Posts filed under Community

Say Hey to Jené and Diana: Talking Diversity and DJing with Noche Libre

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by    Kale Chesney

Creative Music Coordinators, Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez — photography by Kale Chesney

Jené Etheridge and Diana Suarez are two of Marmoset’s Creative Music Coordinators by day, swooping in to support clients with music searches and clearances for every kind of project under the sun. By night, the two host one of the most buzz-worthy dance nights in Portland —Noche Libre.

Assembled of Jené, Diana and six other DJs, the Latinx collective’s mission challenges Portland’s mainstream nightlife scene, where typically only a small demographic is made to feel seen, welcome and safe. Instead Noche Libre cultivates community, creating space for Black, Brown and Indigenous groups.

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member,    Yuriko Xolotl

Illustration by Noche Libre collective member, Yuriko Xolotl

Spinning everything from cumbia and quebradita to dancehall and perreo, the inclusivity starts with the collective’s music selection. “We’re not super genre specific,” says Jené. “We definitely have a vibe but we’ll still play hip hop and a lot of different genres, there’s really something for everyone.”

It’s a reflection of their own musical tastes, everything they enjoy jamming to while also encompassing and honoring their Latin heritage and upbringings.

“I think what's really cool about something like Noche Libre is it’s just part of Latin culture — to get together and listen to music with your family and friends,” says Diana. “I really feel like it just feels like family get-togethers, everybody's just here for each other and here for a good time.”

The importance of Noche Libre’s presence — other than hearing mixes en fuego — is its movement toward building opportunities and spaces for artists of color within the music industry. With Jené leading Marmoset’s internal Diversity & Inclusion Team and Diana supporting the team’s overarching initiatives, their mission is to disrupt problematic systems to pave way for new processes.

From redefining how composers are brought onto creative projects to integrating diversity focused mixers into marketing trips — the team leads objectives that not merely benefit the underrepresented, but the entire company. It’s endless work, but indicative of genuine desire for positive change within an industry that upholds barriers for those who are non-binary or people of color.

Jené and Diana daily facilitate interpersonal conversations with other teams, including music producers and members of leadership (among community leaders). There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s mindful development toward progression.

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @    stoneanvil     )

A floral shrine created by Diana (IG photo credit: @stoneanvil)

When not attending workshops and programs like Partners in Diversity’s Say Hey night or DJing around town as Noche Libre, Jené and Diana keep busy with their side creative missions. Diana being an experienced florist, she’s responsible for cultivating Y La Bamba and Sávila’s dreamy stage designs — the floral arrangements while laborious, only add to the feat of strength that both Latin American musical groups deliver through their performances. You can also catch Jené co-hosting Everyday Mixtapes on XRAY.FM every Saturday night from 5:00-6:00PM (PDT) — listeners will be pulled in with a mix of throwbacks from R&B, hip hop to funk and vintage gems.

So if passing through Portland and catching Noche Libre in action, what can one expect when out on the dance floor?

“We find a way to fit it altogether. Like I’ll play an Asian psych song and then a chicha song, which leads to a cumbia song,” says Diana. “Because we’re all so different and made up of so many different experiences, that’s what makes it interesting.”

Part of Noche Libre’s mission statement is “to celebrate our family’s roots and rituals by carrying on the tradition of puro pinche pari” — it’s an embodiment of finding strength in identity and to not only live in it, but to celebrate it.

Spotlighting Music Licensing Creative, Marissa Hernandez

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A tried-and-true commitment toward community betterment and keen ear for awesome music, Marissa Hernandez is the kind of woman anyone would be lucky enough to have on their team — or grab a coffee with (one of her favorite things to do).

Having a natural instinct toward music and being able to “feel” what works with a creative project isn’t something that can necessarily be taught. But it’s something that Marissa one of Marmoset’s Music Licensing Creatives has a serious knack for and a skill she exercises every day for clients.

Music is in Marissa’s blood — her father being a self-taught musician who plays numerous instruments and her mother, who plays both the piano and guitar; her childhood inarguably ran deep with positive music reinforcement. Such an underlying presence prompted Marissa to expand her own music preferences and taste, using the music her parents played for as a child as the springboard for discovering her individualistic musical tastes.

