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Interview: iBand – High Tech Music In Your Pocket

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At the top of their official website they proclaim, “Although skilled in a range of conventional musical instruments, we chose the iPhone and iPod Touch to create our music.” That’s right. Technology has been taken on a whole different level when the members of iBand decided to combine their love of music and modern gadgets.


The Creation of iBand 

iBand is composed of three creative minds who are all in their mid-twenties. There is Marina who plays the piano and provides the vocals. Roger plays the bass and guitar. Then there’s Seb who plays the drums. Of course, these musical instruments are all formatted versions of iPhone and iPod Touch applications.

When I asked iBand how long ago they had decided to become this unusual but unique band, their answer was, “We’ve had the thought of making a band that uses the iPhone’s potential for some months now.” Their idea became a reality when programmers Mark Terry released “iAno” in mid-February, which is a piano for the iPhone, and when Shinya Kasatani released “PocketGuitar,” which one can guess is the guitar for the iPhone.

iBand Fans From Around The World  

Originally, for their first “jam session,” they added on the Nintendo DS for rhythm. This video, which was posted on YouTube a few days after the band’s formation, has now attracted more than 2 million viewers since February 17th, 2008. When I asked what song they were playing, I was informed it was just all improvisation. Since their first video, they have now also experimented with the iPhoneSynth and the BeatPhone.

Gaining popularity for their pocket sized musicianship; iBand decided it was a good idea to launch an official website. This website allows fans to read updates as well as watch new “jam sessions.” The site also includes pictures of the process of composition, recording, and set-ups. Although they have been asked to put ads after their videos, they inform site visitors that they prefer donations.


Life Is Greater Than The Internet 

Although the first video’s quality was too poor to be released as an mp3, iBand diligently went to work on a new video so it could be released for fans. With the lyrics written and sung by Marina (vocals added afterwards), iBand has released their second video, “Life Is Greater Than The Internet.” You may also download this mp3 from their website. Marina’s soothing yet bold vocals are perfectly added onto the layered composition of iBand’s sound. Recorded live into a mixing table and into a camera, the quality is much better than their first video and it’s not hard to imagine these three musicians actually playing these instruments in a venue or arena.

However, Marina, Roger, and Seb have made up their minds about what their own music can represent. Although they may admit to being “gadget freaks,” they are also active in film, music, nature, and sports. They’re not satisfied by just making music with iPhones and Ipod Touches, but they encourage you “To take your own path in life and not to be a “variable x” somewhere in the Internet.” With this belief of creative potential, iBand also states, “The way we see it too many people fall into the black hole of the web and we think, that you can also use the technical development to realize yourself and that you should use the life that is given to you to seek something higher.” 

iBand is no ordinary band. Unlike other bands they “can adjust the volume and literally sit at the beach and play.” However, the most interesting thing to think about is that millions have been able to carry music in forms of mp3s in their pockets for a while now. Yet, it’s just the few who can carry around an actual band.

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About Seraphina Lotkhamnga