Posts filed under Spotlight: Artists

Marmoset Presents a Mini Concert with Ceschi

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Marmoset presents miniature music concerts — a new series where we invite talented, touring and local artists into our space to capture a stripped down performance of their music.

Currently on tour, Ceschi and his 7 Piece Band came through Marmoset headquarters following their Portland performance at Bit House Saloon. Their springtime jam-packed tour means coast to coast performances, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine (and so much in-between).

When we started this mini concert series, we knew here lied an inherent opportunity to feature the gems within the Marmoset music roster through a live performance medium. Kicking off the series with the endlessly talented Mree, we looked to Ceschi for a kinetic shift, a drastic contrast and variation to Mree’s floating vocals.

The Connecticut based artist is widely known for utilizing rap styled lyrics with acoustic instrumentals—the artist’s miniature concert is truly a voluminous showcase, the video a glimpse into artistic exuberance that can only be fully absorbed when witnessed in real life.

Watch his performance of “Daybreak” and “Ojala” below, then scroll down for a one to one interview with Ceschi.


Marmoset: Hi Ceschi! Can you share with us how you got into making music?

Ceschi: I’ve been making music since I was a child. A free school program when I was seven got me started on violin. Within the next year I was messing around with raps. Eventually went onto guitar & beat-making. 

The kind of music I make is simply the product of a lot of my influences, everything from experimental underground hip hop to ‘90s indie rock & hardcore punk to Latin American folk. I create because it’s my therapy, one of my reasons for existence & because of the many beautiful personal connections that music has brought me.

M: Your style of rap is really engaging in how you incorporate a lot of acoustics. How would you describe your approach toward experimenting with your music and do you have any advice for artists trying to be more genre fluid?

Ceschi: I feel like I have the unique privilege of studying with some of the masters of freestyle & jazz rap in my youth. Elders from that world taught me techniques, styles and tools since my teen years that essentially brought my skill level beyond amateur. Still, I never felt like just a rapper. I’m a songwriter first & foremost. My goals were never to be the best rapper nor best guitarist or whatever. Since an early age I’ve only wanted to present an honest version of myself. 

I don’t think anyone should fight to try to be genre fluid or whatever—if it doesn’t come naturally to you—don’t force it. That’s my advice. 

M: Who would be your dream collaborator—dead or alive?

Ceschi: At the moment I have to say Andre Benjamin of OutKast. Frank Ocean Or Joanna Newsom. I’m picking living people that excite me musically & lyrically. 

M: How would you like your music to evolve or what do you envision for your music a few years down the road? 

Ceschi: I plan on focusing on non-rap based music, instrumental composition and more acoustic work in the upcoming years. I envision myself playing quieter shows, haha.

M: Do you have anything in the works right now that you'd like us to be loud about? 

Ceschi: Yes! I’m wrapping up a trilogy of Ceschi albums all coming out this year. I believe it’s my best work yet. Sad, Fat Luck came out in April. Sans Soleil will come out summer. Bring Us The Head of Francisco False comes out in the late Fall. 


Ceschi’s music available on Marmoset’s music roster. Discover more of his music here and reach out to us if we can help you license music for your next video.

Sound of Surreal — a Look into Pure Bathing Culture's Latest Record

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Night Pass is Pure Bathing Culture’s third and highly anticipated album. Vocalist Sarah Versprille and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Hindman mark their resplendent return with a body of work exemplifying free-floating, energetic renewal. Night Pass’ lyrical skeleton wouldn’t be complete without the menagerie of earthy and astral imagery; the album is surreal romanticism at its finest — from flora, ocean to land, and ornamental crystals, Pure Bathing Culture portrays wandering prose that’s tender and meditative without sacrifice to being electrifyingly rhythmic.

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The album’s overarching message aligns with persevering and championing love of all varying degrees — whether this be toward one another, one’s work, or an introspective gratitude and self-care. This palpable energy comes from the duo’s approach to their creative work, Hindman embracing his instruments as companions. He explains, “I don’t plan, I just think of each part as a different person. I'll name them, think of the clothes they're wearing, where they're from... this helps me feel like we’re creating our own world.”

