SONIC TRIGGER: The Music-Meets-Instagram Campaign Taking Over New York


The only thing in this world that can transcend all cultures, beliefs and backgrounds is a love of music. We all have that “one song” that has gotten us through a difficult break-up, has motivated us to reach new goals, or has brought us back to a fond memory. Sonic Trigger (@sonictrigger) is a new Instagram campaign that is giving people a creative platform to express themselves and the music that means something to them.


For those of you unaware of the current hype around this project, Sonic Trigger is the musical love child of the the notorious NOH8 Campaign and Humans of New York. The way it works is you submit a mini write-up about a song you that is near and dear to your heart, and once this is submitted, you have a photo session where you pose while listening to the song you wrote about. It is certain that no one can resist the music they love, and it is even more certain that no one wants to turn down a photo-opp that is bound to bump up the ‘gram activity!

We caught up with Sonic Trigger creator, Jesus Navarro (@jesusinc_), to find out his plans for this project and where we can get our own feature. Read below!

EDM NYC: What inspired you to create “Sonic Trigger?”

Jesus Navarro: I’ve always been curious as to what people are listening to. It’s even a date question. I ask people to list 5 songs they like and I’d ask why. Speaking from personal experience, I have a ton of songs that have a memory attached to them. Not all are huge significant moments but they don’t have to be. On Christmas, my sister got a ring light for her makeup. She let me try it out and I tested the waters by snapping some pictures of my family listening to music and I loved the look. It all snowballed from there. What better way to share these stories than through social media, right?

EDM NYC: What has been the response from your social circles when they hear about this project?

Jesus Navarro: Before I launched anything, I had already photographed about 30 people. All of them friends and family. They’ve all been very supportive and were willing to do anything I asked them to and I’m grateful for that. But the task wasn’t too scary so I didn’t find much reluctance. You sit there and listen to a song you attached a memory to, then talk about what that memory is. People are excited about it because music is such a crucial part of our lives and this is a way for you to share with the world all the stories your music carries whether monumental or the tiniest recollection.

EDM NYC: Why do you think music is something all people can relate to?

Jesus Navarro: Music doesn’t belong to anybody in particular. So, we can take music for whatever it is and relate it to what we’re going through. I like to think that’s why musicians make music. They open themselves up through their craft in hopes that someone out there can relate or use it to move forward. Anyone can relate to music.

EDM NYC: So far, are you surprised by the type of stories people are willing to share for this project?

Jesus Navarro: Absolutely. The participants so far have been friends of mine for years. This project allowed me to reach another layer of them. Whether it be knowing the memories they’re holding on to or just how music is helping them get through a rough patch. It’s beautiful. I’m getting to reach people more through their music and that is a match made in heaven for me.

EDM NYC: Are there any common expressions people make in their pictures when they listen to their song of choice?

Jesus Navarro: There are the initial nerves of having a camera and a light in front of you. I choose to keep the room dark so once the light is on, you can’t really see me behind it. I avoid giving direction. But the instant the song is on, I can automatically tell sort of the nature of the memory they’re bringing up. For a sadder song, there’s almost a shyness to look up, as if ashamed to show a vulnerability in the eye. For happier songs, you get more laughs. I can almost tell now when the memory full hits too. It’s this moment where people are into the song but then, they look away for a second and put a huge smile on their face. It’s lovely.

EDM NYC: Is there a particular genre of music that you find people are submitting more frequently for this project?

Jesus Navarro: Nothing in particular so far. I guess pop would be the most frequent.

EDM NYC: Why do you think this genre evokes such an emotional response from people?

Jesus Navarro: Pop is accessible. It’s always playing on the radio, commercials, etc. I find that the genre doesn’t matter in terms of the emotional response. The mind subconsciously attaches an image to your mind when a song is playing. Sometimes the memory comes back to you as a surprise when the song plays on the radio or comes up on shuffle.

EDM NYC: How do you want the project to expand over the coming year?

Jesus Navarro: Eventually, I’d like to set up shop and allow people from all major cities to be a part of this. Right now, the focus is New York and New Jersey. But I’m still encouraging folks in different areas to reach out with their stories. If the interest is there, I’m going to go. I’m also liking the idea of having people take the reigns for me in different cities. I want this to be an opportunity for people as well, whether it be to participate or eventually to work together. Sonic Trigger is shot on a phone, behind an inexpensive light in front of a grey paper background that can be set up any where. The pictures are edited on free apps and the music added to the pictures is done of free software online. Ultimately, I want this to be an incentive for people to think outside of the box and create something of their own. The resources available to us in our own pockets are a lot more extensive than one thinks and with a little creativity, you can create something.

EDM NYC: If someone wants to submit a story for “Sonic Trigger,” where and how can they do so?

Jesus Navarro: E-mail your story and song choice to! Include your name and the town you’re from. Shoots are being scheduled for this month and next in the NYC/NJ area, but again, everyone is encouraged to participate. Before you know it, we’ll be in a town near you!

I know I already picked what song I want to share. What will yours be?

– Interview by Liz Tillman

Follow on Instagram: @LizTillmanNY


About Author

Liz Tillman

Entertainment marketing professional by day, electronic music lover and journalist by night. Instagram & Twitter: @liztillmanny

Comments are closed.