On Sunday night, my mind and the minds of my peers in Paper Swan Loft are peaceful. The girl in red plaid blanket over her shoulders on the couch next to me is hugging her knees. Someone is offering freshly baked tiny pizza cakes from a cardboard box. The famous swan made of paper is almost invisibly bouncing on a string hanging from the ceiling. The last but one band of Melodica Accoustic Festival just started to play and Jason Zucker, one of the founders of Paper Swan, a collective of musicians, filmmakers and producers, is sipping his coffee and looking maybe a bit tired, but happy, in any case. He says he loves the sound of the accordion playing. It’s so smooth. I agree.
The Melodica Festival atmosphere has been magical and both bands and attendees are talking about the best weekends of their lives…
Jason and I are walking on High Line, the evening air smells like spring and the sun is touching the Hudson. Jason picked the spot for the photo shoot and I couldn’t be happier about his choice. He’s having fun being the “subject” for a camera for a change. Usually, he’s the one filming. He works as an editor at VH1 and makes 90-second film packages about bands and musicians. He also does interviews and shoots red carpets at events like the Oscars or Grammys. He often writes the scripts, directs, and edits the footage for the clips. Through his work he has met many inspiring people like Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Dave Matthews. Quite an enjoyable day job, I have to say.
As always, I am curious about the beginnings of all great ideas and I am demanding the full Paper Swan story from Jason while he’s pulling out his harmonica. Jason is talking a lot about his friend Travis Steward, whom he has known since he was a kid in Cleveland, OH. According to Jason, Travis is a prodigy musician, awesome guy, and a super-positive collective member. Three years ago, they have developed the idea to rent a loft together with a bunch of musician friends to live there, play music, learn and inspire each other. They wanted to get to know the local music scene and to support it through organization of live music events, right there in their living room at 260 Moore Street in Bushwick. They have become so good at it over the time that they are able to organize a festival, virtually, in a blink of an eye. Also they have been asked to host a bunch of music events at Union Hall. Jason says that they have learned so much from the community that they are trying to give back. All of their events are free or if there is admission, it goes to charity.