Near the end of last year, our friends at Vital Events put together a massive tour for Bay Area bass-slinger, Minnesota. Dubbed the Mind Machine tour, it spanned over 30 cities across the country and featured support from champion up & comers G Jones and Jackal. The music was fantastic throughout the journey, but it wasn’t the only artwork on display.
Meet the Video Villains, a pair of friends from Milwaukee making some of the most next level 3D animation and projection mapping in the scene today. They put in hours of work to make sure each performance is unique, melding their visuals with the performer’s music to create a one of a kind audiovisual experience. The Video Villains lent their talent to each and every stop on the Mind Machine tour and it truly took things to the next level. Read on past the jump to see some of their work and learn more about this ultra-creative duo!
Where did the name ‘Video Villains’ come from?
At the time, we were using a lot of ripped media and bootleg software for our sets. Adam was also working at a hotel and used to steal the old stained sheets to make the first screens out of (laughs). We were mostly focused on using a live video feed to create interactive visuals and weren’t really into content creation yet so we mixed in a lot of vintage VHS videos and random YouTube rips. When we were coming up with the name we had 3 notebook pages full of different ideas but couldn’t decide on one. We needed a name to brand ourselves for our first event and Video Villains rolled off the tongue so, in a pinch, Michael put that name on the flyer and its stuck ever since.
How did you break into the visual production game? When would you say your ‘big break’ was?
The first real event we did that utilized a full stage setup was the LORN “Ask The Dust” album release party at the Miramar Theatre. We documented the event and posted a video of our work that sort of snowballed into a lot more work. Brew City Bass and React Presents started booking us on the regular for almost every EDM show in Milwaukee. Minnesota‘s Mind Machine tour has been our most extensive production and we hope the nationwide exposure will take us to the next level as a visual production company.
What is your creative process like? How do your designs progress from idea to reality?
There is a constant dialogue between us as far as what our next creation will be. We try to make our structures as versatile and efficient as possible. We usually start by finding inspiration and a general idea or direction to guide the design. We start sketching ideas and shapes and do small scale mock ups until we agree on a design. From there everything goes into the computer and we build it.
What sort of vibe do you try to set with your visuals and production?
We try to create a one of a kind experience at every show so it really depends on the show itself. We try to match the visuals to the mood of the music to create a seamless show that makes sense to the viewer.
Who would you say are some of your influences?
There are a ton of amazing visuals artists doing some amazing things right now. Our first major influence were the Playatta guys from Minneapolis, MN who do insane interactive installations. We also follow Strangeloop and Timeboy after seeing the Layer 3 project with Flying Lotus, V Squared, ANTIVJ, Ghostdad, and a handful of others.
How did you link up with Vital and the Mind Machine tour?
We did a few shows through our local promoter with Minnesota in the past. After seeing some photos of what we did for him, he must have started following us and eventually hit us up about the tour.
Any major plans for the future?
We want to team up with more artists one on one to create experiences that are 100% authentic and intentional. We are hoping to use the Mind Machine stage with Minnesota at some festivals. As of now, we have a handful of shows lined up at home in the Midwest.