Coffee isn’t enough to wake these guys up on Saturday mornings.
They need amps and guitar pedals too.
Local musicians and coffee enthusiasts Seth McCarroll and Brady Smith have been shooting episodes of “Coffee and Riffs” for eight weekends in a row. The duo chose to film the latest episode inside a dusty barn in eastern Oklahoma City.
On April 5, McCarroll and Smith were on the barn floor setting up more than two dozen guitar pedals, microphones and a camera to capture the improvisational jam sessions their show is known for.
“It’s pretty much what Brady and I were doing on Saturdays anyways,” McCarroll said.
Smith nodded his head and said, “We’d find a reason to hang out.”
Smith’s wife usually works Saturday mornings. So instead of sleeping in, he decided to team up with McCarroll to make YouTube music videos on a regular basis. This became “Coffee and Riffs,” and the duo have been inviting close friends and other musicians to make some noise on camera for a couple of months now.
The only requirements are an instrument, a willingness to experiment and a coffee cup. Resulting episodes range from a collection of weird noises to swaths of beautiful sound. In a recent episode, Norman-based musician John Calvin ate too many doughnuts and looped guitar sounds into a dreamy, relaxing melody with the help of several effects pedals.
Making some noise
When Smith needs someone to help him fix his house, he calls McCarroll. The two work on all manner of projects because they’ve learned how to communicate and work together effectively.
“Coffee and Riffs” wouldn’t exist if both friends didn’t want to work on it, but each has his own take on the show.
“Having just a somewhat normal 9-to-5 job, it’s easy not to focus on actually playing guitar by yourself,” Smith said. “It kind of became this way to come up with new ideas and try new combinations of stuff. I wasn’t taking the time in my day-to-day to do that.”
Smith said he doesn’t hesitate to focus on music and try to get his chops back with the extra practice time the show allows.
McCarroll, however, doesn’t think of “Coffee and Riffs” as practice.
“It’s the equivalent of drawing circles with your nondominant hand on a piece of paper,” McCarroll said. “It can be totally random.”
Seth McCarroll pours a cup of coffee shortly before filming an episode of “Coffee and Riffs.”