Last year Converse announced its latest Rubber Tracks project, a new global program that offered up free recording time at 12 legendary recording studios around the world. The brand got more than 9,000 applications from up-and-coming international artists and chose a total of 84 acts, from 28 countries, to record at places like Abbey Road Studios in London, Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, and Tuff Gong in Kingston, Jamaica.
Now the brand, with partner Cornerstone Agency and Vice’s Noisey, has unveiled the trailer for four short docs it made following a handful of these artists on their journey through the program. The artists were also treated to surprise visits from mentors like Mark Ronson, Marky Ramone, Thurston Moore, and Sly and Robbie.
The first film is “Forever Vacation” featuring Brazilian alt-rock band Water Rats, with special guests, Thurston Moore and Jack Endino at Avast Recording Co. in Seattle. Next is “The Undergraduate” with Providence-based rapper/musician DAP, and special guest Mark Ronson and Ken Scott at Abbey Road in London. Then “4,700 Miles” with British indie-rock quartet The Magic Gang, working with Sly and Robbie at Tuff Gong in Kingston, Jamaica. And finally, Chinese punk band Pumpkins team with Marky Ramone in “A Band of Five” at Berlin’s Hansa Tonstudio.
The brand now has permanent Converse Rubber Tracks studio locations in Brooklyn, Boston, and Sao Paulo offering free studio time to up-and-coming artists, as well as hosting pop-up studios in over 13 countries and 35 cities around the world. Cornerstone co-CEO Jon Cohen says Converse, with help from the agency, spent months early last year brainstorming ideas about what the next level could be to connect all of the Rubber Tracks activity around the world.
“[With Converse] we discussed how can we tell the stories of these iconic studios and what moments could we create that would changes lives of young unsigned talent,” says Cohen. “[The brand and agency] carefully screened all the entries and selected acts to be flown to their studio of choice to record. The big twist was that through the application and screening process we were able to gain insight into who each band’s major influences were. From there [Converse] reached out to some legendary artists and producers and brought them in to produce, co-write, and mentor each session.”
The docs will be released between February 24 and March 16.