on Monday, Sep. 21st

Wrapping up our series of interviews with the founders of The Virtual Reality Foundation, which presents the second annual Proto Awards this week.

Previously in the series: Cosmo Scharf, Adam Levin, Jessica Ward, John Root, and Jonnie Ross.

So for this last interview with the founders of The Virtual Reality Foundation we’re going to cheat. A little. We spoke with the five others at the last Virtual Reality Los Angeles Expo in August but our chat with the sixth Beatle, James Bairian, was done over the magic of email. Not even some kind of fancy VR email. Just the regular stuff.

We hope to get a chance to talk with Bairian in real-space this week at The Proto Awards on Tuesday night. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you there too.

TURNSTYLE: How did you get involved with VRLA/The VRF in the first place?

James Bairian: Before the VRF and VRLA, Jonnie Ross told me about VR, he said “There is a tidal wave coming and no one can see it yet. It’s going to change the way we experience everything.” He brought a DK1 to our recording studio and I knew I had to get involved.

TURNSTYLE: What’s your role in The VRF?

Bairian: I organize all the panels and presentations at VRLA and assemble a crew to make sure the day runs smoothly. With the Proto Awards I help produce the show and compose all the music for the show with my partner Louis Castle (as “The Gifted”). wearethegifted.com

TURNSTYLE: What’s your “day job” and does that intersect with VR?

Bairian: I’m a partner at Headquarters Music with Adam Levin and Louis Castle. We’re a music production house that composes and licenses for film, TV, and advertising. When I’m not talking VR I am making music or talking about making music. I’m actually just about to board a plane out of Toronto. We scored the horror film “Southbound” and it premiered last night at TIFF as part of the “Midnight Madness” series.

TURNSTYLE: What’s changed about your professional life since joining up with VRLA?

Bairian: Since I am heavily involved with music outside of VR I think the biggest change is the opportunity to experiment with music and sound design in a 3D space as opposed to just working in stereo or 5.1.

TURNSTYLE: What are you looking forward to the most out of the virtual reality scene in the next six months?

Bairian: I am really excited for new content and tech coming out on a consumer level. I want the world to discover this and feel the way I felt when I first tried it.

TURNSTYLE:Could you describe the moment you first experienced “presence” in VR?

Bairian: HQ music teamed up with Apogee and Jaunt a while back to make and an intimate experience with the band Phantom Planet playing a few tracks acoustically. I was there helping to manage the shoot and record the audio. When the crew at Jaunt sent over the stitched footage and I viewed it in the Rift it blew my mind! The hairs on my arms stood up (and I have a lot, I’m Armenian)! I felt that I was transported into the Apogee studio and Alex was singing to me five feet in front of my face. I turned to my left and Darren’s guitar got louder. I mean… it was like I was transported to that exact moment again. I have always wanted to relive an amazing moment from my past and in VR I was able to. I got to connect with the music in a way that was only possible in a live setting before. That was the moment I was hooked.

Check back Wednesday for our after-action report from The Proto Awards.


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