Driving in the car, Mark Niskanen's girlfriend put on some music that instantly excited the jazz pianist's curiosity. What started as a moment of appreciation turned into a collaboration between Niskanen and singer/songwriter Lauren Deming.
Deming, who grew up in the Detroit area, already had an established band, El Dee, but couldn't resist what Niskanen offered: he would rearrange several of her songs for her to perform with a fifteen-piece orchestra. MNOE, or, the Mark Niskanen Orchestral Experiment, is a group with horns, strings, and rhythm section, with Niskanen leading at the piano.
In the studio at WMUK, Lauren Deming, Mark Niskanen, and eight members of MNOE (Jordan Curry, violin; Jon Boyd, viola; Christina Karakos, viola; Jordan Hamilton, cello; Michael Hudson-Casanova, saxophone; Curtis James, trumpet; Henry Rensch, bass; and Jordan Otto, percussion) play through several Deming-Niskanen arrangements. They finish with an impromptu performance of "But Not For Me."
Their first single, "Never Twice," was recorded in Kalamazoo and filmed at the old Gibson factory in Kalamazoo.