Given the scope of the Multimedia landscape, I asked Joe and Mike if there were any specific types of multimedia that they thought were more viable than others:
Mike: I think that definitely websites are the best things, and in terms of interactive CDs, the ones that I've seen dont really cut it. I think its a good idea, but I dont think its been properly explored. There are a couple of exceptions, in my experience, that I've seen. The Treblecharger one that they did I thought was fantastic.
Joe: I didnt feel it was. It was confusing, I thought, plus it made my computer crash. I wasn't too happy about that.
Mike: Actually, a problem I had with the Treblecharger CD was that when it came out, I knew a girl that had this multimedia computer, but she didn't really know how to use it, so we checked it out and Im like Oh, this sucks! Then I actually met a guy at my workplace who had worked on it, and I was about to say how bad it sucked, but when he said I worked on it, I looked at it again on my computer and I saw there was a lot of great stuff on there. It actually takes like two hours to get through it. I think the main problem is that not everybody has the equipmen't to access this kind of stuff. I think a lot more people have access to the Internet, for websites. Obviously, there are tons of crappy ones out there, but I've also seen some really amazing ones. RealAudio streaming of whole shows, I think thats just fantastic. I would love to do something like that.
As an emerging band, is the multimedia angle worth pursuing?
Mike: I think if so, it would have to be a website. And I mean a good website, not just one that you throw up and abandon, but something thats constantly maintained with new stuff for the people who really want to check it out. I consider myself a real music fan and I go on the Net every night checking out websites and band sites just to see what sort of stuff is there. And I've seen some great stuff where people have done a ton of work, just for the sake of music. Theyre not doing it because theyre getting paid by the band or something, theyre doing it because they want to. Id like to approach it from that angle, where if we got to the point where people would want to know more about us, they could find a totally rad website that has a lot of live stuff on it, and cool pictures and bios of the band.
The Web seems to be taking centre stage. What about interactive CDs?
Joe: My experience is that the content for a lot of those multimedia CDs that bands put out is just a waste of time. Some show the band in some of these animated poses and stuff; its goofy. It seems that theyre trying to make it into something that it really isnt.
Mike: Yeah, its like if you were going to have concert footage, then Id definitely check it out. But Im not going to go through for hours and hours to try and figure out some maze or some stupid little game like if I need to get through some chambers or shit like that, I just can't be bothered.
Joe: Exactly. And even if you are a fan, eventually youre just going to look at that and say Okay, well thats about enough of that. To me, that end of multimedia, where these bands are trying to take these enhanced CD-ROMs and combining their music with multimedia stuff I don't think its anything. Maybe in the future, when you can take all the bands videos and live footage more along those lines instead of trying to make it interactive, whatever that is, with these games and junk like that.
Is it possible then that interactivity and immersion are not the Holy Grail of modern media?
Mike: Not in terms of interactive CDs. I mean, thats just my opinion, but like I said, I consider myself to be a pretty heavy duty music fan and, quite frankly, if its too much work, forget it. The Webs different, but if its a CD and Im going to have to go through a million stages to get to what I want to see, then just forget it, and Ill turn it off.
And will that ever change?
Mike: I hope it does. I think people don't really understand. I think record companies are going Ooo, enhanced CDs, and theyre doing them because they think thats what theyre supposed to do, but I don't think theyre doing a very good job of it. They could be a lot simpler, and I think that would make them a lot better. Now, I understand from a production standpoint that a lot of work goes into one, and thats admirable. I've seen the work that goes into one, and the amount of work that you have to do is mindblowing but looking at it from a fan standpoint, I dont think they really care about the work that went into it like they care about the finished product.