Let’s get together and play music.
The Morning Music & Coffee Consumption series, an informal gathering of artists, aims to do just that. The assumption about digital music production may be very different – the solo artist, holed up in a bedroom alone with a laptop is the default image. But instruments and laptops go together, and laptops can increasingly be played comfortably as instruments, so there’s really no excuse. And Jared Smyth’s mm-cc series, having already produced a volume of music and image, is both an inspiration and a potential model. Creator Jared says he’s hoping others will join in with similar events and share the sonic results – perhaps that’ll be you and your friends, wherever you are.
The series, shot in sumptuous macro video by Charlie Visinic, looked good enough in film that it made appearance on our sister site Create Digital Motion (where I erroneously described the series as being Charlie’s creation, an error I can happily now correct):
With the aim of inspiring (welcome) copycat events, I asked Jared to tell us more about how this series is organized and how it works.
CDM: Tell us a bit about the idea behind mm-cc.
Jared: I started mm-cc as a ritual to reconnect with what made me want to play music in the first place: community. It’s getting together with friends with no pressure to create something marketable, and simply hanging out and creating noise together. mm-cc is my concept (though not that original … people have been getting together to make music and drink coffee long before I called it ‘mm-cc’). I host the website, create posts and also host occasional mm-cc sessions myself at my home in Florida. Charlie also hosts sessions in southern California. The idea is for more people to take part as Charlie does – hosting their own sessions, creating their own visuals and then letting me know about it so I can do a post on it. There’s even an upload form and a forum I built on the site for people to send in samples of audio, or clips of video to be used in other people’s sessions. I really want mm-cc to be as collaborative and eclectic as possible.
How did you organize people to do this?
Some of the time it’s by creating a Facebook event; other times it’s word-of-mouth. With Charlie Visnic and the California sessions, it just sort of happened that he wanted to host sessions at his home over the summer. We met through the monome forums and then became friends as each of us was working on a 365×1 blog goal. (On that note, I started mine over on January 1st, and am now on day 261 – see uprlip.com.
At what point does the coffee kick in?
7am(ish) – people show up around 10am and we play till noon…. I’m usually fairly wired before they show up. I try to buy really good, locally-grown coffee and make it in my French Press.
Are there any special moments or surprises that have happened through the various sessions?
No individual event springs to mind. But it’s always really special for me to look through my studio, where cables are strewn about and there are five or six people drinking really strong coffee and spacing out on their respective instruments, and then into my living room and see my daughter drawing, one friend hand-sewing something, and another knitting, all while listening to the music we’re creating. The chatter and movement of the non-musicians filtering into the room (and often the mic’s) where we’re recording serves as a very natural field recording to accompany us. I love listening back to a session and hearing my daughter giggling or friends talking faintly in the background. It’s a really ethereal experience when that sort of all comes together. That’s exactly what I want from mm-cc – togetherness.
Are you releasing the music separately? If so, where?
There are plans for that in the works. The session that John Keston, David Andree and I did in Minneapolis earlier this year (see video, top) has a much longer recorded form than what’s represented in the video, and we’re very much planning to make that the first (of many?) mm-cc releases. Josh Mason at Sunshine Ltd. has agreed to release it; we’re just not sure of a date yet.
How do you work across coasts?
Well, we’ve only done one session that was ‘trans-coast.’ (video above) For that one we defined a set of notes within a set key that both session’s players would play. I shot the video clips here in Florida and then sent them off to Charlie to edit as he wanted, and he sent me the audio from their session. I then mixed that with the audio from our session, and then sent the final mix back to him, and he cut the video to it. I would like to do more this way – it’s sort of a blind/deaf jam session. We had no clue what theirs would sound like and vice-versa. As for the other sessions that Charlie has hosted, they’re all him. I really have very little to do with them. He just lets me know when he’s going to have one and I then do a post for it when he’s done, and has a video uploaded.
Okay, if this has made you interested in becoming involved, here’s where to go to do it.