Korg gives everyone the opportunity of make music at SXSW

(ShackMan | Posted 2010-05-12)

Korg gives everyone the opportunity of make music at SXSW

“Hands on” becomes a sore understatement when taking a look at the Korg tent at SXSW and all the gadgets and gizmos from KAOSS pads (a personal favorite) to pliers and an oil can (pictured together below). Those venturing into the 2010 Levi’s®/Fader Fort during the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas found what looked like a combination of an overgrown (another understatement – it was HUGE) toolshed and a fully functional Sound Lab.

Through the simple use of touch, visitors at the tent could create new sounds and discover ways to make music with the simplest of objects, even their own voices. The complex featured a, as Korg puts it, “movie set” décor, depicting a machine shop, with modern day musical accoutrements. Not only were the visitors interacting with the machines, tools, objects, and various electronic gadgets available, but they could also interact with each other to form mini improvisational bands as hundreds did throughout the day. This was all made possible using strategically placed Korg products, such as Wavedrums, Kaossilators, KP3 KAOSS Pads, and Kaossilator Pros. Some music stations even performed additional creative functions such as using the instruments to operate various pieces of “machinery” in the room or hanging from the walls.

KAOSS as a compositional device

Brian Kehew, the musician behind the machines and the room’s design, says that he “tried to find a way to combine the classic ‘rootsy’ style of Levi’s and Austin, Texas with the modern state-of the-art Korg style,” a feat he said was no small task. “Korg design looks more at home on a spaceship than a ranch,” he jokes, but he put it all together seamlessly in the end. He explains: “We worked from the concept that any instrument is much like a tool – and how we could present this to the visitors without saying it directly. A tool shop, like a 1950’s machinist shop, was a familiar look, worn and comfortable as well as well as a place to create and build.”

It was no small success either, as a reported 35,000 visitors came through the tent, many of whom never set foot in a music store before entering the complex. Brian enforces the idea that this was an environment that he wanted people to feel good walking into, a museum where they could touch and play. People gravitated toward whatever looked interesting and figured the pieces out as they went, without needing instructions. He finishes: “It was designed to be fun, and so that non-musicians could make music too. It was a great success for all of us here at Korg and Levi’s, and the people really loved it!”

You can check out the event video at Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ1Nk1HFNLw

James Rushin is a keyboardist, bassist, and composer living and working in the greater Pittsburgh area.

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