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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inspired Magazine

Inspired Magazine

Inspired Talks – Mills & Jon Burgerman of Inkstrumental

Posted: 20 May 2010 08:12 AM PDT

If you’re in London while reading this you might want to leave  to the Apple Store in Regent Street where this very evening will take place the Inkstrumental Special Event from 7 to 8 pm!

Today we’re glad to publish a special edition of Inspired Talks. Please welcome our guests today: Mills of UsTwo and Jon Burgerman – the two brains behind the new sensation of the app store – yes, Inkstrumental ladies and gentlemen!!

The app had a huge anticipation and is already well known in the creative community, however for the folks that are not familiar with Inkstrumental™ – what is it about?

Inkstrumental is made for those of you out there that have dreamed of creating your own band but don’t have what it takes. Now you can select the stars of the show, lay down the beats, mix the sounds, take the performance to the stage, film the music video then show it to the world and become famous all on an iPhone or iPod Touch.
The app lets you make and share crazy music with your friends. You can choose from a vast array of characters, each with their own weird sound that when tapped, is automatically played, recorded and added to the wonky, hypnotic, rolling beats.

By combining all the characters and sounds on offer you can create and record a mash-up of noise and mayhem. A sure fire way to delight and annoy in equal measure.

By hitting the YouTube icon you can share your music video with all friends and the rest of the world (who have access to the internet and YouTube).

How many nights & bottles of beer you spent creating Inkstrumental™?

Too many to mention but to give you an exact idea – Inkstrumental™ has been over a year in the making, a true mastercraft in ‘what you should never ever do when developing an app’.

Everything that could possibly go wrong – went wrong. The app very nearly became our equivalent of ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ – in other words, failing to be released ever.

Now in hindsight, I can safely say it really is the app that should have never been released. We started the marketing for the app over a year ago, with multiple ‘coming soon’ campaigns, various concept changes, numerous rebuilds, and to top the madness off, we had a big ‘Inkstrumental™ Pre-Launch Party… 8 months ago!

It literally took until 1 week before submission for us to realise ourselves what the app was actually about… and that's to ‘make and share’ Inkstrumental™ music video masterpieces.

Where did the idea come from?

It’s now over 1 year to the day that Inkstrumental™ (or Inkstruments™ as it was known then) was conceived.

At that time we were bathing in the micro success of MouthOff™ (63,000 paid downloads) the original and best sound reactive Mouth app available on the App Store.

MouthOff™ only USP was that the user could choose any number of beautifully crafted illustrated mouths to replace their own gob – something that clearly a lot of people wanted to do. MouthOff™ proved that consumers had an appetite (whether it was insatiable is questionable) for the bizarre.

Up to that point we had only created small fry applications – but since then we’ve released the highly acclaimed casual game masterpieces called .™, ..™ and …™ and the 210,000 downloaded PositionApp™. We wanted to make an app that was truly unique, truly insane, and truly wonderful yet truly ridiculous. It’s fair to say Inkstrumental™ is just that.

We learnt early on that a strong proposition coupled with a well-planned marketing campaign, was the key to making our apps successful.

We also realised that releasing a truly unique offering into an already congested app market place was going to be hard. Hence we contacted our good friend, Jon Burgerman, an artist who had successfully engineered a career based on his doodling. He was in essence a unique brand, and his brand essence was exactly what we needed to leverage.

Marrying ustwo's notoriously contradictory approach to everything we do along with the insanity of Jon’s mind-bending imagination and creations – was a match made in hell. Exactly the place we wanted to be.

Jon – what other projects you finished recently or you’re involved in at the moment?

I’ve just come back from wild Winchester where my latest gallery exhibition, Brain Drain, has just opened.

Now I’m preparing for my next one, Lossy Botany Lab, which will open at Heliumcowboy artspace in Hamburg on July 1st (don’t worry, we’ve checked, it doesn’t clash with any World Cup matches).

It will feature strange plants.

Other than that I will be off to NYC shortly to play a couple of gigs with my musical project / band Anxieteam with fellow artist Jim Avignon

Jon – what are your common sources of inspiration?

I get inspiration from so many things. Yes, there are the usual things like art, design, music, literature, films etc but I think I get more inspired by stuff I don’t even know I’m going to see, such as weird anomalies you encounter on the street as you’re walking around. I like talking to people too, there’s nothing more brilliant and odd and inspiring than what people get up to in their lives. We have an in built idea about what is normal and acceptable that becomes completely warped and confounded when you talk to people, both locally and around the world. There’s nowt stranger than folk.

Mills – how did MouthOff – your uber popular signature app – influenced the work of the ustwo studio?

We made MouthOff™ as a laugh a minute gimmick to help users have a little fun! We then created the showroom which allowed anyone who made a video to post it on YouTube and subsequently our MouthOff™ site.

These videos formed a strong and effective marketing channel for the app meaning the app was receiving thousands of eyeballs each day. The only problem was that most of the users did not want to make a video of them looking stupid.

Inkstrumental™ turned the video creation on its head; so rather than asking the user to film a video of themselves we decided to reward them with their own Inkstrumental™ creation in the app.

The end goal of each Inkstrumental™ user session is an upload of the freshly created music video direct to YouTube. We encode the sound and video on the iPhone therefore pushing the boundaries of what the little device can do. Inkstrumental™ is a ‘make and share’ app. Nothing less, nothing more.

Mills – is it true that your work is highly influenced by Nelson Mandela?

As Nelson Mandela said: After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

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