by Cait Auer
Going to a music concert automatically incorporates all of our senses. Bodies buzz from beats, a spotlight’s gleam bounces into the dimly lit audience, and the energy grows with every set. Local artist Casey Scalf, 23, takes the typical concert experience to a whole new level with his company, Sensebellum.
Scalf continually explores innovative techniques to create a visually appealing setting for live performances, fully immersing concertgoers in a one-of-a-kind show of lights, textures, scents, and sounds. This all-encompassing format strengthens the concept of music, allowing technology to magnify the fantastic feeling that music evokes from inside us all. Sensebellum is performing around Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest, having already been showcased at venues including the Wild Buffalo, Glow, Bellingham Art Walks, Seattle’s Freaknight and Capitol Hill Block Party.
The concept of Sensebellum blossomed from a lighthearted conversation between Scalf and his friends. “We had an amazing experience where we were talking about the architecture of houses. How was it that we could all communicate so clearly? The senses were being mixed, we talked about the shape, and the color, and the sound at the same time.” Scalf smiled, “How could we capture this and use this for other purposes? How could we come up with a way to expand on this? This turned into visual arts, which led to Sensebellum.”
From neon geometrical patterns and graphics to fog and jungle sounds, Sensebellum approaches each project with uniquely intricate detail. The process offers different concepts of art into every aspect of the event, forcing extreme creativity. “[The concept] changes with each project. We want to be meticulous about it, we want to model out the entire venue in a 3D model and make sure that everything fits to a T, and then from there make a color scheme for the night and an overall style,” Scalf stated. “We write visuals that go with each part of any song. That has been really challenging. We’re trying to parallel older things like instruments and objects and bringing them into new forms, tying old and new together.”
While there are so many elements to take in during each event, Sensebellum’s main intent is purely audience enjoyment. “I hope people experience something new, something that they haven’t seen before.” Scalf added, “A lot of people haven’t seen projection mapping. I want to create an environment where people can experience these new things while also being in a slightly familiar environment where people can explore these new avenues of communication through arts, as well as a friendly environment.”
Scalf’s dream is finally turning into a reality, by purely working on what he loves. “What keeps me motivated is with any project you develop it and you work through it, and you see it come to life. Also, the technology that we’re able to utilize nowadays is astounding, it would be a shame not to take advantage of it and use it for the better.”
Scalf said for his upcoming show Live From Space, “I’m trying to create an environment that’s almost like you’re explorers in a jungle or a really wooded habitat and you stumble upon this monolith structure. It looks like it’s come from outer space, and it’s been around for thousands of years. At first, it’s kind of dark, and you’re hearing birds and jungle sounds around you. And then you realize that this structure comes to life, and it’s something you’re familiar with… We’re trying to parallel the ancient themes, and to bring them to a modern crowd. The two realms of old and new will be combined into something people haven’t experienced before.”
Catch Sensebellum’s Live From Space! on May 17 at the Wild Buffalo. Dance to live mixes from house and techno artists Cuff Lynx, Manatee Commune, and Soffos. For more info, see www.Sensebellum.com or follow their Facebook page.