In The Green Room with… Richard Rauser
We sit down with Richard Rauser, TokenTraxx Head of Innovation and co-creator of TraxxStemz…
How did TraxxStemz come about?
Record producer TommyD first approached me about the Graffiti6 TraxxStemz project after hearing me speak about NFT art at a blockchain conference in London.
We sat down together shortly thereafter and discussed ways we might collaborate, and the natural synergy of the music and tech expertise we bring to the table seemed like a great foundation to build on. It’s proven to be a great fit!
What exactly is TraxxStemz?
TraxxStemz is a technology built in-house at TokenTraxx that uses software to automatically combine elements of artwork and musical layers into entirely new artistic works. The first project to make use of this tech is the track Revolution by Tommy’s band, Graffiti6.
The original track, Revolution, was remixed by 4 hot remixers of the moment: Flux Pavilion, Oden & Fatzo, Calyx & TeeBee, and Paul Woolford. The TraxxStemz technology that I built in-house as TokenTraxx’s Head of Innovation is used to recombine all those musical layers from the original and remixes into totally new tracks, 3030 of them! There are actually close to 2,000,000 different possible combinations.
The same technology is used to generate 3030 unique visual artworks, using artwork from one of our other partners as a starting point, the famed California-based graffiti artist, Jimi Crayon. Our custom built software recombines layers of the artwork to create 3030 unique artworks with a distinct heart motif. Each of the Graffiti6 TraxxStemz NFTs includes a randomly selected artwork and music track. Each one is totally unique, with some being especially rare, like the Triple Lazer, which is the only NFT to contain all “lazer” traits, while others contain more common elements.
What are the key benefits of TraxxStemz?
TraxxStemz is a totally unique technology that demonstrates the kind of amazing innovation that is possible when blockchain comes together with existing tech and the field of music production. TraxxStemz allows music fans to become partners in the success of the project, being able to singularly own a product of the project in the digital collectible format of NFTs.
Further benefits to TraxxStemz holders will accrue as the project advances. The team plans to enable all sorts of utility for token holders in future.
As an experienced technologist, what drew you to TokenTraxx?
I’ve always had a deep passion music and have been working in tech for more than 20 years. I feel that many of the most interesting innovation that humanity producers come at the intersection of disparate fields, and TokenTraxx offers just that, at the meeting points of music and tech!
Is this your first foray into the music industry?
It’s not, actually! As a young man I spent huge amounts of time focussed on producing electronic music of various sorts, mostly tech-house and progressive. Back then I was mostly using hardware to produce my tunes. Vintage analogue synths and drum machines coupled with hardware sequencers.
In more recent times Ableton has been my weapon of choice! While I studied Computer Science at University and graduated with as my major, I also completed a minor degree in Music Technology, so music has always been a deep passion of mine.
What does Web3 mean to you and what is the one message you would give to people trying to get into Web3 today?
While web 1.0 was all about one-way, read-only consumption of media via the internet, web 2.0 allowed internet users to create content via social media and a more bilateral way of interacting with the internet emerged.
Unfortunately, most of the value of this interaction is captured, monetised and commodified by the big internet powers of the current era which we all love and hate: Meta, Google, Apple, etc. Web 3.0, on the other hand, allows users to own their content, stake their ownership over it on a blockchain, and only sell it, trade it, give it away, etc if they wish.
This is a great boon for artists, because while digital creative works of the web 2.0 era are infinitely shareable with no record of ownership or traceability, web 3.0 changes all that by allowing ownership and provenance to be tied to a blockchain. This makes it so much easier for digital creatives to monetise their work for their own benefit, instead of others doing this for them, for their own gain.
It also means that artists are not bound by the strictures of the gatekeepers of the current era, whether that be the internet giants, record labels, streaming services, publishing houses, or whatever else. Web 3.0 will unleash a whole new era for artists to flourish. Web 3.0 is ushering us into a golden era for creatives!
If you were an app, what would you be?
If you can imagine an app that is the exact opposite of the Calm meditation and mindfulness app, I would probably be it! Anyone who’s met me can attest to how energetic and enthused I can get.
What’s been a particular failure or success which you learnt the most from?
I learned an incredible amount from a startup I founded called Procinity back in 2008, right at the very beginning of the touchscreen smartphone boom.
Our product was a mobile social app that allowed you to see the social profiles of people around you. We were a little too early and the state of tech at the time was simply not quite good enough, despite us building a functional product. We were never able to reach the critical mass of users that would have made it a success, but it was a great learning experience and a defining moment in my career.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
I have a pretty incredible yodelling ability, as do many of my family members. We love nothing more than a grand evening of joy-filled yodelling on the cottage patio while relaxing by the Okanagan lake. The neighbours, perhaps, not so much.
Do you have a favourite photo or picture?
This is certainly one of my favourites. It was taken in Chamonix just before the pandemic hit when I was celebrating a major birthday with a pack of mates. I’m never happier than when I have a board strapped to my feet, high in the mountains, feeling the bite of the chill, surrounded by snow and natural beauty.
Snowboarding is one of my greatest pleasures, and memories of that trip kept me feeling upbeat during the following months of lockdowns.
Do you speak any other languages? If not, what language would you like to learn?
Do you collect anything obscure?
I am an avid NFT collector and probably the most bizarre of the lot are of the ones I’ve collected on the Tezos blockchain, which is a real goldmine of amazing generative NFT art.
What has been your proudest professional moment?
Delivering the Graffiti6 Revolution TraxxStemz project certainly ranks highly amongst them! Although I must say building the first proper mobile app for the Guardian newspaper was also a stand out highlight.
Best advice you have ever been given?
In life, satisfaction trumps excitement. A neighbour casually dropped this comment on me as I came home once from a day out partying. It took me a long time to understand what it meant, but it’s become pretty clear as I age.
What would be the title of a song and an album about you and your life?
Song — The Times They Are A-Changin
Album — Music for the Jilted Generation
TraxxStemz are now available to buy at TokenTraxx
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