Magik*Magik Orchestra finally gets top billing

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If you’re a fan of Bay Area music, chances are you know about Magik*Magik Orchestra, the made-to-order symphonic ensemble that has backed the likes of Sting, Death Cab For Cutie and pretty much every locally-based band in the past five years. On Jan. 31, the orchestra has it’s very first “own” show. While there will be more than a dozen guests, including many of the artists the orchestra has recorded or performed with since Minna Choi founded it in 2008, it gets it name at the top of the marquee for the first time.

I chatted with Choi Jan. 13 (guess what? She’s excited!) and you can read the show preview in the SF Examiner. Here are the extras that didn’t make it into the story.

Magik*Magik Orchestra

Many of the artists on the bill you’ve worked with before. How did you approach them to take part in the evening?
It was actually a really easy ask. All the bands that we’ve worked with before, which are the vast majority, I’ve been able to have a really great creative relationship with as the years went by. For example, with The Dodos, the first time we worked with them was in 2010, but … I’ve worked on both of their records that have come out since then. And we worked on another show together, and we did a video shoot last summer. They’re musical friends at this point even though they are our clients.

Has it become easier acting as an intermediary between classically trained musicians and rock musicians? They’re two different groups of people.
Absolutely. My job in any of our projects is to be the mediator; the person bringing these two different types of musicians together. There’s a lot of nuts and bolts things I have to learn how to do. There are things you can get better each time you do… such as making a schedule that’s realistic. That was something I was really bad at in the beginning, and that stresses out both sides. I wasn’t good at guessing how long it would take to record. If I under-guessed the timing, then you’re stuck because you’re rushing through, trying to finish everything. Things aren’t as perfect as you want them to be, or the players don’t get any breaks.  But if you overshoot it and contract for way longer than you actually need them, the band’s just wasting money. It sounds kind of boring… but if you don’t get it right, it kind of ruins the day.

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