Over the course of the last year Epiphone has been gearing up for the huge launch of a new guitar lone. Their Masterbilt Century guitar was designed with classic lines and tone that fits many Indie and Americana artists perfectly. They approached us with a need to not only capture the beauty of this new guitar, but also the sound in many various settings to show off how diverse it is.
We interviewed more than 30 artists over the past year and had them play some of their favorite songs with it. Here are a few of our favorites!
Austin City Limits Festival is always a time when great musicians flock to Austin in droves and if you are lucky you’ll get to see some non-festival shows while they are in town. That’s exactly what happened with Gibson Guitars and Shakey Graves. Shakey was asked to do a private show for Gibson and we were there to capture the entire show! Here is one of the best songs of the night:
We also got to shoot some outstanding portraits and live recordings of Shakey as well!
We’ve worked with Jamie Lin Wilson for a number of years. She’s a great musician and creatively, is always willing to voice her opinion and try different things. So when it came time for her to release her latest record, Holidays & Wedding Rings, it seemed a natural fit for us to continue to do what we’ve always done together… find visuals that compliment her great music.
What started as a small project to shoot some photos for PR and on her website, soon became something that would visually define her venture as a solo artist. One thing that Modern Trade is adamant about when working with musicians is that the music should always be the driving force. All the photography, design and video should be a megaphone to spread the music farther and set it deeper within the listener.
This record would be influenced by her life in South Texas and we knew we needed to capture that first and foremost. Jamie invited us to come out to her house and take a walk with her around the small neighborhood where she lives in D’hanis, Texas. Instantly we started feeling the connection and after a few hours and a few wardrobe changes, we had a solid set of photos that we thought would give some life to her posters and promo photos. You can read a little more on that shoot and see a full set of those here.
In today’s digital world, an album cover or show poster is probably one of things that has become less important over time. But physical things you can touch and feel and look upon can create a very tangible feeling for people. Jamie was uncomprimising about creating great versions of these and we were blown away with what album art designer, Javi Garcia and poster designer Chris King were able to do with some of the photos.
After sitting on the photos for a few months, we all realized that what we had captured was really aligning with how the music was coming together, in the studio. The photos became the anchor of her website and we knew we needed to press further into creating some new things that would focus on the new record. We started brainstorming some ideas for some live recordings and a short video. These are the types of things that as a musician, she could send to new venues and not only let them hear how she sounds, but get a taste of what her whole performance can look & feel like.
Using the historic Floores Country Store dance floor as a backdrop, we laid down three songs in a single take. Jamie wanted more than a solo acoustic video, she wanted to show off what she had been doing in the studio and what people could expect as a full band. We multi-tracked all the audio, did full studio mixes and set up a look for the band that showed the polish of something rehearsed but kept the rowdiness of something live.
Just Like Heartache
When it’s all said and done, making music is a musicians passion and the album will stand the test of time as the direct result of that. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, etc… it opens up a number of opportunities to let people discover that music and visuals are a huge part of each of those avenues. We are thankful for people like Jamie, that understand when someones sees you play online… what they see first will prepare them for what they are about to hear.
Holidays & Wedding Rings
The feedback on the recordings and photos has been outstanding and seeing all the different ways Jamie has been able to point back to her music, using our visuals has been incredible. This has been an amazing project and we are amazed at the success she is seeing as a result of the new album!
We’ll leave you with the final two performances at Floores that we recorded for Jamie. Enjoy!
UPDATE: Jamie asked us to record another live performance at Cheatham Street which you can see below!
You Left My Chair
Yours And Mine
Just Some Things
Night Time Blues
Thank you to everyone that helped along the way.
Ari Morales was the master behind the lens for the photography.
Videos Production, Cameras, etc..
Ben Hester, Ari Morales, Chip Weiss and Ryan Hargrave on setting the looks and running the cameras… you guys were incredible.
Alex Adamitis is the king at finding the right sound in any room.
