As they have it, Tomorrow Never Knows Fest is a celebration of “rising local indie artists as well as acclaimed national acts, including both musicians and comedians… a city-wide event, uniting six independent venues.” From its 2005 inception onward, TNK has been an annual, persistent celebration in the middle of the most brutal season giving Chicagoans reprieve through music and comedy. This 2019 iteration was no exception. With nearly sixty acts over five days, TNK again had a little something to warm everyone’s heart this January. For us specifically, this year was extra special because 2019 marked our third year pairing with Auditotree to fill their TNK mugs.
TNK focuses on community and independence, making it an exceptional collaboration for Metric. TNK’s Talent Buyer Patrick wrote about these common priorities: “Unlike most cities, the Chicago music scene remains very independent and I think it's extremely important to highlight that.” Not exclusive to Chicago’s music scene, our coffee culture shares this independence-- Metric independently owned since its establishment in 2013-- and throughout our second city’s resilient roots. Look no further than our shared persistence through harsh winters (as I type this it feels -15). Speaking to that persistence, Patrick affirms that “the promoters involved with TNK work very hard to bring Chicago a special experience during a typically slow part of the year” because they understand our communal hustle can’t hibernate.
As previously mentioned this is our third year with the privilege of caffeinating TNK fest. I asked Jud, Audiotree’s Director of Business Development and Sponsorship, why Metric?; he kindly responded, “we’re just fans of what Metric does… the Metric family has been really good to us over the past few years...As a company, [Audiotree] wants to align [itself] with cool companies doing great work, and Metric has always been that.” Such generous sentiment made us all the more stoked to re-up our partnership in 2019. We crafted custom pouches of a personalized TNK Blend (notes: milk chocolate, cashew, raisin) for each of the sixty acts.
[Metric's Harris Nash, @harrisnash, w. our TNK Blend]
Also, at the Audiotree owned venues, we were excited to take our partnership further in the form of a cocktail with a kick. “It’s hard to serve coffee at a late night show,” Jud qualified. “We’d met with Jess Salgado [Metric’s Partnerships and Projects Manager] and Mark Mann [Metric’s Director of Operations]...Creating a cool cocktail was a high priority, but we weren’t sure which direction it should go. Thankfully, we have a super-talented cocktail genius by the name of Adam Jevne…He created the idea of doing a White Russian, but infusing Deep Eddy vodka with coffee beans.” Priority achieved (read as, drank).Such creative projects with an emphasis on cultivating taste and design reinvigorate us over here at Metric. The desire to work with “cool companies” is mutually present and part of why we love this specific relationship with Audiotree’s TNK Fest. Their humans, such as Jud and Patrick, put into action ideas of fierce independence and community. With it a week in the rearview, we’re still excited by 2019’s smash and are already looking forward to what 2020 has in store for all our fellow, resilient Chicago humans and us.
To help introduce our newest Metric family member, we sat down with Mark and asked him a series of hard-hitting questions about Chicago, his love for coffee, and Malort:
What are you most excited about living in Chicago?
Just about everything. I'm originally from Wheaton, IL and even though I've spent nearly half my life in Denver, this move feels like coming home. All of my family is from this area since way back in the late 1800s when they immigrated here from Germany. There's a tradition that I'm excited to discover and explore. As far as actually being in Chicago, I'm very looking forward to the food, the beer, the culture, the diversity, the actual seasons, the abundance of classic dive bars, lakes, music, and so much more!
What's your favorite thing about coffee?
Coffee has the unique ability to bring people together much like other hospitality establishments (like a bar or restaurant). The direction that the industry is heading is exciting and innovative, and it's a fun time to be involved!
What’s your go-to coffee drink?
Usually, drip coffee, but my old-school go-to is an iced Americano in a cortado glass.
Outside of coffee, what gets you excited?
Music, eating, biking, walking, cooking, animals, writing, crosswords, and dreaming of solutions to everyday problems.
I hear you have "cat children"… Can you elaborate on the species of your offspring?
Evelyn is a cross-eyed sassy lady. She's a mutt of probably a Siamese and a Calico, but she rules the roost and isn't afraid to tell you! Charlie is our spirited little fella. He's an orange tabby, and we think he's majority Maine Coon. He is a tender soul but sometimes plays just a little too hard. I have cat pictures... SO MANY CAT PICTURES... want to see them? :)
I love Malort. In the world of being a conscious taster, it's one of the unique taste experiences. So seldom do we as Americans get to taste something one-note bitter. Other cultures use tamarind or some other more bitter ingredients to cook with, and I think everyone should spend more time with the bitter portion of their palette. It's a nice break from sweet bourbons and salty french fries!