The Dynamic Duoism of Mike Carnell and Kevin M Thomas
A MUSICAL MELD
The dimensions of music expand. For the musician, the virtual world not only inspires solo performance, but creates collaborations with other artists from around the world. This transforms the musician’s experience, as performance transcends geography. Similarly, the audience experience is a blend of international ears!
Mike Carnell and Kevin Thomas are virtuoso streamers. They demonstrate what all master do—they make it look easy and natural and FUN! But it is not easy or natural. It is fun when it works! With all the ups and downs of blending technology with art, Kevin and Mike have gained a command. They work with the limitations of the platform to where the audience is unaware of what goes on behind the scenes. All get lost in the music. On different real life continents, Mike and Kevin, symbolized by their goat mascots, have inspirational synergy. In talking to each about their musical journeys, a bit of their personalities is captured, and shows how they compliment, but don’t duplicate, each other in attitude, as well as in sound.
“Mike Carnell and Kevin Thomas are audience favorites for a reason. Not only are they very talented as artists and performers, they can always be depended upon for taking the audience on an exciting musical journey.” —Alexia Sulamericana, contributor
Some people love to tell stories. And some people don’t. Kevin and Mike don’t. Neither wastes words, and both speak most through the nuances in song. Genuine and distinctive, their interpretations of popular selections, and the perceptiveness of their originals, all convey warmly accessible stage personalities. They master the ability to interact with the audience—simultaneously, they play, read chat, greet everyone—and then can focus totally on music. Their collaboration has a momentum that allows them to evolve harmoniously.
“Though I am a musician also in real life, I do like to keep SL separate. Both worlds are very different. In SL you can chat with with the crowd, so I feel closer to fans. And I now am playing more regularly in SL. I learned early to keep SL in balance with real life. To do that, I must limit my in-world time and my SL gigs.” —Mike00 Carnell
“SL and real life are the same for me. I do both with complete transparency. This has two advantages:
• Better brand-marketing results. As people do a Google search, for example, they see more spiders to my content.
• A feeling that fans and friends can more completely understand you—a closeness.
However, I have seen others work well by keeping the two worlds separate. I do think my approach reaches a larger audience outside of the virtual.” —KevinMThomas Carpool
“SL gives me a global exposure, a friend base, and it significantly enhances my artistic inspiration. I choose to now primarily focus on the online medium. I prefer the virtual environment as it is more interactive for the audience rather than a one-sided view of a performer in a white room.
“I feel we evolve rather than just become better. I am also an Alpha in the High Fidelity platform, and see their positive growth. And Second Life’s new resident exposure continues to give me a new framework to ideas as the fans are so very diverse. There is a difference to the fans in the High Fidelity platform. New, and no where near release, the residents (Alphas) tend to be developers of code, 3D models, or artists of many shades. I think the Alphas tend to be more experimental in their process. SL has these kind of people as well, but most residents enjoy an established framework rather than helping build a new one.” —KevinMThomas Carpool
“Playing in SL makes me a better musician. It has been almost eight years, and I work hard at playing, singing, and reading the chat all at the same time. What I have learned most performing in SL is interacting with the crowd and increasing my music skills—and pronouncing the SL names right when I greet people. SL has also helped me with my English, and still does. It is fun to use a little bit of other languages too. I can even stretch and learn some new words with the audience.” —Mike00 Carnell
“With a real life audience, you are limited to a physical space. This significantly restricts your artistic exposure unless you have the ability to travel internationally. I only meet up with SL musicians in real life when it is local. I don’t have the funds to travel a lot. My full-time real life occupation allows flexibility because I work at home. I do juggle a lot. Its not easy, but I just try to stay on top of everything. I never stop learning and experimenting.” —KevinMThomas Carpool
“I play in a real life band, and we perform around our local town here [Hamburg, Germany]. But I only play my original songs in SL, which is a freedom for me. And I do get to play them at the SL jams in real life—I have met a lot of the musicians in Europe, but not in the U.S., as yet. SL is great because I can stay home and reach the world—and I don’t have to carry my gear.” —Mike00 Carnell
“Multi-streaming online does take a lot of training. The hardest part is that you don’t see the other person/persons. And, when I play with Kevin, he does not hear me. I support him by doing my part. People are working to improve streaming technology, but it is still very hard to deal with the delay.” —Mike00 Carnell
“The biggest challenge with duo streaming is understanding the people who are playing behind you. I give Mike room to jam and learn to try new things. I structure the songs to be ‘jammable’—add refrains, or work in some basic segments others can build upon.
“I think the future of music entertainment is here with the VR worlds. With the limitations of real life traveling, if you are an indie musician, there is simply no other choice. And the audience doesn’t have to travel either!” —KevinMThomas Carpool
“Both playing with others and solo are very fun to me, but for the solo gigs, I have to work more… that is all. I love playing rock and blues the most— and blending them. I like faster songs and when I can play some nice solo stuff.” —Mike00 Carnell
“If you keep learning and entertaining, competition doesn’t matter. There is room for everyone.
“I always prefer dual performance over solo—ALWAYS! It is more interactive and engaging for the audience. I don’t ever want it predictable or comfortable. The way to grow is work with the unknown. Duo-performances stretch me more and it is significantly more dynamic. I try new things all the time. And it changes by the day!
“I don’t know what I will play in advance. It is all random. I have a comfort level with the medium. Those I play with also get to figure it out 🙂 This is part of the growing.” —KevinMThomas Carpool
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Please see more insights from Mike Carnell and Kevin Thomas in the SL edition of Sim Street Journal #15 with comparative and critical articles that add to this online content.
Available in kiosks and at the Sim Street Journal SL Office (Innu 40, 36, 1650).
— The in-world journal has topics that relate to those who understand the virtual context, including photographs, parallel articles. It has tabs for information landmarks, and web links.
— The online journal expresses what the virtual world offers the real one. It is a mirror that reflects parallel articles, hot topics, and provides more links.Contributions are encouraged if covering topics relevant to real world readers.
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(Back issues are available on MARKETPLACE).
QUICK LINKS TO ISSUES
INDEX for all contributors and articles
Sim Street Journal #1: Virtual Reveals Real
Sim Street Journal #2: The Old in the New
Sim Street Journal #3: Magicians of Meaning
Sim Street Journal #4: Telling Stories
Sim Street Journal #5: Champions of Expression
Sim Street Journal #6: Overlapping Realities
Sim Street Journal #7: Luck Created
Sim Street Journal #8: Facing the Inevitable
Sim Street Journal #9: Motivated Learning
Sim Street Journal #10: Serious Fun
Sim Street Journal #11: Fantasy Fulfillment
Sim Street Journal #12: Insights from Extremes
Sim Street Journal #13: Bridging Boundaries
Sim Street Journal #14: Realities Blend
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