Earlier this year, in February, I listened to this musician for the first time. And it was a great listening - one hour full of electronic music with a vibe of world music. I really enjoyed it. The musician was JaNa KYoMooN and I have been trying to be at her conserts as often as I can.
JaNa KYoMooN or Jan Pulsford (her RL-name) had a lot of experience in music in RL when she decided to start in Second Life to get a new platform for her music. You can read about that and more in this further down and in this great interview she did with The Metaverse Journal.
You can read more about JaNa and listening/download her music at following websites:
How would you describe your music, what style is it?
I play music especially prepared for virtual worlds and beyond fronted by the avatar JaNa KYoMooN, performing as a solo virtual artist mixing electronica with ambient improvisations and rhythmic reflections in "a gallery of soundscapes and audio paintings."
My musical pictures are sketched with reflective piano and synths tinged with echoes of world jazz and triphop.
Some people have likened this late night ambient music to a musical massage. I tell people to "Set your mind and your environment to midnight!" It is an hour to relax and unwind and help in healing from the stress of life.
For best effect plug into a big screen and put the music into your speakers or headphones, dim the lights, light some candles, pour a glass of wine or chamomile tea and RELAX! I love sharing music with listeners who use their avatars to come into Second Life and be part of the future of live interactive performance art streaming straight into your living room via your computer.
All my shows and music can be heard on Radio JaNa 24 hours a day: http://www.radiojana.com/
How long have you been doing music?
All my life - which is a very long time - it's not for everyone. You need nerves of steel and a very strong constitution to survive the roller coaster existence - It's not as easy as it looks or sounds!
You can read more about my many adventures in an interview I did for the MetaVerse Journal: http://www.metaversejournal.com/2009/10/18/interview-jana-kyomoon-second-life-musician.
Are you writing your own songs?
Everything I play in SL is original. I capture it into the computer using Logic Audio and then broadcast it at showtime.
It's a very time consuming process - computers do not write music - we tell the computer what to play!
If you do, what comes first when writing your songs, the lyrics or the music?
They come at the same time - obviously you spend a lot of time refining and developing the idea.
I mostly perform instrumental music in SL and the title is reflected in the music. When I write songs ( which I actually do not perform in SL as I am not a singer ) I write both words to other peoples music and music to other people's words - I try to find the same place they were in when they were inspired and go there too. I love words.
You often hear writers and artists talking about going to "that place" so I think of it as a virtual room that creatives go to to communicate and collaborate in our minds. It is one of my favourite things to do.
Where do you find the inspiration for your music?
Definitely in the countryside and beauty of nature. The feeling of the land - it's link to the past - I love walking and often imagine those who trod the same paths.
Good healthy food, fresh greens, red wine - oh yes and paying bills is always good inspiration! LOL!
Who are your role models in music?
Well I admire anyone who is REALLY doing it - being a musician/entertainer/artist is a hard thing to be and I salute anyone who is successful at it.
There are so many who inspire - from all worlds of music. I often hear something on the web and look into it further. So I am constantly inspired by different people - one day it might be Elgar the next William Blake, the next Miles Davis and then Imogem Heap, Ryuichi Sakamoto to Lester Young, Billy Strayhorn to Lady Gaga, Vaughn Williams to Massive Attack, mountain music to bhangra, trance to jazz - I especially love new styles that mix everything up.
How long have you played in SL?
My original avatar Emmeline Pankhurst came into SL in early 2006 to explore the music and arts scene in the virtual world - I started playing as JaNa KYoMooN in 2007 - quite a daunting prospect for someone who had always been a behind the scenes keyboard player/ writer/ producer . . eventually I got the hang of it! Being a virtual artist has opened up a whole new world . . . JaNa KYoMooN even won the "Best New Age Artist" at the SL Anthology Music Awards!
Since then I've played hundreds of concerts in SL including Art Galleries, Theatres, Poetry Readings along with charity events like Relay for Life, UNICEF and benefits for Haiti, Bush Fires, earthquakes etc. - Second Life is a very giving and helping community.
I was also part of the Second Life 6th and 7th birthday celebrations with an exhibition of music and virtual creative collaboration.
Creatively I have collaborated with nnoiz papp, Junivers Stockholm, Miles Eleventhauer, Cypress Rosewood, Torben Asp, Trowser Boa, Leanna Luftig, Swina Allen, Dubhna and other story tellers and musicians and really look forward to continuing that side of SL.
Do you also play in RL?
I used to - I was lucky enough to tour the world as keyboard player for some big pop artists but now I really enjoy the intimacy of on line performance - the feeling that you are in someone's house who really wants to listen to you.
