It’s been a while since computer based musicians rave on real-time music collaboration. And during last decade’s first half, there was a strong team working hard on an tool that – despite finding some obstacles – was such a good enterprise for that time and helped to push real-time collaboration’s boundaries. We’re talking about the Rocket Network, an add-on tool that used to work together with some DAWs providing collaboration features. Some of you teenagers out there starting to produce music today don’t remember that, but anyone more experienced knows what Rocket we’re talking about. Engin Hassan knows – and remembers it – very well, as he’s a former member of the Rocket Network team. We’ve interviewed him and he tells to the ohmworld how things were in the backstage, the goals and the pitfalls of their attempt, and why he’s enthousiast with the Ohm Studio.
Please tell us about the Rocket Networks enterprise and what was your job there?
Well I had a few jobs with Rocket Network. I started out as part of the beta team and then went on to join the demo team. As a member of the demo team it was my job to send audio back and forth to Rocket representatives who were showing the system to potential clients. So for example a rocket representative would be in a production facility in lets say New York and would say to me “ok I have just started a new session and I’d like you to send me a drum break”. I would prepare a drum track and post it to the session. Within a short space of time it would magically appear on the screen at the other end for the client to see. Later on when rocket went live I also joined the Online Facilitators team who’s job it was to greet new people (virtually in the welcome lobby that is) who were trying out the software and offer to show them round. For those who are wondering, Rocket was incorporated into three of the major sequencers at that time: Logic, Cubase, and Pro tools. The idea was that you could collaborate with other people who were using the same software i.e. other Cubase users or other Pro Tools users on projects. Communication would be via a chat app built into the Rocket interface and you would be able to move around the virtual studios and join projects the same way you would move around chat rooms for instance. Once you had entered a virtual studio you could start downloading the project in that studio into your audio software straight away. You could also chat with other users who were present in that studio at that time. If you liked what you heard you could add something yourself and post it to the session for the other users to hear. For example the other guy present in the session who was in Madrid posted a very cool percussion part to track one. If you wanted to add a bass line then you would go ahead and record the bass part as normal on another spare track and then press post. Within a short space of time it would appear in the other guys session for him to hear. Because Rocket used virtual studios that resided on the Rocket servers you did not necessarily need to be there at the same time as the other person. If you were busy your other collaborators could start a session and post it up to the virtual studio and you could download it and add your own parts later when you got home. Continue reading ‘Engin Hassan, former Rocket Networks member, talks about music collaboration’