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Technology for Creativity


Imogen Heap

Recording artist Imogen Heap incorporates advanced technology in her music and live performances. On this episode of The Futurists, Imogen describes her creative process and explains how she improvises with emerging tech to achieve spontaneous artistic breakthroughs in composition, collaboration and live shows, including her digital twin “Mogen”, an AI-personality. Topics discussed in this episode: haptics, generative AI music, the future of live interaction and participatory media, procrastination and inspiration, geolocating songs, blockchain for music metadata, how fans and artists can collaborate with artificial intelligence.

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this week under futurists imag in he I just love the idea that this thing
this thing my voice so personal to me has an opportunity to go and exist with
other people's thoughts and
[Music] ideas well hello and welcome back to the
the futurists I'm Rob Turk and this week my co-host is Katie King Miss merse
joining me hi Katie oh hey welcome back good to see you again yeah I'm seeing a
lot of you this week in your pink your Pink Palace there um yes so so we have
been um we've had frankly too many uh too many techie nerds on the show too many guys and it's been a mission I'm
Vine to try to diversify as much as possible I bumped into somebody perfect
at an event in Los Angeles a month ago where we were talking about the future of artificial intelligence and creative
art and um and and over the course of the conversation I said I got so excited I was like you've got to be on the show
our guest today is a a multi-g Grammy award-winning musician she's also a
technologist who's done pioneering things with blockchain and haptics and other kinds of Technologies we'll be
talking about that and artificial intelligence because you can't get away from it so let's give a big welcome to
imagin Heap hi hi good to see
you thanks for making time I know you I know you've been really busy making music and we're thrilled to talk to you
today where are you right now are you in the UK are you in London I'm in Hackney London where I live with my daughter
right on cool yeah good to see you and um what's keeping you busy these
days uh well some I can talk about some I can't but um one of them one of the fun ones actually is I just uh I'm
writing a song with uh a bunch of school friends of Scouts uh because the school doesn't really offer much music in fact
doesn't offer any music it's like a local primary State Primary School um so I've got like a bunch of eight to 12
year olds and we were meant to be doing a choir but um I'm like you know what we haven't got enough time to learn these
songs and it's kind of boring just learning songs why don't we make a song um so we're making a song and it's so
good I absolutely love it um one of my best like selling songs ever selling songs or best streaming songs um is a
song called The Happy Song song um makes babies happy around
the world and parents under two I mean not the parents the child obviously um anyway so that was the last song I wrote
with my daughter and this is the second song and now she's eight so I'm feeling like it's you know maybe the next one
she'll be 14 and who knows um but it's really great it's called the history of sand which is excited about it that's
very cool so yeah that's a that's a feature of your of your your performance history or your recording history is
that you've made songs for social causes you've made songs for local groups uh you know and inspired by your own life
tell us a little bit about what inspires you um I guess I am quite easily
distracted so if something grabs my attention then that's what's going to
happen a song's going to happen a piece of technology is going to happen my attention is like grabbed and lit and
then there's nothing can stop me um and even if I've got a million other things going on I'm like oh no this thing and
then off I go and my team were like wait a minute okay we're going this way now um so for me yeah it's it's it could be
place and time or a person or a new technology um or something somebody said
or it can be really anything um but this time it was the school needs some music
um the kids are like sat learning things that are quite rigid and I just wanted
to like invite some creativity and spontaneity and kind of like let loose and go crazy so kind of exploring with
sound painting um which is a a kind of improvised uh mode of uh you actually
use it with orchestras um but I've never done it before but I just thought I quickly looked it up like about 10
minutes before my first lesson and I was like this looks good I'll do this and I quickly learned some gestures um and we
basically yeah kind of create music on the Fly um with these 24 kids and super
fun very spontaneous yes yes you know actually I
remember back in 2014 I believe it was when you were making the mimu gloves for
uh the wearable tech gloves yeah that was such an awesome project how is wearable tech impacting the way that
artists create music and what did you learn from making the mimu gloves yeah well sadly it's not
impacting us so much um it would be great if it was impacting us a bit more like it was a bit more prevalent bit
more off the shelf bit cheaper um you know still we're kind of in this you
know zeros and ones and kind of on and off and up and down space this kind of machine space but you know the more we
kind of use IR cameras and heat sensing cameras and you know AR technology then
we will be able to use our hands more um and less of the typing um because you
know it it it should just be like text just you know text um kind of you know
what do you call uh actions like text actions um like make me a thing uh do this copy this over here but equally you
could just like you know make a copy and a paste action so I'm just like closing my fist and opening my hand so when it comes to music um I'm doing the same I'm
like it feels natural to like grab my voice like I've just caught it in midair and I hold it for as long as I need to
record it and then I release my hand to open hand so I'll be doing the same thing as like you would on the samp where you just record uh and like end
the record um but because you're like in the flow of performance it doesn't you don't dis engage with the audience
