At the top of the year, I decided to launch Mashibeats Creator Club - an umbrella for what is intended to be an ongoing season by season of mentorship programs for me to support and guide musicians into their genesis web3 projects. I've been blessed throughout my career in so many ways, not least of all being able to sustain a 20+ year career primarily focused on my own music, with zero regard for commercial compromise. Mentorship is one way to give-back, pay it forward and empower like-mindeds get that little bit closer to their own dreams and goals.
Mashibeats is a DAO-in-the-making, a creator community founded around my own life's work - including a back catalog of 16 albums, half of which have been reacquired or are mid-reacquisition thanks to the $BUYBACK crowdfund. It's intended as a support network and infrastructure for aspiring musicians in the web3 space, especially those whose work falls left-of-center and challenges the status quo and mainstream of music today. There are multiple initiatives in the planning stages, and Creator Club is the first to be fully implemented.
Mashibeats Creator Club Season 1 is very much an experiment. I've mentored before, but never in a group. From the jump, my plan was to have 10 musicians in the cohort, with weekly zoom sessions altogether, and hold space for the cohort as they individually and collectively work on their ideas, concepts, logistics and planning. I'm no expert, but with over two decades in the music industry, releasing through majors to indies to self-releases, along with my experiments in the web3 space, I’m in a position to be able to help others. With the many amazing people and platforms I've gotten to know in the space, I felt like I could connect dots and potentially help open doors for others to be able to deploy and grow in the space while feeling like there was always a helping hand and support crew. It's such an overwhelming space to try and enter and be part, even more so when you have no tribe or community in it to start with. Creator Club is intended as a salve to these challenges.
Of note, there is zero cost for anyone to be part of the program. I'm a big believer in the value of community and the 'teach a man to fish' adage - if I can help some amazing creatives come into the space, feeling supported and safe, then I know that those creatives will most likely go on to do the same for their own peers and communities. If there's an ulterior motive at play, that's it - red pill people who can then go on to red pill more. The greatest success is when I hear from someone that they've taken what they've learned in Creator Club and shared it with their peers who aren't in the space yet.
The Selection Process
I put the call out on social media for music creators interested in jumping into web3 to apply via a simple google form where they shared links to their work and thoughts on why they’re interested in web3. 63 applicants were in the first round - a super eclectic range of musicians covering numerous genres and levels of establishment and success. From that initial 63, I chose 21 to proceed to round two, leading to another google form, this time questioning applicants' bandwidth and willingness to commit to the program as well as offering another opportunity to share their thoughts on what web3 could mean to them and their music. tbh, all 21 of those shortlisted for round two could have been in the final 10 and it was a huge challenge to choose who to choose.
As I reassured everyone who wasn't selected, Mashibeats is a resource for everyone like-minded, and our discord is a place to share projects, get feedback, brainstorm ideas and connect with each other - Creator Club or not. The final 10 were selected based on their individual visions being in alignment with web3 ideology and possibilities, their art/music and selves being of high integrity and speaking to qualities that I consider important - cultural narrative, creative risk-taking, community mindedness, a proven ability to deliver, a balance of diversity and the final deciding factor: my gut instinct.
The final 10 applicants who make up Mashibeats Creator Club Season 1 were confirmed at the end of January, and by early February, we kicked off with our first weekly online meet-up. Over the last 3 months, we’ve all become firm friends, huge fans of each other, and a squad that is going to last a whole lot longer than just the duration of this program.
Introducing the Cohort
Amy Corea Bell (singer/songwriter/producer) who is "embarking on my web3 journey with my genesis NFT release “Run It”, along with my brother and producer Les Correa (Les Les). My goal is to provide a deeper connection with my fans while providing valuable utilities, connections and friendships through the blockchain and IRL. My music is free to listen to, but valuable to own."
“Mashibeats Creator Club has opened my creativity in a new way. The experience and input of meeting and working with 9 other inspirational artists has forward-motioned me exponentially - and the mentorship from Mark de Clive-Lowe sets the highest example of artistic excellence, consistently providing new information, research, discussion and freedom to experiment.”
Brian Hargrove (composer/arranger/keyboardist) is currently "working on several projects, including my debut LP (an 18-movement piece mostly written for solo piano and features some synth work plus a couple of chamber groups). Though it’s technically one body of work, each movement of the piece is an individual work of art that attempts to describe emotions tied to specific places or moments and/or provides a brief snapshot into my personal thought life.”
“To say I learned a ton of information about navigating Web3 and about myself by being part of Creator Club would be a massive understatement. It’s a breath of fresh air and inspiring to be in a community of incredibly kind, honest and hard-working people that’s fired up and willing to learn and grow together.”
