A/VEC installment brought together the talents of filmmaker Jennifer Reeder (whose film, A Millions Miles Away was screened at Sundance Film Festival) and Marmoset artist, Secret Drum Band.
The two artists’ identities were kept a secret until the night of the reveal — it’s a true testament of how art can be interpreted so vastly differently based on one’s personal experiences. With Secret Drum Band creating an original score to accompany Reeder’s finished film, the finish line entails the mergence of a single cinematic experience.
You’ll want to catch our recap short film highlighting the collaboration. Check it out here —
A reminder this event is RSVP only so don’t forget to get your name on the list before time runs out. Can’t make it? We’ll miss you but stay tuned for our behind the scenes film capturing the creation process and premiere.
Last week we introduced our sponsorship and anticipation for Pickathon Festival. As we set up our tents and camping gear on Pendarvis farm, we nestled into our home for the next few days. It's an unforgettable experience to many who were in attendance and a journey best described from a first-person perspective from a long time admirer of Pickathon (and other festivals). And so, we asked Jamie McMullen, one of Marmoset's Music Licensing Coordinator to capture her experience in her own words.
In this special edition of this journal takeover, Jamie guides us through her story with music and her arrival at what festivals like Pickathon mean to her. Read below to discover more:
I remember my early adolescence in Providence, Rhode Island. I would have sleepovers at my friend’s house on the east side of town. We would walk across the city and pay $5 on a Friday night to see live music at either Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel (the Westminster St. location) or the non-profit artist residency, AS220, that still stands strong today. I remember attending the free summer concerts that Brown University's radio station, WBRU, put on each year at India Point Park.
My love for music has been strong since I could walk and this was the first experience of seeing it in my community. In front of me. Experiencing live music at this age was so crucially important to me and has helped shape who I am as a musician, music lover and the chosen career path I am on today.
It does not go unnoticed to me that Pickathon brings this experience to children, adolescents and adults of all ages. Unfortunately, Portland has lost a handful of all ages venues and DIY spaces (shout out to The Artistery!) due to the inevitable gentrification of the city the last handful of years. I am relieved to know that Pickathon is here to stay and gives an opportunity to help shape our youth’s love for music. And It is here to revive every adult's love for music as well — including myself.
If you aren't young already, you will feel young again when at Pickathon. When there, you find yourself charged up with an infinite amount of energy to catch as many music sets as possible, to take in the experience with the people around you. It's a time to feel inspired and recharged spiritually over and over again. I even overheard people calling it "Tenderfest".
For one small weekend, the worry and hardships I all too often carry around, disappear into the woods. People really do come together for the sake of music, nature and humanity’s bond — 20-year-old hipsters, families with tiny babies and children, and couples in their 70s are all in attendance. Almost every artist I saw perform mentioned how incredible the opportunity was to play at this magic festival.
A few clients of mine soon became friends this weekend. Five of us girls spent an entire day and night running around like teenagers — it felt so freeing. Together, we explored the psychedelic installations hanging from the trees and the light show that was displayed over the white canopy of sails that decorated the sky at night. I felt the Mali group, Tinariwen, put me in a trance with their hypnotic rhythms. I was captivated by The Weather Station's Tamara Lindeman, as I related to the stories in her songs. I laughed a lot. And you bet I cried my eyes out when Phosphorescent played "Song for Zula" to a congregation of people in the forest.
There were many more perfect moments in between the ones I mentioned, but I will keep them to myself. My soul needed a weekend such as this — it needed camping, being surrounded by music and other souls who were equally filled to the brim with all of the good vibes. Hopefully next year, you can join me in this memorable kind of journey at Pickathon.