From the first entry, VISIV’s spectacular set-up and explosive volume are awe-inspiring. Filled with over 10,000 techno fans, VISIV’s premier event The future is now is overwhelming – in the best possible way. Hardcore techno shakes the floor of La Défense Arena, one of the largest in Europe, as crowds of Parisian techno fans young and old dance the night away under the blinding light show. On screens taped to the walls of the arena, thousands of individuals connecting via the Metaverse dance the night away across the world, as the logo of the new and upcoming tech x tech community VISIV surrounds us all in a impressive throughout the night.
On March 19, VISIV brought a unique concept to delirium in Paris. Powerful programming treated guests to 12 hours of non-stop industrial techno music while futuristic projections promoted the NFTs associated with the event. An audience gazed in awe at the grandeur of the arena, complete with a booming 1000KW audio system from the Meyer speaker. With an impressive range of Ben Klock, Marcel Detman, Blawan, Helen Hauff, DEP1, Rodhad, Dasha Rush and Bamboo, ravers danced through the massive space to industrial sound. Sweaty, clingy, decked in all black with rhinestone faces, the air was thick with excitement to dance the night away; how, once the sets were complete, guests wandered in awe of a blinding sunrise, confused, excited and overwhelmed by what they had just seen.
World-class DJs spin floor-shaking tunes while a soaring, near-constant 140-150 BPM can be felt in your heart. Robin, Koboyo and Bambounou opened the room to a growing crowd, encouraging the first comers to make their way to the front of the stage. Bambounou in particular gave an exhilarating performance, using his love of dystopian sci-fi to produce an extremely futuristic take on techno music, perfect for VISIV’s ethos. Next, Dasha Rush delivered an experimental and ingenious live performance, breaking away from the industrial techno lineup. His set communicated a dystopian, gothic, yet romantic dreamworld, completely immersing the audience in meticulously crafted soundscapes and thoughtful composition. Dasha Rush’s set, a perfect prelude to Ben Klock and Marcel Dettman, was not only exciting for crowds eager to dance, but an opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a carefully crafted artist vision of music.
Around 1am the place starts to feel crowded as residents of Berghain Ben Klock and Marcel Dettman step up for a performance that sends the crowd into a frenetic, euphoric groove. At around 4:45 a.m., my friend and I drank bottles of water and hunkered down on the outskirts of an elated crowd in hopes of reviving our tired feet for two of our favorite artists from the lineup. Helen Hauff do B2B with Blawan was perhaps one of the most anticipated sets of the night, with crowds of sweaty, tacky fans pushing until 5 a.m. to catch a glimpse of the iconic DJs. Like Helen Haufi takes the stage in front of a delirious crowd, and opens his first track grunge-y, grime-y, we quickly realize that it is not necessary to rehydrate to rally. The dynamism that runs through his set is enough to keep someone moving and dancing the night away, with Blawan stepping up to keep the crowd going. With a room as big as La Défense, it’s no small feat for seven DJ sets that follow one another to fill an imposing space, and much more to satisfy thousands of fans for 12 hours in a row. However, with such a powerful line-up, the rotation of DJs ran smoothly throughout the night, each delivering a unique and exciting take on techno to a lively audience.
Hosting their first show in the biggest arena in Europe was definitely a powerful statement from VISIV. The music industry has always evolved to adapt to technological advances in performance, distribution and consumption. NFTs, arguably the biggest online buzzword of 2021, are a new aspect of digital technology impacting music by allowing artists to sell tokenized versions of their lyrics, melodies, songs and artwork. – and the result was incredibly divisive. The movement is fueled by heavenly promises for artists to control every aspect of their music, including customizing their own per-track streaming prices, creating smart contracts, and paying global royalties in a decentralized, democratized community. The popular discourse surrounding the topic has divided many, with some arguing that NFTs offer a unique way to directly benefit artists, and others criticizing crypto-technology and the culture surrounding it.
It’s no secret that streaming, while increasing accessibility for listeners, has unfairly hindered artists’ earnings. As reported by Fortune, the revenue split in music spaces that is normally 50/50 – with 50% for the artist and 50% shared between producers, lawyers and agents – has been further complicated with the appearance of services streaming, with the deal getting progressively worse for the artist. In the electronic genre, based on sampling, collaboration and interpolation, artists are beginning to capitalize on NFTs as a way to increase their direct revenue stream, bypass streaming conglomerates and ensure that they are paid exactly what is due to them.
Currently, the dizzying sums of money involved in crypto are often reflected in already popular artists selling portions of their digital property for hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is a question around the wealth trickle: if Disclosure can create a live track on Twitch and sell it for 40k, how can a smaller, newer artist have access to the same kind of revenue streams? This opened up a conversation space regarding crowdfunding for smaller artists to create NFTs. Communities like VISIV are taking advantage of the booming sector of the industry by bringing large-scale parties into the digital sphere. This not only increases the accessibility of participation, but sets an example of creating NFTs to directly support their programming and encourages participants to do the same.
Sitting at an empty gate at Charles De Gaulle airport the next afternoon, it’s strange to ponder the dizzying and overwhelming concept of NFTs and techno in such a sterile environment. I’m trying to figure out if these divisive concepts have a place in the industry – are they just a passing fad, destined to explode or mutate into the next big thing five years from now, or are they a legitimate way to artists to reclaim their own narratives in an industry often obsessed with minimizing artists’ real incomes?
The mundanity of the return tube journey from Heathrow leads me to think of the provocative nature of VISIV. The fusion of cutting-edge technology with techno, a genre known for subverting musical norms and as a field of explosive creativity, is thrilling. There really isn’t another word I could use for it. Of course, the concept of NFTs is dizzying at best, and the last thing anyone really wants to think about at 4 a.m. while dancing to industrial techno is cryptocurrency, but with a community like VISIV that has such a finger on the pulse, the concept feels both exciting and overwhelming.
While Metaverse ticket holders have the opportunity to relive the event over and over again, I spend my Sunday evening reliving my experience through blurry iPhone videos, lowering my headphones as the explosive sound of techno decimates the highs. -speakers. You can stay tuned to visiv.fr for updates on future events scheduled for the second half of May.
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