It's 2015 and the possibilities are endless. In a world where technology is advancing at an exponential speed, our ideas continuously become more ambitious. Today, the merging of art and science is becoming more popular, and electronic music label King Deluxe is at the forefront.
King Deluxe has always had a penchant for the sci-fi theme. "I really like the meeting of art and science," says Krahn, the mastermind behind the Canadian based label. "Science just seems to be something that is really working its way into these projects. Even in [music] videos, there's a lot of science fiction elements in most of them. It's become a very central theme."
A lover of music and the great outdoors, Krahn was first introduced to label management with his previous imprint Peppermill Records. "I was a tree planter in the summers and during the winter I had time to do these art projects," explains Krahn. "Peppermill Records was something I did as a creative commons thing. It was a lot of folk music but also a lot of other weird eclectic stuff."
With Peppermill Records, Krahn eventually began working on large scale projects that combined different pieces released on the label under common themes. One in particular became a driving force in his musical endeavors and led him in a whole new direction. "It was the 2999 Project where we were asking people to think about the future [when making music]. It was just on a whim. I wasn't really reading science fiction, it was just an interesting idea to me."
Krahn's musical exploration led him to Shambhala Music Festival, which opened the doorway to the infinite world of electronic genres. "After Shambhala, I really got into electronic music. It sounded very futuristic to me," he says. "It was a real eye-opening experience. There was a whole level underneath, a whole range of frequencies I wasn't even really aware of."
The atmospheric sounds and low level frequencies of electronic music were the missing links in his quest to find that something that adequately depicted the futuristic unknown. "I was into the sub-bass melody of it all. When I felt the music I knew that it was something that I had to pursue."
Once Krahn made his discovery, he delved right in and spent countless hours searching for new sounds to feed his passion. "I gave up trying to make my own music," reveals Krahn. "I had been making my own albums on my computer. But when I listened to it once I bought a subwoofer, I realized that [my music] was missing half of the sound. So after that I started pursuing more of what others were doing."
Krahn's fascination with the future became the focal point of his new music label, shaping its vision and development. King Deluxe was officially born.
As the young label grew, its direction also revealed itself through the work of the others who jumped on board. "The visual artist Hiro, HR-FM, just took the name and then came up with what he thought our logo should be, which was a robot lion king," tells Krahn. "He also just happened to choose a science fiction theme and that kind of informed some of the other elements."
What resulted from Krahn and his cohorts' work, was a well-rounded music label that includes a wide selection of genres such as house, dubstep, and synth pop, yet ties them all together by the same sci-fi thread. On the label are such artists as A Thousand Years, Alphabet's Heaven, and Magical Mistakes. Between the ambient soundscapes, textured rhythms, and liquefied basslines, the music of King Deluxe is not particular to any one genre, but to a style.
Currently, King Deluxe is in the process of building an interactive virtual reality experience featuring artists from the label. "The big thing I'm working on right now is a virtual reality space station," says Krahn. "It's for the Oculus Rift but also for people with TV screens. The Oculus Rift has tens of thousands of people with development kit versions. But the high resolution commercial one that I'm expecting will be pretty big."
After years of managing an international music label featuring artists from different parts of the world, he decided to create a space where they could meet via technology of the future. "Since starting these projects I've always wanted to have a way of getting all of our artists in the same space together for a show. But it's hard to fly people over to Canada," explains Krahn. "So when I started hearing about this thing I was really excited."
The combination of art and science via virtual reality is gaining headway. Even Bjork has plans to include the Oculus Rift on one of her latest music videos.
Krahn's vision for King Deluxe and the Oculus Rift knows no bounds. No longer satisfied with imagining the future, he now wants to be a part of building it. "This is something where people will be able to go in to this beautiful kind of sci-fi environment, like an accurately modeled space station orbiting the earth," describes Krahn. "So you'll be able to put on the headset, go inside and see the stage and the stars behind them. It won't just be music. We'll have different things going on, like talks on various subjects. I'm getting advice from NASA engineers on how to construct this thing. I like science fiction that can actually happen."
Hollie McGowan is on Twitter.