Sep 4, 2019

.ART Digital Innovation in Art Nominee, SoundWave Art: "Combining music, sound, and art is a perfect fit that creates meaningful things for thousands of people"

Soundwave Art is a young company which offers ‘a unique experience of converting sounds into customizable works of art and jewelry’. With 17 years in the music industry, a love of art, some website knowledge and an innovative idea, they set out on their journey 7 years ago. The user-generated model available at their website allows to take a sound wave and add a variety of colours and sizes providing the endless possibilities for creating playable artworks that one may desire. .ART talked to the Soundwave’s co-founder Mike LaTour about why it’s of great importance to record sentiments that will last for generations and why augmented reality is a real breakthrough which helped to get rid of «ugly QR codes».

How was Soundwave Art born?

Soundwave Art™ started after a conversation between two friends. A simple discussion about the look of sound wave patterns and the idea that maybe it would be cool if we could find a way to turn them into a piece of art. That’s really all it took to get me obsessed with the idea. Luckily, I knew just enough about web development to get started and a few months later I had built a website and developed the first version of our software to capture audio and convert it into a sound wave pattern. Before I knew it, Soundwave Art™ was born.

People love to turn their voice or any sound into art, especially considering that these sentiments can be in some way kept forever.

From the beginning, I had a vision for playable artwork, a way for customers to be able to listen to their art. However, it was not so easy to accomplish. The simple solution would have been QR codes but that was the last thing I wanted to use. Why would anyone want to put an ugly code on their artwork just so they could listen to it? It took quite a bit of time, but the answer was augmented reality. Combining image recognition and AR allowed us to turn our customer’s art into something scannable. The art itself was the code, our app is able to read the art by simple scanning it and it knows exactly what audio or video file to play.

How do you attract customers? Do people love the idea of converting sounds into pics?

We advertise on many platforms and interacting on social media is a must. Good content is important, capturing videos of customers reacting to the art they received from their loved ones and showing them scanning their art to reveal the augmented reality feature – the smile on their faces says it all. We launched Soundwave Art™ in 2012 and the business has grown every year since. 10,000 plus customers later, I can say that people do love turning their voice or any sound for that matter into art. Especially considering that these sentiments can be in some way kept through generations.

We .ART also like the idea of preserving the most precious things that we have as humanity. Thats why we created Digital Twin. One of the main ideas is to make a digital archive of human’s legacy – as complete as possible.

Yes, being involved in the digital side of the art world I love the idea. Art is such a beautiful part of our world, preserving it and protecting that beauty is important. We need more beautiful things in our lives!

Between inspiration and hard work, which is more important?

That’s tough, I feel that being inspired by something leads to hard work. Inspiration can come from anything, sometimes just taking a break and going for a walk will inspire you. Of course, when it comes to business, everything is important and hard work goes a long way. So, I didn’t really answer that, they are both important!

What’s your most exciting achievement to date?

Our mobile app was a pretty exciting achievement and probably our most important. Though, we’ve worked with some large companies and celebrities over the years, which is always exciting. Having art appear on HGTV, hanging in celebrities’ homes, having the Canadian comedian Howie Mandel scan his art and post it on social media are all moments we will never forget.

Co-founder of SoundWave Mike LaTour

If you could get any client, who would you want to work with and why?

We’ve worked with some record labels and musicians to create some pretty cool pieces over the years. I think what we do is a perfect fit for musicians. What I would really love to do is find an artist to work with on a hidden feature for their album cover. When scanned with our app it plays a special message for fans, maybe a hidden song or video. Hey, Dave Grohl, reach out!

What project are you focusing on now?

We are launching a new brand in the coming months called Star Map Art that we are really excited about. It is artwork designed by choosing a location and date, by doing so our software will align the stars as they were at that location and a specific date. The stars will be aligned as if you were looking up at them on that day. Our customers will also have the ability to incorporate a photo which will be scannable with our mobile app, adding an augmented reality experience to their art.

Could your services help a wider circle of people?

Absolutely, we’ve worked with a lot of Nonprofit organizations by giving them access to our app so they could create an augmented reality experience, helping them spread awareness about their activities. We also work with artists and photographers, some of them have built entire businesses based around our mobile app.

Do you imagine the art scene completely changed by technology in the next 50-100 years? If so, how?

I actually think the art scene is changing significantly right now. With the addition of augmented reality, artists are doing amazing things. When we developed the Soundwave Art™ Augmented Reality mobile app it completely changed our business model.

How essential is having a website in the modern art world? 

A web presence is imperative and with so many platforms for building your own website, every artist should have one.

Tell us about your website. Why did you choose to get one in the age of social media abundance?

We developed our own website for a few reasons, we wanted and needed a way to incorporate our software that just wasn’t possible with template-based platforms that you simply piece together. Our software is complex, and we needed total control over our site. We also feel strongly about having a domain name that is your businesses name, for SEO purposes alone it is a no brainer. Of course, social media is important and we use many channels but the goal is to get potential customers to our site where they can record and see what their voice pattern looks like, that just wouldn’t be possible without our own website.

The Blitz: 

Person with the greater influence in your life

My Dad. He’s been fighting cancer for 14 years and with many setbacks over the years, he just keeps going. We spend every week together at the cancer center, his attitude and the way he deals with his situation inspires so many people that we see every week.

Favourite book

Dream Brother: The Lives & Music of Jeff & Tim Buckley

When I say “art”, what’s the first thing you think of?

Creativity

What’s your idea of happiness?

Doing what you love. I’m so grateful for my business, being able to run a company that creates meaningful art for thousands of people a year truly makes me happy.


Also published on Medium.

Maria Efimova
Maria Efimova
is an orientalist who speaks Arabic and Hebrew. She spent a decade working with global media, shook hands with Benjamin Netanyahu and other political leaders. She is now taking a break from it all researching arts and philosophy.