Terrible Spaceship Interactive Music and Video Show
by Stacy Jones Sutton
As part of Chicago Artists Month, we are profiling Mightybytes folks on their artistic endeavors. Travis Chandler, James Johnston and Mightybytes alum Whit Nelson are all involved in Terrible Spaceship, an interactive band with live triggered cinematic shows behind them in a theater-esque performance, whose style is called ‘ambient synthetic horror pop.’ The next performance is Saturday, October 3rd at Martyrs on Lincoln Ave.
Their Orson-Welles-inspired first album is available at iTunes. Terrible Spaceship presents “Zontar the Thing from Venus” is the second album. Finding the 1938 Orson Welles record “Invaders from Mars” kicked off Travis’ idea for Terrible Spaceship and his desire to create an atmosphere of music and visuals surrounding the record’s narration.
Q: Tell me about the Terrible Spaceship creative process?
Travis Chandler: Every time it begins with music and me on my couch at home. I use the program GarageBand to build the songs, then I take that song and marry it to a narrative. I end up building three times as many songs as I need. At that stage, we begin as a band to run them like crazy and learn them to prepare for a live performance. Then, we select video clips and especially moving images from Internet Archive, which is packed with phenomenal old footage and animations, and much of it is free and beyond copyright. I felt like I hit a gold mine when I found this. We also use live video feeds and custom animations created by the Mightybytes team.
A video and audio show behind the band is integrated into the live music to form a transportive, polished smooth ride into another dimension. “Live triggered video, run by Whit Nelson, has many dozen animation and video clips telling the story of each song as we go, in a more abstract way. Each song ends up with a bank of options to work from and pull in live performance video too.”
A fan comment on your one of Terrible Spaceship’s YouTube videos is:
“shelackula: These videos don’t do you guys justice. And they often cut off my favorite, Mr. far right on keyboard. You are an amazing group, full of energy and obvious intelligence and taste.”
Q: Do you encourage fan video and/or audio taping at your shows?
Travis Chandler: Absolutely! I encourage anybody to bring anything to record. All I ask is if they have time, try to send me a copy or post a link to me, and I’ll build them into the show. I can’t wait to get my hands on some highjacked material.
Terrible Spaceship sightings can be seen live in Chicago and also captured on video at YouTube.