Saturday, April 25 @ 9 PM @ MeetFactory – part of Evolution Night
The Trons are a robotic garage rock band from Hamilton, New Zealand. The band explores machine made music in a fun and engaging way, while investigating the unique musical possibilities and the psychology of human-robot interaction. Built mainly from salvaged and junked materials the Trons play standard guitars, drums and keyboards. The control system comes from a decommissioned vending machine that has been reprogrammed to drive the solenoids and motors that power the artificial limbs. These limbs and fingers are made from recycled construction kits and other second hand materials. The use of these flimsy mechanical components introduces subtle variations to the playing that seems to mimic our own performance style. The precision computer timing combined with the loose mechanical execution creates a band that is musically tight yet has elements of randomness and subtle superimposed rhythms. The Trons have been designed to tour and perform like a normal human band. The members have names, and audiences often relate and refer to them as people. The loose anthropomorphism is partly an outcome of designing mechanical devices to play instruments that were originally intended for humans, but is also due to our own mental projection of bodies onto these skeletal figures. This playful visual element of the band combined with the familiar construction materials helps break down the barriers we as humans often feel towards robots. The playing of fun original pop songs too makes the Trons a group that is as endearing as they are entertaining.
Greg Locke is a musician, artist and electronics engineer from Hamilton, New Zealand. Early projects included explorations into sound reproduction, music and artificial intelligence. While performing in bands he toyed with the idea of creating robotic musicians to add a precise yet colourful dynamic to the sounds. Work in the field of mechanical automation also fuelled these ideas, and a few experiments soon led to the construction of a complete band. Greg is currently artist in residence at Time’s Up Laboratories in Linz and is touring Europe with the Trons through the support of Time’s Up and Creative New Zealand.