On Nov. 18, CUSP Magazine had the privilege of sitting front and center at Fort Knox Studios for another installment of the Live Series held in an intimate section of the 160,000-square-foot space. The monthly event shines a spotlight on the creative minds currently making moves in the Chicago music industry by highlighting various local artists, entrepreneurs, organizations and tech startups through a simple Q&A format, followed by a set put on by local up-and-coming musicians. Curated by local media personality James VanOsdol, this month’s installment included a short Q&A with representatives from VL Group, a Chicago-based digital media licensing agency, and Bucketfeet, a shoe customizing company that showcases unique designs from artists all around the world.
Represented by their director of client services, Melinda Michaud, VL Group provides solutions for advertising companies seeking to use music media in their ads. Michaud spoke briefly about the campaign between the VL Group and various widely-known digital music companies and platforms, such as Shazam, as well as a social media focused collaboration with Mamba candy. Most notably, she mentioned the patent-pending Smart Stream, which allows “streaming on a smartphone in a secure way.” Smart Stream will allow a safe streaming experience for anyone with a smartphone, something that will undoubtedly shake up what was once a download-reliant platform.
The next entity brought onstage was Bucketfeet, represented by founder Aaron Firestein, who gave an overview of the errant history of the shoe customizing company. What began as an independent art endeavor in the slums of Argentina has gained momentum through the power of social media and become a multi-locational company with an international reach. In addition to allowing artists from around the world to showcase their work on a pair of uniquely-crafted shoes, Bucketfeet hosts shows, gallery exhibits and other events out of their two locations in Chicago. In terms of the artist selection for the shoes, Firestein notes that while Bucketfeet caters to popular artists that have a significant following, the majority of designs featured come from the hundreds of little-known artists that send in submissions every day. This wide net of mutual promotion has allowed the company to work with artists and entities such as Lollapalooza, Chance the Rapper and Austin City Limits.
The night was topped off by AyOH, a locally-grown, upbeat, feel-good rock band who was still riding high after having played a sold out set at the House of Blues the night before. After a short Q&A with lead singer Avi, the band gave an extremely vibrant performance that had the small the room standing and asking for an encore. After playing heart-pumping ballads like “Lion to the Lamb” and “Help Me,” the intimate audience exuded the energy of a crowd watching their favorite band play at an arena.
Live At Fort Knox is an ongoing series that is held at Fort Knox Studios in conjunction with 2112 Inc. and Chicagomusic.org. The series is covered exclusively by CUSP Magazine. To stay up to date with Fort Knox Studios and their affiliates, visit their website and like/follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.