I usually learn about new music either from seeing an artist live, or hearing them on a mix CD given to me by a friend. I also like to make artsy, multimedia gifts for my friends, and while some might opt for sending a link to a Spotify playlist, a mixed CD can be a far more personal gift to give.
Step 1: Pick a theme
Start with a theme for your mixtape: Last summer mine was “songs you’d hear at the pool.” This month, I’m making mixes for the friends who will be in town for the Mission Creek Festival.
Step 2: Prepare the playlist
Since I am the host for friends visiting town for Mission Creek, it’s my duty to be informed of the lineup and schedule of who we want to see. Every year, Mission Creek comes and goes with a whirlwind of artists, and my friends and I find that we miss out on groups we would have loved to see live—if only we had heard them before! This year, my pals will be prepared: I’ve included some Mission Creek 2015 acts, like How to Dress Well, Horse Feathers, Shovels & Rope, Sir Richard Bishop and Freddie Gibbs; favorites from previous years (Sharon Van Etten, Tallest Man on Earth, Pieta Brown, the Magnetic Fields), as well as some staples from the ever popular end-of-festival dance party (ODB, anyone?).
Step 3: Package your CD
To accompany the tunes, I’m tucking in the calendar from Little Village’s Mission Creek insert with our planned shows highlighted. This festival has a history in our group for being a raucous week of hungover, delirious days and nights where the cops come to break up a three person dance party, so I thought I’d add some ephemera to remind the crew of what to anticipate: a condom, a fortune and a throwback photo.
Step 3: Break out the glitter
Then comes the business of packaging. You could put the CD inside the card or envelope, but since I have included some bonus supplies in there, I’m making a sleeve for each CD so it doesn’t get scratched. This is when I let my junior high collage art skills take the wheel, and I cut up old magazines. If you have a metallic ink gel pen, you could write a track list on the outside of the sleeve.
I take great pride in my mail game, so I need to gussy up the envelopes with supplies from my stash of washi tape and glitter letters, found and purchased at my happy place and part-time employer—and also the scene of many Mission Creek events that these friends are expected to attend—rsvp. If you can’t deliver the mixtape in person, all that’s left is to take these puppies to the post office and make sure they get to their destinations quickly so we can be ready to sing along together. See y’all there!
This article was originally published in LV 174