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.
It's official. Summer has arrived.
If you're not listening to music while floating down a body of water or while relaxing on a warm beach — in the company of several hundred other people — is it really summer at all?
Whatever you decide to do over the next couple months, don't forget to support your local music scene. We've got the complete Portland list below so you can get up and go! For each performance, we've curated summer visuals to capture what each artist's vibe resembles. Which one aligns with your summer vibe?
Who: Tribe Mars
Where: Mississippi Studios
When: July 6th, 2018
What the artist sounds like: Soulful and hip-hop rooted, Tribe Mars can best be described as smooth and easy-listening. Walking on clouds, Tribe Mars creates a feeling of transcending above everything. Like a long sweat-drenched hike with no end in sight, there's an elated moment of tranquilness as you emerge above nature, the city, all life below you. Listen to "Soul Syrup" to channel a revelatory change in scenery.
Who: Jeremy Enigk
Where: Doug Fir Lounge
When: July 11th, 2018
What the artist sounds like: Orchestral rock, relish in the rebellious and carefree soundscape of Enigk's work. "Late of Camera" emotes that feeling of hopping chain linked fences to sneak into closed swimming pools — it's that adrenaline pumping moment before jumping into the cool water.
When: August 5th, 2018
What the artist sounds like: Indie rock with a dash of punk, Lemuria is a group that's constantly reinventing themselves and their sound. Songs like "More Tunnel" make us feel in touch with our confident side. Just like being immersed in the vast ocean before surfing to shore, it's that moment of letting self-doubt go and owning the waves.
Where: Mississippi Studios
When: August 24th, 2018
What the artist sounds like: Both fiery and cool, Blossom's vocals are timeless while still being at the top today's game. The laid back mood that permeates off of Blossom's music channels our summer cruising vibes. "Video" is that partial sun-kissed feeling with our feet hanging out of the car window — it's about kicking back and enjoying summer's fleeting moments.
We've only got sunshine on our minds. And this weather has got us wanting to get up and move — each month we roll out new music along with what musicians are playing where. We've done the legwork, compiling all the details on how to catch these trending Marmoset artists around town.
9:00 PM // June 8, 2018
Soulful, insightful, intelligent, fierce — Fritzwa is the emerging force Portland counts lucky to have within their music circle. With roots in NYC's Lower East Side, the R&B-inspired artist’s background is enriched in the arts. Her childhood composed of everything from dance to piano lessons — the perfect storm for relentless creative pursuit in self expression only an artist can fully understand.
Despite her youth, Fritzwa has already shown clear evolution, her music a testament to fearless acceptance of change. Looking to one of her earlier music projects, "FDR Drive" incorporates New York as the living and breathing environment. Vibes open, she takes the audience along for the excursion with an invitation to let loose and enjoy summer in the city. The message is on the up and up, the beats for any chill-out session or jamming in the car with some friends.
When looking to Fritzwa's most recent released project, the beginning of her next chapter could be marked by the artist’s big coastal move. With this change of scenery comes the challenge of being a new face in the music community while also jump-starting new creative relationships. “When I moved from New York to Portland, my intellectual capital was gone. I had to basically start over,” Fritzwa says. "Portland's music community is pretty tight-knit, but once I figured out who I wanted to collaborate with, it became a little easier."
In her "Sittin’ Pretty" music video, the earlier spectacular heights on rooftops from "FDR Drive" are replaced by unwavering nature. The shift? The latter was filmed in Oregon, an embodiment of relocating from a city that never sleeps, to a sprawl of endless greenery — it’s sincere, introspective, embracement of solitude and quietness. Fittingly enough, the piece was filmed by a bare bones, two person crew. It’s a visual exploration of Northwest landscapes in an intimate way. For the Northwest viewer, it can be challenging avoiding projecting one’s own memories onto these landmarks. Nonetheless, the atmosphere isn’t exclusive; instead, each shot is like being emerged into something that feels familiar.
“I really wanted to highlight the different landscapes here,” Fritzwa recounts. “That was a big part of the video that involved careful and detailed location scouting.” The singer-songwriter also stressed the importance of being heavily involved, if not already spearheading her music videos themes and creative direction. If anything, it’s proof that her creative overflow and the thoughtful execution of her music blends into every gap. This is an artist who knows what she wants to say, which intensely reverberates into everything she touches.
With Avenue A being R&B centric, there’s an undercurrent of hip hop, jazz, and vintage soul. The album offers a dose of tribute to New York ("Missed the L"), infusing strong-willed and unapologetic themes with poetic lyrics. If seeking out empowerment, look to “Never Back Down”— it’s wisdom worthy of reciting every day:
Don’t be wide eyed
When they tell you no, then you tell ‘em Bye Bye
This conquering and relentless approach doesn’t come by accident. “I always wanted to do music full-time, and when I moved here from New York, I wasn’t able to put my full energy into creating music at first,” she says. “So there’s definitely that resilience and persistence. It was my way of saying I wasn’t going to quit.”
There’s this familiarity and comfort that surfaces when adventuring deeper into Fritzwa’s music, yet originality is never sacrificed. Pigeonholing her would mean missing out on each liberating element. Her latest album, Avenue A, is so unapologetic and diverse, covering so much ground it’s easy to play over and over again, hoping it’ll sink in deeper on each listen.
Aside from being a singer-songwriter and performer, Fritzwa also DJs around Portland — you can catch her headlining at Mississippi Pizza on May 17, 2018 and Mississippi Studios on May 29, 2018.
If you're looking for new, fresh podcasts, you can check out "Playback with Two Wise Jawns" — a biweekly music review podcast. Fritzwa also has her own mix music podcast, "The Shuttle", where she mixes music from all eras based on rotating theme.