I did a live event in London last October which mixed both realities and based on that I am trying to set a monthly "Illusion of Reality" evening where we can mix virtual and real performances projected onto a big screen with people participating from all over the world including the graphic wizardry of tuna oddfellow and interfaced dreamscape whose visuals and particle shows are really fantastic and inspiring.
I would also like to do more virtual house concerts - I think many people are intimidated by Second Life - and rightly so - it can be an extremely frustrating program to navigate and learn to use . . . but eventually I can see a future of being booked to play virtually at house concerts and parties. Can you imagine the party entertainment being an avatar who talks directly to the person/child at a gathering in someone's house? It's new territory.
Also there are networks of doctors and patients in hospitals and hospices throughout the world who are embracing virtual worlds and private virtual concerts can be organised for groups or individuals in the privacy of their own room or ward.
I think we are only now realising what part virtual worlds will play in our future and the potential for communication and arts it will play in our technology driven society.
What is the difference between playing in SL compared to RL?
Of course there is no comparison between playing an arena or theatre and playing to a computer screen but if you are doing small places like coffee shops you are likely to have more people in the online SL audience - and they are really attentive plus the sound is always great! I just wish I could reach more people on line but that will happen eventually with faster internet service...
There is a lot of preparation - I mean you cant just turn on the computer and there's JaNa ready to go ... you have to program/prepare the music and depending on your computer set up, do the pre-production work to make it ready to stream
Sending notices and listing in events are the biggest pain and most time consuming thing about doing the shows but also the most necessary - if you don't promote no one will come!
It is a great parallel to making it work in the real world and I think for young artists starting off an invaluable learning experience. If your business plan works in SL there's a good chance it will work in RL.
Why did you join SL? Was it because of your music-making or something else?
Like most musicians I´m always looking for new avenues for getting my music heard and meeting other creatives.
One big result of exploring music in SL is it showed me there are many people unable to leave their house or even their bed for one reason or another and being in Second Life gives them an opportunity to belong to a community and interact using their avatar to explore places not available to them in the outside world. That is a huge positive side of SL and so I try and play music that uplifts the soul and helps people to unwind and heal from the stress of their life and the feeling that we are all connected on a global grid through the music.
Which is your favourite venue to play in?
The music ALL music Peace Park - which has changed locations many times but the feeling is always the same. It was built as a place of inner and global peace through music and the arts and over the years has hosted many concerts and housed a dulcimer museum, technology school, poetry evenings, a peace gallery, music for winter festivals and the centre piece (or peace) is the peace pyramid.
These days JaNa KYoMooN performs at the Cloud stage every Sunday at 2PM for the GooDBYe WeeKeND SHoW - http://bit.ly/peaceintheclouds - and always looks forward to spending time with the lovely crowd from the music ALL music Park Group.
Another favourite are the monthly shows with Tuna Oddfellow at the Research Center - A Two hour show of Music and Graphics to Blow your Virtual mind!
Visit http://www.janakyomoon.com/ for the calendar and more details.
Which is your favourite song to perform?
The Red Moon gets the most positive reaction - it is a solo piano piece in waltz time - people seem to love it and it's wonderful to feel their reaction.
It was inspired by the first red moon I had ever seen when I went to visit Tennessee in the late 1980s! - it was hanging over the lake and i can still see it in my minds eye - now years later it is really touching people. That's the nice thing, music is timeless.
Do you remember your first SL gig? Please, tell us about it.
It was as part of the Peace Park Trio with Cypress Rosewood and Trefies Kaufman and triple streamed!
We mixed native american flute with dulcimer and electronica - I was so microphone shy I could hardly talk - now you can't shut me up LOL!!!
It was a huge technological achievement!
What are your plans for the future in SL?
Well I am hoping there will be more development from Linden Labs - I sometimes wonder if we as performing artists have gone as far as we can with SL. They don't seem to have kept up with the users too much and, in my opinion, have released some pretty silly mistakes over the last couple of years.
I have to step away every now and again and catch my breath and regain enthusiasm as I can really see the value and potential in virtual worlds. However we are at the mercy of broadband speeds and access too which I recently experienced when I moved back to the UK and struggled for four months trying to get a stable connection!
Currently I am working on consolidating THe MuSiC oF JaNa KYoMooN that has been played at the GooDBYe WeeKeND SHoW which is now in its fourth year - and making the shows available as downloads.
JaNa wanted me to pick two videos with her music to show her music and I have done that. The first one is her favourite song The Red Moon and the other one is my favourite song White Butterflies. Listen and enjoy!
Thank you JaNa KYoMooN for answering my questions and the best luck with your musical career in both SL and RL.