Anyone who wants to sample the house and techno scene in Second Life need look no further than the SL Bootlegs website, run by Olive Meriman and renanyoy Oh. Since 2008 Olive has been recording and collecting live DJ sets from Second Life events, and, with co-bootlegger renanyoy, posting them on the internet for everyone to grab.
Amongst the 140 or so sets that presently make up the archive, there’s modern techno from Kemmi Kamachi and Moos Hultcrantz, deep house from Dane Koba and Silus Kappler, pounding techno from Elisha Richez and Claude Fizz, and an eclectic selection of styles from renanyoy Oh, Wiu Bing and Frederick Heberle. A recent favourite of mine was a slow-mo house and disco mix by Court Goodman recorded at the Terra Lounge. There's also a live set recorded in Second Life by producers BCR Boys. Overall, the range of styles on SL Bootlegs is very much a reflection of what is going on in terms of house and techno in Second Life.
Olaf Quintessa got in touch with Olive Meriman to get the insider’s story on bootlegging the virtual world.
What is SL Bootlegs?
The great thing about "SL Boot" is that it is not one thing alone. It started as an iTunes podcast and over time features that seemed fun were added. Quite simply, it's a website for exceptional live electronic DJs as recorded in Second Life.
Why did you decide to start up SL Bootlegs?
Originally it was an experiment for my co-conspirator renanyoy Oh to basically have an outlet for his coding skills and post what he was playing in SL (Second Life), and it was casual. In time I started collecting sets and was such an annoyance that renanyoy showed me how to post myself. So I had to learn Photoshop for the first time, Soundforge, the whole gig. I recorded and posted sets for a long time without anyone aside from the DJs knowing, until recently the site grew and so did my commitment to essentially bootleg the hell out of every good DJ that permits me. There is a phenomenal amount of talent and great music in the "underground" scene and it shouldn't have to stop there. It's my way to contribute, give something back and, well... not be bored! (Did I mention that I took over?)
Why do you always have live sets and not studio mixes?
That would go against what the electronic music scene in SL is all about. We don't want to hear something pre-recorded while in Second Life, as you might as well turn on your favourite internet radio station or play an album. We want to feel included in the DJs set as it happens, and clearly the DJs feed off of the crowd's energy and feedback much like they would in a real life venue. User created content defines SL and for many of us a great part of this content is streamed music, I simply record it.
Of course, I don't actually attend every single party and am not a fan of every genre I post. All I seek is that the DJ is good, people enjoy what they are playing and there is a valid audience beyond their session. So, there are times I pop in, snag stream information, take a couple of snapshots and run off. Other times, we leech sets from Soundcloud that we didn't get while inworld and post directly to SL Boot this way.
Do you have any personal favourites?
Yes, of course I do! And being as I do pick favourites, but can't be totally obvious... some DJs are posted more frequently than others so it should be very easy to pick my personal favourites based on how often I revisit them alone.
In many ways this is more than just an effort to promote these DJs and their talents beyond Second Life's underground listening audience, it is a diary of sorts. These recordings document where I have been and the sounds, "storytellers" and fantastic freaks that makes my SL fantastic! There are special parties, sentimental sets and unforgettable bonds that are documented on Boot, so from an emotional level, this is my timeline. This is also a timeline for every person who attended any of these sets, and is hopefully an exceptional tool for the DJs to reflect, gain exposure and, hey, a promo that was recorded live to use.
So, ultimately all the sets are personal to me or someone, and I favour this!
What have been the most popular sets you've posted?
1. Nelscat Kanya - Live @ Psytasia
2. Jun Baxton-Pre Party/Code 415
3. Stefan Chrousch Live
Most popular this month is Parsifal Beck Does Code
What have you got coming up next on SL Bootlegs?
First thing to mention is a link to Virtual Advisor, Olaf! Your site is fun and useful, well done! There are technical advances in renanyoy's mind, but I can't translate his brilliance so well, so you'll just have to be surprised! Other than that, I hope to bring in more variety.
Anything else about SL Bootlegs you'd like to tell us about?
I do have a group inworld, "SL Bootlegs". I post when new sets have been uploaded and pass out an occasional idiotic freebie animation. It's not a club informer but more so a group for the "past"; fitting, I think. Bananas for new members, cheers!
All the DJ sets on SL Bootlegs are available through iTunes, or you can get them directly from the site by either downloading them or listening to them in the handy Flash player. An RSS feed allows people to keep an eye on new updates, with an average of about 6 new sets being added each week, while SL Bootlegs radio streams DJ sets from the site 24 hours a day.