The upheaval of Covid-19 has compelled many musicians to use video to express their art and reach fans stuck at home. We’ve compiled a few inventive and memorable examples.
Kylie, Miley Cyrus, Elton John and a pole-dancing FKA twigs. Dancers on roller skates in neon-lit club spaces and The Blessed Madonna at the decks. Let’s just plainly state that Studio 2054 is the dopamine dance-floor the entire world desperately needed. Setting the bar for all who should follow.
Beamed to 176 countries with at least 5 million tuning in, Dua’s majestically designed celebration broke the paid livestream record to prove emphatically that a future exists for those who believe. As The Guardian so nicely put it, the event was “a hymn to playfulness; a 16-song sigh of relief at the survival of silly escapist effervescence.”
French electronica and pop icon Sébastien Tellier created his live-stream with typical flair and vision. The mad genius used a multi-room venue to alternate between a bombastic full-band studio performance and a setting resembling the dining room of an 18th century Parisian palace to perform stripped down renditions. By creatively employing space for distinct sounds as well different moods, the result is a memorable and interactive performance.
No aspect of live music has suffered as much as the night time party culture. A reacting audience drives both the experience and the DJs behind the decks in this ecosystem. Countless streams focused on simply the DJs quietly working the decks in vacant warehouse, and the emptiness simply amplified the lack of energy.
Sonar’s approach is different. Leaning into the artist in a vacant space, they use mind-bending visuals as they projected images and waves in a 360 green studio. It effectively transports the viewer to another universe, accentuating the otherworldly sounds of Catalan DJ extraordinaire John Talabot. Visual artists have a lot to offer in this space, and it’s essential to include them in the appropriate streams.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we find wundergal and bombastic technodoctor Marina Rubinstein. She created “Quarantine FM”; a weekly live-streamed livingroom party for her instagram and Facebook using an iPhone, a microphone, strategically placed house plants, simple party lights and good vibes.
By going bare-bones with an inviting house party aesthetic, she’s built a consistent following due to the excellent thumping music she plays and the wonderful energy she brings. A social butterfly in socially distanced time, she interacts with fans and invites fellow DJ friends to come play. Moral of the story is that you can make a live-stream work with anything and everywhere; you just need to commit.
Another example of visual art enhancing a live-stream is British sound wizard Max Cooper’s performance for AVA festival. Cooper is a visual artist as well as a phenomenal electronic musician. For this stream he performed in Belfast’s Carlisle Church, with projectors and screens placed throughout the venue.
As Cooper went in and out of his A/V show, the iconic venue paired with computerised patterns, mapping and visuals for a once in a lifetime inventive performance.
One artist, one instrument, one iconic venue. Laura Marling and Nick Cave approached their separate live-streams embracing the vast emptiness and sheer oddity of performing in what would usually be two packed concert halls. As they each performed, the contrast of space and the play on negative space created instantly captivating visuals, which heightened the deeply evocative affinity of the music and performances. Two musicians at the absolute peak of their craft.
Ambitious. Extravagant. Elaborate. Adjectives that describe Travis Scott’s “Atronomical”. All accurate, yet inadequate. Travis and Epic linked up to create a show unlike any: launching a Godzilla-sized Travis into the world of Fortnite. As players interact with him he destroys and rebuilds the surroundings. By using the gaming world as an outlet, Travis built a unique experience that could only exist in a virtual space. It will be the exciting gold standard of what a virtual concert can achieve for years to come.
The marriage of music and gaming is a point of specific interest, which we will discuss in an upcoming article. Until then, we hope the examples above inspire you to create your own unique shows.