Two Sense: Making music with Australia's virtual band
Australia’s first virtual band relies on fast internet to create an original song.
A recent nbn experiment brought together artists and music producers, giving them the chance to form Two Sense, a virtual band, with the help of fast broadband.
Three talented musicians from around the country were handpicked to complete a task – create an original song without ever being in the same room.
Singer/songwriter Rowena Wise, guitarist and singer Lucy Mills (aka Leo), and producer Jayden Rando were mentored by renowned music producer, Harts, to pull together their one-of-a-kind single.
Throughout the experience, the artists kept track of their progress, noting the highs, the lows and the learning experiences of working remotely from one another to make music.
Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Rowena acknowledged there were some obstacles when delegating creative roles between the trio in a way that made sense for the timeline of creating the song.
However, “it was unravelled and resolved when we were communicating with more face-to-face immediacy on Google Hangouts or Slack,” says Rowena.
Producer Rando adds, “Being able to talk with someone on Google Hangouts, for example, is such an awesome way to work if you can't be in the same room as them because it is honestly the next best thing.”
With Rowena’s main task being to write the lyrics, the challenge was to figure out if the track’s instrumentation could be completed in full in a collaborative way.
A lot of patience was required to manage email correspondence and to work around each participant’s busy schedule.
At times, working remotely made the process easier because, “I could combine the collaborative nature of the project with my own tendencies to work alone,” says Rowena.
“I worked on my own parts in isolation from the others, in the comfort of my own space, without distractions.”
Using the internet, Rowena and her collaborators “could email each other our parts and access these parts anytime, anywhere – I remember listening to Leo’s initial guitar riff ideas when I was on a bus going across the suburbs.
This easy access to the creative content allowed me to think of every detail of the track whenever I had a spare moment.”
Working from Wollongong in New South Wales, guitarist Leo was able to reach a level of comfort with the sharing and collaboration required. “I liked the way Rowena would share her talent with us without seeming to overthink things,” she explains.
“It inspired me to be okay with sharing my ideas. It was good to see Rando creating from his bedroom, having all those sounds at his fingertips.
I like how he would try things without hesitation and just go by what sounded good to him – refreshing and very different to what I’m used to.”
Leo feels that the finished product is a cohesive track that offers no hint that it was pulled together by three strangers who never once sat in the same room.
“I was happiest with the overall production of the track after Rando pieced it all together and added the necessary embellishment, like an extra tambourine tap here and there, or a few rhythmic background synth motifs,” says Rowena.
“Rando worked his magic creating the basis of the song with our recorded guitars and vocals.
"Without being too complicated or busy with too many of our ideas, it sounded catchy, interesting, lush and airy, with a good balance of each of our musical tastes.”
Collaborating over the internet was an interesting project that all three are keen to repeat.
Being an electronic music producer based in regional Western Australia, or “in the middle of nowhere” as he describes it, Rando says he can’t wait to echo the experience.
Rowena adds, “I am thrilled at the idea that I don't have to be inhibited by vast distances or varied time zones to write a song with another kindred musician that I admire, as this project has shown me.”
Leo’s advice for anyone endeavouring to undertake a similar type of virtual project is to take the time to explore and make demos.
“Find common ground with your collaborators, and be open to new and challenging ways of creating something.”
Feeling that artistic urge? There are a number of online platforms and apps that can help you along with your creative process.