you're just kind of doing it on the Fly and you know we have these amazing bodies and they can do really amazing
things um and we're like quite very limited just hunched over our computers and our like control surfaces so it's
just about like humanizing the technology that we use and being able to kind of live live within it or like it
come closer to us um and so yeah we we hope that we're in some way you know
moving forward um this this way that we interact with tech in a small way um you
know maybe there'll be some kind of gestural global language that will emerge do you use that kind of Technology more in um when you're
composing music or when you're recording in a studio or when you're performing live like where where would that be most
useful for you that kind of OT Music Creation um I suppose the the most way
I've used it mainly is in performance but as I've had a bit more time and I've kind of Taken on a bit more team people
to uh do things for me when I'm doing other things I could be like going doing a song down there when I've got like
thing I need to do with a song that somebody else could do then I'd be like okay you do this thing and time this thing over here and I'm going to go upstairs and fool around with the live
set um but actually more and more I'm trying to create a kind of a massive
session that allows me to pull in and out things that I need um so it could be a sample it could be a drum machine um
it could be a certain Reverb with a a effect at the end of it so I'm kind of creating these clusters of effects and
musical instruments that I could pull in at any moment uh to create music from
because actually one of the things I did recently uh was with this amazing choreographer in La called Jacob Jonas
and he got in touch with me over lockdown and he said that um you know would I like to collaborate with him and
I don't usually read all the messages but for some reason I did look at this one and I and I saw how amazing he was
and I was like oh I would love to work with you but when the time came of course I'm I'm never prepared for anything um I'm always very last minute
and I I just can't prepare so I'm always like in the moment in the fluster so I'm
trying to develop things uh that I can just literally Rock up open up my magic box of chicks and off I go um and so the
gloves were really helpful for that so what I did with Jacob was you know he had um three dancers that he was working
with on a piece and I live improvised with my voice and just a piano and uh
kind of conjured some some music while they were dancing and at the time I thought oh it's not very good and I was a bit kind of modred with tech problems
at the time but actually when I came home and I listened back to it I was like actually this is really good and I would never have done that if I'd like
sat down with a keyboard and done some stuff it was just it really had something special so I'm quite excited
you know in this you mean you mean the live performance the the dancers uh that gave you a kind of spontaneity yeah
because they were moving and I was reacting with with sound with like vocal effects with Melodies that were just
coming out sometimes kind of C gut like sounds that were just like through big long re vers and then tuned down and
revers and just whatever felt right in the moment and at the time I felt like oh this isn't very good because I was
being too you know thinking too much about it but actually when I came back and I listened to it I was like this is
something really great like I've never written anything like this this is amazing so now I'm trying to create a
sound a system a live performance system and a kind of live creation system um so
that I can be that in the moment because especially in light of you know music just about to just become even more more
like background music as AI generative uh works just like flood system um so I
think more than ever that that live uh that that live interaction with someone that they're really in the room making
something with you right there and you can see it you can feel it is really something special so I think you're
right about that and clearly for the music industry live you know live
performances and festivals have become kind of the the leading thing the leading way to engage people and for
people to discover artists uh how important is live for your own career right now um well it's more about it wasn't so
much about live actually it was more about just composing in the moment with people so you're not in a studio because
you could be generating stuff whatever it's just like literally the kind of pheremones and that everyone kind of
together bouncing off each other ATS you mean the collaboration aspect of it other people physical being in the
room yeah and that kind of manifests all kinds of change that are like kind of subliminal but they do change the the
course of of the creative space um but live has yeah of course uh hugely impact
uh impacted my life and I love that moment of connection with the audience um and yeah I use it as an experimenting
experimenting place and and often again I kind of turn up quite uh un unprepared
and I'm often trying out new equipment in front of everyone um and often messing it up but as a result you know
we create create this quite robust live uh gestal music making system now um and
it was really fun you know and lots of things we discovered along the way that um had we not tested it in live environment we wouldn't have been able
to build what we built that's very Fearless to test out something brand new in front of an audience well I don't know I feel like I
relish off that like I almost invit it like I know that I have like a talk or something to do and I'm just like oh
still i' still got all of tomorrow to do it and then something happens i' still got all of the to do it and then it's
like 5:00 in the morning but I've still got two hours until I you know really need to get up um and I just literally
like push it right up right up and then what's left is like the most condensed important thing hopefully that comes out
and then you just like use your wit and charm to kind of get around it hopefully um I mean it doesn't work at something
like K it goes terribly wrong um but you know for most most of the time it's kind of yeah people just now as an artist
you've been using technology throughout your career right and you're and you're very versatile because you were trained
