You’ve just been nominated for a Viveport Developer Award. How do you feel?
Excited and honored to be included among so many great VR applications! I've been blown away by the creative tools developed for the Vive so far and psyched to experience what comes next.
Where did the idea for Soundstage come from?
If you look at old rock concerts, you’ll see these HUGE synthesizers that the musicians connect together to make electronic sounds. These instruments are literally enveloping the player. SoundStage attempts to capture the feel of those epic music machines then take it to the next level with tools only possible in a virtual environment. You can hook up your sounds to the electro-maracas or drive your keyboard with a 3D theremin. All in a world inspired by the airbrush paintings and computer graphics of the 80s. When I was a kid during that time, this is how I’d imagine making music would look “in the 21st century.”
How big was your team and how long did it take to develop?
The team is just me for now. I started the first protoype in March of this year (2016).
Tell us something about Soundstage that we wouldn’t know from just experiencing it on Viveport?
The developer is not a musician! Everyone assumes I make music, but the last instrument I played was an analog synthesizer in college.
During the development process, did anything surprise you along the way you didn’t expect?
Well, the user will always surprise you. In the case of SoundStage, I didn't realize how rarely new users think of "depth." Most folks who haven't experienced room-scale VR think of digital experiences as 2D. When you ask the user to interact with that third dimension, it takes them awhile to realize they have the same fidelity of control they have in "real" space.
What do you hope people take away from the experience?
For musicians, a new mental model for music making and sound generation.
For non-musicians, I hope they feel empowered to make something rad.
For VR enthusiasts, interaction designs ideas they can apply to their own projects.
Do you have a wish list of people you’d like to experience Soundstage? Any musical acts or artists?
It would be great to get more musicians into SoundStage, especially artists like Imogen Heap, who explore technologies as part of their creative process.
I'd also be curious to hear feedback from artists like Brian Eno or David Byrne. Folks who approach music and creativity with these unique, world-class perspectives.
And of course, just getting some EDM and Synthwave artists in there would be good!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to other developers?
To quote Pablo Picasso, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Keep at it!