Bearded lady walks up to a rubber man contortionist at a bar and asks where his swordswallowing friend might be. Needs a trim. Tom Waits and Les Claypool from Primus are drinking each other under the table tennis being played by a juggler and comedian. Tonights caravan of gypsies is full of gadgets, and like a metal detector a robotic dog probes the crowd for spare change and belly laughs. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve never seen rave-lasers through smoke, til you’ve seen them triggered alongside bangin beats by a guy juggling flourescent balls. Joel Slalom is that juggler, and Erik is his robotic dog.
((Interview previously posted on the now defunct octapod.org/jeanpoole, in May 2002 ))
Do android dogs dream of electric sheep or what?
Erik : I have no idea what sort of sicko things other android dogs fantasies about but I certainly don’t have any attraction to electric sheep! How do you feel about sheep? Mind you, a bit of electric pussy… know what I mean?
Your Gadget show in a quick blurb?
Erik : A fusion of obsessive behavours, music, electronica, physical discipline and failure.
How did the juggling midi suit evolve?
Joel : Juggling to music… hang on what if? midi triggers in the balls… no,no… midi triggers on hands… and on fore arms… spend lots of money… annoying Jeff Lungren, a music producer here in Sydney, with endless questions and favours… borrow a chunk of money, spend a chunk… build protoype… sounds shit for a long time… eventually get head around sampling.. get a set of 120 bpm samples sounding wicked… 160 bpm a lot more challenging.. meet laserman called Glen Turner at a gig… hook lasers up to sampler. This took four or five years.
How does it work, and what did it cost to build?
I juggle three balls, the balls bounce off 6 triggers on my arms, 1 in each palm, 1 on the back of each wrist and 1 on each fore arm. A trigger to midi convertor on my back and then midi to Sampler and then midi to laser system. I’ve been juggling for 18 years, I had to re-learn juggling to make this work. What did it cost… Jesus Mary Mother of God! I reckon over all I would have spent around $10,000 getting it right.
Where would you like to take it from here?
Triggering video images has always been the picture that I’d like to achieve eventually, but next is intelligent lights, pyros and then maybe video.
What other music-tech do u use in the show or busking?
I work with Erik the Dog, a cocky 6 channel remote controlled robot dog.
Where did u find Erik the Dog?
I made him out of radio controlled gear and old bits of junk from around the house.
Where does Erik want to go next?
Erik has endless ambitions, after having a taste of television in 2000 with 22 episodes on ABC’s The James O’Loughlin Show he’s keen for more of that. At the end of day Erik just wants to perform, sexually and on stage.
See erikthedog.com for more.