Something About Us Interview

Posted: 2/9/2012 12:42:19 PM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

Hi everyone :)  there was a blog that contacted me for an interview for the video cover I did of Daft Punk's Something About Us.  If anyone is interested in checking it out, the interview is at the following link:

And if anyone is interested in a higher resolution version of this video, I posted here: (password is: SAU)




Posted: 2/9/2012 5:27:33 PM

From: Nashville, TN, USA

Joined: 12/22/2011

I loved it!  I'm very impressed that you did this in a single pass...

Posted: 4/28/2016 3:24:18 AM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

I'm bumpin this from four years ago because I received an email asking about my Something About Us video and I learned that the interview I did with is no longer online.   Fortunately, I saved the text from this interview in a text file. I'll paste it here so that there is at least one place where people can find the interview.  And here is the video for the hundreds of new peeps who have never seen it.  

Original video:

the higher resolution version I posted more recently:

Posted: 4/28/2016 3:33:25 AM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

Here's the original interview that was published by Steo on (now from February 8, 2012.


0) First of all, present yourself :D

My name is Randy George.  I am a musician that specializes in the electronic instrument known as the theremin.   I am also a wizard. I like to make things that feel like magic, build things with my hands and share things that inspire creativity in one way or another.


1)  Why did you choose to do a cover of Daft Punk And why Something About Us ?

Back when I decided to make this video, I was really excited about pushing my limits with no-budget video making.  I had previously made a video called Gnarls Barkley Crazy Theremin Jam.  It made the rounds on the internet and was basically a video I created to inject the theremin into internet pop culture by using a fairly popular song while adding my own flavor and video tricks (and of course the theremins and synthesizers).  It turned out to be a great video, and so a year after the "Crazy" video I felt like making a new video that would somehow top it. Sometime in 2007, someone sent me an email recommendation to do Something About Us by Daft Punk.  I already loved the song, but more than that I felt it would be a great song to incorporate live looping and something creative with video. And so sometime in the Spring of 2008, I decided to assemble my next awesome video. The vision I had from the beginning was exactly what came out on the other end: 

Ableton Live looped cover of Something About Us by Daft Punk, performed on Nintendo DS Ubisoft Jam Sessions, Midi controlled software electric bass, drums, synth, vocoded vocals, and solo theremin, recorded in a single pass, with a single camera. 


2) Did you find the notes to play by hearing or by another technique ?

I am what some people would call a theremin virtuoso. There are not many of us in the world, but those of us who have gained a master level of proficiency on the instrument have the ability to find notes either by reading sheet music, or by playing by ear.  For the theremin solo in Something About Us Daft Loop Love,  I memorized the solo line from the original Daft Punk song, and then incorporated a section of improvised melody.  


3) How are you using Ableton Live in this production ?

I used  Ableton Live to automate the performance of the live looped single take recording.   There were a few parts that were prerecorded, basically all the vocal parts and vocal effects, but all the performed instrument parts were recored live along with the video.  I used a technique in Ableton where I used a MIDI track to control record and playback automation for all of the recorded clips, played back clips and effects.  Basically, the performance was automated to be started with a single press of the space bar at the beginning and it continue until the song finished.  I had my friend operating the camera hit start so I could be ready at the beginning of the track at the Nintendo DS.  I was also monitoring levels and signal through earphones inside the helmet.


4) For newbies, can you tell us more about the Theremin ? How to play notes, what are the things you can do with it compared to, let say, a guitar or a piano ?

The theremin is an electronic monophonic instrument that is controlled simply by moving the two hands to and from its two antennae.  By moving into the electromagnetic field created by these antennae, the player affects only two variables, pitch and volume.  The right hand affects pitch (moving closer to the antenna makes the pitch increase, moving away makes pitch decrease). The left hand affects loudness (moving away from the loop antenna makes the tone get louder,  and moving closer makes the tone softer). The theremin creates a single continuous tone, so it will make sounds much more close to a singing voice rather than a guitar or piano. Because it is electronic, the signal must be amplified by a speaker.  It is really a unique sound, with a range as big as a piano, but with the expressiveness that compares to a voice. There is a great amount of information on the internet about the theremin.  I recommend doing a good search if you are more interested.


5) I love the solo you perform with the Theremin on the last part of the song, especially when the Da Funk melody comes in. Did you transposed it ?

I memorized the solo from the original Something About Us track, and when I realized that it basically looped over and over,  I decided that I wanted to do something more.  So I fiddled around by improvising a little bit and came up with a good addition to the solo. Around the same time I was playing around with Something About Us, I was listening to some other Daft Punk tracks for some ideas. I knew I wanted to add a nice tag to the track because the original simply faded out with the looping solo. Da Funk just happened to naturally fit in place and I knew would be a great way to fade. It would also be something that only Daft heads would know, so I put it in like a bit of a treat for those people who were paying attention. Icing on the cake.


6) In the video I see that you use : a Nintendo DS, a synth (M-Audio what?), a Vocoder, the Theremin, what else ?

