TheWaveVR is a unique space where the physical world and the virtual world meet – and it’s beautiful. The VR app gives DJ’s the ability to host shows, DJ live, utilize virtual instruments while tracks are playing out, have fans be present in their virtual venue (that can be customized), and of course, enables real friendships with real music lovers from around the world. We all love seeing DJ’s spin, but hurdles like work, sleep, time, cost, transportation, and other factors can all prevent time doing just that. Yet, just like how many social VR apps, like AltSpace, VTime, and Oculus Rooms, have introduced a new convenient way to participate in our social lifes on mass scale, TheWaveVR is shaping up to be the go-to VR app that solves a convenience problem for dance events.
We caught up with Clarke, aka GRIMECRAFT, who has been with the innovative virtual reality DJing event company from the start. We discussed the future of dance merging with virtual reality, fan reception, virtual communities, reasons regular dance fans should be excited, and why DJ’s should be keeping a close eye on it as a unexploited, engaging social tool to enrich the fans experience. Check out the interview below:
Where do you see VR music events heading as a whole in the next few years?
At TheWaveVR we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible with VR and Music in a social space. As the technology advances and VR becomes more accessible we’ll be seeing more and more people with the ability to jack into the metaverse and join in on VR music events.
Do you think dance fans will be the the definitive early adopters of this next stage of live event experiences?
I think VR offers itself primarily to electronic based acts at the moment. With our product we offer tools primarily for visual artists and electronic musicians.
When did you learn about TheWaveVR and how are you involved?
I received a few texts from an old coworker from Harmonix (Adam Arrigo) in 2015 about checking out a VR music project that he had begun prototyping with a VR designer, Aaron Lemke. At the time I was doing procedurally generated live music visuals for DJ sets on my Twitch channel. On December 15th 2015 I was invited to a slack channel and had a demo of the VRPerformer that Aaron had built. At the time it was a VR sequencer with some FX cubes and a few synths you could play. While i thought that was cool I had some ‘what-if’ thoughts that I brought up in a meeting and shortly after we prototyped the DJ decks which would be the baseline of the future platform. In those days I was doing a majority of the 3D art assets (avatars/stages) while providing feedback on the design and functionality of the DJ tools. I built out the environment for the Expanse, our first venue, as well as the Home Cave. I also handled our social media channels at the time and all of our apparel and merchandise – we are a small scrappy team and wear a lot of hats. After funding our seed round I took a step back to focus more on the music partnership side of things, recruiting artists like Kill The Noise as well as reaching out to labels for music licensing. Nowadays post Series-A I do mostly do consulting, some 3D art, and interface with artists while I focus on my music career.
What initially got you excited and interested in exploring more between the world of dance music and VR?
I have a long history with online communities – from avatar based chat rooms to MMORPGs I’ve always maintained a huge interest in online worlds. I think one of the experiences that will always stick with me is a forgotten music based avatar chat room from the early 2000s called Coke Studios. It was basically Habbo Hotel but you would make little 30 second songs in a simplified DAW with a bunch of loops and then go to Venues or other users rooms to DJ your song in exchange for currency to furnish your own studio. I had always wanted to see a modernized take at these concepts. From the first moment I tried Aaron Lemke’s initial VR Performer demo my mind was racing with all sorts of possibilities. My personal incentive to join the team was to help pioneer this future of dance music and social VR.
What are the most exciting elements of TheWaveVR, or this new-found space for live music experiences as a whole, that you’ll think will fire up music fans the most?
The allure of electronic music festivals is the massive stages and mind-blowing visuals. In VR we can really do anything on the visual front and its not just confined to an LED screen. We have created experiences for The Glitch Mob, Imogen Heap, and Tokimonsta that are brand new ways to interact with their music – ways that are simply not possible in reality. On our platform we empower users to do the same for their music using the Wave Builder. The ability to build your own show with insane visuals gets many people fired up on the idea.
How has TheWaveVR impacted your career as an artist?
There was the initial buzz of being a VRDJ that brought me and the company a lot of attention, but in the early days of TheWaveVR I was entirely focused on creating the product. I dropped my management team and let my artist career take a backseat while I helped build the future of music. I thought in the end this would be more important for the world rather than like 10 new GRIMECRAFT video game bangers and a tour. After closing funding I began to focus back on music and noticed the two careers went hand in hand. A huge part of my job at TheWaveVR is meeting with artists and through my DJ career I was rubbing shoulders with many of the greats. Many artists have reached out to me to learn more about VR, so I sort of feel like a bridge between musicians and this technology – an A&R for VR so to speak.
Every artist is trying to find a way to get heard more, what key aspects of TheWaveVR should they know about if artists are considering it as a tool for genuine fan engagement? Should they try it?
TheWaveVR is a virtual reality social music platform, and as such it is a great way to interact with fans from all over the world. Artists can set a time to play a show and invite their followers to attend in real time. They can interact and engage with their fans, attend shows with friends, explore together in the Expanse. They have the ability to build their own worlds within the confines of their Home Cave with our Wave Builder and have a friend or fan VJ their show. I think it is an amazing experience for artists and fans alike. At this point I feel close to many people who I have met through VR as it provides a co-presence which was not possible before. In the online world we are part of communities that congregate on forums or online games making friends and acquaintances from all over the world in hopes that one day we will all meet in real life. I think social VR brings us a step closer to this realization. I think everyone should try TheWaveVR.
Rapid technology innovation is impacting our world at an ever-increasing pace, music is not immune to this facet of the 21st century. In fact, one could say the dance scene is more early-adopter leaning compared to other genres, with both entrepreneurs seeking out the EDM community to test out fresh ideas as well as fans willing to take a shot on them. TheWaveVR is avialable on VR headsets HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows MR.