Usurper Of Modern Medicine: Get ‘appy With Perth's Space Rockers


  • Written by 
  • Tuesday, 15 August 2017 21:47
Published in Music  
Perth space-rock outfit Usurper Of Modern Medicine are changing the way we listen to – and see – music.

With their sophomore album, ‘Everything Is Nothing’, released earlier in July, the trio have revolutionised the music listening experience by harnessing burgeoning, augmented-reality technology. “The band’s become a vehicle for other creative streams we’re into, which is really interesting,” frontman Steven Hughes says.

“If it wasn’t for Pokemon Go, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get this project off the ground.”

"I work in video and interactive art and it’s a nice palette to experiment and try things out and it influences the rest of my work.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done an augmented-reality project and I’m learning so much; it’s a very steep learning curve, but it’s nice in the context of the pop music world, releasing music into the mainstream you can just go wild.

"There are no real rules, you can just experiment and this can influence all sorts of media from there on in.”

The ‘Everything Is Nothing’ vinyl will work with a smart-device app that Steven is still developing. Using the sensors and software built-in to smartphones, the band has created a new way to interact and engage with music. “It’s basically about using the technology we find ourselves surrounded by nowadays, which are smartphones and tablets that all have high-quality cameras on board,” Steven explains.


“It’s about using these lenses that we normally use to take photos or videos, we can use that to look at the world and modify that. The technology is astounding in the devices now: they can scan 3D space and track where you’re moving and they can place objects into that space in a virtual world.”

Confused? Don’t be. It’s a similar concept to that used in Pokemon Go. “The biggest example is Pokemon Go,” Steven clarifies. “If it wasn’t for Pokemon Go, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get this project off the ground.”

The result will be a masterpiece of music, art and technology married into a ménage a trois of synchronicity. “In the example of the ‘Everything Is Nothing’ app we’re working on, the first version of it is going to work with the vinyl record, the very traditional way of listening to music.

“If you point the camera of your device at the record, it’s able to detect where exactly that vinyl record is in that real space and the camera is looking for the printed label at the centre of the record.


“With all that information, it’s aware of its surroundings and then it can generate 3D imagery on top of that record and it looks like that is happening in that real, three-dimensional space.”

As the listener is drawn into the 3D world of artist Liam Dee, they will also be able to engage and interact with the imagery taking the app one step further and turning it into a game. “Being a touch-based device, they can touch and interact with the image and it’s like a painting game. Depending on how you touch and interact with it changes the shapes and movement coming out of the record and the music.”

‘Everything Is Nothing’ is available now.

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