Meet the Innovative, Imaginative and Inventive Miro Shot

Friday 05 April 2019
Words Mimi Wright

Miro Shot is breaking out of the mould of a typical band in the 21st century. Their music is about more than just music – it’s an experience as well. Miro Shot collectively imagine a techonological, music-infused world where listeners are immersed in sound, light and visuals.

Miro Shot is back with their new track ‘Boston Dynamic’, and it’s paired with a sick video featuring content from the Miro Shot Collective. We asked Miro Shot more about their new single, their creative process and more…

What do you love the most about creating music?

There are so many things to love about music that it’s hard to pick out just one thing. It’s the most powerful tool there is for getting an idea out there, for sharing a message or a statement. Governments and brands can spend millions on advertising campaigns or hire huge teams of people, only to have no one listen or care about any of it. But a good song can be made on a broken laptop in two hours by people with very little money or technical skill – and it can go round the world and become part of someone’s life.

Describe a typical day for Miro Shot.

Every day is different, and most days are not normal.  We collaborated with NASA and the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies on the last video, so we’ve been speaking with some pretty remarkable people over there while we got the edit finished, we met up with an amazing artist called Jacopo Baboni Schilingi the other week – he’s an artist that has made a living, breathing digital sculpture, which is created by his own body’s biometric data. You can stream it LIVE on this link – the data is fed from a device he wears all the time, and the live stream will continue for the rest of his life.

We also put the call out to everyone in the collective to send in content we will feature in the next video, and we have already had some absolutely amazing contributions – You can sign up here if you want to take part in the next one.

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‘We live by the…’ Single 2 coming Friday #miroshot

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The music vid for ‘Leaders in a Long Lost World’ is so cool. Is it what you envisioned it would look like?

Thanks! All our videos are created by the Miro Shot Collective, so we never really know how it will look until we start going through everyone’s contributions. If there’s a “look” or aesthetic for the band, it’s that kind of mashup/hybrid of styles, mediums and images.

It’s based on the idea that in some ways, the internet is the world’s first genuinely collaborative event or artwork –  Marshall McLuhan’s “the planet as art form” ideas in the 60s.

The argument is that things like Youtube say more about humanity than any book, album, painting or film ever could, and in a lot of ways the video for “Leaders…” says more about the project and its community than anything we could have made on our own – a huge mashup of different images, by different people, in different countries.

For those who might not have heard your music before, how would you explain it?

That’s always a difficult question, as we all come from different musical backgrounds, and we don’t really have two songs that sound the same.

One answer is we make electronic music and then try to play it as a band… or we record human beings and put them through lots of very complex digital processes so that something simple comes out the other side. Or else some days it feels like we are playing the soundtrack to a video game we haven’t made yet.

We decided to put ‘Leaders In A Long Lost World’ out first because we thought that what the world REALLY needed was a band playing a kind of mutated UK garage with Korean air-raid sirens and female/male vocals.

Obviously every band in the world says “oh we don’t really have a genre”, so we have made an effort to come up with as many genres as possible. Jamie says we are definitely Digital-Folk/Stadium Chip-Tune, but he has completely changed his mind since then.

Can we say “Pixel-Gaze” for now?

How did your band come to be?

We all played in a variety of different projects, and had wanted to work together for a while. Then we moved the band into this place in London, which meant we had space to write music and try out ideas. First there were about six of us, then people started bringing in different artists, from illustrators, designers, filmmakers, coders etc – and it just grew from there.

A big part of your live events is a VR/AR experience. How do you think this adds to your music?

The VR/AR shows are at the heart of the whole project; it’s what we wrote the music for.

The album form has stayed the same for so long, and the way the industry, and even musicians, approach a record has barely changed since the 50s. However, everything else about music has changed, the way we listen to it, the way we make it, the way it’s shared. 

We wanted to create a live show that could not have existed 20 years ago… or even 10 years ago.

The real question is how can you operate as a band in 2019 and actually say something new or meaningful?

