Publicyte Inteviews Former Venture Capitalist And Current iPad DJ Rana June Sobhany
Rana June Sobhany, better known as DJ Rana June to some, took a break from her tour to play the Publicyte launch event in Washington, DC recently. Widely recognized as one of the most innovative people working at the intersection of technology, music, and art, she continually inspires people in both the technology and music industries. Publicyte editor-in-chief Mark Drapeau caught up with her at the members-only L2 Lounge in Georgetown for an interview.
What’s cool about performing at a Microsoft launch event?
I am a believer in and supporter of innovation. Anytime a company launches a product, that’s cause for celebration! Microsoft has been so instrumental in getting computers into the mainstream and has shaped so much of the technology adoption we now see in every facet of our daily lives. I am eager and anxious to see what the next generation of products will be.
This launch is even more special because I’ve known you for many years! I’m excited to watch Publicyte.com grow under your leadership.
Thanks! You used to live in Washington, DC with me, which is how we met – What do you think about the DC tech scene and how it’s changed over the last few years?
It has certainly changed a great deal over the past five years! I remember the days when the “DC Tech Scene” was 10 people having brunch at Napoleon in Adams Morgan on a Sunday morning. Now, this city has nurtured a burgeoning hub of innovation, giving New York a run for its money as the East Coast’s most startup-friendly city.
What did you do to prepare for the Publicyte.com launch party?
I spent a long time thinking about the right way to put together a soundtrack that encompassed Publicyte’s spirit. I wanted to create a sonic environment that is fun,energetic,and uplifting, much like the resource that Publicyte.com is proving to its readers.
What’s on your set list?
Over the past year, I have played over 100 shows, so I have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating and performing on a new platform like the iPad. As a result, I have truly crafted and refined my style of uptempo electronic dance music into an experience that is interactive with everyone in the audience. I try to play current “top 40,” but remixed in an interesting and lively manner that connects with the audience in a meaningful way that inspires people to think about consumer technologies in a new and novel way.
What apps did you use on your iPad during the Publicyte show?
I use many different apps when doing pre-production work, but the main app I use during the live performance is called Looptastic HD. I have hacked a version that is very customized to my workflow and enables syncing of multiple iPads, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours uploading my own samples and loops to it. But the beauty of it is that the main app is available in the App Store and it’s reasonably priced.
I really encourage people to try to make music whenever they can. The tools and technologies that have emerged in the past five years are making it so easy for anyone to understand music production, and it’s my belief that the more people are able to make music on their own, the more they can and will appreciate the good music they hear anywhere else.
Where is digital music headed in the next couple of years?
Given the fact that I’ve dedicated the past year of my life to exploring this subject, I would like to think that the proliferation of low-cost, touch-screen interfaces are going to transform the way that music is produced and performed. The crumbling record label model is fostering an increased need for new modalities of musical expression. We are also seeing that take place in the younger generation who have exhibited and incredible aptitude and interest in music games such as Guitar Hero and Tap Tap Revenge.
My next project is to tackle the next generation of music education in America. I am so excited to share my plans, but for now, they are under wraps while we are building out the first product.
Thanks, Rana! We’re looking forward to seeing you relate your work on the DJ/consumer side of things to the public sector issue of education in the near future.
See exclusive photos from the Publicyte launch event on our Skydrive. Follow DJ Rana June on Twitter at @ranajune, and get more information about music and upcoming events on her website. Art credits: DJ Rana June, ABC News