I love the idea of associating symbols to our albums. It helps to give guidance to designing the aesthetic of a campaign and allows us to create a sense of nostalgia with our audience. My father was a sextant navigator for the trans-Atlantic shipping industry during the 1970s. GPS was not around back then and every ship traveling the world had a trained celestial navigator looking to the stars for guidance. Pre 9-11, it was possible to work on a ship and once it arrived at its destination, you could hop off and explore the world for a bit. When you were ready to return, a vessel heading back to the states was always at the nearest port and needing a guiding hand home.
During his travels, my father carried this transistor radio along with him to listen to music. He gave me this radio a few years back and until about 6 months ago it was a nice but silent mantle piece. When trying to come up with a symbol for our new album, something about the design and history of the radio appealed to me. It encompassed everything that I felt Little Tybee represents and also comments on the state of the music industry today. Transistor radios were the first portable music listening devices. Before the transistor was implemented into the radio, tubes were the gold standard. They were heavy, large and took a while to warm up before sound came out. These transistor radios were really the first carriable music playing devices that paved the way for the Walkmen cassette player, the CD player and finally the Digital players we use today.
I imagine how exhilarating it must have been to hear a song for the first time while traveling to an exotic location. We take this for granted today but I feel a sense of connectedness to the experiences the owners of these radios must have had when they first came out. I wanted to capture that sense of wonder and pair it to our music. I work for the film industry in Atlanta building movie props and have a business partner who is a talented electrical engineer named Myron Lo. I had the idea to rig up the radio with modern electronics that allowed you to plug in and play music through it (Myron helped me with this). We added a band of LEDs that would light up in response to the sounds coming through the radio.
My idea was to film the radio in different locations while playing each of the songs off of our new album. When you release an album today, fans will often upload the song to Youtube with a stock picture of the album cover. Music videos are very time consuming to make and require unique production that is often quite expensive. We decided instead to basically create an interesting visualizer for the record by utilizing our fan base to help us create the content. I took a trip to Spain last September to bike the Camino de Santiago with a friend. I brought the first prototype radio along with me and filmed it in 12 different locations along the path while playing each song off of our new record through it. The footage came out great and I was content with that being the end of the project but then my friend offered to take the radio to South East Asia and film some footage with it there. I realized that there was potential here for the project to be much much larger than I originally thought.
I went on Ebay and purchased as many radios as I could find and hired Myron to rig them up with the same electronics as the first. I began to contact videographers from around the world and have been mailing these radios every few weeks to a new location ever since. So far I have mailed radios to Portugal, Panama, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Brazil, Japan, Ireland, China, Japan, as well as various states in the US. My plan is to have over 400 videos to edit to by the end of the project. I will post a new video (every day or so) over the next 3 months and when I have reached ~400 videos, I will edit them all together as a giant visualizer / music video for the entire album (~50min in length). I plan on submitting this video to film festivals for the 2017 circuit. This project is a collaboration with the world and how people interact with the products that bring joy to their lives.
I believe that everyone is an artist, but sometimes they just need a old General Electric Radio to bring it out of them.