in more classical instruments things like the clarinet and and the cello uh
but now you play a full range of instruments and you even create your own instruments do you consider yourself a creative technologist or a music a
recording artist or a performer or or is it all three or is one of those more important than the
others um I don't really know I guess I I guess in the fullest sense I consider
myself as a recording artist um I enjoy the
um the moment of recording I enjoy the different processes of recording I enjoy the different um uh yeah kind of
collaborations and people around me and time and space and Country and all kinds of things that kind of go into the recording um and then I really love most
I think just Conjuring in the moment um just being at my most creative and if
that can that is often to do with time so the LI the most Limited amount of time um is when I get my most creative
but it also leavs me quite stressed most of the time um under pressure under
exactly literally nothing would get done if it wasn't for the last minute um it's it's true it's true true true for me um
but yeah I can't do anything for too long like at the moment you know developing three different apps um one
called Thank The DJ um which I've always wanted to create but I'm actually going to do it now um a little app where I can
reach out the minute one of my songs gets played on the radio I can call up and thank the uh the DJ um and you know
how would that work well um oh my goodness sorry can you hear that that's cat she on heat and
it's horrendous she's just like it's like someone's trying to kill her um anyway pomilla aside um yeah the
idea is that so I found this company U like a at the very Baseline um where
they just are able to um know what music is being played on 20,000 radio stations
around the world um and they get that you know within a minute you can know what songs are being played if you you
know you have a fingerprint of of an audio uh you a song that you have you have a fingerprint and the radio just
like fire out the songs and this this service recognizes the songs um and then they also have uh Twitter handles and
you know sometimes emails of these of these places so the first stage would literally be just a kind of when you get
a song played um then you can call them up oh can tweet them and say thank you but ultimately the idea would be that
radio stations would really look forward to and enjoy the idea that um a musician
a verified person because we'd be verified about our creative passports these a digital identity thing that we're creating as well that you'd be
able to call up and go hey I wrote this song in your city and I was doing uh an
exchange with the British Council and I just thought you'd love to know that um so you could like geolocate songs like a
relative uh so for example cycle song was written about a trep across bhan um
and Med the machine was written in essic but it's around gestal music wear um so
yeah all these songs have like different contexts and I just think it'd be really nice to be able to bring that home in
the moment to a radio station should they play it um yeah really cool and your fans probably dig that as well is
there a way for the fans to access that uh this is literally just like um a theory at the moment like an idea we
actually just for the first time actually I'm going to try and get some uh invest from like a a normal kind of
incubator type investment thing I've never tried that but I'm like so probably should yeah I should
probably not spend my own money anymore on all these things um so yeah I'm doing that literally today um but yeah the
idea would be that the fans um could have a kind of actually I found this thing called Garden radio it's really
fun like you can see all the radio stations in the world and you can like hover over them and listen to them
assuming that you're in the catchment area that they allow you to hear the music like obviously if you're in the States you might not hear the BBC um etc
etc um so yeah the idea would be then the maybe the fan could have something
like that or we connect to Garden radio and then they can you know know when their songs that they like come up and
they can thank up the radio stations um directly or to send a message anyway all kinds of things could happen maybe they
get like tokens uh if they've called on your behalf to a radio station and thank
them that maybe they could be like get some cheap like a Rewards program of some sort
program well so this conversation is bouncing around between composing and creating and Performing and you've
actually dabbled technologically in just about every aspect of the music business
including distribution uh so for the people are listening you know imagin is famous as a recording artist but what a
lot of people don't know is that you also created a blockchain distribution system as well um the
um nwork distri it's not really distribution system um it's it's more an
idea it's like a I was pregnant well sorry I had just given birth um to my
now 8-year-old daughter but at the time she was three months and I was lamenting at the problem of uh having to release a
track and all the stuff that you have to do about it knowing that all the stuff that comes back will be problematic and
people w't have the right information and I was just like why can't they be like one true verified data set of Works
where everything the song needs is contained around a song and any service
or radio station or somebody getting married wants to put it on their video or whatever it might be they can ask the
song the song is a service essentially I just like if we could reverse the industry so instead of the services like
being all the muscle and the power and that actually the songs held so much
power by themselves and that they were the service and the song The the services could kind of you know find
interesting ways to Cate that information or deliver it up in nice packages for for people that want to listen to things that you could design
your holiday around songs that were written in certain places perhaps um if if if the songs had like interesting
contextual information uh Beyond like you know who wrote it and who produced it but even that information is very
limited and often not correct or or not even exhibited in any way um so the myia
idea was really I got excited by blockchain um eight years ago or nearly n years ago and just thought there's