Coflo Ferreira (movement+dance artist/producer/DJ) - is creating "an interactive web-app experience that's designed to give the viewer a unique music video-driven, digital concert like event... "digital mix media" using music, video, visual art and code to create something that normally would be separate pieces; now being combined to create something different and unique for the viewer."
Erin Ivey (songwriter/vocalist/guitarist/indie label owner/creative project advisor) who is "creating a retrospective NFT collection from out-of-print material, a generative music project to promote healing, grounding, and expansion in web3, and hosting a live interview series called FURIOUS//LUXURIOUS which spotlights dynamic creatives in web3 and beyond."
“Creator Club is a dream come true! The level of talent across the board is incredible, with enough overlap and divergence in our projects and abilities to keep things really inspiring. It's the perfect small community in the vastness of opportunities in web3."
Lalin St Juste (singer/songwriter/producer) - "I'm working on the first chapters of an ancestral themed project that facilitates my healing around being a first gen Haitian-American. An extension of this story will exist on Web3 because I want this narrative to exist in a multitude of ways. I’m new in this journey but already I can feel the palpable potential of an unfolding path."
Leah King (producer/vocalist/artist) who is "creating work at the intersection of afrofuturism, ancestral histories, and joy. I’m releasing a mixed media visual art series and accompanying acapella audio project about my paternal heritage in the United States exploring whether it’s possible to reframe traumatic pasts as joyful futures."
Lynae Cook (musician/photographer/actor) whose animated band with good friend Bradley, Breakfast Tacos, "fuses his Mexican-American roots with my Colombian-American roots to produce happy-sounding music about some happy (and not so happy) subjects. We've realized that being an animated band sets us up for a natural existence in web3 spaces!"
“Being in Creator Club has really helped me sort out my ideas, the possibilities, and actions for web3 releases, and has been an excellent reminder that learning by doing is a beautiful thing.”
The Balance King (musician/composer/producer/sound designer/educator/research scientist) - "for our genesis collection we have been in the lab, cybernetically augmenting our recently-released music video puzzles speak gold, with blockchain integration and reinvented molecular segments through the imagination of AI. The nascent potential of web3 presents exhilarating new creative modalities to explore, and crucially, is a quantitative step in our shared aspiration for an egalitarian ecosystem."
“Being in the midst of so many multi-dimensional polymaths, is equally humbling as it is inspiring. Mashibeats Creator Club has been a seismic and transcendent interchange for my team and I! This web3 excursion is one that embraces the ingenuity and rawness of the human experience, with a curiosity only reserved for those who are abandoning instructions.”
Tommaso Cappellato (drummer/producer/DJ/record label owner) is working on "a bridging-concept that can attract old and new audiences by linking NFTs to physical products... with the desire of being part of a wider and more independent community of creators, to find out about new possibilities, increase sustainability and be inspired by other visionary artists."
Yannick Hiwat (musician/composer/producer)
Over the past 3 months, we've all met up weekly and held space for each other, brainstormed and learned together and formed a close-knit bond with each other. As each artist drops their projects, I'm excited to see them contribute to the space, share their creativity with the world and inspire others to do the same and more.
Even when the original timeframe for Season 1 ends, I know this cohort will continue to support each other and interact in creative and personal ways - it might even end up being its own never-ending story.
Mashibeats x Catalog 💽
We love Catalog!! All of my own music NFT drops so far have been on Catalog, and it's been great getting to know the team and seeing how intentionally they move and contribute to the space. Mashibeats is now officially a curator on Catalog and we're using this opportunity to onboard Creator Club members. The first wave will be 1/1s from Coflo, Lalin St Juste and The Balance King dropping on May 5 - our first proof of life from Creator Club! (and definitely plenty more to come). Keep an eye out for our drops and news...
The Future of Creator Club
I'm undecided yet what Season 2 will look like - it may be the same, a version-of, or totally different to Season 1. I'm motivated to continue mentoring and guiding creatives into the wonderful world of web3. Maybe it'll be an intensive IRL camp; maybe it'll be an on-going continuation of Season 1 with some twists n tweaks - who knows! It does take considerable bandwidth on my part to hold space for multiple people while maintaining my own artist career, building out Mashibeats and keeping personal life in balance, but it's a way I know I can give value to individuals, to the space and to the culture we're all part of building. We talk about not wanting to import the gate-keeper energy of web2 into this new space, I'm proposing that we proactively proliferate the gate-opener energy in web3.
Creator Club Season 2, whatever form it will take, will be announced on our discord as soon as it's ready to happen - in the meantime, we always welcome ideas, discussion and building in the Mashibeats community via our discord. Web3 is a culture/industry reawakening and I'm so excited for all that's going to manifest - it's a time capsule for future ancestors, a value proposition unlike anything the creative arts industries have ever seen, and such an opportunity for change, growth, evolution and expression.