In between their second album, Pray for Rain and the upcoming release of Night Pass, the indie pop duo embarked on an array of tours with Death Cab For Cutie, Chvrches, Lucius and The Shins. This soon led them to team up with producer Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, REM, Spoon) for the creation of this record. Bold collaborators within the realm of indie music, Pure Bathing Culture resiliently upholds their defining musical traits and DNA: alluring synthy guitar pop framing Versprille’s dynamic voice which radiates earnest depth and strength — the album is telling of just what Pure Bathing Culture represents, affirmation of how deep their waters run.

Night Pass is a mesmerizing voyage from start to finish — rooted in a patient, nurturing kind of devotion (“Devotion”) and through facing doubts, burgeoning out of resiliency (“Joyous Lake”). Finally, the sun sets on ultimate transcendence, celebrating one’s ability to overcome when accepting life’s new offerings, whether positive, negative and everything in-between.

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Pure Bathing Culture’s weighty symbolism and conceptualization feeds into the meditative quest of Night Pass; at closing with “Violet A Voyager,” everything suddenly feels transcendent and lighter. Melodically cohesive, the music’s arcs and rhythmic qualities are like a tide rolling up and retreating in perfectly timed succession — it’s entrancing to fixate and relish one’s attention on. “Black Starling” embodies this very essence, steady synth-pop with reverbing moments, Versprille’s guiding voice echoing in and out.

Whether diving into the subtextual layers of Night Pass or swaying back and forth between its sterling pop rock riffs, this record beams of good vibes and expressions. Vacillating between the album’s dreamy nature and its deeply observant undertones, Pure Bathing Culture cultivates a musical experience that feels uniquely personal. There’s an element of empowering discovery that feels open and welcoming — in passing, it’s encouragement to look closer at what we hold onto, and what we let go.  

“Pure Bathing Culture make their triumphant return and continue to elegantly carry the Fleetwood Mac torch... glorious.”
— Gorilla Vs. Bear

Marmoset Presents a Mini Concert with Mree

Marmoset presents music miniature concerts — a new series where we invite talented, touring and local artists into our space to capture a stripped down performance of their music.

Our first video features Mree, her transcending vocals chillingly beautiful against a single acoustic guitar. Watch her performance of “Atmosphere” in the video above.

Stepping into Marmoset, Mree exudes tranquility even in the way she greets us — it melds and mirrors within her four minute performance. Masterful in drawing listeners through haunting and misty vocals, she has captured the attention of Grammy Award Winning Artist Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) and draws from her influences like Sigur Ros and Sufjan Stevens.

We asked her some questions to learn more about her journey as a musician and what new music she’s got in the works.


Marmoset: There are so many different ways someone can get into creating music, we’d love to know how you got started. What did those first chapters look like for you?

Mree: My parents have always been really supportive of me and my sibling’s creative endeavors, I’m so grateful for that. They saw my interest in piano at a pretty young age, around five years old, when I would create my own little tunes. It turns out I didn’t have much patience for theory but my parents found me a wonderful teacher, Todd Lanka, who taught me how to play by ear! He really encouraged me to keep composing. 

When I was about 11, I saw the movie Glitter starring Mariah Carey and I was transfixed by her voice. I bought all of her CDs and practiced her runs over and over again, which is when I think I kind of discovered this interesting part of my voice I never knew I could “train” or tap into. With this new ability I feel a strong pull to share it with people, which was very weird for me as an extremely shy and anxious person at the time.

I signed up for my middle school talent show and ended up winning with my rendition of “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada. It was really validating that I could share this part of myself, and that people might just see me as something other than the quiet girl. I just kept chasing that feeling and started posting covers on Youtube. Eventually I picked up the guitar and started writing my own lyrics. I started getting into production pretty soon afterwards. It was just all really fun to experiment with effects, vocal layers, and stuff like that. 

I guess I’ve just been doing that ever since! It feels really wonderful to self-produce and find success independently, especially since there’s currently an imbalance of women in the music production field. I feel like I can send a supportive message to other females who are interested in the industry but may be intimidated by taking part in a male-dominated scene. Imogen Heap was that person for me, and I am so grateful for her music and presence. 

Marmoset: What are some projects that you look back on and feel a sense of pride for accomplishing?

Mree: When I look back, I remember making my second album Winterwell with a lot of warmth and freeness.

