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A Journey To Another Reality

Compose music in Virtual Reality … Work with coders and new technology to create an outstanding performance in VR, mixed reality and in our world … If we'd like to do that?

"Absolutely!", was our answer, when my musical co-conspirator Electric Djinn and I were offered to do a music residency at the cutting-edge VR game arcade Jump Into The Light in the Lower Eastside of NYC.

And that's how our journey to another reality began.

With my Vive Pro headset in the green room
With my Vive Pro headset in the green room

ACT I: Getting started

What programs are out there to create music in VR, and how do they work? Electric Djinn usually works with Logic. She decided to go for EXA. I usually produce with Ableton Live Suite. And I went for SoundStage VR.

The VR programs work in a very different way than DAWs in our reality. Sooooo … back to YouTube-tutorial-school! And to trial and error.

When we started our residency in early January of 2020, I immersed myself into my new virtual studio. Here is a little glimpse into a simple setup:

An example of a studio setting in SoundStage VR

To produce my own music, I wanted to use unique sounds. So the first task was to import my own samples into SoundStage – from kick drums to bass sounds to synths and noises. Then I was good to go! I started creating beats, only to quickly find out that it is incredibly hard to make Pop songs in SoundStage, because it is nearly impossible to sync up instruments with each other. Well … No problem, just get creative and find ways around this! Obstacles are always an opportunity. And SoundStage became my new beloved playground.

So within the first three weeks I came up with four different settings for songs, downtempo as well as uptempo. I became a Pop performer that incorporates the mindset of a DJ into their workflow and creates in a different reality. Totally exciting!

But how to translate this whole creative process into a performance that is a unique and enchanting experience for the audience?

This is what we figured out in ACT II.

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