something in this technology that I feel could deliver this kind of system this
kind of backbone for the music industry was public and private permissions um uh you know kind of integrating all of the
services and we'd have one point of Truth um and we could uh you know really
grow something amazing from that and so I spent a very long time trying to convince my great idea oh not my only my
ideas other people have thought about things like that um it was just like so annoying to me that that wasn't happening and I could just billion
billions of pounds every year waste did on multiple data sets being incomplete and US basically having to pay for it by
way of our royalties you know having to pay for those companies first and then we get our tiny little royalties after
and it was just infuriating to me and it in my head it was like this is really simple let's just do this everyone's going to be happy we're gonna get loads
more money but then obviously no because the whole point is that the industry
thrives of the opacity and the friction um in in the money that they can't
deliver to people but they don't know where to deliver it they don't have all the information um so it's not in their interest to have something that is that
is so useful so you were really focused on cleaning up the data the the metadata around the music that was really the
focal point for that then in order to stream royalties yeah yeah that's really I to exhibit um so we basically did a
hack weekend yeah eight years ago uh where just ethereum had just launched sorry ether had just launched etherum
was like I know a few months before and um this was one of the first things that you could buy with ether and it's pretty
hard to get ether at a time so we only managed to sell 200 copies um so it was2
200 200 it was like one Euro an ether or something at the time and I was like
making a big fuss about it so excited that we could distribute monies directly from a smart contract um whenever the
song was downloaded and it's just like it's just totally normal like that mp3.com many many years ago two decades
ago you could do that you put an MP3 up and it and it paid everyone directly and this was before all of the you know
collection societies got in way and tried to be like oh no we must we must do this um and then it got really
complicated and now they can't they're buckling in the weight of trillions of lines of data every day um so yeah it
was just like here's the thing why don't we do it why did we make it um that was like super early in the in the ethereum
era I mean even the idea of a distributed app on top of a decentralized app on top of ethereum was relatively new when you did that would
you revisit it today or would you be interested in going back I have many many many
plans and on the basically on the back of I realized on the back of blockchain
you know every single musician on the planet for over a hundred years of recorded music has lamented at the issue
of the music industry you know having this top down power and that right at the bottom the first people to put in
time and effort uh and you know money of their own are the last people if at all to get paid everybody else gets paid
first and then if we're lucky we get some scraps at the end um and it's just been like that forever
but now there's really no excuse um but still the music industry hasn't
progressed we've had like great innovation in terms of like immediately being able to distribute a song all
around the world within an hour you know we can do that we can do that amazingly well but we're terrible at the other
side you know it takes two years for that music the money to get back to the Musicians strange what a strange outcome
gee I wonder why Wonder so imag we want to get into this topic with you more uh your future
plans for blockchain and your future plans for AI and so forth but we have to take a little break now before we do
that we like to get to know our guests and so we have um a thing that we do
which is a lightning round we're gonna ask you a series of questions for short answers just give a quick answer and um
and then we'll take a little break so are you ready for the lightning round oh I hate this okay yeah I feel like a
child now okay go [Music] what was your first exposure to science
fiction or futurism uh science fiction oh it's probably um hit to the Galaxy right now
yeah classic and is there a technologist or futurist who inspires
you I mean oh God it's probably not very exciting to say um I mean whether you
love him or you hate him I mean Elon Musk I just because how amazing that one man can like obviously has like amazing
people working with him but just just like go for your dreams man I just just the hyper Loop and you know I don't know
just there's not many people like him I know it's like don't I don't know I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry maybe I could
think of anyone there um I'm Hy so what what is the most accurate
forecast that you've ever heard by anybody the most accurate prediction or the most accurate forecast
um I don't know when I was told that um I was pregnant and it was going to be going to pop out in like six months time
maybe um um that that was pretty accurate to the day can I what
technology has had the biggest impact on humanity and Society oh wow well I mean
maybe it's just because we're right in the middle of it but I mean it's pretty amazing right now it's pretty crazy like
what AI is doing even just now everywhere prevalent like just so many people are going to become extremely
rich this year and it's just going to shift the power across the planet um and
we have no idea you know what's going to happen I mean exhilarating yeah so I it
has to be now okay so let's take a break and we will we will come back and explore the topic of AI in just a moment
uh you're listening to the futurist and our guest this week is image and Heap hang on just a second we'll be right
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show all right welcome back to the futurist today we are joined by the lovely image in Heap and we're
discussing the future of AI and where music is heading all right so have you
seen how all these artists are now having their art created recreated with
AI creating new music new songs what are your thoughts about that I mean I'm not sure really how much
it's done currently I mean there's lots of promise and lots of kind of people scared about how their kind of musical