It came out in 2013 and I was 19 at the time; I was really interested in exploring production and creating really grand moments with cool textures and instruments. This was all before college and before I exposed myself to too much popular music, “proper” writing techniques, “creativity guidelines,” and I guess before I got a bit disheartened by the industry.

The feeling was so pure and when I make music now, I want to get back to that genuine feeling. I want to do it because I love creating it and not because I think it’s what other people want me to create. 

Marmoset: With this new miniature concert series, we’re excited to showcase artists like yourself in this sort of casual atmosphere. You being on the other side, how do performances like this resonate with you especially when compared to the bigger shows you do?

Mree: I love performances like these. This is how I always used to perform — just me and my guitar or piano. I find it really freeing for a lot of reasons. When I’m by myself I can control everything about the performance. I can slow down if I feel that the moment needs it or play louder or quieter in sections when it feels just right.

In turn, I think I can let myself feel more present, reacting to things in the moment. But don’t get me wrong, playing with other people and getting a bigger sound is wonderful! I love that too. Especially since some of my songs call for a larger sound. I really enjoy both ways so it’s nice that I can mix it up in my live set. 


Catch Mree’s latest EP release, The Middle out now and get a behind the scenes look into Mree’s music making process here.

The Whimsically Inventive World of Lullatone's Music

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Lullatone is Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida, two musical experimentalists who don’t just think outside the box — they’re using everything from boxes and other household items to create melodic ingenuity.

The creative collaborative lives in Nagoya, Japan, an environment that’s equally their compass for inspiration as it is their home. To capture their musical creations at work Marmoset flew all the way around the world to capture Lullatone’s story on film. There, they warmly invited us into their home and creative haven/ music production studio to walk us through their creative process, their approach to music licensing and who they’d love to work with on the next big project.


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Marmoset: How would you describe your music to someone who's never heard of Lullatone? 

Lullatone: Miniature melodies for everyday adventures.

M: We admire how your studio is essentially part of your home, it sort of just accentuates the warm & fuzzy creative energy that permeates throughout your music. Curious what your dream creative environment might look like?

Lullatone: We always like to joke that we make Home Music, as opposed to House Music.

For a long time we created everything in our real home. But, now that we have two kids, it became pretty difficult space-wise — and noise-wise! At the moment I’m renting an apartment down the street from our house to use as a studio. I like it because it still has the domestic vibes (everyone else in the building really lives there, only we are using it for work) which we need to make something feel home-made.

And most importantly it is really close to our house. I can hear the bells from our kids school to know when it is lunch time, there is a park next door and the view from the window is always full of old people tending to their small community gardens. For me, it is perfect.

Sometimes I wish it was more soundproof though for when a soccer coach blows his whistle in the park a million times and I’m trying to record a quiet instrument… but I guess that is just a sign to hold up for an hour and go outside while it is sunny and re-record in the nighttime.

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M: How would you describe the direction you took with your new album? Is there something you've always wanted to try musically but haven't had a chance to dabble in yet? 

Lullatone: Our new album was a really exciting experiment. I wanted to revisit songs from our old albums — we’ve been around for almost 20 years, so there are a ton to choose from — and turn them into piano track. We did one a week for a year so the album is a big 52 track double CD massive collection.

We like trying out lots of experiments with music and that is one of the things I love about working with Marmoset. Actually most of our songs with Marmoset are unreleased things that aren’t from our albums. If we have an idea for a beat, or a super ambient track, or something over the top poppy we can try it out and not have to worry about creating a whole album for it to live  in.

We can make the one song and it has a home there in your catalog — and then hopefully out in the world as a supporting actor in some video.

M: We’d love to know what artists you’re listening to at the moment!

Lullatone: We listen to Jonathan Richman pretty much all of the time. He is my favorite musician ever. I like to listen a lot of Japanese ambient music while I’m cleaning up and stuff in the studio. Hiroshi Yoshimura and Meitei and super nice.

There is a show on Beats1 radio called Time Crisis which might be our number one favorite thing to listen to though. It soundtracks so many of our road trips and long runs.

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M: Do you think living in such a special place like Nagoya influences your work?

Lullatone: Nagoya was recently voted the most boring city in Japan and I think that rules. It is a huge city, but it seems like not as much is going on here compared to other towns… until you live here. It is just that the pace is different. Things are slower here. Stuff isn’t famous. People don’t seem to care. I love that. 

