At a holiday party this winter, Miami musicians Nick County and Juan Ledesma commiserated over the city's lack of multimedia platforms for live performances. They longed for the kind of sleek, curated web content produced by beloved indie institutions such as Seattle's KEXP and NPR's Tiny Desk, but for Miami.
"Nick called the next day to say that we needed to take initiative or else no one would," Ledesma recalls. The following week, the two met to discuss the project, and after they brought on collaborators Alexa Wolman and Jacuzzi Boys' Danny Kokomo, The Florida Room was born.
Dubbed "Miami’s premier rock 'n’ roll talk show," the new video series is produced, hosted, and directed by musicians. It combines high-definition, professionally recorded in-studio performances with interviews providing off-the-cuff insights into the artists' processes.
Kicking off next week, The Florida Room plans to release an episode each season featuring Miami-based artists who reflect the range of musicians the team believes represents the local scene. "We think singer-songwriters have not been given enough push locally, so we decided to make a statement with the first episode and feature Daniel Milewski, who is a phenomenal songwriter," Ledesma says.
Milewski, whose collaboration with County was recently featured in filmmaker Billy Corben's documentary Magic City Hustle, performs with his band Big Water in the series premiere, airing on YouTube Wednesday, March 13, at 8 p.m. Filmed at City of Progress Studios, the episode features a crisp live set mixed by Miami’s Andrew Yeomanson and Ian
Episode 2, which has already been shot and is being edited, will feature the local band Jaialai, which recently played at III Points in Wynwood. With roots in Venezuela, El Salvador, and Cuba, the band combines shoegaze and psychedelia through the lens of its members’ first-generation immigrant experiences. "Their studio performance definitely reflects how tight the band has gotten," County says.
For future episodes, the team will continue to mix things up, "catering the studio locations and aesthetic value of each episode to match the artists being featured," Ledesma says. "We are really excited to be collaborating with different filmmakers who can help with the vision."
The first episode was directed by Greg Stefano, a veteran filmmaker based in New York City. The second episode is a collaboration with Jorge Graupera, who recently
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