VANCOUVERITES: 5 Minutes With Michelle And Jon Of The “Green Couch Sessions”

September 17, 2012.

As noted in this morning’s Scout List, Pecha Kucha Night Vol.23 goes down this week. The theme this time around is Art & the City. We checked out all the presenters and became fascinated by the concept of a second hand green couch touring around the city and country like a moveable stage for bands to perform on. Wanting to know a little more, we caught up with The Green Couch Sessions creators Michelle Allen and Jonathan Krauth and asked them a few pre-PKN questions…

Where are you from? What neighbourhood do you call home and why do you love living there? Michy: I am from the far reaches of Northern BC. I call the Fairview neighborhood home now and I love living here because we are only 100 meters from the Sea Wall and a 5 minute bike ride to the dog beach. JK: I am from Caracas, Venezuela but I call Vancouver home, love everything about it … the mountains, the beaches, the ocean, the lakes and sometimes even the rain.

Can you explain briefly, the concept of Green Couch Sessions? We are a grassroots music film project working with local, Canadian and International artist to capture musical moments on a magical Green Couch around the city of Vancouver and across the country. The couch is a digital venue; our most prominent fans are from the UK and Brazil.

A lot of people will immediately equate your project with Vincent Moon’s La Blogothèque Take Away shows. What sets Green Couch Sessions apart? Ever since I was in film school I have been a huge fan of Vincent Moon, he has been a huge inspiration. The Green Couch Sessions are more than a simple take away show. The physical entity of the ‘Green Couch’ creates a unique defining thread to all the videos. The imagery of a vintage couch in different locations, a beach, a field, an alley way creates a distinctive impression on the musicians as well as our audience. We have been creating a small community and generating local support for a lot of Vancouver’s emerging artists.

What’s in this project for you? We want to create a space that merges the art of film and music with the landscape of our city. The personal concerts by fantastic musicians aren’t too bad either.

Do either of you have a background in music? We don’t have a background in music. Jon is a filmmaker and has been behind a camera since he was a kid. We both have a deep appreciation for music and the creative experience. We worked in the local music scene on the video side for a few years before starting the sessions and really saw it as a way to give back to the community and give a lot of artists who are starting out a chance to make a great looking video.

Strangest place you’ve seen the green couch? Sitting outside a dumpster near Davie Street. We saved it immediately and it became our muse.

One place you’d love to see the couch travel to? Too many to mention, so I’m going to keep the locations local. Roof top of the Convention Center. A boat in False Creek. Wreck Beach at sunset. The VAG. Grouse Mountain SkyRide.

A local musical talent/band you’d love to see on the couch? Dan Mangan for sure! He’s sorta the big one. We have tried a couple times but he is a very busy man.

Have you ever had a band so large that they didn’t fit on the couch? Who was it? We filmed a session last year with local electro duo Humans. They had the amazing and talented Carnaval Band cover Avec Mes Mecs. 30 people that formed a giant circle around the couch and they all played an instrument. You could totally feel the energy in that room.

What was the last non-Green Couch concert or musical encounter that totally blew your mind? Last weekend we traveled with The Matinée to Desolation Sound. We took a boat to Grant Lawrence’s family cabin and they played for an awesome mix of locals on the deck as the sun set over the mountains. We are big Matinée fans. They are the nicest group of guys. Their new album keeps getting stuck in our heads and watching them perform this very stripped down private concert in such an epic location was something truly special. We will never forget it.

Ever found anything good under the cushions? A few guitar pics and a couple pennies. The real treasure is in the green vinyl. It absorbs a tiny bit of every musicians musical soul when they sit and play. We know this because the Green Couch is a little heavier after every session … or maybe we are just getting weaker.


  • KK

    I particularly like their Rich Hope session where they just barely squeezed the couch into the Belmont Barbershop!

    And I’ve always assumed that the UK Black Cab Sessions were the pioneer in the field, which begat LB’s Take Away shows, etc. Love ‘em all!

  • Herb

    I believe Vincent Moon began the Take Away shows in 2006 while the Black Cab Sessions began in 2007.

  • ambrosia

    I’ve worked with these talented folks on a few projects. Beautiful people making beautiful things…and all for the right reasons. Big fan.

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