Our neighborhood is on the edge of the city, so it is even slower. But there our elderly people in the park in front of the studio every morning playing gate ball (a game like croquet) and people eating ramen and just living a normal life. I’m all in!

M: What would a dream project of yours be? Who’s a filmmaker you’d love to score or create a soundtrack for?

Lullatone: I think everyone around my age might say the same thing… but it has to be Wes Anderson. The attention to detail in every project he does is incredible.

Working with museums or libraries to make sound installations sounds really interesting too. To be honest there are so many people making amazing things now — and it is easier to see them too — that I just want to meet and talk about art and stuff with everyone.


Follow us here and on social for the official release of our new, short film all about Lullatone — coming out Thursday, March 28th!

Also stay tuned for the release of a brand new Lullatone song, available for music licensing on Marmoset’s catalog this Thursday.

The countdown begins.

Womxn of Music: Sulene van der Walt

Photography: Ivan Clow

Photography: Ivan Clow

In closing our Womxn of Music series, it’s like that popular saying — it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. For our final chapter, we speak with Sulene van der Walt, the South African 26 year old musician and film composer living in New York.

As a freelancing artist, Sulene is the Swiss Army Knife of the music industry. From touring, shredding as the lead guitarist for Nate Ruess (of fun.), composing film & TV scores to writing her own music, she’s continually putting in the work to bring her ideas to life. This year she’s busy finishing up her next album — and of course, she’s producing all of the art, video content and photography to go with it.

We chatted with her to learn more about her journey in music, where her inspiration comes from and the different challenges she faces working in music.


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Marmoset: What was music’s role in your life as you were growing up?

Sulene: Since the early days of singing into my hairbrush, I diligently started studying music. I have a musical family and grew up going to music lessons and I went to Berklee College of Music to study composition and film scoring.

During that time I really went inward and developed my skills. My music became more complex and I experimented a lot — I mostly composed for film and television and wrote instrumental pieces. As I finished college I realized I missed songwriting so I dove into that again and back into the pop world.

M: How do you view your music evolving and where are you headed?

Sulene: In the last three years my music has become simpler in some ways. Much clearer, refined… it’s totally pop music! Instead of showcasing my musicality at every opportunity, the challenge now is how to convey a clear message in a pop song, which is actually surprisingly difficult to do! A lot of people think pop music is easy to make because it sounds effortless, but it takes a ton of effort and clear communication lyrically.

My music has evolved from an emo place into a more dance-oriented sound. I learned how to produce which meant a whole world opened up to me  as far as vibe and movement and tempo and how something makes me body move on stage. I also started DJing, so I naturally become inspired by dance music. I even shed the guitar on stage sometimes now and just sing and dance, and it feels right.

M: When growing up, who were some artists you looked to for inspiration?

Sulene: Well, I grew up listening to The Spice Girls and Britney Spears. I used to dance around my room singing into my hairbrush and copying their dance moves. I even had a DVD by Britney Spears' choreographer that broke down her dance sequences in her music videos. I guess that’s not entirely different from what I do on stage now.

These days I’m massively inspired by Madonna and Lady Gaga — two women who continuously reinvent themselves, who are insanely musically talented and who are total badasses. They've pushed the boundaries of art and stigmas and forced people to face thought-provoking material.

My latest inspiration was Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech at The Oscars; she talked about hard work and it really resonated and put a fire under me.

M: What’s something you’re proud to have accomplished as an artist?

Sulene: I’m proud that I wrote some songs that people connect with, I kinda did it without even realizing — when I wrote the Strange EP it was more of a cathartic admission of certain facts in my life; like I miss my band in college, being sad that I had lost my best friends, that I was growing up (“What We Had”), or that I broke up with a lover but still deeply missed them and would fantasize they still wanted me (“Haunting”).

In a way, I’m proud that I have the guts to say these things on stage. I even say little intros now, sort of like a monologue, about the songs. I hear the audience sing the lyrics with me or sing back the gang vocal parts on “Haunting” and I understand in that moment that the song has now taken on a life of its own. It’s not just mine now — it belongs to a bunch of people. It’s a very fulfilling and deeply moving feeling.

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M: What do you think it takes for women working in the music industry to “make it?”

Sulene: Being a woman in the music industry is such a complex thing. It comes with both its merits and its disadvantages.

