Music in the News

For the very, very patient vinyl enthusiasts

In celebration of his Third Man Records’ third anniversary, Jack White hosted a big soirée with an unusual party favour for the guests. Following in the label’s tradition of unusual vinyl creations, each person present was given a special 3 RPM record containing all 56 singles from the 28 bands that have taken part in the label’s Blue Series. The label has called the record “easy to play but impossible to hear […] we estimate it would take 333 days of 33 hours training per day for your finger, hand and arm muscles to spin at a continuous speed of 3 rpm for X hours and X minutes.”

More like Ultra Music Feudstival

Madonna irked a number of prominent electronic dance music icons at the Ultra Music Festival last week when she asked “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” a slang term for the drug MDMA, which is similar to the name of the pop star’s latest album MDNA. Paul Van Dyk called the reference “the biggest mistake in her career” and prompted Deadmau5 to tweet “You’re a role model to 100’s of millions. You have a powerful voice, EDM [electronic dance music] could use your positive influence, not ‘molly’ talk.” Madonna claims she was unaware of the implications of her comment, and tweeted in reply “I don’t support drug use and I never have. I was referring to the song ‘Have You Seen Molly’ written by my friend Cedric Gervais who I almost worked with on my last album…” Deaudmau5 applauded her for clearing up the situation “personally,” but advised Madonna to “be a little more aware of what you should represent at EDM events.

Crashed and burned

Australian rockers Jet have officially called it quits, according to a post on the band’s official website. “After many successful years of writing, recording and touring we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group,” wrote the group. “From the many pubs, theatres, stadiums and festivals all across the world it was the fans that made our amazing story possible and we wish to thank them all.” Jet first came to prominence in 2003 with the release of their first album Get Born. It quickly went platinum in the U.S., U.K. and Australia and netted them their most recognizable song, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The band’s last album was Shaka Rock in 2009.

‘Ke$ha bled all over my record!’

The Flaming Lips have decided there’s just not enough bodily fluids in records these days and they’ve decided to do something about it with their new collaborative effort The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends. “What I’m going to try to do — and I’m collecting stuff for it as we speak — is I’m going to try to make a record that has every person’s blood in the record,” said frontman Wayne Coyne in an interview with MTV. “I don’t have everybody’s blood just yet, but I collected quite a few vials of blood and it’s actually sitting in my refrigerator as we speak.” The record itself will be a picture disk and be on a very limited run of five or six at the most. Though he wouldn’t divulge exactly whose blood he’d already taken, Coyne mentioned his favourite collaborators so far have been Bon Iver and Ke$ha, but with a long list of “fwends” helping out on the record, it’s anyone’s guess who will be bleeding for the band.


Music in the News

We don’t need no education?

Madonna’s foray into the African education sector has hit a bit of a snafu. Malawi government officials are claiming to be “fed up” with her lack of consultation regarding her intention to open 10 new schools in the country in partnership with non-profit group buildOn. This is not the first time Madge has butted heads with the government; officials were equally angered last year when Madonna scrapped plans to build an academy for girls without informing the proper authorities. “Now she decides to announce that she plans to build 10 schools without getting authority from us again,” said Ministry of Education spokeswoman Lindiwe Chide. “We now feel like this is all about propping up her global image and not in our interest.” Trevor Neilson, president of Global Philanthropy Group, has denied the accusations, saying that Malawi’s minister of education was indeed informed of the plans and that buildOn had “cleared all plans for school construction with them.”

They ain’t too proud to sue, either

Sixties Motown group The Temptations have filed a class action lawsuit against Universal Music Group seeking unpaid royalties on digital downloads. The group claims that downloads and ringtones count as licences, which would mean they would be entitled to half of all the net receipts from those sales. The suit covers a variety of other artists signed to Universal Music Group’s label who would also be entitled to compensation should the court find in their favour, including Eric Clapton, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, the Police and the Who.

Is this the tiny town from Footloose?

