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An Interview With The Creator of OWOW - A New Breed of Musical Instruments

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A Kickstarter campaign has been created for a new line of musical instrument controllers. The company is called OWOW, and its goal is to create easy-to-use musical instruments that almost anyone could use to create their own music.

In fact, the company wants as many people as possible to be able to afford the instruments, so it is selling them as a bare circuit board along with schematics to 3D print cases, cutting costs on production and lowering the overall price of the product.

Recently, we talked about exactly what the instruments can do, however, we wanted to take things a step further and talk about them with the creator. Pieter-Jan Pieters, the founder of OWOW, was kind enough to talk about the goal behind the instruments and how they first came about.

How did you first come up with the idea for the OWOW instruments?

Many years ago, I wanted to study [at the] music academy but could not, since I wasn't classically schooled. I couldn't read sheet music. My plan B was to study at Design Academy and started loving this more and more over the years. However, I still carried this frustration of why we are still learning this ancient musical system and why almost all instruments are built upon this.

Acoustic instruments were invented, [built] upon physical factors, hitting snares, drums skins, moving air ... and therefore, have a complex way of playing. Most of digital music instruments nowadays are a digital version of the acoustic ones.

In the digital field, we don't have to follow these rules anymore. I wanted to start over and create instruments that don't have direct relations to the traditional ones but are intuitive to play and created specifically to play [on] the computer. 

This resulted into my graduation project, and three years later, here we are ... out of money and in need of your support.

Why did you decide to offer the instruments as just a circuit board as well as the completed product?

When I used to go to the music store, everything was too expensive, and this frustrated me a lot. 

Working on our own instruments, we only wanted to use high quality materials, like aluminum cases, durable components, but soon realized the casing, packaging and extras doubled the product in price. So [instead] of using cheaper materials, we stripped it down to its core, creating [two] versions in order to offer the same tools to the young guys as well as the pros.

Also, working [closely] with touring artists, it gives them the ability to pack a lot of instruments in a small case if they work on the road. 

Who did you have in mind in designing the instruments? Was it producers, musicians, the average person?

First, we just wanted to create fun stuff for ourselves to play and experiment. 

Because we got so [much] good feedback from artists we admired and requests for our instruments, we decided to bring it to market.

Since setting up your production is very expensive, we turned to Kickstarter to work with preorders, since we need that funding to make this happen. 

Do you see things like this as replacements to more traditional musical instruments, or even MIDI controllers? 

I don't see them replacing your whole traditional setup for now, but as small tools you add to your existing setup in order to make it more exciting and bringing back that human touch. Normally, you have 10 functions packed in one big expensive machine. We split them up, so you can get them separately and just buy the ones you like the most, making it a little modular. 

You can support OWOW and purchase your very own instruments on the Kickstarter page.

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