At Sounds Amazing, interactive design begins with a fun and engaging user experience. From there we work backward to design the interface, uncover the proper technology for the project and deliver a rock solid experience from top to bottom. Many clients turn to us for the hardware design and many more for a complete turnkey exhibit.
Interactive Exhibits at EMP
On Stage is a one of a kind immersive experience. Imagine the thrill of walking from the back of house onto an authentic rock stage complete with a real drum set, keyboards, guitars, a huge wall of guitar amps, microphones, monitor speakers and a complete lighting array, with the real sound of an excited crown just the other side of the closed curtains. The screen opens up to a projection of the crowd, staring back at you and cheering you on as you perform one of a half dozen songs.
Reek worked closely with the interactive development team on the visitor experience, then I designed the hardware and programmed the original version of the On Stage activity including the audio content and control of video playback, smoke machines, lasers, curtain control, static and moving lights and the custom 12 channel audio playback system which brings a real screaming crowd, recorded live at the Universal Amphitheater. A ground breaking part of my design includes customized musical instruments where even non-musicians can perform flawlessly on guitar and keyboards without ever playing a wrong note.
On Stage features a unique take away poster ($9.99) that feature you and your new “band mates” rocking out on stage, complete with your unique band name and the date of your performance. The photo is taken mid-way through your performance and the visitors are prompted to pose for the photo by the lyric tele-prompter that provides a countdown to the picture being taken. The photo s have been very popular with the visitors and a great revenue generator.
The Jam-O-Drum was originally designed by Interval Research. Reek took their initial hardware design and concepts to a new level, providing an educational component to this very approachable unit.
Reek's concepts included thematic design, incorporating graphics and sound specific to various genera of music. The blue background (Top video) is the Latin percussion theme. In the attract mode, the background track is lowered and the vivid background rotates to provide a visually stunning centerpiece for the Sound Lab gallery. The hands on each playing surface invite the visitor to strike the surface, which initiates the activity mode.
In activity mode, each surface shows a picture of a Latin percussion instrument and its name. An authentic background pattern provides a bed on which visitors can play along. Visual indicators of tempo and the “beat” are indicated by the pulsation center ring which rotates to provide and stunning visual effect.
Robo Kicks conceived by legendary artist "Roger Dean", famous for his icon album covers for YES and many other groups over the years, Roger was engaged to conceive the entire set design for the tour and envisioned 8 huge bulbous drums that would accompany YES drummer Alan White during his drum solo in the epic sound "Ritual". When Alan asked "How does that work?" Roger shrugged his shoulders. Alan immediately contacted Sounds Amazing to make this incredible concept come to life.
Incorporating an electronic bass drum pedal next to Alan's bass drum pedal on his drum kit, Alan was able to actually play the enormous drums from his drum seat, adding to the already unique set of drums, percussion and electronics Alan is well know for. Each strike of the pedal simultaneously triggered a mechanized drum on each side of the kit and each successive strike played the next drum in line, cycling between each of the four drums on each side. Reek integrated the triggering signal into the shows lighting system via Midi allowing the large RGB LED bank of lights to illuminate instantly and accurately with
The original idea was to mike each drum but Reek didn't like the idea of another 8 open mics on stage and the drums were designed more for look than sound so he created a custom thunderous sound in the sampler used by Alan for other sound effects and percussion (Also designed and programmed by myself).
The result was an immensely powerful visual and sonic theatrical assault, adding an extra layer of wow-favor on top of Alan's amazing drumming and the timeless music of this legendary rock band.
The Flying Stunt Kit Of Doom
The Flying Stunt Kit Of Doom was conceived, designed and fabricated by Reek Havok. In 1989, following the success of Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood” album, Motley Crue was planning on undertaking another of their famous over the top world tours. Tommy Lee had planned to fly his acoustic drum set off the stage and over the audience. When he was told it was too heavy, Reek Havok suggested building a lightweight electronic drum set to serve this purpose. “The beauty of this...” Reek exclaimed, “It can look like anything!”. Working with Tommy on the ideas for the solo, Reek built this one of a kind electronic kit. The staging company put together the platform and 120’ long track that the kit would ultimately ride over the audience on. The result was an outstanding, one of kind performance by Motley Crue’s over the top drummer.