SLE is going to be stolen from them and they're going to create much better music uh with these like algorithms um
but I think uh I'm not I'm I'm I'm excited I'm excited that I'll be able to
have like I call her AI mojin um AI mojin for sure um that that mojan and I
will be able to collaborate together in the future and jam and like she'll be able to take me to new places uh places
that I've never been musically and kind of present um maybe a structure or a a
style of music that I've never even tried and then but leave me space to be myself in that and kind of experiment in
a in a kind of safe and nice environment um that perhaps digal twin yeah like a
digital twin um but also just so much more like I don't want to try and humanize her even though I can't I am
obviously I'm calling her her um but uh you know I want I want moin to really
Thrive and be the best that she can be I don't want to try to bring her too close
to me and I want her to help me be the most human I can be hang on a sec hang on a sec because I think for people
listening we need to explain what mojan is because I don't know if everybody understands this so take a step back and
just tell us about the idea what is it and and and what are you working on with that okay so AI Marin um it began uh
four years ago and basically it was just before lockdown or during during lockdown is kind of when we started her
um like publicly but basically see over here well you can't see if you're not watching but there's a there's a chair
over there and it's a an egg chair um and I sit in this chair every week uh or
every other week Tuesday mostly and my fans chats me in the shair and it has uh
speakers and a light and a little um was it called tablet um and a a piece
of software that Justin who's developed it with me uh has built uh an interface so that I can record my answers um for
questions that fans ask me and the way that they get in there in the first place is if they can't get an answer
from AI mojen who is like a chat bot at the moment um out of existing question
questions and answers that I've done then they get to speak to me directly and then with these conversations that
we have um they then in turn get edited uh kind of it goes like speech to text
and then um the text gets populated in a little um kind of program that Justin's built for me and then we can go in and
edit it and make it nice and succinct and add alternative questions and then we upload it to uh the knowledge store
for future reference so the idea is that I never get to answer the same question twice um I I always I'm always kind of
pushed to think differently and so in the future I would love to think that you know even yourself uh Robert would
have to take the test of moin and uh if you can uh if you ask me questions that I've never answered before then you
would get to come chat me in the chair and then our conversation would equally be able to feed you know moen's um
knowledge uh so that's one side of it is the Q&A knowledge store and that's something that's been amazing for me
it's almost I would say it is therapy because it's been this kind of a beautiful space kind of um uh convening
um of with me and my fans in a very uh intimate way where it's just them and I
and we're just like speaking in this space and it's very cozy and nice and how did they get to do that what's the
queuing process like how do how do people get in the queue to ask you a question um well that so I have an app
because a long time ago I came off color Twitter and Instagram and all that I mean I loved it in the beginning it was super fun uh and I like L sharing my
creative process but then it all got a bit like shouty and can't be bother with that um so then I just kind of retreated
um but I then I I was missing my fans but I just couldn't speak to them for the noise um so I developed this app uh
it's it's called heapsters um and you can uh go and download it and then you
can kind of hear all of the music that I've ever made all of the demos that I'm making um and then there's a Discord
channel for the fans and then there's an app within the um within the app a bit
within the app which is called AI Merin and then you just ask it questions um oh right on oh that's cool and so that's
like that's a great way to engage directly with the Super Fan are a lot of artists doing that now um I think most people are using
patreon patreon um which is you know it's a really good solution for most
people but I didn't like the fact that I couldn't put my music on there um because basically patre would have to
get permissions from labels to do that and it just makes it not possible for
them and it's interesting these 19th century rules govern the way we get to use music in the 21st century it seems
crazy that these old rules still uh still exist they haven't beened hopefully not for long hopefully not for
long um we we make sure of that when you think about artificial intelligence do you think of it as uh as an opportunity
to be creative or do you see it as a way to handle things like marketing and fan interaction efficiently or is it like a
a more efficiency tool for you um or something else like how do you perceive
it um for Moen I feel like in time she will become the kind of main interface
with me and anything digital anything information anything data any kind of interactions that would involve you know
the data space um the digital domain so if people want to go and find out something about me I expect Moen would
be out there and she's the Oracle she knows everything about me she's way more she's got great memory she pulls up
stuff exactly that you need to know and she speaks to you in my voice but also maybe with slight Harmony Harmony going
on in the background we're kind of developing her voice right now kind of liking the idea that the songs that I've
created would also have their own well we've talked about the song as a service but the song would actually speak to you
in my voice but maybe in the voice of hideand-seek with some of the lyrics from hide and seek um kind of into the
way that it speaks um so yeah yeah I think Marin's going to be a presence uh kind of a way to help me connect closer
um it's not about like speak to the hand at all it's how to like help you and me
get closer together and when there is a question um that really needs to be
answered um that can't be answered by all the questions I've answered before um or any of the other things that you
