MOD at NAMM 2017 – Recap

Greetings, fellow music freaks!

So you might have heard that we went to the NAMM show with MOD Devices. I spent the first few days around LA together with the Modfather, Gianfranco. Later on we met up with the rest of the team for a very busy yet very exciting week!

Early in the morning on the 16th of January we flew from Berlin to LAX. Upon arrival we discovered that our luggage was not loaded over to the switchover flight in Dusseldorf. Ouch, now we have to wait until Thursday (the evening of the first day of the show) before we get the equipment we need! We decided to take it easy, so we went and got our rental van and drove home, but not before eating an obnoxious amount of hot wings. We’re in America after all. This evening we simply did some grocery and essential supplies shopping.

When I woke up the next morning I went outside and my mood instantly changed: the beautiful California sky, the palm trees, quite the opposite of the cold Berlin I got used to.

After a nice breakfast in the sun we went out to grab some extra items from the stores because of the luggage issues. Shout out to Davier from Guitar Center Orange County for helping us out with all our PA and cabling needs! That was all for the day.

The next day we continued our quest to making our booth as awesome as possible. We started setting up that day. Later on, we met up with our ever-happy Adam, good vibrations and laughs all around! This evening we also got together with Derek and Dean (the most helpful NS/Stick player in the universe, who even uses his MOD Duo to charge his phone). To end the day, we had a great time and a lovely meal at a cantina in Fullerton.

Thursday: showtime! We got up early, and went straight to the convention center for the last bits of setup. Today was a very relaxed day, some interesting people stopped by, and the overall response seemed to be very positive about the MOD Duo. For me personally this was the first time meeting Alexandre in real life, since you might know that a lot of work happens on a remote basis inside MOD Devices. During the day there were small jams and improvisations done by our one and only Adam and Dean.

Friday: day two of the show. Besides the load of meetings that Gianfranco and Alexandre had to attend, this was actually a pretty chill day. When Alexandre came back from a meeting, Dean told us that Jordan Rudess, one of Alexandre’s big inspirations, was doing a demo at a booth really close by. Of course he had to go check that out! Most of the day was spent wowing people with the awesome MOD Duo, and having some cool improvisations as the day passed by. Dean had invited us to join him to the Stick Night at Lopez & Lefty’s, a gathering of really interesting musicians playing instruments that baffle a simple minded 6-string player like me. They were accompanied by some truly wonderful electronic percussion, and to top it off, they served a great margarita there!

Saturday: the busiest day of the show. They say that the Saturday always turns out interesting, and it did! We met loads of cool people, had a small jam with the Jamstick MIDI controller (there might be more on that in a later post!), ate a Viking hotdog and were visited by the legendary experimental guitarist Vernon Reid. The keyboard player for The Devin Townsend Project also stopped by our booth for a chat. At the end of a long day, we were pleasantly surprised when Stevie Wonder himself appeared in a booth nearby. The picture below shows me taking a picture of people taking a picture of people taking a picture of the legend.

When we got home from what seemed like the longest but best day yet, we decided that we needed to chill out a little bit. So we threw a small BBQ party in our backyard. Luckily our AirBnb had a big American-style grill!

Sunday: the last day of the show. It was raining like crazy and people were noticeably tired. Some people had even lost their voices completely. That did not hold us back from having the greatest jam session NAMM has ever experienced. Adam’s musical (evil-) genius joined forces with Sascha on the electric Harp and an amazing steampunk guy on the smartphone Ocarina. It was magnificent. If the footage survived you will be sure to see it later on. This day we also met up with Sarah Lipstate (Noveller) to introduce her to the MOD Duo. We’re looking forward to your creations Sarah! Later on in the day Gianfranco was interviewed by Sound on Sound. You can find footage of the interview here.

On Sundays the NAMM show shuts down a bit early, there is a crazy-quick teardown that happens in a matter of minutes from the moment it hits 17:00. We packed up, drove back to our apartment and decided to hit the Two Saucy Broads once again for some lovely pizza. Good night everybody.

On our last day we visited Hollywood’s Rockwalk at the Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard. They have a couple of really awesome guitars lying around there! After returning our rental van all that was left to do was to go straight to the airport for our flight back to Berlin.

NAMM, you have been great, until we meet again!

  • Jesse @ MOD HQ

PS: Special thanks go to Dean Kobayashi for helping us out tremendously during and before the show!

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