ib: Firstly, who are you?
I am something called a digital philosopher, it’s a tiny branch of philosophy that deals with the emotions and perceptions shift we are living now. In the last 4 years I’ve switched from the academic circles and ran several art projects here in town. Since 2012 I run with other 3 guys the Loophole in Boddinstrasse. There we hosted more than a thousand artists so far and gave birth to the Boddinale, the independent movie festival for Berlin-based directors. For The Bloop I partnered up with Matthias Thoemmes that is coding the platform from scratch to give it a unique structure we couldn´t find anywhere.
ib: So tell us, just what is Bloop?
Through the years we have gathered a very active community of artists and organizers from the world over, from the noise experimental fields to pop and techno and whatever else. The Bloop is a place where this community can become sustainable and grow without the limits that physical places have. It´s meant to be a map of all of us where we can share projects and work our way to make beautiful moments.
To say it in a pitch: it´s a community of artists and organizers to do booking and manage tours.
ib: What are the benefits of the platform?
The software is designed to integrate all the work that is needed to set up a night in one single place. Many of the routine actions that we usually have to do, like checking emails, filling calendars, listening to playlists or following tours stops are made and organized by the software so that we can focus on quality and inspiration. It´s like a personal assistant in a way.
If you like to travel, you can roll out your tour path through our map, and see if someone has a stage for you.
The platform has a somewhat new architecture that you might need a while to get familiar with.
Basically you create an account and then you can create multiple profiles in it, in this way an agent or someone with multiple projects can easily follow them from one spot.
ib: How and why did you come up with the idea?
One night in a location we used to have, called RUFREAKTOR, we had a long crazy line-up of almost 20 artists to arrive to the morning. One guy came to me and asked how he could have a line-up like this in his club. Turns out his place was in a very small town somewhere north of Italy. I told him all the artists were actually living or trying to live in Beriin and that it would have been much more expensive for him to bring them to his place. Then I just wondered: what if all these people could let everyone know when they travel and where, what if this guy could just tell them to make one more stop on their tour, he could probably guarantee a good crowd and a good fee. It was that kind of win-win idea that stuck with me for a long while until I found the right guy to realize it with. Now after 10 months of work you can actually do that, and is fascinating.
ib: And the name?
The name was an adventure in itself.
Up until a month ago we had another name, Das Loop, then we received a letter saying that basically Loop is a trademarked word for computer and music related products. So we had to change it.
For a month we had no name, it was one of the most existential experiences of my life. Then one day Claudia, a friend of the Loophole came by and asked. “Why don’t you call it The Bloop ? I love how it sounds”.
Then she went online to check if it meant anything and there is when the magic happened.
She opened wikipedia and there it was:
“Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low-frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997. The sound is consistent with the noises generated by icequakes in large icebergs, or large icebergs scraping the ocean floor.”
That was it.
ib: How many bands and agencies do you have so far?
We started showing the platform to friends to collect more ideas and feedbacks since november of last year.
Starting last week we are inviting more and encourage them to actually use it and share it with their friends, the platform is in alpha version and some extra features are still under Matthias hands.
As of today we have 246 users, 70% artists and 30% organizers, basically only a first circle of friends that were patient and inspired enough to test the platform as it developed.
ib: What are you doing to let people know about it?
The network is private, and it will stay private. Since there will be information in it that is basically only for backstage deals, like phone numbers or unfinished line ups or wishful thinking tour paths, the entire platform will be for members only.
To get in you will need to be invited by someone that is already a member.
In this way we hope to keep the quality of the community to a high standard and at the same time making it a real community of people that have experience of working with each other and can recommend or help to keep the information in flow.
Then we were supposed to do a promotional video to make people aware we exist. But as it often happens in the Loophole things went a bit out of hand.
In November the place was closed for two weeks, to get some rest. It was the perfect time to produce the video so I called Marcus Grysczok, an incredibly talented stop motion artist that participated in the first edition of the Boddinale, and asked him if he wanted to do an animation for launching the project.
We needed all kind of help so we sent out a call for creative hands to come and build a tiny world in the loophole, for the set of the movie. We started by writing the script in 8 people on a Sunday night.
That transformed in 2 weeks of almost 20 people basically living there, all of them incredible artitsts that usually hang out in the loophole, working to build a replica of the oberbaum brucke, puppets and costumes and all that you can imagine to shoot a movie.
The result is, in my humble opinion, a tiny wonder that describes the life of artists busking the city and going places.
We are now about to launch it for good on the Bloop homepage. It might not say too much about how the platform works, but it does say a lot about what kind of community we are.
ib: Is it a free service? If not what will it cost?
There is nothing like a free service, we are like pigs in a ham factory today.
Our information is sold and rented and analyzed at nausea to make sure they can tell us what to do and buy and when and why. With that approach, I think you stop designing your product for what it has to do and start focusing only on how to grab peoples’ attention and private information.
The Bloop will sustain itself with a yearly membership fee.
With 24€ per year you get to create up to 2 profiles with your account. If you need more profiles then it goes 50€ to get 8 or 100€ to get 20 profiles.
The idea is that at the first gig you do through the platform you more than recover your investment.
In this way we hope we´ll be able to keep it running and grow strong,
Of course for now it is free for all, and will stay so for several months more. Once we end the rollout phase there will always be a free trial period for new users.
ib: How do you see The Bloop developing? Where do you see it in two years?
I imagine an artists in 2 years being able to travel the world 365 days in a year and managing to live by doing what she/he does best, that would make for a lot of interesting new forms of expression and for a very powerful bloop.
Noel Maurice of indieberlin talked to Gianluca Baccanico