Inspired by the revolutionary Nike+ FuelBand, Dazed earlier this year commissioned Los Angeles-based music producer Nosaj Thing and FAIR, LA - the west-coast design and technology collective led by Julia Tsao, to create FIELD, a global and exclusive creative film collaboration with award-winning Swedish interactive studio DinahMoe.
We had eight people in four cities and three time zones collaborating together, constantly building on each other’s ideas and evolving FIELD forward
The result is a collaborative online music video, the likes of which you have never seen or heard before. Beautifully hypnotic, the cinematic journey reacts to your keyboard and mouse, the mesmerising visuals becoming more complex, organic and chaotic with your movements. And when you stop, it stops. Each time you step up to play, the experience is totally unique.
We really wanted to create something that plays with the user’s expectations and encourages experimentation and discovery
This reimagining of movement and the live performance as sound and image was inspired by the artists’ time spent using Nike’s FuelBand, the energy metric that measures how active you are, regardless of whether you’re a runner, a basketball player, a skateboarder or even a drummer.
The collaboration started deep in the Californian desert at last summer’s epic Coachella festival, where Nosaj Thing blew apart the Gobi tent with an unforgettable Friday night performance. That balmy evening, his shattering live electronics transcended the digital audio-visual realm through his collaboration with FAIR, LA. A year later and these two forward-thinking creative forces have evolved their creative partnership into this project, in conjunction with Dazed. We spoke to Nosaj Thing and Julia Tsao about their ground breaking work...
Dazed Digital: How were you first creatively inspired by Fuel?
Nosaj Thing: I like that idea of being in competition with yourself. The score system pushes you to create... whilst also reminding you not to be in the studio all day. I love the way that the FuelBand’s behaviour responds to you and the aesthetics of the LED.
Julia Tsao: Fuel feels like human electricity! As our movement is becoming measurable, whether it’s dancing at a show or as a musician, it made me wonder was can we do with that Fuel that we’re generating? It may be an abstract concept but it could be grounded in something real and could be visualised and expressed in creative ways.
DD: How did this influence the music?
Nosaj Thing: After I got a feel for how FuelBand works, I thought of new music parts and sounds that vibed off of the colours and performance stats you get when you sync the FuelBand. I was trying to create an arrangement that swelled with synths and percussion sequences that took you on a journey, started half time and built up to double time.
DD: Were the reactive visuals inspired by a similar path?
Julia Tsao: We were excited by the prospect of telling the Fuel story in an interactive way as everyone on the project works in the digital space. The red, yellow, green and the dot matrix provided an instant grasp as an iconic system. And we wanted to invite the audience into the experience as FuelBand is unique to each individual. There’s a physical input with a digital output. The user’s movement actively affects the experience through a creative, audio visual expression.
DD: As artists, it seems that the collaborative nature of community is a huge inspiration.
Nosaj Thing: It inspires me all the time as I like to feed off of diverse ideas and try to adapt. The relationships and challenges pushes everyone and the team has to be right.
Julia Tsao: We had eight people in four cities and three time zones collaborating together, constantly building on each other’s ideas and evolving FIELD forward. We really wanted to create something that plays with the user’s expectations and encourages experimentation and discovery.
Experience the FIELD project here
FIELD uses HTML-5 utilising Web Audio API
Nosaj Thing photography by David Lang
Music Nosaj Thing
Director Julia Tsao
Creative Direction Alaa Mendili, David Mikula
Creative Technology David Knape
Interactive Music Design Johan Belin/DinahMoe
Audio Processing Alessandro Saccoia/DinahMoe
Motion Design Jordan Kim
Creative Producers David Mikula, Julia Tsao
Producers FAIR, LA