March 2016: An unassuming Friday afternoon is gradually disrupted with a huge army of neuro and tech D&B artists drenching our timelines with a link for Terminal.
No words. No reasons. Just a link to a new YouTube channel with two short cyberpunk-style videos of a loading sequence and introduction the stark, 360° sci-fi world Terminal inhabits.
An hour later, boom: Prolix’s brand remix of Bad Company’s Oxygen lands on the channel.
In the months that have passed since this stealth-like entry, Terminal has revealed elements of its identity; it’s a collaborative project between the Eatbrain, Bad Taste and MethLab in collaboration with Billain. It’s also the first VR electronic music channel on YouTube and it’s just become a label with its debut EP released last month with Current Value
Intrigued, we dispatched some questions to Terminal’s neuro-commune to find out more.
Terminal… More heads are better than one. Collective power. Or are we missing the point?
Jade: We are venturing into uncharted territory. Something entirely new the world has not seen before. Of course musically we are like minded, we have been friends for ages, it was a logical move to join forces for a project of this magnitude.
Jef MethLab: All of us have a different perspective on D&B and electronic music, but mutual respect and shared tastes too. The Terminal project represents the pooling of resources to achieve something greater collectively that also serves a collective function. I see it as something like the ‘Avengers Of Neuro’: separate stories running through each entity, and something that emphasises the shared elements of our vision through the combination of Terminal.
Vegas: Many heads always create an Equilibrium.
Was this always on the cards? Was there a specific conversation or release or event?
Billain: I have been involved into the VR from some early stages through New York based company QDepartment, contributing with ideas and helping on Muse’s Revolt VR music video. This led me to a Pandora’s box of new paths with incredible innovative media. At the same time we wanted a channel that has something aesthetically new to everyone. A “new” in-depth medium of underground sight and sound. While wearing a GearVR for extensive amounts of time, I noticed that there are no 3DVR music channels. I panicked positively at that moment realising the potential. So we excavated a name from my tune Terminal, a solid cyberpunk neoname. I came up with a logo and used what I learned in VR to shape the concept of the triangular entity in dark cyberspace. The rest is history.
Jade: Before this project I in the dark about the VR world. Billain has been the engine of this project. He showed me things I didn’t think were possible. As we all work together in various ways anyway, it was pretty obvious that we should do this together. I’m proud Eatbrain is part of this.
Vegas: Same goes for Bad Taste. When this project materialised it was something that I automatically gravitated towards it. It involves some of the greatest ideas around: To see the future.
Jef MethLab: There seemed to be a shared feeling, between ourselves and various artists, that a specific thread of electronica didn’t have a natural home. Not just D&B; we felt we could create that home in a way that stood out with the 360 element at the forefront. We also felt that by putting all of our contacts and resources together, we can ensure that all of our releases hit the essential blogs, radios and DJs every time.
What role do you all play within Terminal? How do you work together?
Jef MethLab: Billain brings technological inspiration, Vegas and Jade are real label veterans with a wealth of ideas. I join the dots and keep things rolling. Ben Hook (ANTIREAL) is the mind behind the sick 2D, gif graphics and website, Amar Mulabegovic (The Macula) is the inspired animation genius behind the channel part of the project’s first 360 video.
Vegas: I love the fact that this brings a group of like-minded friends together and gives us all a reason to communicate on something we have in common.
Jade: You all know Vegas, part of the legendary BC crew. BC was one of the acts that started the whole D&B avalanche in my life. Seizure was the actual first D&B track I ever heard. Now you can imagine how fascinating it is to collaborate with him! Jef and I work together on several fronts, through his agency and artists. Billain, meanwhile, is like Dexter. Not the killer but the scientist kid in the lab. He is a visionary. Frankly, this project wouldn’t exist without him, he is the man with the vision behind the project.
It began as a YouTube channel now it’s a label… Was a label always on the cards or has this developed pretty naturally?
Jade: We never strictly defined our boundaries. The possibilities are limitless here, we might have label nights out there soon, of course spiced with a very special visual world.
Jef MethLab: What’s visible of Terminal at the moment is just the tip of the iceberg. Youtube channel, PR entity and label is the basis… There’s more to come.
Vegas: No limitations, why create boundaries. One world. This is a journey of exploration and watching where it will lead us is part of the adventure.
Let’s talk about the Terminal aesthetics and the challenges you faced creating it….
Billain: Searching for 3D artists was a nightmare at first. Then Amar Mulabegovic happened. Amar comes from a very respected Prague-based team of futurists and 3D mapping enthusiasts called Macula. He joined us to pioneer this move as the first VR music channel on Youtube. It was very natural to pinpoint the perfect idea. I remember how hard it was to score sound design for the initiation video, I had to put the headset on and remember the timings of elements and writing them down. Scoring in a 3D space was absolutely amazing.
Jef MethLab: Ben Hook is a bona fide young genius who instantly was able to capture the vibe want. Terminal is literally a terminal. We’re entering the realisation of cyberpunk in this generation… We’re taking steps forward in this alternate sonic realm… Music is like science fiction – it illustrates a possible pathway into the future. A furnace of forward-reaching creativity. We have another animator coming on-board the team soon; CrusaderArts (David Watson) will develop additional visual environments, and we’re definitely keen to hear from others working on 360 and VR material.
Ben Hook: When Jef explained the concept to me, I was surprised by how strongly it aligned with some my existing plans (including the name Terminal). In terms of inspiration, there was strong reference to the work of Ryoji Ikeda, Ash Thorp, dmas3 and particularly films like 2001. I wanted to push the parallel retro/futuristic computer terminal aesthetic, so a lot of the concept images incorporate 70s assembler code, and source from 90s demoscene binaries/web injection exploits.
For a tune to be supported by Terminal it needs to…..
Jef MethLab: Satisfy all of our needs for it to be sick or emerge from within the collective.
Jade: Be praised by all of us. Of course we are most into neurofunk, but that doesn’t limit our possibilities. Bottom line is, we have to all like it. Everyone has a veto, we only put out stuff we all equally like.
Vegas: be Bad.
What else does the world need to know about Terminal right now?
Vegas: It’s the gateway to another dimension.
Jade: We are just getting started!
Billain: Resistance is futile.
Jef MethLab: Log into Terminal, log out of reality.
With this hive mind, cyber-commune style ethic are any of you okay with being called neurohippies?
Billain: I think we came to some new heights of positive nerd and geek technological appreciation hahah, the problem with that is that I love it… We all do.
Jade: Haha. Neuropunks I’d like more!
Vegas: No. Guardians of of bass is more suitable.
Jef MethLab: We’re here to interfere with people’s minds, in an uncomfortable but positive way. Tuesday is orgy night.