When we last checked in with Roman Grandinetti, aka DJ Manero, his creative agency CNNCTD+ was recording aural snippets from days-in-the-life of New York icons like Santigold, Cindy Sherman, Pharrell Williams, and Yoko Ono for their CNNCTD+100 project. Utilizing the Play Button—a wearable button mp3 player—the project allowed people to hear these sound samples at various points around the city.
Now, the agency known for its sound graffiti listening boxes is stepping up the status by teaming with Columbia Records and legend-of-all-legends Bob Dylan for his latest release, Tempest. Listeners can hear the album for free by downloading the Sound Graffiti app and visiting one of the hundred-plus locations around the world tagged with the Tempest artwork stencil to unlock a track. Many of the locations are meaningful locales from Dylan’s past, like Minnesota, where he first involved himself with the coffee-shop folk circuit, and near Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, where he famously debuted his new electric-guitar sound to a booing audience and faced a heckler head-on for yelling out “Judas!”
We revisited DJ Manero to hear some more about his latest Sound Graffiti project and talk about the future of 360 degree listening.
The Creators Project: Last we spoke, you were working with sound recordings of famous people’s lives, now your dabbling in album releases of the legends! Tell us about it.
DJ Manero: The new project is still audio, but now with the legend Bob Dylan. We teamed up with Bob to promote his album Tempest around the world, using our new app called Sound Graffiti.
How does the app work?
The app is location-based. People are able to go to iconic points around the world and unlock more and more content.
What was the significance of the locations?
A few are locations relevant to some of Bob’s album art. Like Jones Street in New York, from the Free Wheelin’ album cover, around the corner from his studio at 161 West 4th Street. Other locations were where he had performed and the rest are locations where music or art is an attraction. We wanted to tag local mom-and-pop and indie record stores to drive traffic to some original music retailers.
What was it like working with Bob?
I didn’t get to work hand-in-hand with him, but it’s still a bit unreal and hard to talk about. The man is a legend and 50 years in the game is crazy. It’s double the time I’ve been on the planet! Also, working with Sony was a pleasure. They really believed in Sound Graffiti and us as a young company.
And what about the listening stations you set up for the CNNCTD+100 project, have they been converted?
We are making each location a limited-time offer, to always keep things interesting and original to each project, so those old stations are down.
How do you think downloading an album this way will change the way we get and receive music in the future?
I think listening and being able to download music this way gives it a feeling. I’m a huge Jay-Z and Biggie fan, and using them as an example–as well as being from Brooklyn–if I can go and listen to a song that was inspired by a certain location and get a feeling and a visual of the location as I’m listening to the song, it takes that song to a whole other level. I don’t expect the whole world to do this, but real fans will make an effort to be that much closer to the artist.
Is Bob Dylan the first to use this technology? Who knew he was so technologically advanced?
That’s how I felt, but when the offer was on the table, it actually was the perfect fit. Who better than him? If we would have worked with a new artist, it would have been expected. Working with Bob was way left of expected, the perfect way to launch!