“I've kind of found that I don't really like being told what to like. There's a lot of music that my parents would listen to and make me listen to when I was younger. But now that I’ve come back to it on my own, I'm like, oh, I love this! So it's almost like I needed that sort of freedom to make that decision on my own.”

Naturally the arts and music were a driving force in Marissa’s life and underlying motivator in college. Inspired by The Current, a public community-focused radio station in Minneapolis, Marissa set her initial sights on music as her career path.

“They play a lot of independent bands and artists, which really helped facilitate my love for indie music,” says Marissa. “There's not really a strong equivalent to that here in Oregon. And so I went to school thinking, I'm going to start a radio station. And then I thought, well, radio's a dying industry so I probably shouldn’t — that's probably not a great business decision.”

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With other interests in writing and graphic design, Marissa began scouring how music would fit into her professional pursuits. It was when she discovered her niche in music supervision that she secured her dream job overseeing music to picture — her very first sync and catapulting moment when she pitched a Santigold song, successfully landing it on a Summer Olympics commercial.

Aiming to provide exposure to talented, lesser mainstream artists and helping them advance in the music licensing world, Marissa focuses on the bigger picture when pitching music for ad campaigns, films, TV shows and other visual media.

“It’s always really rewarding whenever we can help an artist continue to work and do what they love for a living,” Marissa says. “I feel like it's more direct here [at Marmoset], it's clear to me when we’ve had an influence on someone’s career.”

After acquiring a wealth of experience in music supervision, Marissa began searching for a place where she could share her passion for community alongside music, eventually making her home at Marmoset as a Music Licensing Creative.

“I feel really good about the fact that we have initiatives to help the community here because that was something I really struggled with working in advertising — the question being, am I really making the world a better place? That's something that's really important to me overall in my life.”

Leading her team in internal searches through Marmoset’s catalog of artists for creative projects, Marissa expertly navigates external searches too — a muscle she flexes when a client has ultra specifications for a song they want to license but can’t find it on the Marmoset music roster. Using her knowledge of the music industry and with wide range of resources, Marissa scours and obtains songs that others may not have the same access to or perhaps a lack of insight to inquire about.

With her involvement on Marmoset’s Eagle Scout Team — a group dedicated to discovering and recruiting more obscure artists — Marissa also invests her time and leadership on Marmoset’s Greater Good Team, an internal group focusing on community partnership.

Her wealth of industry knowledge makes Marissa a force to be reckoned with, being able to interpret a client’s asks and vision, offering up her creativity, guidance and expertise in the most genuine of fashions. At the end of the day there’s no question about it, Marissa makes Marmoset and her community a better place.


Listen and play through Marissa’s “All Time Faves” playlist on Spotify.

Journey of the Marmoset Dollar

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If growing up in the era of strip malls, one may recall those plastic funnel donation “wells” where someone tosses in a coin, watching as it gracefully spins multiple laps until spiraling to the bottom. But what exactly was the coin’s final destination, the overarching impact of these donations?

To know where one’s money is going — where it actually ends up — is the ultimate consumer superpower. Digging deeper into what a business stands for, a purchase could mean casting a vote, exercising a voice to advocate for change, positivity — or the opposite in a lot of cases. For example, buying an outfit at Wildfang not only supports their day to day operation costs, it contributes to their $400K giving to organizations like Planned Parenthood, ACLU, RAICES (and many others).

This is the type of transparency Marmoset is all about, because licensing a song for your video or hiring us to compose original music doesn’t mean just paying for the music itself, it’s a contribution to the community. It means supporting real working musicians, filmmakers and artists while advocating for the nonprofits we partner with, admire and support.

And so, we’d like to share with you the journey of a dollar at Marmoset. It’s a journey we’re proud to be living — it means staying connected through art, music, compassion and creativity. It’s the kind of journey we’re proud to keep going.


Doing Great Things in 2019

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A new year, a new start.

