Hey, we should jam! Yeah, we totally should. No seriously, we should jam sometime. We can play bad 80s cover songs and play under the name April Fools.
That’s the gist of how my current band formed. A handful of computer programmers who used to play in bands decided it was time to get back on the music horse. At first we had five or so people interested in jamming and seeing where things go. A few jams later and we were down to the power trio that is now known as The Compilers.
The name of the group didn’t come around until a month or so after we had been jamming as the April Fool’s. All three of us are internet programmers who work with Adobe’s Flash platform, as well as contribute to our local Adobe community. About the time we officially became a power trio we were kicking around the idea of becoming the house band for our local user group meetings ( RMAUG ). In the process of laughing this one out, we were asked by RMAUG to play an upcoming Adobe technical event that was happening in two weeks. That technical event was the “Next Generation Flex & Coldfusion Tour“.
At first we were hesitant booking a show when we didn’t have a real band, or enough material to play a show. Long story short, we decided to play the show, decided to name the band The Compilers, and decided we should probably integrate some sort of tech into this show. We didn’t set out wanting to mix technology with music, it just seemed appropriate for this first gig to do something technical. That technical music nugget is now known as Tweet Jam, our smash hit that plays tweets from @thecompiler‘s Twitter timeline while the band plays underneath the robot voice.
That first show was fun, funny, and the beginning of an interesting musical project. In the last six months we’ve played four shows, and we gave a presentation at the 360|MAX unconference at Adobe MAX 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. This really isn’t a lot of gigs, but considering we started this band in June, it’s been quite a whirlwind of musical and technical action. Jun has built at least three versions of the TweetJam application, as well as integrated his midi foot controller with TheCompilers Flex player. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable playing iPhone, made a few Flash movies for our set, and started looking into sound generation with Sonoflash. Scottie has been the mad scientist behind the green velvet curtain. Drummer man, electric drummer man, sound man, idea man, recorder man, crazy Brazillian ghord instrument player.
It’s so great to be back in a band. These last six months have been a blast, and it was all started from a few jokes. Speaking of jokes, below you will find two flash movies that I built for our 360|MAX presentation, as well as our talk. The concept of melding tech with music is new to us, so this talk was a bit off the cuff, but it was still a great time.
It’s a Laser! – My first experiment with the Sonoflash library. Adjust your laser properties then click shoot. Each slider has a keyboard listener. Attack = A, Release = R, and Frequency = F.
By Note – This sample is the beginning of layering sounds and controlling notes and octaves. This one can play the major notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B using your keyboard and the play button. The octave controller on the right is powered by mouseover, 1 is low and 9 is high. The sounds also have keyboard listeners. Laser = 1 and Ping = 2. Note, the event listeners don’t kick in until after you’ve clicked a button, so it may be quirky at first. I built this on the plane ride out to LA and couldn’t figure that one out.
360|MAX presentation : “Geek Rock with the Flash Platform”
411 on The Compilers
MySpace : http://www.myspace.com/compilers
Twitter : http://twitter.com/thecompilers