Bennett Werner: Electronauts

Electronauts

Includes VR Installation, Live-Sound Design.

Introduction

Immerse yourself in an interactive sonic environment where you build, drop, remix, and jam with your friends and top artists. Create songs, crush sets, and express yourself like never before. Electronauts sets the stage for you to DJ, perform, and make music magic in virtual reality." - Survios

Bringing VR into the DJ booth

I've been a DJ and producer for over 10 years. I have a passion for music and audio. When I began working with Electronauts the game still 6 months from release. My job became integrating Electroiantus into collaborative live performances.

ChallengesThe Dj booth is a difficult place to place VR sensors. Vibrations from sub-frequencies can cause tracking issues. Keeping a "blind" performers in VR safe on stage was also an issue. We catered each VR setup using Oculus and HTC Vive/PRo.

Musical Research Can modern VR and XR headsets replace instruments during a performance? Absolutely and it's awesome. We began researc by implementing VR headsets with Electronauts into a series of small events with DJ's and electronic musicians. The first ever VR scratch sessions with Black Eye Pea's DJ Rocky Rock occurred in spring 2018. A DJ was able to add and collaborate with Electronatus very easily. Scratch-VR sessions became regular and soon the research was concluded Electronauts was ready to go on tour.

Electronauts on TourI became responsible for technical setup of VR-AV for the Electronaut's live events. Most notably E3 and EDC. We used a variety of DJ, VR, and A/V equipment for each event. EDC was significant, Vr had taken it's first footholds as a legitimate predominance mechanism for the big stage. Electronaut's soundtrack featured two artists preforming the festival, Bijou and 12th Planet. We setup a VR co-op stage and multiple VR demo stations, including an Oculus Rift with Subpac inside the Rhyno Bus, a decked out Art-Bus. Inside the Rhyno bus We even installed 300 nano-leaf sound responsive lights to flash along as new users played for their friends.

Electronauts on TourThe largest challenge was ensuring VR would work on our large stage. Preventing the Funktion-One Sound system and other high-levels of nearby sub-frequencies from massive festival meant extra work installing tracking sensors. On-stage two users were connected in VR.

Final Concept

My favorite moment occurred when artist 12th planet surprised a fan. While the fan was trying Electronauts on our stage. 12th planet put his arm over the fan's shoulder. The fan feeling the arm, removed his headset and what a surprise!

Electronauts presence at EDC is a sign of the itmes to come for the evolution of virtual music creating and performance tools. The turntable and midi controller have become virtual.