Anyone who has ever been to a major electronic dance music event would be familiar with one of the highlight moments of the performance – featuring a massive robot in an LED suit pounding smoke into the crowd. Kryoman the robot has become synonymous with EDM, after touring and performing with the likes of Carl Cox, David Guetta, DJ Tiësto, Afrojack, The Black Eyed Peas, and Nicki Minaj over the past few years. Combined his high powered L.E.D Robotic suit, lazers and fully intergrated Pyrotechnic special FX system, Kryoman has become a fixture club performance with residencies in several of top Ibiza venues, including Amnesia, Space, and Pacha. He is currently dominating the EDM world with Steve Aoki and the Aokify America tour.
The Untitled Magazine‘s Indira Cesarine caught up with the man behind the machine, Andrew Moore, about his inspirations, his Kryoman robots and the future of his work as a music producer, among other things. For the Aokify America tour, he created two 10 ft tall robots that are “concealed as pieces of the staging” with 4 stacked hexagons outlined in high powered multicolored LEDs. They come alive like transformers and walk around the stage shooting 40ft clouds of freezing gas. He also created many of Steve Aoki’s costumes – including his tribal LED headdress and his LED show jacket. Aside from his work as the live robot “half man, half machine”, he has been producing for a number of artists, including Paris Hilton and Akon.
Indira Cesarine: So, obviously I have loads of questions about your amazing, unique performances! How did you first start performing as Kryoman?
Andrew Moore (Kryoman): I’ve got a massive music industry background, I’ve been in the music industry for almost 15 years, something like that. So basically, I did about twelve consecutive summers in Ibiza, I have a massive performance design background, all the music industry stuff… How did Kryoman come about? It’s a good question, it’s not really like what it used to be. When the first idea came around it was just a concept, the application of mixing special effects with live performance and applying it to electronic music… That’s how I began, and obviously in the nature of evolving products and making things better we took the creation side and we made it more of a complete product, presentation. I try and think outside the box a little bit, for instance, when I’m doing my shows I try and figure out what’s going to get everybody’s attention in the entire club, you know what I mean, the best ways of executing it. That’s why I went with the LED, the CO2, using modern day special effects, stuff like that, then it just sort of took off on its own, just became this whole huge thing.
IC: How long have you been performing as Kryoman?
AM: As Kryoman? Since, wow, 2005 I think. It’s in no way at the level it was before.
IC: It’s evolved dramatically, I imagine, since the beginning?
AM: Yeah, you have to understand it’s a niche market. It’s something I had to completely invent for its own thing – I guess I’m the only person that’s really doing it. So we had to carve a path for ourselves and actually establish ourselves in the industry as well and that took a while.
IC: And where did you get the inspiration for the actual robot, the costume and whole presentation?
AM: I’d had a really late night with my friends in Ibiza, I was there with the owners of Ultra Music Festival, we were hanging out on the balcony and I just said to one of them, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could be on stilts in a club and you had that giant gas system that fires the clouds of smoke?” And they were like, “Yeah, that would be really cool.” And that’s where it began. Then after I had the technology to do it, I just thought, now how am I going to present it to people? Then I – it’s going to sound a bit weird – I had a dream about it. Is that weird?
IC: No! I think it’s brilliant!
AM: So, I had this dream and I saw these two giant lit-up robots in smoke and darkness and all you saw was the silhouettes. And I woke up in the morning and I was like, woah. They just stuck in my head and I didn’t even know how to do anything like that. This is like 2005, so there wasn’t really much LED technology around then, so slowly I just taught myself. I just bought LEDs and just learnt.
IC: Brilliant! And how tall are the actual robots? I know you have several, but how big is the tallest one?
AM: Ten foot.
IC: That’s massive! And how much does that weigh, is it difficult to move that around?
AM: No, it’s specifically custom-designed to tour with, so it fits within weight restrictions of any airline. When I was touring with David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and the Black Eyed Peas we got buffered with all the restrictions of the airline. So I trimmed it down, I made it into a suit that packs into two separate cases.
IC: Is it heavy to wear?
AM: No. Well, yeah, I guess so. You kind of get used to it, you know what I mean? I mean, high heels aren’t comfortable but they look good, so whatever. Right? “Beauty is pain.”
