May 11, 2021
Tune-In Tuesdays #105: Beacon Bloom on Releasing Their NFT-Integrated Music Video for “Nothing Here But You”
A still from the New Zealand electronic trio Beacon Bloom’s music video for “Nothing Here But You”Source: Beacon Bloom
Shot in one take, the music video takes the viewer on a scenic, immersive journey — and the best part? “Nothing Here But You” is NFT-integrated, offering fans and collectors a chance to connect with the song’s narrative in an entirely new way. 10 percent of the initial NFT sales are also being donated to The Orangutang Foundation and Regenerative Agriculture.
Recently, we spoke to Beacon Bloom’s Ryan Ferris to learn more about the band, the single, the music video, and NFTs via email. During the interview, we also learned more about the band’s passion for environmental efforts, such as regenerative agriculture.
Summarize your sound in just three words. Why did you choose those three?
Uplifting, ethereal, unpredictable. They are words commonly used to describe our music by others.
Tell us a little about yourselves and your music. How did you meet, and what inspired you to start a band together?
I met Scott (our manager) when I was busking on the street in Nuremberg, Germany. He approached me to work together after seeing me amass a big crowd. We didn’t know what the project would be at that point but it ended up being Beacon Bloom.
I met James through an older project we played in together called “Cosmic Tortoise” and both got on really well. Both of us wanted to make live dance music. We both met Joss attending/curating a zone at a small festival in New Zealand called “Something Else.” Joss walked into the room and I immediately knew we’d be friends. We asked him to join us this summer after we saw him play so many incredible DJ sets and bring such amazing energy.
The real fire which kicked the band off was seeing Bonobo play live at Laneway in New Zealand in January 2018. They were phenomenal! Completely inspired me to really get the project going. After James joined, and with Scott on board, it all came together with the release of “Jobim” and our debut live show.
Take us for a tour of your “genre-fluid universe.” What is your writing and recording process like? Has it changed due to COVID-19 restrictions?
So far we’ve been experimental, working with whichever genre comes to us when we are jamming. The constraints Beacon Bloom have had are the songs need to be danceable, and that they have a general sound pallet that we dig.
The rest of the parameters are pretty loose. So far, I have written some of the tracks, or they’ve been co-written by James and me. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, usually starting with a synth sound or a sample, or an atmosphere and following it down the rabbit hole.
How have you helped each other grow, both as a band and individually as musicians?
The band and opportunities that have come to us have forced us to make decisions: “Do we step up and work with this, or not?” And so far, we’ve managed to make a lot of it happen — the tour we just did kind of kicked off with an opportunity to play a slot at one of the biggest festivals in New Zealand (Rhythm and Alps) on New Year’s Eve, with us saying — do we work with the live set we have now, or do we buy a bunch of gear, invest in a bunch of production stuff and do it at a world-touring standard?
We chose the second option, which has worked out great. So it seems the band gives us challenges that help us grow.
I can’t speak for the other guys, but personally, James has taught me a lot about patience in the writing/recording process and he always surprises me with his creativity, and Joss has taught me a whole lot about DJing and music in general as he knows sooo much music.
Tell us a little about your latest release, “Nothing Here But You.” What’s the story behind the track?
“Nothing Here But You” is the felt sense of euphoric mania; being out of touch with consensus reality; that you are the only thing in existence.
What was your inspiration for the story of the song and the music video?
Music video for “Nothing Here But You” by Beacon BloomSource: Beacon Bloom – Nothing Here But You (Official Video) | Beacon Bloom
The song was written and recorded in an isolation hotel over a day or two when I came back from Europe late last year. I heard some people were escaping to isolation hotels in Auckland, so I imagined what must be going on in the head of someone trying to escape an isolation hotel — what they’d have to believe to think that was a good idea.
The music video came when I put the song in my headphones and closed my eyes — I saw the main character running toward the camera with people behind him, and lush, green NZ vegetation everywhere. The rest was pretty emergent with the group — they all brought their own costumes, and we fit the NFT integration stuff in around that.
The idea for making a video in the first place came from my friend Mango at Charged Particles when I spoke to him on my podcast, asking what NFTs were. The conversation was one of the most inspiring I remember having, and immediately after I spoke with Scott and the boys — “we have to make an NFT integrated music video.”
I barely slept for a week afterward. This is where the video, the NFTs, the Metaverse, and the release all started to come together — after a lot of creative jamming with Scott and Joss, and Matt from Whisko Creative, and Dylan from Extremekid who were invaluable.
How did you first hear about NFTs? For readers who may not be familiar, what is an NFT music video?
Mango got me onto NFTs, who is a friend introduced to me by another dear friend – Preston who runs an incredible art incubator/creative space in Christchurch called XCHC.
NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. Which means it’s entirely unique (as opposed to fungible, which is something which can be mixed, where everything is identical, like dollars). NFTs can be traced back to their original artist, forever. It integrates the same value reasoning as something like the Mona Lisa — you can take a photo or copy the Mona Lisa but only the original holds value, as it’s linked to the original artist (Da Vinci).
NFT’s can have extra functionality too — like Charged Particles NFTs which allow users to “charge” them with cryptocurrency, or other NFTs, and do fun stuff like locking them for a certain period of time. This extra functionality is just beginning and will get more and more interesting in the future.
For example, there is a timeline where users could buy kind of shares in a music project and receive royalties automatically via the blockchain and the NFTs that represent their share of the project. It’s these extra “meta” layers that I really find interesting, as opposed to the simple “baseball card” collector kind of economics around NFTs.