The instruments in the video were: 1) Nintendo DS with Ubisoft Jam Sessions virtual guitar plugged into an auto-filter in Ableton Live,  2) software sampled bass, drums and synth controlled on the M-Audio Axiom 49 USB MIDI keyboard controller, 3) Vocoded vocals using Native Instruments Vokator, 4) recorded vocals processed in Ableton Live, 5) Moog Etherwave Pro Theremin


7) What about your equipment, the helmet, the gloves, how does that work ?

In the video incorporated the my custom made MIDI controller glove and custom made helmet.  The controller glove was a project I had worked on during the previous year.  While it is fully functional and can control momentary MIDI controlled functions in music software, for this project it was only being used as part of the costume.  The helmet was made specifically for this video, and it was also just part of the costume.  Sorry to disappoint everyone who thought it had a built in LED display, but the graphics were actually the end result of a massive post production effort completely separate from the filming of the video. I wrote a small summary about the helmet and LED graphics in the youtube video description: 

It was made of papier-mâché with a custom LED visor built in ... post production! using Softimage XSI and Adobe After Effects! Yes, it was a visual effect! 3D modeling, manual rotoscoping, and motion tracking/motion stabilization tricks were employed to pull this off. A LED array with animated text was projected on to a manually rotoscoped 3D visor, that was subsequently composited with the original footage using motion trackers in After Effects. The helmet itself took three days to make. I used 7 layers of card stock/normal stock paper strips in a special heavy mix paste recipe. The shape was built around a custom mold of shipping foam and gaffers tape. It was finished off with gunmetal grey paint. The visor was made of plastic cut from a microwave oven splash cover I found at Target for 5 dollars, laminated on both sides with Limo dark auto window tinting. I could see out, but the translucent plastic from the microwave splash cover along with the heavy tinting made it a little bit difficult. On the inside, the helmet was padded with custom cut felt blocks to fit my head size perfectly. The total weight was around 0.5 Kg (about 1 pound).


8) So about your own music, and personal projects ?

I have a facebook page: .

All my latest projects go up there first. Recently, I've created a music software called "MIDI Merlin" that is a Audio/MIDI/Eartraining application for musicians and theremin players. I love to expand my creative space as much as possible.  I will continue making things related to theremin and interactivity.  I also have videos of my theremin playing over the past five years at my youtube channel:


9) Anything else you want to share ?

Thanks for setting up the Q/A.  Something About Us Daft Loop Love was the biggest video project I've ever worked on with no budget, borrowed equipment, help from one friend to record film it, some serious inspiration and creativity.  I'm glad I could share a little bit more about it with daft punk fans that appreciate the finer details.  



Posted: 4/28/2016 4:08:40 AM

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014


You upset me by being over two hours away or else I would be sitting on your front porch everyday with an extra beer in hand. I as a garage technical artist would drive you nuts with "what do you think about this method of sound."

I read through all of your post, the video was very interesting and creative. Some people think I favor analog over digital but really I try to emphasize that each has its proper place, don't mix them up, and your video captures this nicely.

By choice or discipline, I have never been to facebook and rarely visit youtube, I live in the world we all knew twenty years ago. (-'


Posted: 4/28/2016 12:46:00 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

Randy, your rapid pitch control is amazing!  I bet the post-production LED sign effect was a bear!

Thanks for posting the video and text, they are quite inspiring!

Posted: 4/29/2016 12:11:58 AM
randy george

From: Los Angeles, California

Joined: 2/5/2006

hehe,  Chris, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't drive me nuts...   Next time I head to or from San Diego by car, I'll send you a pm or email. I don't mind mixing analog with digital. But I guess you're probably not referring to the theremin, right?   In this video, the Etherwave Pro signal was put through some slight effect, compression I think, with not much reverb, otherwise the solo would get pretty muddy.

I often make the mistake thinking that everyone has already seen what I've published on the internet. I gotta admit, I suck at promoting myself. I was happy when someone finds me to do an interview so I can get past that step.  

Thanks Dewster, The whole video was pretty insane to make.  I'm currently trying to rekindle that kind of enthusiasm I once had. You're right, the visor LED effect was a beast.   What's really crazy is that when the live performance was captured, I had no idea how to actually achieve creating the scrolling LED effect. I just knew it was possible in Adobe After Effects and that I would do what ever it took to make it happen.  I do remember the rotoscoping and motion stabilization steps took an entire week for me to do. 

Posted: 4/29/2016 2:54:49 AM

From: 60 Miles North of San Diego, CA

Joined: 10/1/2014

Randy, I look forward to a day you can stop by my house which is off of Murrieta Hot Springs Road and the 15 freeway. Jan in the other thread said he has Clara Rockmore’s sound and strange as it may seem I think I do too. Allow me to record you playing my Clara for 30 seconds in Audacity and I will give you two beers instead of one. I realize a good Thereminist can make any sound seem better but I think you are going to want to take my Clara home with you. I need to get a simple circuit board or two made, a visit sometime in the next six months would be ideal. Old people are funny, they start having a need to give everything away.

Interesting avatars, a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, wonder what our children would look like. 0-:



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