Every once in a while you get hit by something out of leftfield, and 78 minutes you're left with your jaw on the floor, drooling saliva, and your mind in a different place altogether. Watching Procrastrinat.us is one of those experiences. Performed at the New Media Meeting 2009 in Sweden, by the trio of Emil, Olof and Emmanuel, it's a beautiful example of how style, sound and sights can come together perfectly.
We set our sights to the north and found out that the AV possibilities of Resolume were actually a large inspiration for the lads, and so we figured we might as well pick their brains a bit more. You can read the whole interview below, but not before watching the epic two parter that is Procrastinat.us
-What are your backgrounds as artists? What medium and tools do you prefer to work with?
We all started seriously listening to electronic music in the mid 90s, Olof and Manne met at a techno party and soon started to make music together. Emil and Olof met in junior high school around the same time and we ended up beeing a part of the same Demo group because we were both interested in computers and the Demo/Tracker Scene. Emil works as a freelancing motion graphics artist so he uses Adobe After Effects on a daily basis and he and Olof used it for creating the videoloops in procrastinat.us. As for audio tools we can't make up our minds if we like Reason or Ableton more.. we use them both and we love them but Impulse Tracker will always be in our hearts.
-How did you get into the live side of performing?
Olof did his first VJ gig when an other VJ canceled his gig at a event where he was dj'ing. He VJ'd with 5 VLC windows and just alt-tabbed between them, it was quite fun, just to have a movie in VLC and start to jump in time to the music. Emil played around with a VJ app called Monster back in the days but nowadays he's making AV/VJ loops, both professionally for groups like Swedish House Mafia
and for fun for procrastinatus. So he's not really been focusing on live performances but that will hopefully change in the near future. The brothers Emmanuel and Jonte have been focusing on Djing for a long time, it has grown into more of a lifestyle for Emmanuel, he truly lives for the music.
-So, what is Procrastinat.us, aside from an epic 78 minute visual and musical journey?
It's just an experiment, on how to use AV-loops, this production was actually started as a test just because Resolume 3 came out and we were like 'O.M.G!! We can use audio now, and all the new kick ass features!' So we created the basic video loops and preformed live and then we were like 'Let's make a "movie" but we make it in full HD so it's future proof too!' We asumed that we would make it in a week, but it took more like 1.5 years of production/procrastinating.
Because of the high data rate of uncompressed HD, the workflow for the HD movie ended up to be this: we used sequenced full HD Quicktime loops "live" in Ableton Live and then rendered it as video and then edited that, adding transitions in Adobe Premiere and finally some postproduction as a cherry on top. You could say its an " edit of " AV performance using Resolume. Regarding the loops, they're just one sound accompanied by a video synced to, or generated by the audio.
-Can you explain a bit about the concept behind Procrastinat.us?
It's an experiment! And a really exciting learning experience, we decided really early in the process that we should use a limited amount of colours because its gives consistency. We really hate seeing VJ material that is just like a pixel porridge of colours and styles.
Emil and Olof created the AVloops quite quick, focusing on making both manually synced and generative ones. We used soundloops that Olof and Manne had created during the years, there's so many of them and some are more than 4 years old! Our future productions will be more concistent in so many ways but we are procrastinating with these projects at the moment.
-Can you explain a bit about your live setup? What gear do you bring on stage? How are you connected?
Two laptops - connected via MIDI to sync - master runs Ableton and Resolume3. Slave runs Ableton for extra soundloops and effects we might use.
-Do you use generative material, or prerecorded loops?
Prerendred! We aren't geeky enough to code generative video yet, but prerecorded material does on the other hand gives it a bit more soul because its manually synced and polished so it doesn't have that winamp visualisation feeeling.
-Do you have any tips and tricks for people developing their own av-sets? Any gotchas or things that took you ages to get right?
If you want to make perfect audio sync, make sure you save all your audio as separate audio files, it's so much easier to sync and it looks much better when you generate AVloops from it. And if you want to mix it like you mix audio. having the same BPM on all the files is also a good idea.
-Which features of Resolume do you use the most? How do you use Resolume in general?
Opacity, Multiply/Screen blending and beat sync thingy. We don't really use the effects that much since we carefully produce each clip for one single purpose. We really love the new alpha channel feature in the DXV codec, this is so awesome! But something we realy miss is a little feature that makes it possible to change between different types of animation when routing bpm to for example scale. Now it's just linear but it would be so much awesommer to have exponential, smooth and maybe your own defined bezier controlled curve. And maybe that the values build additively. You already have the feature of routing the BPM so why not add some more options to it to make us happy ?
-Who are the up and coming visual artists out there that we should be looking out for?
We are having a huge boycrush on the guys at Transfett (http://www.henrikjose.com/transfett/
) And we love the work of Sougwen Chung http://sougwen.com/
There might be some collabs going on if there is not going to be an excessive amount of procrastination in the future
-Multiply or screen?
Haha, ehm as we said earlier we use them both pretty much. But multiply maybe. Emil only likes content with alpha channels and is not so keen on blending.
And last we just want to say 'Data and die !'
Check out the individual sites of the Procrastinat.us gang:
Emil Bardh http://www.emilbardh.com
Olof Schröder http://www.osch.se
Emmanuel Moreno http://www.soundcloud.com/maginfluensa
and of course http://procrastinat.us/