Futurezone Award concert from 4 locations in Europe

Yesterday, on November 19th, we performed a concert in Vienna. The really special thing about this was, that the band was located in Bratislava, two locations in Vienna and Berlin. Here is my very personal review on that.

How we got invited to Futurezone

I remember getting a call when I was visiting the South By Southwest Festival in Austin Texas in early 2015. It was Mr. Gerhard Reischl, chief editor of Kurier, one of the biggest Austrian newspapers and responsible for Futurezone the technology section of Kurier.

He was interested in what we are doing at sofasession, also because he is a musician himself (*musicianbrofist*). And we got an invitation to make a live performance on the Futurezone Award 2015. How cool is that?

Musicians and locations

So this was in April 2015… and only in November the gig was taking place… so we did, what every living musician on this planet would do: NOTHING! Only 3 weeks before the concert would start we thought: “Hm… we might want to prepare something for that.”. Yeah.. I’m being honest.

So, naturally we got a little into panic, because we didn’t have a band. So we just casted it with people from the sofasession team (which luckily enough all have a music background) and friends we already knew from sofasession.

Here is the wonderful lineup of musicians

The locations

Yalda (vox), Marian (lead guitar) and Benny (vox, acoustic guitar) were playing on stage in the Museumsquartier in Vienna. Alex (dr) and Bernhard (b) were playing from a studio location in Vienna. Marian (akai ewi) was playing from Bratislava and Helmut (rhythm guitar) from Berlin. Technically speaking, in total there were 12 data streams between the four locations and every millisecond, audio data was travelling 4.200km! What a distance!

My little sofasession at Gibson’s showroom in Berlin

So, I wanted to make my performance from Berlin, but I had no clue where in Berlin. Luckily enough, a couple of weeks ago I met the guys from Gibson and I thought I’ll give it a shot and ask them. There were very interested in this crazy little project and accepted. And they would supply me with a guitar, microphone, internet and an occasional beer, hehe.

That’s me on the Gibson sofa.

Foto provided by Gibson
Foto provided by Gibson

They were super patient hosts… we had actually had three rehearsals before, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the show and as I wasn’t in Vienna anymore, I had to come to the rehearsals over the internet. So I was playing online while the guys were super kind to me and waited until the rehearsals were over.


Futurezone Award concert – stagefright and technology

What we actually feared most: What if the internet would be so slow that we could do this online? Everything was fine during the rehearsals, but that evening, there would be 600 people in the audience, maybe using the same connection as we did and bring down the network. Obviously, in this setup there is one essential rule: No internet, no music. Period.

The technical staff from the Futurezone Award helped us a lot with the infrastructure at the venue. The provided a separate internet connection to avoid exactly this situation. And as I turned out, even when the audience voting started before our performance, there was no decrease in internet performance and we knew that this would absolutely rock.

So this is what it looked on the stage:

Foto provided by eAward
Foto provided by eAward

Video of the Futurezone Award concert

It was a wonderful performance of all musicians and I had a blast playing with them.

Funny side note:

That was probably the biggest show with 600 people in the audience I have ever played. And I wasn’t even there.

That internet magic.

Thanks to everyone involved and the great musicians!

  • Stefano Bider

    That was very cool. Only one note my dear friend: we DID NOT have a separate internet connection! So on the same connection we had three skype calls for the videos of the three participants, our sofasession audio streams and any other wifi connection from the audience!