It’s tough to know when to use your feminine characteristics — the things that make you who you are, think the way you think, look the way you look — and when to hide them. It’s an ongoing battle for me. My advice is to choose your battles. There will be sexism, you will probably be pursued at some point, you will probably feel like you need to prove yourself as a musician. You might even find yourself doing things to be “just one of the guys” in the music biz, that’s what happens when you’re somewhat of a rarity within a scene.

Be aware of it all — be aware of how much time you spend with the guys, if you’re in close quarters alone too often, how much you drink, what you wear, how people talk to you, how they might be overly touchy with you or hug you a lot or comment on the way you look. All these things… I used to sweep them under a rug and think “that’s just the way it is.” Now I realize that the power inside, as a woman, or really just as a person, is to say wait a minute, that’s actually not how it has to be. 

I’m not afraid to call someone out if they make me uncomfortable and I don’t answer after-hours phone calls from people I work with. Know yourself, know who you are, what you’re okay with and what you’re not. It’s a lot more fun working as a performer once you have those honest conversations with yourself. That’ll also be an ongoing journey as you navigate this nuanced career as a musician and performer.

It’s a real grey-area type of job because so much of your work involves hanging out and being at venues and bars, being social, networking, being in the right place at the right time. And a lot of the time, there are no clear rules and boundaries in this gig. So you have to set those for yourself so that you can focus on your art and goals.

Most importantly, I would tell a woman starting out in the music industry to have convictions in her ideas. Always have an open mind and heart and listen to others, but deep down stay true to who you are and what you have to offer. Don’t be afraid to show your unique perspective in your art even if people don’t flock to it right away or tell you how amazing it is. Sometimes something ground-breaking or new is just a little bit outside of the norm.


Womxn of Music: Olivia Thai

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In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re continuing our Womxn of Music series by highlighting the amazingly talented Olivia Thai. We’re honored to present the release of her new single, out today and available for music licensing — read on to learn more about the talented American Idol contestant, then head over to our catalog to listen to Circles!”


Marmoset: Which women artists were you inspired by growing up or are you continued to be inspired by today?

Thai: Female artists are my faves. I only spoke and sang in Chinese until I was six years old, so I listened to a lot of Teresa Teng, Faye Wong, Sammi Cheng and Cass Phang in the early ‘90s.

After I started speaking English, I mostly listened to power vocalists — Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion. I wanted to learn how to sing just like them growing up… still can't, but hey, I found my own sound, and that's pretty cool!

I am continually inspired by Amy Winehouse, Sia, Jessie J, Joss Stone, India.Arie, Kelly Clarkson — love and respect them so much.

M: What did your journey into music first look like?

Thai: I never knew that music could even be a career when I first started playing music. I started college when I was 13 years old believing that school was the only way to become successful in life.

My community probably still believes that music is only supposed to be a hobby, which is just sad. I would tell my younger self that there are so many career options in the future. Everyone's potential is limitless.

M: How would you describe the music you like to make? Where would you like to take it in as you grow as an artist?

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Thai: My music has always been on the darker side lyrically and I would like to explore lighter and more inspirational writing in the next few years.

Those dark days are over and I want my music to genuinely reflect how I am feeling at the moment.

I am proud to have been able to connect with my fans on another level through my music. Many of the supporters from the last decade know me through comedy and covers on YouTube, so it's amazing to develop a new connection through my original songs.

M: The music industry is known to be particularly challenging, but even more so for women artists. What do you think it takes for women to “make it?”

Thai: I think everything comes down to being genuine and being unapologetically you. I have struggled with this throughout my life and still do sometimes as an adult.

As an artist in 2019, it's not just about the music anymore. It's about connecting with people.

M: How do you reset after a challenging day in the studio (or just in general)?

Thai: I think hard days are all about perspective. Hard days are just life lessons for me — it happens, I learn something important and life goes on. Knowing my purpose is enough to keep me going. My driving motivators are my family, my friends and my fans.

M: What are you excited about in 2019?

Thai: I’ve been working on my album and I am most excited about the two new singles that will be released this year.

The next release is titled, "Circles" produced by Graham Barton at Marmoset, which is super exciting! The one after that is titled, "Temporary High" produced by Christian Mochizuki. I can't wait for everyone to hear the new jams!