MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of guys from Los Angeles are traveling the country this summer with the ultimate goal of giving a voice to the lesser-heard musicians. This week, they stopped in Minneapolis.
But let’s start at the beginning.
About a year ago, the wheels began turning on the ambitious project. That’s when the tour’s director Jimmy Jimes and cinematographer Billy Ferguson stepped away from their previous jobs of making music videos and mini-documentaries for label musicians — and decided they wanted to start covering talent that may have been overlooked in an unforgiving music industry.
“We wanted to focus on talent that have either taken a different route in their lives, found other careers, but were still great musicians,” Jimes said. “Or people who have maybe missed their shot or haven’t gotten their shot yet.”
Jimes says they want to cover the 99 percent of musicians that really don’t get the coverage they should.
Thus, “The Unknown Tour” was born. Music supervisor Chris Watson, tour manager Mike Jaeger and sound engineer Zach Djurich make up the rest of the crew.
The tour needed a mode of transportation, however, and it needed to have enough space.
So, they found a 20-year-old RV just outside of LA and worked on it for 3 months, reupholstered it, re-carpeted it, put in their own furniture and outfitted a recording studio inside it. The RV even has solar panels on the roof to help with all the power they’re consuming.
“It’s kind of like our office and our home for three months,” Jimes said.
In June, they started the tour in Los Angeles and have been already been to a bunch of cities, both big and small.
Minneapolis was their 17th stop. Here, they recorded some harmonies with The Twins Of Franklin, had Hippo Campus track some instruments, and met up with/recorded many other artists. (Expect a feature on Minneapolis in the near-future!)
The tour is expected to end in mid-August. And that’s when work on the ultimate goal of the project — an album and a documentary — hits overdrive.
“They sort of go hand-in-hand. The album is the thing we’re working on the whole time,” Jimes said. “We probably have about 50 songs started now and we’re polishing up 10 or 12 of them.”
Jimes says the album will then in turn become the soundtrack to the documentary.
“The documentary will tell the story of all the people that we’ve meet and their lives as artists, or creatives or musicians. And it’ll all weave together and show us building (the album) track by track. Like, we added drum here in Minneapolis, we added a trumpet in Seattle, etc.” Jimes said.
And it might not even end there.
“We’re all seeing that it’s potentially not a one-time thing,” tour manager Mike Jaeger said. “If there’s so much excitement around it, then we could work with more artists, and it’s something that would interest us.”
Next up, the band is heading back west and after a stop in Glacier National Park, the tour plans to make some more stops along the west coast that include Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Oakland.
Watch the first episode below: