Posts tagged #Dear Nora

Staff Profile: Katy Davidson, Music Licensing Coordinator

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Community, collaboration and connection will always remain at the core of what we do. Marmoset is composed of real artists and people passionate about music. In effort to make things more personal (and hopefully comfortable), we'd like to get you acquainted with the awesome folks who tirelessly work behind the scenes. We'll start with Music Supervisor and general renaissance woman, Katy Davidson.

Who is Katy Davidson? Well, for starters, she's an absolute badass. While not jet-setting around the world, touring with bands like Gossip, YACHT and Key Losers, Katy also writes albums for her own band Dear Nora. Davidson is firmly rooted in the Marmoset family wearing many different hats as Music Supervisor, New Music Scout and Producer. Bringing on diverse and high quality acts onto the roster including hip-hop juggernaut JenRO and dreamy electronic artist White Rainbow. Katy has also worked on amazing projects with Reebok and GMC, pushing the limits of music + picture into new and interesting territory. In essence, Katy simply wins, and the following interview proves this point even further.

M: What is your guiding philosophy as a music supervisor?

KD: I'm fairly new to music supervision, though I've spent much of my career in situations where the moment depends on me making a good decision about what song to play. (My friends and I invented a high stakes game in this vein called "DON'T BREAK... THE VIBE.") With that in mind, I'd say an instinct of mine is to almost exclusively choose songs I actually like, not just "what I think people want" or "what I should choose." People can always see through that. Fortunately I have a sincere appreciation for every genre of music. I'm more concerned with discerning the good, bad, and the ugly within genres.

M: What does a successful music + film collaboration look/sound like?

KD: When you almost don't notice the music because it's utterly perfect for the scene. When you're transported from this earthly dimension to an otherworld by the smoke-and-mirrors sensuality of sound plus image. Like that feeling you get when you cry when you're watching a commercial for Swiffer or whatever. 

M: What's your favorite soundtrack?

KD: First instinct is Zabriskie Point. Jerry Garcia acoustic improvisations synced with Death Valley hippie orgy. Runners up: Vangelis for Blade Runner, John Carpenter for They Live, Enya's "Book of Days" for Far and Away

M: As a musician, how do feel this impacts your work at Marmoset?

KD: I actually spend most of my time at work pretending to not be a musician and trying to think more exclusively like a filmmaker. Though I can't truly escape my life experience and the compass it provides. I'm deeply into musical improvisation. Honestly that probably helps the most at work.

M: What's one of the weirdest moments on tour?

KD: I was touring as a session keyboardist in a band with a ton of critical success in Europe. Towards the end of a tour, we flew from London to Cannes, France, in a Learjet on two hours of sleep. A mellow French dude with a low ponytail and loafers guided our plane to the gate at a small regional airport. We checked into purple hotel rooms with pink champagne on ice. We played an Elton John cover at the opening gala of the Cannes Film Festival. The small audience was nearly exclusively composed of A-list celebrities, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tilda Swinton, etc. Then we drove with police escort across Cannes to play a second show on the shores of the Mediterranean as the sun went down. Sasha Baron Cohen (in full character as The Dictator) danced with our lead singer and kissed her on the mouth while we played. 

M: What's your deepest, darkest fear?

KD: Angry, armed human beings. Also I'm not that into boats or the ocean. I mean, I love the ocean conceptually. I love dolphins, I love giant squid. But my idea of a nightmare is a vacation cruise.

M: Where were you on this day a year ago?

KD: I had just returned home from a 72-hour around-the-world tour with stops in China and Spain. So I was probably darkly jet-lagged and freezing my ass off in my rented basement bedroom in Kenton, north Portland.

M: Is there a concept for your new album coming out?

KD: Yeah, I'm working on a new electronic album and it's about the blurry line between reality and simulation. Basically it's about the geography of video games. Like when you're playing Grand Theft Auto V and you drive to the edge of the grid. It's also kind of about the movie The Matrix.

M: Cassette tapes or vinyl?

KD: Eh. Probably vinyl. Though I grew up on cassettes, then CDs. I will probably long for some kind of tangible music items when I'm old, but right now, I feel perfectly happy streaming anything/everything on the internet. Of course, we've all become accustomed to a neutral net, and if that dissolves, then where will we be? I'm picturing the end of Fahrenheit 451 and everyone reciting books by memory. I'm imagining me and my friends dressed like cavemen in post-apocalyptic Oregon singing passages of Taylor Swift to each other around a campfire.

M: What are you looking forward to in 2015?

KD: Going back to Mexico City and seeking out this super obscure dimly lighted mezcal bar with EDM DJs my friend told me about. It seems like it's the kind of place only Stefon from SNL would advertise. Also I want to release my album and get super good at salsa dancing.

Dear Nora's Indie-Pop songs tell stories we can all relate to

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Much like the human experience, there is always a fine line between joy and melancholy. The music of Katy Davidson (aka Dear Nora) captures the balance of reverie and reflection with great ease. Here are three thoughtful songs that can really drive the complex mood of a project you're working on.

Starting off on the lighter end, "Give Me Some of Your Love" gets right to the point with straightforward + conversational lyrics. Sparse and confident, this anthem is driven by 60's-esque electric guitar and handclaps. This playfully romantic composition is short and sweet, just the like the title.

With just an acoustic guitar and minimal percussion, "Here We Come Around" presents an intimate reflection that feels relatable and personal. Diving into emotional territory, there are glimpses of hope and inspiration shimmering through with oohs & ahhs alongside confessional lyricism.

Lastly, "The Flats if Irony" rounds out the emotional spectrum of Dear Nora's music with a combination of youthful energy and matured pop-sensibilities. Bright electric guitar with strong beachy vibes is balanced with classic harmonies, all conveying something we can relate to, a human story.