Visuals are a big part of the Tycho live show and I’m often asked how they were created and presented in a live setting. The answer is VDMX, a modular video performance platform. For those of you familiar with video editing / effecting, you could think of it as a stripped down, real-time version of After Effects where every parameter is controllable via various protocols (MIDI, OSC) and even by other parameters. It can mix multiple sources using blending modes like multiply and color burn all while utilizing Quartz Composer effects.
I’ve been using VDMX for a few years now and it’s become one of those tools that I can’t live without. Because it’s modular, VDMX’s interface can be arranged in any way you prefer. I personally use three video decks with and effects bin on each and then a master effects bin. I trigger clips and modulate parameter via MIDI over IP from Reaper running on a Macbook Pro w/ a Vertex 3 MAX IOPS drive (VDMX eats data bandwidth alive!).
VDMX is an incredibly deep and flexible application which I have yet to see any real limitation to. The workflow and functionality is so abstract that there are myriad ways to accomplish pretty much anything you can think of. And therein lies the only real problem I can find with VDMX; the flexibility and modularity afforded by the abstract way in which the application functions comes at the expense of usability. The learning curve is very steep and many of the initial concepts are a little tough to wrap your head around. Vidvox (the developers of VDMX) have put together some great tutorial videos which can help move the learning process along.
Thankfully a new version is out, and with it come some very helpful additions and changes. VDMX 5 is an entirely new program, written from the ground up. For those coming from older versions a lot of the way VDMX works will feel familiar. But you’ll quickly notice that some subtle changes in workflow make a big difference. I just started learning the new version during this current tour and it was pretty straight forward.
VDMX, while certainly not geared toward the casual user, is one of those apps that will allow you to grow into it. The relatively steep learning curve will pay off pretty quickly when you realize just what it’s capable of.
Wes Anderson did it again, he made me hunt down a release date for his newest film and add it to gCal, I only usually do that for albums that I can’t wait to buy. This hits theaters May 25th, I can’t wait to see Bill Murray’s character in this.
Instagram has sort of become a way of life on tour, almost anything beautiful or funny we see outside the tour van we yell out “take the shot!”. Since i’ve jumped on Instagram i’ve looked for musicians that post on there since soo many get to travel, here’s just a few that I follow that I post about that make it in our ISO50 playlists.
@peakinglights ( Peaking Lights )
@mattmondanile ( Real Estate / Ducktails )
@benjamincurtis ( School Of Seven Bells / Secret Machines )
@dam_funk ( DaM FunK )
@nosajthing (Nosaj Thing)
@muxmool ( Mux Mool )
@sunglitters ( Sun Glitters )
@geejairmo ( Prefuse 73 )
@starslingeruk ( Star Slinger )
@poolside ( Poolside )
@foxesinfiction ( Foxes In Fiction )
@bisradio ( Tim Sweeney of DFA )
@willits ( Christopher Willits )
@ryanpitchfork ( Ryan @ Pitchfork )
@laurenflax ( Creep )
@__shigeto ( Shigeto )
@studioirisarri ( Rafael Anton Irisarri / The Sight Below )
@j_gossett ( 1/2 of Beacon )
@tm_iii ( 1/2 of Beacon )
@iso50 ( Tycho )
@nitemoves ( Rory O’Connor – Tycho’s Drummer / Com Truise )
@zryder ( Zac Brown – Tycho’s Bassist / Dusty Brown )
@heathered_pearls ( Jakub )
Somewhere between Toronto and Montreal. Really pretty, wide open spaces up there.
So I’m on the road for the first leg of the US Tycho tour and it’s been pretty intense; haven’t had a chance to post here in a while. Jakub is along tour managing and things have been going well. We’ve seen a lot of really beautiful landscapes along the way; so far we’ve driven from Chicago, up through Toronto and Montreal, and all the way from Buffalo down to Orlando where I’m currently holed up in a Travelodge taking a much needed night off from playing. We play Orlando tomorrow night, then on to Tampa and Miami, and then back north for a string of dates ending in Brooklyn. Beacon is along doing support, definitely check them out, really beautiful stuff.
Jakub took this one somewhere outside of Pontiac, MI
I can’t explain what a moving experience it has been to get out and meet so many people and share the work with them. I spent the last year locked in my basement working on the album so it’s been really refreshing to be out here performing it for people. I want to sincerely thank all of you who made it out so far and to all of you who have supported this project in other ways; it means the world to me and I feel fortunate every day to be able to work as an artist.
Gratuitous tour shot including the band, Jakub, and Brian Wenner who is our stage manager
I’ve been dreaming of having a proper visuals rig for a while now — we had been renting equipment — but this time out we finally have our own setup consisting of a 5K Lumen Christie LX45 projector, and Da-Lite Fast-Fold 16:9 screen, and a brand new custom rigging system (pictured below). It’s a great feeling to know that wherever we play, the show will be consistently presented. Thanks to everyone who helped out in Montreal getting this thing built, and to Darren from Home Depot in Watertown, NY for helping build the mounting plate.
Speaking of visuals, I’ve been getting a lot of work done on the new stuff. I’ve been working with Charles Bergquist on a new visuals set and things have been going great. Charles has been shooting beautiful HD footage and I have been arranging / effecting it using VDMX. It’s still a work in progress but we have been showing some previews here and there during the live show. I’m hoping to get that all wrapped up during our post Europe tour break.
As for upcoming stuff, we have a lot planned for the year: Europe, a full US tour, along with some festivals and no less than seven SXSW showcases. Hope to see you out there!
Happened upon this set of satellite program photos. Unfortunately there’s not much information to them, but I did find that there are a couple of gems like this to be seen here, and check out the rest of this set here
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It’s finally happening, we’re happy to announce the first proper Tycho A/V tour with the band, here are the string of dates below, let us know if we’re missing anything or you have any suggestions, looking to also relax a few days after Antwerp.
Feb 16th Amsterdam, Holland @ Paradiso
Feb 17th Luxembourg, Luxembourg @ Exit07
Feb 18th Berlin, Germany @ Gretchen
Feb 19th Copenhagen, Denmark @ Loppen
Feb 22nd Milan, Italy @ Magnolia
Feb 24th Paris, France @ Batofar
Feb 25th London, UK @ Cargo
Feb 26th Antwerp, Belgium @ Trix