Drummer James Williams spent most of his time pounding out rhythms on a “cajón” drum box, there was a moment in the piece where we wanted to free James from sitting and having him join the choreography of the group, but the cajón is central to the heartbeat of the piece, in order to not give this up, we created a drum vest so that James could play his body like a box by using FSRs and MIDI transmissions, we were able to replicate the desired tone of the original instrument live on the body.
When being hired as a costume designer for a new piece based on the catalogue of Burt Bacharach, I was asked to reinterpret the music into a modern day rock and roll vocabulary. While developing the look of the band that performed live on stage, I realized how the instrument became a part of the costume. A guitar had equal importance as a shirt, or a drum had equal visual impact as a pair of pants. This is the thrilling part of live performance, however there is a moment when music needs to meet magic. Out of this idea evolved the Bacharach Drum Vest.
From Ideation to Execution
Drum Vest Test (video):