IC: Well here’s a silly question, how do you go the loo in that thing?
AM: You don’t!
IC: And how many different ones do you actually have?
AM: Right now? Currently we have a video version, which I have in my workshop. There’s two, plus the five I have on the road. I have one performing in Vegas tonight, I have one in London, one here [in New York City]. So, normally in a night we have people performing in over three different cities at a time.
IC: And do you actually wear it or does somebody else wear it?
AM: I wear it and I have a specialized team that I train to do it. So it’s like, you know the concept of the Blue Man Group? So the EDM applied version of that. I constructed the whole company around a faceless product, so you put on the robot helmet… like the Blue Man mask, same as the LED mask. For instance, in this one weekend we did over ten shows in five different cities, globally, netting massive revenue and massive publicity.
IC: That’s amazing that you’ve actually multiplied it so you can have them performing in multiple cities at the same time and everybody probably thinks it’s all you! You have clones.
AM: Business is business. That’s what we do call them now and again.
IC: So how long does it take to get ready?
AM: Normally my manager will come into the venue, do a two-hour check. We’ll come in an hour and we’ll do system checks, get a 15 minute out before stage time, gear up, go on stage, execute, then about an hour to pack up, something like that.
IC: That’s not too bad.
AM: Yeah, but then you add like, normally five or six hours of flying travel time in. It’s like every time we do a show it’s at least two or three days.
IC: And how long is the actual performance usually, like an hour or two? Have you ever had massively long ones?
AM: No, I think to be honest it’s just much better to go in hard and very impactive and do it nice and fast, that way you stay within the respective boundaries of the artist that you’re working with. We don’t want to be going and taking the spotlight off anybody, so we go in, we hit it hard, we get the crowd really high and the morale up there.
IC: And how long is that usually?
AM: A couple of tracks, seven minutes. Have you ever stared at something consistently for seven minutes? It gets boring, you know what I mean? If you’re the biggest and most present thing in the room for seven minutes it’s just, you know!
IC: Absolutely. So, can you tell me about some of the special effects that you’ve included in the robot to make it special? Particularly in relation to each performance, do you customize them for each different tour or artist you’re working with?
AM: Yeah absolutely! I custom built a show for David Guetta, I did three years touring with him. And then the new show I just built for Steve Aoki, that was a custom-built show as well. It was a development I worked on for almost a year with a load of other production that we did under the name of Neon Future, but that’s a whole other thing.
IC: And the effects in particular, what can we expect in the Steve Aoki tour that’s unique for Kryoman?
AM: Well, the new show that I built for Steve involves two artists concealed in a stack of hexagons and there’ll be massive blackout… the two artists will be concealed in the two stacks of speakers, giant stacks of hexagons, like 12ft tall. They’ll be there during a blackout, so people won’t even see them arrive, they’ll just think they’re part of the scenery. Then fifteen minutes into the show, when the special part of the track Steve will drop, which we choreographed together, the speakers break to pieces, explode and then turn into these giant robots. Then they march forward into the crowd and they shoot 40ft clouds of smoke in the air in a choreographed routine for over five minutes and then they come back, break down, that’s it.
IC: So you’re a designer as well, that’s interesting, you cross over from special effects into costume. What is your design background previous to doing this, how did the design element come into play?
AM: I guess I’m just naturally creative, I think. As an artist, the best way to describe me is I have tons of ideas, so many ideas. Instead of paying someone to do it for me I like to do it myself. For instance, when I wanted to build the LED robots, I bought some LEDs and I learnt. When I wanted to stitch a new jacket or sew costumes I bought a sewing machine and learnt myself. When I wanted to learn music production, I bought some decks, I bought a mixer and I produced music.
IC: Well, obviously you’re designing the robot suits and designing these elements for Steve for his performance, the headdress, the shoes. Do you think there’s a possibility that you might evolve further into this so you could do a collection that would be available for the public?
AM: I already have my hat line!
IC: For artists like Beyonce, the fashion aesthetic of their performance is such a key part, the costumes paired with the tour, whereas with DJs it’s never been a big part of it.
AM: Well I think it should be… I’m bringing out a new shoe line actually in February, launching in March, want to check this out? Look watch this. [Starts LED flashing lights in shoes]. Isn’t that cool? Done by a magnet.