might need to know like my calendar or my fees or whatever it might be um then we have that really beautiful time
together um and I want to make it easier because at the moment I have to do it on a Tuesday because there's lots of humans
in the loop here um but ultimately the idea is that you know there's a question there's a new question and I'm like okay
and they're up on my phone this is what i' like up on my phone and then when I get a minute I just be oh you know what
I'm going to talk to that person now I'm going to see if the next person in the line is available right now and if they're not then they just they come
they ask eye off them first next time and then I just go sit in the chair and I have a nice chat to them um it sounds
like your fan your interaction with fans is not just a way for you to appeal to fans and and and help them keep excited
or maintain their commitment but it's a way for you to gather information and actually get inspiration right oh 100%
yeah it's totally not like I mean I'm really not good at marketing I'm not I I
mean I put out songs and I'm like I can't be bothered with the marketing it's just like sneaky out there I I just
hate it I really hate adding to the noise of like more stuff that you should
buy Listen to I just don't like it I want to help the songs kind of be
empowered to find you in interesting ways um you know in the future where
kind of all songs are contextualized um and they're kind of there's like a this
sea this River of songs of every song and depending on your mood or depending
on something that's just happened in your life or a picture that you might have just taken um that your own AI kind
of assistant person dig twin thing um would know how to find things that you
might love that you just don't know because there's no way for you to find it um it's like it would help
you discover things in the world um that you that you would love uh because it
knows you so well um so it's trying to I I would love moin to help me get the most out of my time on this planet um
and at the same time you know connect me more deeply um with the people out there
who I know I would love to connect with um and collaborate with and yeah so it's
kind of everything I mean she'll sing she'll have a voice she has a voice actually um and and soon you will hear
her voice um and uh she I'd love her to you know sing with other people which I'm sure she will because you'll be able
to sing with her voice my voice with your voice I mean people are obviously already doing it Grimes is doing it
Holly's doing it Holly Holly handed um but you know to try and make it official
uh and kind of easy for people to do that and and Holly handen you know that you're right that that was the first
project of this kind it seems to have kicked off this Cascade of uh these uh
you know people Indie content creators that want to use AI to make their own
songs inspired by the artists themselves and what's interesting is that Grimes I think it was last month I believe she
was urging her fans to go on a website where they could download assets where
they can create AI versions of songs of her and uh you know I I think it's kind
of a new trend that's sort of kicking off how do you feel about that where your fans being able to access an AI
version of you your digital twin to make their own you know image and Heap songs
yeah great I mean I love it um I mean I just love the idea that you know this
thing this thing my voice so personal to me that only really says what I think or
I think I think um I love the idea that um my voice uh these cavities this kind
of resonance has an opportunity to go and exist with other people's thoughts and ideas um there there are many people
like producers for example guy six I love him I mean he was my partner in Fu and he writes the most amazing songs and
but he can't sing for toffey he could probably hold a like a he could hold a Melody but he's not got a nice voice um
but he could s with my model and he could sing a song he could make F songs
um with my voice so it would repitch and retune uh anyone's voice in your in your
in your voice what it does at the moment it's like it's tomber transfer so it's like say you had a color on your screen
and or you had a shape um but you wanted that shape to be a different color so you just turn into a different color but
it's the same shape um so it's the same it's like it's not I'm not there's not a program who like knows language and it
it's like speaking different language doesn't know that it's just literally transferring the tombra the the sound uh
onto somebody else's voice um so all of the artifacts of that person's voice
disappear and in comes moan um or you know whoever whoever's voice and the
reason why I really love it is because even just the other da um somebody messaged me on Instagram uh really great
beautiful music uh I can't actually remember his name but it was an Italian uh electronic um artist I don't to
insult him I think he's like 50s and his 60s maybe um but it was really beautiful music and I was like I would love to
collaborate with you but I just don't have the time I can't even finish one song of my own at the moment um but you
know what very soon you're going to be able to have access to make my voice be
on your record without me doing anything um and I would love to hear my voice in your music because I love your music so
I felt this like amazing Freedom that I could suddenly be like collaborate with all of these
artists but I'm not actually doing it but I could even just imag it's like try before you buy or it's like you're
window shopping I don't know you're like wow you know I would love Clark or rival consoles to like collaborate with um but
maybe they want to try stuff out first you know but don't you worry about the loss of control or do you worry about
the quality control you know for instance with gr there were thousands of songs that were released and a lot of them weren't very good yeah of course
yeah I mean but the thing is that that is what's going to happen I mean there's just going to be so much
rubbish you know out there the the next great thing that we need to do is really
develop uh the curation discoverability of music and how to contextualize it and
and and find those those pearls that you're going to love in all the noise and it's already hard and it's going to
