by J. Michael Kearsey
In the haste of traffic on the south end of SE Seventh Ave., the word Marmoset, in purple script, floats on a building shared with Islabikes, the mountain bike store. In the animal world, the marmoset is a small South American relative to the monkey who generate more twins than single births and have been kept as pets since the early 17th century.
In the music world, Marmoset is a music-licensing agency that brings together new music with advertising agencies, filmmakers, television producers and beyond. The visually-lush spots for Travel Oregon are their most currently noted project. This television and collateral campaign, The Seven Wonders of Oregon, was produced by Dan Wieden for his multi-national agency Wieden+Kennedy.
From a client list of musicians, researchers at Marmoset went about finding music that fit the look of the ads from the fertile indie music scene of Oregon itself. Music from bands like Typhoon, Blitzen Trapper and Dolorean were examined, but the choices eventually came from the Fruit Bats and their band leader Eric D. Johnson: airy blends of muted guitars, percussion and even the sound of a melodica. Listen up the next time you see these beautiful images on your screen.
Oregon natives Ryan Wines, once label manager of the Dandy Warhols, and composer Brian Hall have brought the company from a handful of employees in 2010 to over twenty youngish multi-taskers who seem to love working at the company, named one of Oregon’s Best Places to Work in 2014 by the Oregon Business Journal. Marmoset’s award-winning website describes who they are: “We don’t believe there’s anything “stock” about music crafted with hands and hearts. And we believe doing great work and defending creative integrity always trumps the bottom line. There is a rising tide and we are all floating up together.” Visiting the workplace, none of this seems the least bit hokey.
In the renovated and soundproofed warehouse, there’s an unexpected quiet mood, as a dozen music specialists listened to tracks on headphones, viewing visuals on big screens. Others worked the licensing side, connecting to publishers, managers, artists and agencies. Still others were hard at work composing and recording music on a variety of instruments in studios set in the midst of their co-workers. And there was a wicked ping-pong game going on in the break area.
According to Beth Martin, Business Affairs Coordinator, their goals are to keep expanding and hiring good people. “We’ve had a great couple of years. We scored for a movie called A Film About Coffee, expanded our contributing artist list to over 400 sources, scored for MTV shows Teen Mom and Sled Necks as well as the Share A Coke campaign, Levi’s and an American Express ad with Mindy Kalling. The best part is that we have sent over a million dollars back to the artists on our roster.”
They’ve brokered music for regional companies including Nike, Dutch Brothers Coffee, BiAmp Systems and Bob’s Red Mill. Much of the creative efforts include composing original music by folks like owner Brian Hall, David Gulick, Matthew Morgan and Kevin Matley – both short form and music for soundtracks and movies. One could see them strumming and mixing through the studio glass, but could barely hear a sound.
Encyclopedia Britannica notes “Marmosets are active during the day and live in small groups. They are intelligent and need stimulation and have complex emotional needs, a high level of intelligence and are likely to live a long life.”
Active, intelligent and emotional seems to describe this group as Marmoset meets the needs of clients, composers and music supervisors all tucked away at the end of Seventh Ave.
Marmoset, 2105 SE 7th Ave./ marmosetmusic.com/ 971.260.0201