Our video has a bunch of art in it, which are also represented in digital art as NFTs. The piece we sold at the premiere was the Mandelbrot Sockthief — which is a digital version of the Fannypack the main character is wearing in the video. So the buyer gets the NFT (digital art), a WAV of the song, the actual physical fannypack featured in the video, as well as mystery items inside the fannypack. The fannypack itself has a QR code, which links to the NFT, as well. And the whole thing will reveal certain information about narratives built into our Metaverse. We’re shipping the Fannypack to the buyer in the United States.
So the music video contains art that’s in the music video, as well as digital assets, perks within the future Beacon Bloom space, and access to special parts of the Beacon Bloom Metaverse — a virtual world accessible via offramps contained in the video. The Metaverse also references back to the music video, and to real-world events. It’s all very fractal, self-referential, and inception-like.
How do you see NFTs shifting the music industry in the near future? What impact do you think it’ll have on artists and their audiences?
As mentioned, NFTs could be utilized to automatically distribute royalties from initial (audience) investors of music projects like albums or singles (RAC and 3LAU have been talking about this)
NFTs as collectibles have already been sold all over the place by the likes of DEADMAU5 and Kings of Leon. And it’s easy to see how this could be extended to things such as concert tickets or backstage passes.
As the decentralized Web3 becomes more and more a part of daily life, having certain NFTs in one’s crypto wallet (like Metamask) will act as a kind of automatic Passports to exclusive access of an artist’s content, shows, or websites.
The real exciting stuff comes when NFTs and real-world art are co-dependent on each other. One doesn’t make sense without the other. There are some artworks already that only work if the user is holding an NFT and is in close proximity to the real artwork. The limit to this stuff is only really in one’s imagination.
The press release mentions that 10 percent of the initial NFT sales will be donated to charities including The Orangutan Foundation and Regenerative Agriculture, which is really beautiful. Was it hard to narrow it down to just two organizations? What helped you choose those two and why?
We actually chose a different organization for each NFT, trying to reflect on the theme of the NFT. The Orangutan Foundation was chosen as we have this mascot in the band called San, who has been at most shows and is known as the Philosopher King orangutan. 😉 If we can help out some of his brethren, that’d be great.
On a serious note though, the mass deforestation in Sumantra and Borneo (mostly for palm oil monoculture) is a true tragedy and needs to be stopped as soon as possible.
Regenerative agriculture/forestry is something we’re looking to really get involved with, as it’s a self-evidently a good thing to do, and for the most part, is non-political and unifying.
From writing and recording the song to shooting the music video and releasing it as an NFT, what has been your favorite part of this single’s release? What have you learned from these experiences that you’ll use going forward with your work?
To be clear — the video itself isn’t an NFT (although there is an NFT for sale that comes bundled with a full alternate take of the video in a different location, that only the NFT buyer will be able to see as we aren’t making it public).
It was really amazing to have a whole bunch of the community featured in the video, and for all of it to look so epic. We’ve made a bunch of new friends and sparked a lot of new ideas as a result of this, which has been really inspiring, as well.
We learned a whole bunch about crypto and virtual online spaces, about building narratives and mystery, and about what we can achieve if we go hard at work for just three weeks. It’s opened up a whole new avenue of creativity that we’ve only just begun to tap and that’s very exciting.
What was the most challenging part of creating “Nothing Here But You” and the music video?
The song itself came together pretty quickly – the hardest part about the video was shooting it in one take. It took quite a lot of planning, and I think five full takes on the day.
What do you hope listeners take away from your latest single?
I hope it transports them to a different space and energizes them. I hope it inspires them.
Overall, what are your overarching goals as a band? How do you hope to impact your audience and the music industry with your work?
We want to inspire cascading positive effects in the world. Bringing people together in the fullness of human experience, a full spectrum of sincerity and silliness, joy and wonder, sadness and integration, inspiration. To transcend the pit trap of nihilism and show there is genuine beauty, truth, goodness, and meaning in the world.
I earlier mentioned regenerative agriculture/forestry — this is something I’m becoming more and more passionate about and will work within the band.
For the industry, especially the nightlife and festival scene — how do we make these events less harmful and more connective, beautiful, creative, and inspiring? How can we impact the land and areas where we are holding these events? Rather than slightly trashing them, can we go to desolate places and have them improved by our presence there?
Imagine a massive touring entity/festival that tours the world, playing in desertified, deforested land. Or concrete jungle inner cities. Or forests at risk of being cut down. The festival invests a bunch of the profits (of which there can be a lot) into transforming those spaces into new forests, regenerative agriculture, or with swathes of plants and greenery in inner cities. Or preserving existing forests.
Imagine coming back to the places you have made better, year after year, and seeing them continually improve.
Then you have a true reason to party, a truly meaningful celebration. Everyone at the festival would have contributed to that.
This is what we’re working towards.
What’s next for you guys? Do you have any other music in the works, perhaps another NFT music video?
There are a lot of ideas up in the air at the moment – an album, another music video, a tour in Australia, more single releases, more NFT stuff, and more metaverse stuff. Keep an eye out and you’ll find out. 😉
Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?
Thank you so much for the interview and the thought-provoking questions.
If anyone reading this is inspired by what we’re doing, please get in touch.
Give Beacon Bloom‘s single “Nothing Here But You” a listen on Spotify or watch the music video on YouTube!
Be sure to follow Beacon Bloom on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their latest music releases.
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