Meet The Team:
Michael Van Pelt & Jenna Covey
Who are you Where are you from?
MVP: My name is Michael James Van Pelt, I was born in Portland, Oregon in the ‘70s — late ‘70s, thanks. I was raised in Salem. My grandmother lived in Portland and I remember thinking the bridges were so big and the city was so big —- turns out I was wrong. This city isn't big at all.
JENNA: I’m Jenna. I was born in Stockton, California and moved to San Jose, California for college. When in college I had a brief stint in New York which was cool because now I know I never want to live there again! Next, I ended up making my way up to Portland! I’m pretty new to the city, since I only moved here in February.
What are your roles?
MVP: My role is Senior Catalog Coordinator. I am the conduit for receiving almost all of the materials from artists. This includes organizing them, stylizing them correctly, and getting them ready to be assigned to our team members to be able to tag the songs and upload them to our site. Cataloging, curating, and always scouting for new talent.
JENNA: I started with Marmoset as an intern in February and immediately knew I had to stick around. I love the company, what we do, and the culture of the office. I really love having dogs prancing around everywhere, really uplifts my mood. Luckily for me, a role on my team ended up opening up because the beautiful, wonderful, Frankie decided to pursue music full time! So I ended up getting the full time position as the Community Ambassador here on the A&R team. So basically I answer a lot of general questions from artists, organize and send out the A&R newsletter — like this one! I’ll also be contacting artists who land the weekly top licenses to celebrate with them a little bit, I tag and upload songs, etc. I also assemble our “New Music Monday” playlists that Steve and I use to inform the Creative Licensing team on new music added to our roster that week.
History with music outside of Marmoset?
MVP: My parents aren't musicians but they had a pretty decent record collection. I was always playing piano trying to imitate what I heard in the records. In the beginning it was The Beatles, but I also remember listening to The Wall in headphones when I was four and it freaked the shit out of me — I was like ‘oh my god what just happened.’’” It was like another world - really incredible. I also listened to a ton of Duran Duran as a kid.
JENNA: Oh, relatable — I listen to a ton of that now.
MVP: And then when hair metal got popular, I hated it — sorry Jenna —- and turned into a hip-hop kid. I was obsessed with RUN DMC, Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD, De La Soul, and more. By ‘90 or ‘91 when grunge was breaking and in the Pacific Northwest we were here in the middle of it, I started playing keyboard and jammed with some friends. I was listening to Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, Soundgarden, and Teenage Fanclub - they were fantastic. Then in college I got a 4 track cassette recorder and I would track in my bedroom and be antisocial. I was listening to a lot of Stereolab, UK jungle/drum and bass, some house, and a lot of classic rock - cause I was in college in Eugene in the ‘90s. Then I started a band with some friends. We started the band in 2000 and now that it's 2018, we’re still going. We’ve made nine records and four EPs. Now I’m at Marmoset but still tour with the band as much as we can.
JENNA: How does that impact your role here?
MVP: It gives me a solid basis of knowledge of musical production, of pop aesthetics, rock aesthetics, what “works” and what might not “work.” It keeps me hungry to keep discovering new music.
JENNA: Okay well, I grew up listening to whatever my uncle played, which was a lot of Bon Jovi and classic stuff like that. I think that's where my ‘80s phantom nostalgia comes from, hereditarily passed on to me. I reluctantly started playing violin when I was four and continued playing viola up until high school. I was also in choirs and attempted piano but my fingers are just so darn short. I’ve always had a really eclectic taste in music and have a really weird ability to retain lyrics...like forever. I remember playing “iPOD” on the swingset with friends where they would tell me a song and I’d be able to sing like the entire thing word for word. Anyway, when I was around 11 years old, I got really into Rammstein and my mom thought I was like demonic or possessed or something. At that time I also really loved Beirut, The Smashing Pumpkins, Linkin Park, Crystal Castles, Interpol and a lot of stuff coming out of the Bay Area’s Hyphy movement. At the same time I went through my emo phase so like, My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco were some big players in my life. If Spotify had been around I would have been giving them some big streaming dollars. In high school I met a boy who introduced me to a lot of classic punk stuff, like The Misfits and Bad Religion — very “coming of age.” And then that ended up moving into hardcore stuff like Trash Talk and Ceremony. Then I re-immersed myself in ‘80s everything and I’ve never come out of it. Hair metal is my one true love. In college I had an internship at Epic Records in New York and that was a really incredible experience..
If a song would play every time you walked in a room what would that song be?
MVP: I feel like that would be really annoying. It depends on what time of day.
JENNA: If you were a wrestler what would you walk out to?
MVP: A wrestler? I don’t know, I’d like to kinda fuck it up and play Madonna’s “Vogue” or something.
JENNA: Oh yeah. Mine would probably be “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by The Scorpions.
MVP: Okay, but if I walked into a room though.
JENNA: “Room” vs. “Arena” songs
MVP: Probably like Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon,” I think. “Vogue” or Herbie Hancock, whatever.
JENNA: I wish you all could hear MVP’s singing right now. (Mimicking the Moog bass from “Chameleon”)
What is an ad, TV show, or film where you think the music supervision is done especially well?
MVP: Pulp Fiction — indelible mark on pop-sensibility in film.
JENNA: I’m gonna say Stranger Things. Because I love the era and not only is the background music so good,synthy, and on brand while being creepy, atmospheric, and effective — but the songs that play even in a passing car are so of that time, clearly they do their research. It’s all what I like to listen to. “Talking in Your Sleep” was playing in a car scene and I was like hell yeah. Also in Stranger Things season 2, Billy the character loves Van Halen and stuff — and that’s tight.And whoever their marketing person is did a great job because they got in kahoots with Spotify to make specific playlists based on characters.It was so good because they mixed ‘80s songs with modern songs that those characters would be into. It was great.