Shaun Oster, F.G.B., a talented and intolerably fun and kind person whom I have had the honour and pleasure to meet in Santa Barbara in California, has created a virtual world where he could share the joys, pains, and wisdom of his music.
I am sharing some of our conversations here.
Oh, the F.G.B. is an official designation I have granted to Shaun. It stands for "Fairy God Brother."
TGL: So why does the world need Virtual Reality (VR)?
SO FGB: The world needs VR because it's the next step of our evolution to being a sentient network of life. Able to communicate beyond space or distance. Because we all want to fly. We all want to see more and experience it all.
Tell us the inspiration/s behind the album title: Infinity = 1. Is there any mathematical theorem you were trying to address or prove?
No, but feel free to find a complex mathematic theory that I can pretend it also means – hahaha. It’s more of the mystic sense that existence is a singular organism; that our separation is outweighed by our connectivity.
When you created the music for the album, were you imagining a “space” that you wanted to capture in VR?
Not THIS time… I wrote the album and had just finished it when I began to think about VR. This album is really poetry that poured out of my heart and experiences. I usually begin a song on the piano. Then the music inspires the lyric, and finally, the drums. Funny, being that drumming is my longest studied art form. But when I record, the vocals come last. There is nothing as wonderful feeling as singing to my own drumming.
The VR spawned off of the idea of just creating a room in which you can listen to my music. It just was too easy to get that far to stop. So my imagination kept unfolding more and more ideas. Did that lead to a lack of congruence? Sure! But it’s still a heartfelt, unique, psychedelic experience that has the potential to keep you entertained while you hear my whole album. The next one will be planned out start to finish.
The VR world is such an immersive space, what sorts of “experiences” in this “reality” have you found so remarkable? Did you ever vomit in your world? Feelings of being lost, nauseous, escapist...?
Yeah there is a learning curve to not getting nauseated in VR. I think that will subside more as we get into faster frame rates. When I first created this app, it was for the developer version of desktop Oculus Rift. At that point there were no standards of frame rate, so it could be quite sickening. That’s why the commercial Oculus requires a PC with expensive graphic card, locking the frame rate at 90fps.
I once fell asleep in VR. Waking up there is really mind-bending. I have heard a few programmers talk about the syndrome where you wake up and don’t know if you are in VR or a dream.
Why such interior architecture in your VR room?
In this case, I built my app out of pocket. No investment whatsoever. I have one programmer and I made use of as many pre-made assets as I could get my hands on. As I became more experienced I began to customize much more. But it was a great way to get my feet wet and create a unique experience. The living room was more or less what I was looking for. A modern house to hang my paintings (that you can jump inside to watch 3D videos).
And the elephants, why are they pink? Are they symbolic of anything, like the green and red mushrooms?
Just keeping the place lighthearted, psychedelic. A little Pink Floyd never hurt anyone.
Mind sharing your other visions for this new space you’ve created? Is it going to be multiuser/ interactive space eventually?
Yes, unquestionably, if not in this app, then on the next one. I really want to be able to talk to users from the sky. I know that sounds like an ego trip, but it also sounds ridiculously fun.
Your other passions e.g. food, family, aquaponics etc., how does all of that fit in/ have been brought into the VR world?
Food, music, family, eco-farming, all of these are manifestations of love of life. VR is a expression of recognizing that we create our reality in our minds and hearts.
I want to say that this app was an artistic self-expression. Almost no budget, no big team, and buckets of love. My gift to anyone ready to explore, and hear my album for free. I am so grateful that it is being heard and that it resonates with some people. Now that my feet are wet, I am ready to really dive deeper into VR creation.
When and where can I post a dance video in it? LOL.