“Before COVID hit I was working on a pilot at Screen Gems Studios as a utility for the construction department, as well as producing/mixing [music at Low Tide Studios],” Mike Brown reminisces of life pre-COVID. “I had to get creative like everyone else but find something that really appealed to my community of friends and family.”
Enter virtual music trivia.
Every Tuesday and Friday nights at 7 p.m., Brown hosts a livestreaming trivia show on his Facebook artist page. With rotating themes each night, such as Disney or yacht rock, the first round is 21 questions Brown culls himself. Brown opened last Tuesday’s game appropriately with “Survivor,” the famed Rocky theme-song for “Movie Soundtracks Trivia.”
“I don’t know everything and it’s hard to cover every artist in each genre,” Brown admits. “I started with a list of trivia topics I came up with on my own, but, lately, I’ve been taking suggestions from trivia players.”
The second round is called “Snip This” and consists of 10 audio clips to guess the artist(s) and name of a song. It ends with a bonus round “Who Dis?!” during which players identify pictures. The game’s point system is explained at the beginning of every game.
Players must follow a few rules to engage:
- Let Brown finish the question before submitting the answer in round one. After each question, there are 15 seconds of audio play to submit answers; no more answers can be submitted after the audio ends.
- Points are doubled in round two. Brown needs both the name of the artist and song — correct spelling counts!
- Ten pictures are put on the screen in the bonus round for players to identify within a 15-second audio clip.
There’s even a video contest with players posting clips of themselves doing dances or engaging in general shenanigans. (FYI: bonus points are given to players who post screenshots of Brown making a crazy face during the game.)
“What started out of boredom eventually blossomed into something special for me and others,” Brown says of the dozens of players who log in each night. Individuals can log in from wherever to play (so no need for teams to coordinate) and cure their homebound boredom.
“Music has always been my go-to healer and we all could use some healing right now,” Brown adds.
Brown has been recording and mixing on his own for many years but decided to do it professionally when he left his career in retail. He found a home at Low Tide and a mentor in studio owner Jim Fox. He has since worked with talents like Kashif Iman, mixing an EP called “Seasoned: A La Carte,” and released several self-produced singles along the way.
“Unfortunately, due to COVID, a lot of my tracking sessions have come to a halt,” he continues, “but I have been utilizing my home studio space to produce/mix what I can. . . . I listen to and produce various genres of music but hip-hop has been and always will be my first love.”
Nevertheless, Brown says he can spend hours uncovering “Juicy Tidbits” and stumpers for his trivia nights.
From ’70s Funk: What was the name of James Brown’s backing band? (Answer: The J.B.’s) From 2000’s Pop night: What body part of Rihanna’s was insured for a million dollars? (Answer: legs) Did anyone know that Kylie Minogue insured her bum for 5 million bucks? “Juicy Tidbits—that is what trivia is all about!” Brown chuckles.
A lot is based on what he’s acquired over the years but also from deep-dive research. “I try to keep it light and fun so everyone can enjoy,” Brown explains, “but the difficulty of the questions does get harder toward the end of trivia.”
The harder questions are reserved for the “Snip This” round, during which Brown will play 15 seconds of particularly obscure sections of songs. “Most people have not heard of the song or they just recognize the artist’s voice and can’t give the name of the song,” he notes. “I love this round because I get to expose people to new music. I also post a link on the trivia page to a Spotify playlist I created for said trivia night as well highlighting every artist.”
Brown started using the livestream studio app StreamYard (which links to Facebook, Youtube and other platforms) for a more professional look, as (much like with COVID) there doesn’t see an end date in sight for trivia night at his home studio.
Brown also has help from his cohosts (a.k.a. roommates) Katie Leath and Andrew Bopes. Bopes, owner of Mon Âme Chocolate & Wine Bar offers a $10 credit to his shop for the night’s winner. Brown also has given prizes to local shops like Happy Hour Vitamins and local pun artisans, The Peppermill Shop.
“It’s a nice way to keep in touch with your friends and meet new ones with social-distance compliance.”