Street Noise Project: Native Wiltonian shines the light on undiscovered talent

You may have seen countless concerts in bars and clubs, but is a stage environment really the best place for art to be expressed and appreciated?
Not according to native Wiltonian Brad Geyer, Wilton High School Class of ’05, who has made it his mission to “bring art off the stage and into real life where it belongs” by shooting undiscovered talent on the streets of New York, the city in which he now lives.
His project, The Street Noise Project (TSNP), is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Geyer needs an equipment upgrade and funds for services.
“Right now, I’m using a Canon 70D and a Rode VideoMic directional video condenser microphone to record sound. That’s my whole rig. Using the directional microphone dictates what angles I have to use, and how far away from the artist I have to be. It’s limiting,” he said.

In addition to being ill-equipped, Geyer is shorthanded. He is a one-man-crew. The rest of the funds raised will go toward hiring help.
“I plan to use half of the money for [the] equipment upgrade. The other half I’m dedicating to...[hiring]...a web designer, someone to design a logo and someone to help me with marketing,” Geyer said.
At present, he has raised $3,140 of a $12,000 goal, with 11 days left to go. If he cannot raise the remaining funds by that deadline [July 28 at 1:08 EDT], he will receive nothing.
“I can and have been executing my mission for the past year. What I haven’t done is made one cent in the process. What I need is the funding to improve the quality of the product and to bring in the help that I need to help these artists reach their audience,” Geyer says on his Kickstarter page.

Humble beginnings

“I started doing this exactly one year ago,” said Geyer. “There was an open mic every Monday night at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the East Village. The shows always started at 9, but a line of performers would form around 5:30. I’d see people hanging out, strumming guitars and freestyle rapping, and so one day I had the idea to bring my camera down. I encouraged them to play and captured some really interesting footage.”
“Those shoots down at the Nuyorican,”   he said, “mark the beginnings of The Street Noise Project.”
“I keep my ears open,” said Geyer. “More often than not, I go into an open mic or a small concert and I bring the artist out into the street from there. I’ll go in and sit in the back, watch everybody until somebody plays that really speaks to me, and I’ll go up and give them my card. That’s basically how I’ve found 95% of the artists I’ve shot.”

More than music

“I just want to shoot music and other art, but some of these stories you can’t walk away from,” Geyer said.
For instance: The blind man from Harlem living in a homeless shelter for the disabled in lower Manhattan, who lost his vision while serving a 14-year prison term, still pursuing his dream of becoming a professional rapper.
“He was standing behind me in line for the Nuyorican open mic. I took him down the street and filmed him.”
That shoot has since evolved into a multi-part short documentary series that Geyer has been shooting and developing for a year now entitled Mr. Outtasite.

“If I can showcase someone’s talent, while at the same time giving my audience an idea of what it’s like to be an artist, well, that’s even cooler,” said Geyer.”
According to Geyer, there is a certain thirst for musical authenticity that has been brought about due to the computerization of song.
“I think a lot of people are sick of the Auto-Tune culture, and of quantizing every note in a song. A part of this movement, and why I’m taking music out into the street, is, it’s more ‘real’ than studio recordings,” said Geyer, “especially these days.”

A musician himself

“I’ve been playing piano since the first grade,” Geyer said. “I started playing guitar and drums at the beginning of high school, played with a bunch of people and joined a couple of bands.”
“This is something that I love doing, and, you know, I’m never going to stop doing it,” Geyer continued, “but I’m happy to focus on other artists for a change as opposed to myself,” he said with a laugh.
When asked what type of music he prefers, Geyer gave what he felt to be a “lousy” response.
“The lousy answer would be the people on my website,” he said, “because my favorite music isn’t on the radio. My favorite artists are the ones I meet.”
Funds can be pledged at the Kickstarter link listed below, with rewards offered for a number of different pledge values.
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