But first, let’s take one last long hard look back to 2018 (and every other year leading up to it) where Marmoset has donated 10% of the largest license for each month to the non-profits and organizations we’ve partnered with — groups such as My Voice My Music, KairosPDX, Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls are making a difference with their platforms, cultivating environments that positively impact, influence and strengthen their communities.

And so we capped off the year proud to be involved with so many amazing groups doing spectacular work for social justice, education, the environment… and the list goes on.

While a drum roll isn’t really required, we are a music agency after all so…

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The total number of donations Marmoset put forth into the community in 2018 alone comes to a grand total of $69,154. This number isn’t just about donations, it’s about seeing the good it impacts — the hardworking people behind each organization on the other end, it’s about realizing we’re all connected in this short-lived but amazing game of life and why not do what we can to help where we can?

Leading up to the close of 2018, we appreciated being in a position that granted us this privilege of partaking in this journey alongside our community. If anything, the caring nature extends deep to the core of who we are, Marmoset employees individually adopting three families through The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO).

Lastly, we were overjoyed to support Kairos in crossing their ‘donation matching’ finish line. With the education non-profit reaching 10k in donations just in December, we proudly matched this number, getting them to the 20k mark. Through the Willamette Week Give!Guide initiative, Kairos finished strong at generating $26,301 in total donations.

And with this, we’re amped up, ready for more. Ready to roll up our sleeves for another year of giving back.


Posted on January 8, 2019 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music.

We Support Community

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A creative music agency, Marmoset’s collection of music spans across every genre imaginable, from hip hop to orchestral instrumentals, psychedelic cumbia to nostalgic r&b. Since the first moment we opened our doors, our purpose steadfastly remains in community — sharing in our values, our passion and dedication toward art. It means celebrating each artists’ uniqueness, the differences that defines us as individuals and the creation of remarkable music.

As we continue to flourish, to grow and evolve, we warmly welcome artists, clients, creative collaborators, community organizers of all walks of life — because we believe in the power of inclusivity. We champion for artists of all different kinds, types, expressions and backgrounds — especially those who’ve traditionally been held down, marginalized, exploited or viewed as an underdog within the music industry.

Empowering one another, listening to the stories of struggles and success that’s made us who we are, and never hesitating to lift one another up through positivity — this is what the Marmoset community is all about.

Posted on January 4, 2019 and filed under Community, Music, Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset.

Original Music and Filmmaking Come Together for A/VEC 5

Filmmaking and original musical composition are two creative worlds that intermix every day at Marmoset.

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With every notable film throughout history in the accompaniment of an outstanding soundtrack (or even sound design), we recognize this creative friendship, coming together as a community to celebrate Marmoset’s fifth installment of A/VEC. This year we brought together two talented artists, filmmaker Claudia Meza and Luz Mendoza of Y La Bamba.

Meza’s background in documentary filmmaking, her roots rest firmly in music. It was in this medium where Meza found another calling and natural obsession for video production. After working alongside She Shreds magazine, Meza began shooting content on the fly, naturally falling in tune with documentary style filmmaking.

Gathered at Marmoset headquarters, the short film shines a light on the unseen, backbreaking physical labor performed by migrant workers every day in the United States. It's a poetic testimonial transcending the general outlook of immigration, presenting an experimental yet informative documentary that never compromises identities.

“Trabajo pesado, what that means is hard work, it means heavy work,” says Meza. “And whenever your parents tell you to study, or tell you what they're doing for you so you don’t have to do — Trabajo pesado.”

The audio heartbeat of the film is within Y La Bamba's original music created just for this special event and scored live on the night of the A/VEC community screening; the purple light that cascades over Mendoza and her band is emotively symbolic of America’s aching, turbulent grasp of its immigrant issue. It’s an evening that pays homage to lineage, history, roots, culture and art — click PLAY on the video above to experience it yourself.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.

Migrant workers depicted in Director Claudia Meza’s A/VEC short film — premiered at Marmoset Headquarters.


Posted on December 12, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Music, Shared Work, Spotlight: Marmoset, Filmmaking.