Researchers Banaji and Burn assert that while technology can promote creativity, what is important is not using the tools for their own sake, but to pursue meaning-making in projects. GRAMMY-nominated DJ/Producer Morgan Page says one of the most important roles of technology in the creative process is that it can fade into the background.
“The machines, and the processes that happen, need to be working silently in the background while you’re getting your vision out,” he told me recently. “I don’t want to be troubleshooting or waiting for something to load. Things need to happen at the pace of my creativity.”
That’s one of the reasons Page has chosen Alienware as his “go-to setup” not only at festivals, clubs and every performance in between, but also in the original creation process. I recently got the opportunity to catch him as his current tour came through Austin, Texas, and he mentioned he’d just been tweaking on his Alienware 13 at his hotel a new remix he debuted that night.
“Even before I get to perform the songs I’m using Alienware in the studio,” he said. “I’m creating new music, doing remixes, doing edits, doing mashups and just sort of creating the lifeblood of my DJ set, which is music.”
He enjoys the continuity of using the same platform from the spark of an idea to final performance; and, then revising the song, making it better and better before delivering the final mix to streaming services and stores. But it’s that moment when a live audience reacts to his creation that gives Page goosebumps – and it’s not always the moment he expects.
“There’s this element of surprise in there and I think that is part of the rush,” he said. “My job is to really navigate the tension and release of music throughout the night and keep the energy going. It’s a huge relief when you play something new and it reacts really well.”
A desire for even deeper connection with his audience has also pushed Page ahead of the curve in use of new technology. While Alienware and XPS General Manager Frank Azor called 2016 “the year of virtual reality” at CES, Page started adding it to his creative tools several years ago. He agrees that this could be the year that virtual reality (VR) could get the critical momentum to move forward.
“It was really fortuitous to already be working with Alienware for a couple of years and creating a VR experience for Oculus Rift,” he noted. “To bring that experience to the fans early – before anyone knows what virtual reality is – that was a huge deal.
“Fans come, they put the Oculus on, they lean against the Subpac, see the Alienware hardware and they see what goes into the process of making this content. It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of power to do it; but, it takes the song to a whole other level when you have all this attached to it.”
Page said he thinks it’s important for people to know that these technology tools are about more than gaming, that they’re really good for all types of creators. The computer is one of the most important things he uses in creating something new from scratch, and he added that for anyone interested in electronic dance music (EDM) your studio is now your laptop.
“It’s not so much the space that you need to have with crazy expensive acoustic paneling. All you really need is a good pair of headphones and good mic chain and a powerful laptop,” Page said. “One central component to your studio and to be able to work in the hotel, work on the plane, and that’s the hub of your creative life.”
He loves how slim the Alienware laptops are, and while he may desire for technology to fade into the background during the creative process, he stills wants it to look good when it is visible. Page said the Alienware form factor looks more distinct and cool, especially when he’s on stage.
One of his favorite stages to be on was at Coachella — he called playing that festival a bucket list moment. (Just attending is on my daughter’s bucket list.) But when asked what else is on his list, he was open to wherever the music takes him.
“But, I think it’s going to be about releasing really compelling VR experiences maybe doing film scores one day and just making music that resonates with people globally,” he said.
Dell and Alienware are excited to be along for the ride.