Though NYC’s MTA is being unsupportive, James Murphy has found a partner in Heineken and its Open Your City campaign that aims to make legendary cities even better. Together, Murphy and Heineken hope to launch a grassroots campaign to present to the MTA by the end of the year.
“Subway Symphony is a little idea I had to change the sound of the subway turnstiles into different pieces of music, depending on what station you’re entering,” Murphy explains in a new video with a behind-the-scenes look at the project. “I think if people are willing to do what it takes to live and work here — the commutes, the crowd, the costs — they deserve a little sonic gift on their way home or to work, or wherever.”
Murphy and Heineken are encouraging fans of the idea to tweet their support, using the message “I Support #SubwaySymphony.” The partners also launched a site that will release a series of shorts on the project, detailing why they feel the new sound is necessary and how they plan to enact the sonic shift. The interactive site also previews the sounds that could potentially be heard if the plan goes through.
Murphy has been working on the project for over 15 years and has not seen it make much progress, with the MTA repeatedly dismissing the project. Following the partnership with Heineken, Gothamist reached out once more to the MTA and their opinion has yet to shift. “We have heard from him, and as we’ve told him many times, we cannot do it,” the MTA’s Adam Lisberg told the site. “The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won’t mess with them — much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project.”
Though he won’t budge on this matter any time soon, Lisberg does still admire Murphy’s efforts. “It would be a very cool project, don’t get me wrong, but we can’t mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it.”