BY PHIL HOOD
Wave is a wearable MIDI controller to control sounds, effects and send commands with the motion of your hand. DRUM! reported on its money-raising success last month after it’s Indiegogo campaign, with a goal of $30,000, pulled in $46,093 in just a week. It finished Friday with over $60,000 raised. I talked with Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, a designer working on the Wave project, about the feedback he’s getting.
He says that different musicians see completely different uses in the wave technology. “Keyboardists use it control modulation. They have used it to control modulation for instance, while they are playing with all ten fingers on the keyboard, just by tilting their hand. Wave can add quite a lot of possibilities.”
The idea of Wave is simple but powerful. It’s a trigger you can wear on your finger. Motions can be translated into musical notes, effects, or any sound you’d like to trigger. It adds a creative layer on top of your musical instruments. So, for instance, a singer could add reverb or castanets while moving hishands while singing. A drummer could layer handclap samples while clapping her hands. It pairs to a computer, smart device or the Wave module and works well with major software and apps.
“Singers use it for more engagement, as moving your hands around seems to be more natural than turning a knob,” says Hólmgeirsson. “And it creates a new type of expression for guitarists controlling the sound with the strumming hand. As you can map the movements to any parameter in your music software it also gives you greater control to try new things out on the fly.”
How Drummers Might Use Wave
It’s also a versatile tool for drummers. “The drummers we have tried it with have used Wave as a pad, whether to trigger drum samples, like hi-hat on the side of a snare or to use two Waves, one on each index finger, to finger drum,” says Hólmgeirsson. “Wave can be used as a trigger pad, triggering samples on any surface you hit on.”
He thinks Wave has a good chance to become more widely used. It’s incredibly versatile, and you can change sounds quickly. “Wave has programmable patches,” he says. “Patches are created from the different functions Wave has to offer (the movements and triggers). You can cycle between those patches, allowing you to control different things between different songs for example. The buttons also allow you to turn functions on and off so you can wipe sweat from your forehead without having to be afraid to trigger samples accidentally or that the swiping-movement affects your sound.”
I asked what he thought were the factors that led to Wave’s initial success on Kickstarter. Is it the concept? The marketing? The need for the product by existing musicians? The video quality? “That’s a great question” he says. “We are stoked that we hit 100 percent in just one day! I assume that a product like this is just relevant right now. Of course it’s a combination of things, but we made a lot of effort to show people that we actually have made a product that works — and the video plays a huge role. Being a designer I also want to say it’s the marketing.”