get so much harder because there's a yeah a giant mushroom of generated content that's going to grow yeah and so
that'll make the discovery problem harder it'll it'll add to the cogni load that the users have you know the fans
because they're going to have to navigate through all that generated stuff isn't I think it will be I think it'll
be um lots of people have have like really great roles to like cuate stuff find stuff and there'll be people who
are amazing at that or they'll create you know they'll create tools that do that for you so you could have your own
personal you know um music Shopper um that would go out and find stuff for you
because it knows what you like uh so yeah I'm not worried about that side of it I suppose what I I mean the best case
scenario wouldn't it be if somebody you know like with Jason dulo you know he
like sampled a song a bit of a song of mine that lots of people thought that I wrote a song around his bit of this song
um because his song was so massive it was like number one pretty much everywhere for a long period of time and it was amazing for me it was like
amazing uh I literally could buy a house as a result of Jason dulo I would never
write a song like that but you know I actually thought when I heard it and he did ask me about a week before he
released it um he did ask me and I just thought you know what it's actually really good my favorite but it is good
like it is good um and he never released a song before and I just thought well why not you know give it a chance and I
often say yes I actually love it when my music um and my my music kind of pops up
in all kinds of different spaces that I would never have gone there personally and as a result people find me that
would never found me you know people from cloud rap um you know heavily
sampled my music um now know about my music and they come to the shows so it's cool and I'm excited to see what moin's
voice gets up to and maybe if I'm lucky something really good will happen and you know it'll free me up to do the
projects that I want financially um because you know being commercial is not my thing with music but it's other
people's thing so now one of the one of the concerns with technology is always there's unexpected outcomes uh and and I
think you mentioned this to me when we were when we when we met the first time um that now that you've created a voice
sample or let's say a digital twin of your voice that you can no longer use
voice authentication as a security measure right so you you've given up that ability because now your voice I
mean everyone everyone you could do it already you don't even need like anyone could literally make a model of a voice
it's not people everyone can do it now it's just it's not like it's not if you're not a coder or you're not like a
you know super super geeky person but it is anyone could do that now if they wanted to they could impersonate the
president you know um it's possible right now anyone could do it well that's true with deep fakes in a way that's
what that's what that Drake um and the weekend P was about and those artist didn't have anything to do with that
song although it was a pretty good song um it's kind of an unexpected outcome you wake up one day and it's like oh wow
someone's just made a new hit using my material and using my voice yeah right I
mean hopefully they would get some Revenue one would hope maybe they even orchestrated it who knows um but yeah I
mean yeah but that's just like it's going to happen but then there'll be like biometric kind of you
know what ey scanning you know or whatever it will be something else you
know um there'll be some other kind of fact authentic what else gets you excited about the future what gets you
excited about the future performance in a live event what would make what's something crazy you would love to
try um um everything is really about flow for me so whatever can increase the
flow between what the audience are feeling what I can conjure the access to
a variety of sounds um and effects and uh kind of tools that I can literally in
the moment reach to without actually you know putting my head in front of a computer um and having this conversation
this flow with the audience you know if there's a time in the future where you know uh I don't know I mean we've
already I already tried it with like you know heartbeats and like the kind of the the general heartbeat of the of the rib
at the time you know starts a track or um people shout out and they say oh I've got a melody and then they start a
melody and then somebody else says a style I'm like okay and then we start a piece of music so yeah just like more of
the same really just just more of the same even I'd love to conjure images I mean I've been thinking about a visual
system um which Moen would kind of interface again so you'd have all these different inputs um accessing things you
know amazing plethora of like again River of photo photographs or imagery um
that ultimately would be each one would be a service and you'd have permission to use it live and you'd pay the people in the moment um but equally you could
like stream photographs uh from your fans uh if they give you permission so that you could show their images and you
kind of morph them into your images and it could create personal stories for people um so they kind of see a little
bit of themselves in in the in the moment or maybe they'll even have like I don't know or ar glasses and they can
see their own kind of life that kind of is brought to life by the tags that I've
sent the audience depending on the track I don't know that you know that your phone like even if you looked up in your
phone any you typed up car um it would probably show your car first because it's or your child or whatever and then
yeah it would become more relevant to you I don't know yeah I'm I'm looking forward to it I mean I'm not planing to
do any live show soon i' got quite a lot going on I what to do first any plans for imagin to be in the
metaverse uh yes um for sure um I I would love
to take um yeah even the songs that I'm working
on at the moment uh I want to explore the song as a dow um so that everybody
who's contributed to the song um kind of has some kind of authority or agency
over it um and to open up all of the basically a song like an API that people
can reach into and create generative work in the style of that song or in a gaming environment or um I mean loads of