IC: I love that! LED Shoes. So as well as design, you’re moving toward music production, you’re working with quite a few artists now, producing and remixing. Tell me a little bit about that.
AM: I’m remixing Paris Hilton’s ‘Good Time’, I’m working with Cash Money, I’m working with Akon. I’m going to be releasing some tracks in 2014. I’ve got my new track on Beatport, which was in August. At the end of the day, as an artist myself, I just don’t really see why I want to pigeonhole myself into anything. You know, being a good artist is being able to apply your creativity, your ideas, musically, physically, whatever it is but being able to make them into reality, that’s a real artist I find. Lots of people don’t really accept artists that cross over to many different genres but because of my background in commercial pop and EDM and my roots in the underground music scene it makes it easy for me.
IC: Yeah, absolutely! And why would you pigeonhole yourself, it’s good to be explorative, particularly with what you’re doing. I mean, you’re a performance artist that can of course cross over into various different elements, they’re all kind of connected aren’t they?
AM: No, absolutely! You know, you see a lot of major artists now they do everything from like, clothing lines to shit like that. But the thing is that I find that a lot of people, they just get a really good management team behind them and then all the opportunities just come along of branding. Now, for me it’s a little bit different, for me all my collaborations are just all the amazing ideas that I have and then I just go to the artists that I know, who I think it’ll be suited for, and collaborate with them… Obviously it’s promoting my brand, Kryoman, which covers the whole thing, but it’s not so much a massive management team behind me setting me up with all these deals. I make them all myself.
IC: In this kind of industry, if you develop certain relationships with certain people, it’s such a small scene that you end up easily connecting the dots and opportunities would come up kind of naturally – don’t you think?
AM: Yes, luckily I’m involved in an industry of innovative and like-minded professionals, it always comes together.
IC: So, speaking of new projects and collaborations, you mentioned you’re remixing Paris Hilton?
AM: Yes, I’m remixing Paris Hilton’s track ‘Good Time’ with Lil Wayne. I’m really happy to be working on this project with her, we’re real good friends.
IC: Paris hasn’t really had the chance to prove herself yet as a musician – she’s got this image of being a former it-girl and reality TV star. Do you think that she could be taken more seriously as a musician if she was positioned in a certain way?
AM: I’m working with her right now, we’re re-doing a lot of the tracks on the album. What I’m trying to do with me and Paris is we’re just trying to talk about how we’re going to get her presented to the electronic music industry… I’m trying to get a show concept, an idea, some way of presenting her music and style to get her a bump start in the music industry and get her a massive fan base, you know? [Paris and I] just do what we love and we have a lot of fun with it and people are contagious with that.
IC: So you’re seriously collaborating with her, producing, remixing all her stuff as well. And is that as Kryoman or is that your thing separate to Kryoman?
AM: I mean, I am Kryoman. It’s my brand. Everything that comes from me is identified as that thing.
IC: Your alter-ego! So, where do you see Kryoman going from here – in an ideal world what do you see yourself doing ten years from now?
AM: In ten years, I see myself accomplishing all my goals in the electronic dance music industry, then I can retire.
IC: Right, so you’re going to retire by forty?
AM: Yeah, I’m going to go get a farm or something, just live a simple life. I’ll give myself a target of ten years to really cover all my bases as an artist and then retire.
IC: What do you want to do in those ten years then? What do you want to achieve?
AM: I mean, I already have my own live show and I’m producing, but I’d really like to explore my full live show and bring it up to the standards of people that I really respect. For instance, the Daft Punk live show, an old one we always loved. deadmau5 did really well with his live show. Guetta, the live show that we were with as well, the live show I’m doing with Steve right now is really good. So, I’d just like to do something like that. I also really want to give some direction back to the music industry, I want to give people, especially the new wave of electronic music, I want to give people something that they can really, really get into – something really cool and just push the limits, really, really raise the bar in the electronic music industry and really give people something they can just really have. Like how I had the Daft Punk show, when I first saw that, or The Chemical Brothers or Leftfield, how I felt when I went to go see those shows when I was a kid, I want to give that back to the younger generation that I’m playing to right now. That’s it. Once I do that, and I mean, I’m already doing it, but once I have it to the real level that I want it, then I’m [claps], I’m out.
Interview by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine