Boxcat blends audio and visual experiences at a huge scale, resulting in complete audience immersion at DRUMSHEDS.
As 2023 drew to a close, UK venue newcomer DRUMSHEDS was scheduled to host Skepta and Jammer’s Más Tiempo. Más Tiempo, Spanish for “more time,” showcases the house music side of the artists traditionally known for their rap style. The event included a stellar lineup of Green Velvet, Loco Dice, and SYREETA, but that wasn’t enough for Más Tiempo. They went on to ask for an unforgettable visual experience as well.
Enter Boxcat, who are already resident artists for the venue and are always up for a challenge. Boxcat’s arrangement with DRUMSHEDS may be new, but the studio itself has six years of experience, and they’ve previously worked with a huge swath of the UK dance scene. Boxcat has also worked with a number of mainstream pop artists, including Alicia Keys.
The challenge and freedom of DRUMSHEDS, in particular, is the enormous LED screen – clocking in at 48m wide and 4m tall. Boxcat says, “The artwork used in this digital installation is a conceptional representation of each artist on DRUMSHEDS’ music programme, which brings different visual pillars throughout each set. Making use of the negative space, the artwork provides an intimate space for the audience whilst creating thematic moments.” To do this at the scale of the DRUMSHEDS screen, a fully bespoke program is needed.
We sat down with Boxcat to learn more about how they created and executed such a unique experience. Read the interview below!
It’s great to talk to the Boxcat team today! This is such an interesting project because both Más Tiempo and DRUMSHEDS are rather new names on the scene. How did you all come together to work on this project?
Coincidentally a lot of brands who have come through Drumsheds reached out to us on their own to look after their event and this was one of those situations. Mas Tiempo’s production director reached out with a clear brief of what was required on this show so the whole process became seamless. There’s a clear movement in electronic music to make every event a more complete experience. Music may be the anchor, but visuals and interactivity are driving engagement.
Music may be the anchor, but visuals and interactivity are driving engagement. How important is a project like yours for a nascent venue like DRUMSHEDS?
One of our biggest challenges within the space was to use LED in a way that compliments the music because, as you mentioned, that comes first, of course. We wanted to ensure we did company with the other big LED shows that are happening right now to create visuals for the brand behind the venue.
How do you see taking a project like this to other venues? Can this be adapted to smaller screens, or is the scale really critical?
We always try to make sure that the content we make is for the space it is designed. The scale of Drumsheds means we can make minimal and organic looks, and they look incredible. If we took this into a smaller space, we would likely work on a concept that feels right for them. You obviously need to work closely with each artist and their teams.
Boxcat isn’t exclusive to the electronic scene – you’ve worked with artists like Alicia Keys, Anne Marie, and UK rapper Aitch. What are the similarities and differences in working with DJs compared to live performers?
Typically, the workflow is very different, along with timelines. When working in live music, there is more structure, enabling you to develop concepts and have more track development. The EDM side of the business would typically work in a more loop-based mindset, allowing for changes on the fly or with short deadlines.
When we were given a preview of the work you are doing, there was mention of how “making use of the negative space, the artwork provides an intimate space for the audience whilst creating thematic moments.” We’re intrigued! Can you tell us more about this?
I think often, in electronic music, people want to go crazy with heavy animations and crazy camera movements. Our style is much cleaner and more minimal, especially within a space like Drumsheds. As the studio has grown, we have been able to implement our style more onto projects with clients believing in us.
As we wrap this up, if the sky were the limit, what’s your dream project? Artist? Venue? Festival? Real or imaginary – let’s hear it!
There are a few things we would love to get our hands on. This year, we are pushing into more stadium shows, so the idea of doing both a big popstar or hip hop artist would be great! We also want to diversify our work and get more involved with installations and art pieces.