things I'd love to do um I really really again it's just all about flow like how can we create that flow like we have in
the physical world we can go this shop to this shop with our body but how can we go from this place to this place in
the metaverse and kind of explore content and be inspired and you know
kind of learn and do live performance yeah do live performance I mean had that's already happening right
in fortnite you're getting uh you're getting artists who are capturing 30 million people it's astounding for 20
huge 100% I mean wave X are I think they were the they were the people that did the marshmallow first um show um and it
was incredible I did like a very small thing with them where I performed four songs and they captured it and and a
point Cloud um and then they made me like this huge creature and then this tiny thing and it we based it around the
house that I grew up in um and you can hear these they've taken it down now but it was really amazing and there was one
point where we we launched it and I was singing hide and seek and I was there for the launch so 4 in the morning
because it was like whatever time it was in Austin um and they launched it and then I went into one of the rooms so
it's like 10 people in a room but there's like hundreds of rooms same uh watching the performance and somebody came up to me like are you you're not
image in Heap are you and I'm like yes I am because I had image you know above my cat head um and they were like wow this
is really trippy because you're there as well like I can see you performing but you're here I'm like no it's weird isn't
it anyway can we talk after the show because I quite want to see it and they're like yeah yeah sorry I'll speak you in the lobby and then after the show
um you know in this virtual space came back and chatted to some people uh and that was like six years ago and it just
got me so excited that I felt connected to my fans uh even just being in my living room but fully like interacting
and feeling their energy by the way they're moving and I just got so excited um had load of money I would do so many
things so imagine you you've performed in the metaverse you've created an AI Avatar of yourself uh you've done all
sorts of innovative things give us a forecast to end the show give us a vision of where music will be in 10 or
20 years what do you think that experience will be like I really hope that um I feel like
music is kind of stuck right now um we've we've got so kind of um
everything's kind of become quite homogeneous and it's quite hard to like create new Styles and I feel like I'm
excited about the potential of AI and the the kind of the new musicians who
are like the the hackers of the systems to create amazing new things that we
could never do humanly because we're so like built in a certain way in our brains that we're going to we're going
to with AI create like music that is truly unique and entirely different and
and original maybe you know it's so impossible to be hard to be original I think I've only ever Managed IT like
maybe half with hideand-seek um and it's such an amazing feeling to like have done something that feels kind of unique
um and if technology can help us kind of get out of our boxes um and create
really inspiring in the moment kind of so you can kind of literally capture
things that are going on in the moment create music very very quickly very well produced music um and create discourse
around that piece of music by the song being a service that you can actually have like communions or kind of
communities like engaging with the song itself rather than like going over here to Twitter or going over here they I
mean they can go wherever they like but ultimately the the conversation is held and kind kind of like um bubbling around
itself uh so that you could literally go to the nerve center and see all these conversations around the song so in a
previous conversation you had said something like uh you were Vision your vision was hyper personalization down to
like the single fan but now you're talking about music and the future as a way to kind of galvanize a whole
conversation and engage a group of people which of those gets you more
excited I guess I like extremes don't I um I really love yeah the onetoone
conversation um and the the knowledge uh of someone else and learning something
from them um or being able to you know help each other in some way emotionally get through something um but on the
other hand like the the energy and the reach of a piece of art um and giving the art the
chance to have a space for itself um that is belonging to itself that's
doesn't belong on a platform over here where you have to like write in this little way but just kind of like I don't
know I think there something about that somehow like it's a like it's a world of
its own and maybe through I don't know kind of reversing
the way the industry is right now where it's like it's kind of like Excel spreadsheets of services listening to music and it's all just a bit like water
um but maybe we can really get excited about beautiful pieces again and kind of
celebrate them and come together around them and have discourse around them um
because it feels like we don't really do that anymore um we do around technology but even then where do we go to talk
about it um so yeah down right down well thank you very very much for joining us
this week on the futurists imagin Heap Grammy award-winning musician technologist artist it was such a great
time to talk to you thank you very kindly for joining us here thank you very much we enjoyed it a lot and um
thank you Katie for coming along and joining us as co-hosts this week and thanks to the team at provoked media that make the show possible including
our engineer Kevin hon who's gonna make us all sound great I guarantee you that imag and the rest of the crew um and
thanks to the fans the people who listen to the show and who share it with each other uh who turn other people on to the show that's really very helpful and as
we've been discussing throughout this episode that level of fan engagement is really what makes this kind of performance and this kind of
communication possible we really really appreciate it keep listening keep checking us out and we will be back next
week with another futurist so we will see you in the future in the future in
the [Music] future well that's it for the futurists
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