Homegrown visual artists ‘Wolves’ are all set to sync their stunning visual art to the melodies of world renowned Sitar Player/Composer Anoushka Shankar at the Glastonbury, this year. The Sherp caught up with the talented duo to talk about their upcoming collaboration with Anoushka Shankar, the 3D mapping industry and everything they love about what they do.
Wolves, a visual agency, works closely with musicians, live events, media groups, brands, and entertainment companies around the world. The duo rose to acclaim by redefining 3D mapping installations and stage design for some of India’s most thriving night haunts before scaling up to top-tier commercial entities and corporate signage. Anoushka Shankar will be performing her new album Land Of Gold on the West Holts Stage where she will be backed by the artistic visuals of Wolves.
Bagging a visual projection gig for Anoushka Shankar AND Glastonbury is pretty huge, so congrats on that! How did you guys go about snagging this sweet opportunity?
Thank you, we still haven’t come to terms with the scale of it. The focus right now is more towards adding something unique to Anoushka Shankar’s timeless live repertoire, and that’s keeping us well up at night.
As for the opportunity: We did visuals for the ‘UP’ album tour with Karsh Kale recently, which was as big a deal for us, and he was one of the most wonderful people we’ve worked with. He introduced us t0 Anoushka first and then our management in the UK — Arms House — who happened to be very close to her helped us take the conversation further.
We know, you wouldn’t want to give too much away…but could you tell us a little bit about the visuals you have planned for the festival?
We’re usually associated with sci-fi/tech-heavy content and loud electronic stages, but there’s a lot of personal work we do which rarely sees the light of day. Anoushka puts so much narrative and back story to her music that it’s been wonderful taking a step back and crafting something that plays like a storytelling device – almost theatric. We can’t reveal too much right now but all the clues are already in if you follow the concepts behind her latest album Land of Gold.
A little bit of history on your project, how did you begin doing what you do and what was the inspiration behind the moniker ‘Wolves’?
Wolves started out as a collective — Joshua (Dmello) and I. We’ve been friends from the sixth grade and pretty much grew up taking computers and videogames apart. We went our own separate paths for a while after graduation and reconnected in 2012 to start Wolves. The project was based on pure curiosity of how projection mapping and live visuals work before it actually started to gain momentum and became a full time agency. From the get go, we were never comfortable using our own names as opposed to promoting a brand name that had very little connection with the industry we were up against. Years down the line, when we’re too old to do this, I hope it’ll continue to exist even if it means a whole new breed of artists taking up the ‘Wolves’ mantle.
You’ve created visuals for club like venues, as well as festivals like Weekender. Apart from scale, are there any technical differences in creating Live visuals for both?
When we started out, we had just thermocol blocks and shoeboxes to work with and went out on a limb to secure the smallest venues we could to put up a visual set up. Today we’re a visual agency that works closely with artists, festivals, media groups and corporate entities all around the world, but it still feels like our best work is inspired with the urgency of those small spaces we started off in. So I’d say whatever the scale of the project, we always break it down to it’s smallest components, and build it back up.
There are a whole bunch of extremely talented live visual artists out there, who inspires you the most and why?
It always comes down to creating great original content. A Los-Angeles-based company Neither-Field really sets the standard, or at least for us. Eyesupply and V-squared labs are changing the game too.
Take us through your creative process. Since your both have your own creative perspectives, how do you sync them when you’re creating something? Or does the contrast add to the uniqueness of your work?
Haha we’re both really reserved individuals and have spent most of our life feeding off videogames, film and nineties pop culture. I guess thats our biggest communication point till date. If you stop by our studio at any point we’ll most likely be arguing about our scores on Mortal Kombat. I think the real difference is how creatively invested I get in drawing from these influences and how practical and technical Joshua gets when breaking it down to a format that actually works.
Till date, what has been your favourite project and why?
The ‘Imperial Guard’ installation for last year’s Sunburn City Tour featuring DJ Snake, Chuckie and R3hab is going to be a favourite for a while now. A lot of people think projection mapping should be limited to using projectors, installations and dark spaces. But when you have a full blown festival production to consider, we did our research in adapting those skills to LED panels.
With the incredible production team at Percept, we were able to adapt our 3D work to a 32 ft mech-inspired fortress made purely of LED panels without fabricated set pieces whatever. Seeing the crew and the kids react to the ‘Imperial Guard’ animation coming to life was well worth the journey it took to make it happen.
While at Glaston, which artists/musicians on the roster are you stoked to see live?
Bring me the Horizon — they’re a bit of the odd metal band in the mix — but we’re big fans. Muse, M83, Tame Impala and Foals should seal the deal.
If you had to create 3D mapping projections/Live Visuals for any artist/band in the world, who would it be and why? (Radiohead, maybe?)
Haha Joshua’s a lot more into Radiohead then I am. I guess his dream team would be Muse and M83 who both just happen to be playing the festival. I’m a punk/hardcore kid at heart and there are bands like Enter Shikari, Bring Me the Horizon and Modestep that are finally breaking into shows that match where EDM is at now. I’d like to be on the forefront of that revolution.
Give us your perspective on the Indian live visual and 3D projections scene? In what direction do you think it’s going?
There’s definitely a strong shift in what audiences expect from a live performance, and the minute they get complacent, we work harder. Live visuals, LED set ups and projection mapping have being doing the rounds for a while now in India and it’s exhaustive to call it nascent. We firmly believe that in two years, every avenue that wants to make an impact will need a strong visual idea to back it up – and the talent’s all here! We don’t need to import solutions from other countries to raise our country’s profile anymore. The future is local.