Boston police have decided that moshers at a Flogging Molly show at the House of Blues last February violated safety rules and have cited the venue for their security personnel’s lack of intervention. The police report details how 60 concertgoers participated in “aggressive mosh pit dance,” which resulted in people getting slammed against each other and knocked to the floor. “Dancing is a First Amendment right, but the behavior itself is a violation, especially when it becomes dangerous and a public safety hazard,” a police spokesperson told the Boston Herald last week. In a statement addressing the citation, the House of Blues maintained that the safety of their patrons was a top concern and that they were actively working with city officials to “address concerns about moshing and other forms of expressive dance.” In response to the incident, the House of Blues has put up illuminated signs throughout the club stating that moshing is no longer allowed.

I’ll believe it when I spot it

Napster founder Sean Parker, speaking at SXSW last week, said some things that definitely raised eyebrows, with one of the more boisterous statements claiming music streaming site Spotify will “overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.” Parker, who has reportedly invested $15 million in the streaming service, claimed that the sluggish nature of the Apple music site will be its downfall. “Even the iTunes store, to this day, is so slow. I’m amazed,” he said. Parker may not be blowing smoke, as it was reported last week that Billboard magazine now uses stats from streaming sites like Spotify and Rhapsody to partially determine which artists will comprise its “Hot 100” chart.

Student Life

Shining bright with Moment Factory

Moment Factory, a Montreal-based company, designed the multimedia components of this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Photo by Alyssa De Rosa

What started off as a company by three men and financed by one credit card is now a team of more than 60 talented individuals based in Montreal developing, designing and producing multimedia environments internationally.
They are known as Moment Factory, and they have recently attracted considerable attention for their design of this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
In just 12 minutes, Madonna’s stage was lit up with Vogue covers, thumping speakers and a colourful, scintillating projection of “World Peace” that took up half the football field, courtesy of this new multimedia company.
Designers Tarik Mikou and Aliya Orr, who have been with Moment Factory for about two years, worked on this latest project together. “I have more of a cold style,” Orr joked. “Compared to Tarik’s [style] that’s more emotional and colourful.”
Both only had good things to say when it came to talking about SBM—Super Bowl Madonna.
“It was a huge project,” Mikou explained. “A lot of excitement surrounded the project and it was different for me because I got to work with people that I wouldn’t usually work with like animators for example, who are super talented.”
Because the installations can be so different, not all departments are needed on a single project. The 20,000-square foot studio, with its workshops and testing lab, is home to four departments: technology, design, environment and production.
Orr explained that usually, designers only get to work on the first phases of a project, but on SBM, the design team was there from “pitch to production.” “It really brought us together and was a collaborative approach,” she said.
Each department, which is run by a multimedia director, brings something different to the table. First, the technology pros are programming geniuses. The design team is composed of animators, graphic designers and motion designers and is seen as the creative hub of the company. The environment department is comprised of a group of people who define the space in which an installation can be installed and create a model of the project to scale. Finally, the production team handles all the business aspects, ensuring the right multimedia director is assigned to a project.
These departments didn’t exist when Dominic Audet, Sakchin Bessette and Jason Rodi decided to create Moment Factory in 2001. But once Cirque du Soleil got on board in 2003 and believed in the conceptual work these men were producing, the need for a bigger workspace and a bigger team was inevitable. A little over 10 years later, with some changes in management, particularly that of Rodi leaving and the welcoming of partner Eric Fournier, Moment Factory is now a household name, creating a visually interactive experience.
“A lot of what Moment Factory does can be understood in its name,” Orr said. “The ‘moment’ part of it explains the fact that we create moments for people and want them to be blown away by the experience while trying to tell a story.”
“You’re never doing the same thing twice here,” Mikou said.
That can be frustrating for some. “You feel like you want to master what you’re doing, but you never get to that confident state because you’re hit with something new,” Orr explained. “But that’s what’s so beautiful about it. That’s why I think we’re all here, because we are challenged in that way.”
Mikou also had the opportunity to work on Céline Dion’s interactive concept for her stage at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Other clients include Arcade Fire at the 2011 Coachella Festival in California, Nine Inch Nails, the Vancouver Canucks, TVA (the set of Le Tricheur) and Jay-Z’s concert at Carnegie Hall.
Moment Factory is currently lighting up their own city with La Vitrine Culturelle in Montreal’s entertainment district. They are also looking for fresh, young talent to join their team (graphic designers, animators, programmers, etc).
The company will be holding a career day at the end of March and details will soon be available on their Facebook page. You can also visit them at

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