We began to take apart the idea of a band, of a live show, a tour or a song, to try and see how they worked and see what we could do differently.

After about a year of testing, breaking things, writing, deleting and experimenting, we came up with the band’s sound and the AR/VR show – it’s weirdly primitive and traditional, especially for something that uses such new tech because it turns music into a raw experience that you can’t do again. It’s going back to what a music experience has always been.

Of course you can listen to the record or watch the video, but it will never be as intense as flying through a virtual city, then turning into a cloud of pixels while a live band play right in front of you.

‘Boston Dynamic’ is your latest hit. Can you describe it for us?

‘Boston Dynamic’ is a song about online communities, gaming culture and being committed to a cause – it’s sort of a song about being in this band. It’s about all the good and bad things that come with being part of something.

We hid loads of stuff in the video that explains things in more detail.

Specifically for ‘Boston Dynamic’, what did the creative process look like? How did the song evolve?

We wrote a ridiculous amount of songs to try and find the right sounds, textures and themes that would work with the virtual worlds we built for the show – ‘Boston Dynamic’ was written in the winter, when the Lab was freezing cold. The challenge was to try and use a kind of Beyonce ‘All The Single Ladies’ drum beat but then have it switch into a kind of over-the-top stadium chorus, with about 20 people singing the hook.

How did you envision the video to go along with ‘Boston Dynamic’?

The community was sent the lyrics and some images, and the video was made as a huge global mixed media collaboration. There are established artists featured in the video such as Beeple and Oliver Harud, as well as new artists and members of the collective: an elementary school teacher in Brooklyn, Liz Morrison, [and] a film maker in Buenos Aires, Matias Resich.

It features hand drawn animation, CGI, motion tracking, archive footage of the birth of silicon valley, as well as the recent riots in Paris juxtaposed with the football celebrations on those same streets.

The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies contributed footage of their ground-breaking work in AI, robotics and machine learning, as well as NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – who gave us exclusive footage of their robots. We recorded the Macedonian Symphonic Orchestra for the track, a 65-piece orchestra run by Laurent Koppitz. 

Hinako and I originally intended to shoot the video in London, but Hinako had to go to the U.S., and in the end we recorded our performances 5,000 miles away from each other, using Skype, which kind of fit in with the songs themes of that tiny bit of warmth you get from communicating with a real human being through lots of digital interfaces.

Something about Hinako and I being very far away from each other added to the strangeness of the video, and the idea of talking through technology at all.

What are your top three goals for the rest of 2019?

Firstly, 2019 is when we take the project round the world, so that will be a huge milestone for us.

Up until now, the band has existed as a kind of private thing – as we had to develop the music, the visuals, our VR/AR app and the live system that powers it.

We played secret shows in Amsterdam & Paris, as well as lots of little shows at the Lab in Dalston, but really this is the first time anyone outside the collective will experience it.

Second of all, we are looking at new ways to survive as a band – the old model doesn’t work anymore, and it crushes lots of great bands that should have been able to go on to make amazing records. 

So we have a tech startup, and we are in our first round of funding. We are very lucky with our label AllPoints/Believe. They were basically a startup that turned into a label, so they approach music with an understanding of how people are listening to music NOW, rather than how they listened to music in the past. They really understand what we are trying to do, and have let us grow in our own way.

Thirdly (and this one probably seems the most simple) we want to protect the family that we have built within this band, and the world we have built for ourselves. It’s easy to start a project with lots of idealism and approaches – the hard part is sticking to them when things get a bit more serious. We are really excited about the future in general, and it’s important that this band never becomes a chore or a “job”.

We are breaking a lot of rules that dictate the way a band should operate, and sometimes that makes us frustrating to work with, but the reward is a band that we feel like we can do anything with it, from albums to films, games or apps; there are incredibly creative people in Miro Shot, people who are trying things that haven’t been done before, saying new things with new tools – it’s exciting to see what comes out of a project like this.