Converse set up a pop-up version of its Rubber Tracks studio this week at Swinghouse Studios in Los Angeles to record eight unsigned Los Angeles acts. Simultaneously, the sneaker company set up a gifting suite on Beverly Boulevard to get Converse sneakers and Chuck Taylors on the feet of musicians and people attending the Grammy Awards.
Their goal? For every person who walks the red carpet on Sunday in Converse shoes, the company will donate a sponsorship to Grammy Camp. Wiz Khalifah and Capital Cities are among the acts who have said they are in.
“We’re hoping that Converse will be able to cover everyone attending Grammy Camp,” says Converse VP/GM of Brand & Segments Geoff Cottrill, a Grammy Foundation board member for the last six years.
On Friday, Hanni El Khatib will headline a Rubber Tracks Live show at the Viper Room. Waters, an L.A. band that is recording this week at Swinghouse, is the opening act. The premise for the project is to allow headliners to pick an opening act from a list of Rubber Tracks-associated artists.
“We’re taking young artists and giving them an opportunity to get in front of a new audience,” Cottrill says. “My initial reaction was that everyone was doing live music, but my music team was insistent that no one else was working with headline acts and letting them pick new acts no one has heard of.”
The next stop for a Rubber Tracks pop-up is a return visit to Austin, Texas, in March, where they will record Texas musicians not invited to perform at SXSW.
Established in Brooklyn, the company is building a second Rubber Tracks studio in Boston that will be attached to the company’s new headquarters. The one in Boston, for its first two or three years, will be open only to New England artists.