Music Collaborative Makes Space for Friends to Create
Small Business Spotlight: Calm + Collect, Twitter: @CalmCollectWho: Katie Longmyer, Co-FounderWhat: A music label launched by a group of friends from various creative and business backgrounds who teamed up wanting to collaborate on and share new music and art projects.When: In 2012 an idea is born, then in October 2013, the first record is releasedWhere: New York, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Digital SpaceHow: Katie Longmyer, co-owner for MeanRed and founder of Good Peoples, wears an ever-expanding set of hats, and now added to the list is co-founder of Calm + Collect. The new label, which is the brainchild of DJ and engineer Nick Hook, released its first EP from Color Film – a duo consisting of Daryl Palumbo and Richard Penzone – in the fall, and is currently working on a myriad of projects in various creative spaces. Longmyer, a strong believer in partnership and collaboration, describes her professional world as an umbrella under which she consults and handles brand strategy on multiple creative projects. At Calm + Collect, Longmyer uses those skills for marketing, communications and event planning. “The beauty of that is that you cross paths with so many people from so many fields,” Longmyer says. “I believe music is the universal language and an amazing medium to bring people together, with what better people to build a platform for this than your friends?” After a seven-year stint at Warner Bros. Records, Longmyer broke off in 2005 to start her own company, Good Peoples - a creative network of artists, designers and musicians on the forefront of culture in New York. But that was just the beginning and in fact, came to be how Longmyer first “crossed paths” with co-founders Nick Hook (who is also a DJ and engineer and runs A&R for the Calm + Collect), Jacob Bijani (previously the first-ever creative director at Tumblr and now interactive and digital point person at the label) and Adam R. Garcia (who works as creative director). “In the spirit of Calm+Collect’s collaborative platform, the label will support artists’ exclusive music and media concepts, while bringing in their own personal network of industry professionals to elevate production in art, music and film capacities,” a spokesperson for the label said in a statement. For her part, Longmyer explains the point of Calm + Collect is to function as “the antithesis of what a normal business would be” and more so as “an effortless creative space” where all put in ideas without rules or questions, then the collective comes together and sees the project to fruition. “We all have the bug of the entrepreneurial spirit,” Longmyer says. “And when you’re surrounded by creative people, how can you not create something, even if by accident?”Biggest challenge: “The biggest challenge has been having everyone in different places, so communicating and setting up times to ‘meet’ has been important,” Longmyer says. “But we’re all passionate and ready to do it, and we all want to be present, so it hasn’t been that big of a hurdle.”One moment in time: “Color Film was gracious enough to come to us and let us put out their record, and when it in fact came out and we […] shared it together,” Longmyer says, “It was a really surreal, beautiful, crazy moment.”Best advice: “I would say I’m not an artist, I don’t make visual art or music, but I like to say I’m a business artist,” Longmyer muses. “I think if you know what you’re passionate about, that’s your art, and you’re creative process will turn into your business if you focus."