Up and coming Los Angeles-based rock group Palaye Royale has managed to grow a substantial social media following, and now the group is looking to grow its fan base through the power of augmented reality.
And while AR isn't new to the music business, a new AR experience from the band could end up being as groundbreaking as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" once was for the music video format.
On Tuesday, the band released "Curse of Calypso," a 10-minute interactive performance filled with Gothic imagery, include levitating bodies and floating candles. The AR show is backed by a medley of tracks — Doom (Empty), Nightmares, and Redeemer — from the band's latest album, The Bastards.
Based on our hands-on with a pre-release version of the Jadu app update, "Curse of Calypso" is a masterclass in AR techniques, anchoring multiple pieces of content on horizontal and vertical planes, leveraging voice recognition and screen gestures to trigger actions, and capturing volumetric models of the band with 106 cameras.
The audience isn't just an observer of the action, either. Using the aforementioned voice recognition capabilities, users are instructed to repeat an on-screen phrase to raise the 3D likeness of singer Remington Leith from an open grave. Later, users are asked to "spray paint" a virtual painting to reveal a hidden symbol to open a portal. Finally, viewers can even play a virtual piano leading into the final act of the AR story.
While music videos are still the de facto tactic to promote new music releases, artists have come to embrace AR experiences to bring attention to their music. Just as music videos can range from filmed performances to virtuoso short films, AR experiences can run the gamut from camera effects to immersive storytelling.
For example, Drake, Ariana Grande, Mark Ronson, Slipknot, Guns 'N Roses, Snoop Dogg, Pink Floyd and other marquee names have released AR experiences, utilizing Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as 8th Wall's web-based AR platform, designed for short bursts of interaction (and sometimes a link to stream or buy an album).
"Curse of Calypso" falls into the latter camp, even though Palaye Royale did not publish it through its own standalone app. It's a mesmerizing, engulfing experience that should set a standard for how music artists create content to entertain their fans.