Our relationship with Shiner Beer and their love of music has kept us busy during this past fall’s festival season. For the second year in a row we set up our cameras and a PA in front of their amazing Shiner van to record performances backstage at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
We had a great spot overlooking the gorgeous Austin skyline and for 2 days straight, the hustle and bustle of a festival was buzzing around us, creating excitement and of course lots of Fun Fun Fun! Despite all the challenges that go along with backstage live performances, there is a certain magic when you are recording right in the thick of it. A huge thanks to Shiner for wanting to capture that magic to live on.
One of the best performances this year was by Good Field… they had a great sound with a fantastic vibe… we’d love for you to take a look at their recording from the festival!
It’s always a great day when Gibson calls us in to do some recordings for their Backroom Bootleg series. We do a ton of work with them since they are huge supporters of the local musicians as well as the large mainstream acts.
Every fall when Austin City Limits Festival gets in full swing, the influx of great musicians really helps broaden the pool of artists that we get to record. It just so happened that this year, Nikki Lane, has a new record and a new Gibson guitar that she needed to show off while she was in town.
She and her band laid down three very unique performances in typical backroom bootleg style… no stage, no PA, minimal amplification and very vibey. The results are a very raw recording that puts the musicians and their instruments front and center, showing off their talent in a way that isn’t seen very often.
We had a great time with Nikki and her band! Funny, honest and absolutely great musicians always make for a great time… and that means we get even greater recordings! She is an absolute firecracker and we wish her the best in her career that is quickly becoming the talk of a lot of music outlets.
I hope you enjoy these songs as much as we do. Here are the recordings done at Gibson and if you like them, then feel free to buy her record straight from iTunes.
Working with local musicians is one of the things that we strive to do… but getting timing, budget and talent to all converge at the same time is harder than it seems. Local Houston musician Brant Croucher met up with us and pitched an idea to do a set of recordings that would not just go along with with brand new record release but also be something he can pass along to venues and booking agents when trying to show people what his music sounds like.
Brant sourced an old venue in The Heights called the Boom Boom Room. Small and intimate and a killer piano. We laid down 3 songs.. 1 was solo on the piano and 2 included the great addition of Jack Saunders.
I think what we walked away with is absolutely killer. Brant Croucher is an amazing writer, second only to his ability to perform. I really think we captured the heart of these songs in a way that will compliment the full record versions.
I hope you love Brant Croucher as much as we do. Here are his recordings and if you like them then feel free to buy his record straight from iTunes.
We have too many things to show you!!!! Please bear with us as we’re reworking this work sections to make it easier to see everything that we do. We simply had too many projects to sort through and it was just messy.
You’ll find a few of our recent music projects below and you can see more of our video work over on Vimeo. All the photo work will come back when we relaunch our portfolio soon.
Gibson operates a Showroom in Austin, TX that’s main purpose is to support musicians and spread the news of how great their guitars are. Part of that support is bringing musicians in to film and record songs as part of a Backroom Bootleg Session. With a single camera shoot and a multi-track recording of the audio, we provide Gibson, and the musicians, with a great quality video for however they’d like to use it.
It starts with a spark: a word, a sight, a sound, an idea. Those sparks become songs. The songs become recordings. An album is born. ~ Drew Kennedy
In mid 2012, Drew Kennedy approached us to help him with the video portion of his kickstarter campaign which would ultimately fund his next big studio record. Drew is a very creative guy, so the planning and brainstorming sessions were extremely fun! We ultimately decided on 2 separate video ideas… a more serious, from the heart, statement about himself and the record and then a more whimsical video that would be released mid campaign as a way to keep it in front of everyone without getting on everyone’s nerves.
As we were cutting some audio voiceover in his living room, inspiration struck and we rolled right into a new song off the record. We were able to film it and then incorporate that song recording into the campaign as well. Above is the main Kickstarter video, and below is the secondary video followed by the song recording.