• UO Interviews: Singles Club

    Over three hours away from their current home base of Brooklyn, Chris Muccioli and Jeffrey Silverstein met at Towson University where, like most college-aged kids, they bonded over music. In an apartment complex on campus, they began playing music together — hang outs that grew into an organized musical effort via a six-member touring band.

    A few years and moves later, Chris and Jeff found themselves in New York City looking for a project to fulfill the creative desires that weren’t being met at their day jobs. Jeff was doing some freelance writing, Chris was experimenting with digital design, and they wanted a way to marry these two interests together. 

    “We knew we wanted to do something creative together, but we wanted to see if we could try something different that stood out,” Chris says. “So I remember brainstorming one day, thinking about how can we create this physical record and combine it with something that would allow more people to have access to it.”

    The conversations turned into tangible plans in late 2013 when they developed Singles Club, a subscription-based vinyl music service and digital quarterly journal. Four times a year, they’ll release a limited-run 7” record from bands they’ve chosen especially for each issue. They’ve put out releases from Wisdom Tooth, You Blew It! and Daniel Bachman. The A-side is the single, while the B-side features an audio interview with the band. The online portion sees photos, sound and words masterfully designed to create an interactive long form story.

    Heading into their third year, Singles Club just released their eighth issue and single. We caught up with Chris, an art director, and Jeff, a special education teacher, to talk about how they collaborate and what goes into preparing each Singles Club release. 
    Photos by Julia Robbs, words by Allie Volpe

    It’s interesting that two people who are so musically minded and were in a band together would move away from making their own music to something that’s more digital, editorial and curatorial. How did that happen?
    JS: We still both play music, but this has been a really fulfilling project in a different way. I think Chris and I both really bond over the people we think are doing really amazing work and are passionate about what they’re doing. We're definitely flexing some of the same muscles!

    What makes it so easy for you two to work together?
    CM: The reason we’ve lasted this long as friends is because we both respect each other for our strengths and weaknesses. I know what Jeff is strong at and he knows what I’m strong at, and we let each other have the space and to crank it out.

    Take us through the process of compiling an issue from start to finish.
    CM: Before we can even look at an issue, we have to look at an entire year. This is why it all ties back to our relationship in playing music — because we required such commitment early on. The first year was limited to people we could jump on the phone with, but as we developed, we thought about who we could work well with and we go from there. Now, we plan out the year and make sure we have a variety of genres and musicians and then we start reaching out. 

    It’s such a multimedia project. What made you go into that direction? 
    JS: We didn’t necessarily want to reinvent the wheel, but we wanted to make sure we were launching a project that stood out and filled the gap in all of these landscapes that we thought were missing. I do think it was a healthy challenge to see the ways we could push ourselves to pull all of this together; and I think it remains that way. We’re always brainstorming ways to make the writing, photography, and physical product better — that’s what keeps us going. 

    What made you pair the digital and physical realm together?
    CM: We wanted to tell the stories of people that we really cared about and we wanted to make sure that everyone had access to the content of our writing and the music that we were trying to release from these artists. Putting it out digitally makes it much more accessible. 

    Take us into your brainstorming sessions. How do you collaborate?
    CM: We definitely have our wish list of people we want to work with and we reach out to everybody we put on that list, as long as we’re not doing two indie bands or three singer-songwriters. We try to keep it as diverse as possible as far as genres go, and we’re always talking about who we want to work with next.  

    What do you see for the future of Singles Club?
    JS: We’re excited to toy around with switching up the format. I’m looking to expand on the level of artists we’re working with. It’s really exciting because people are coming up and asking, “How can I be a part of this too?” That’s been really amazing!

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