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What So Not: An Insight Into His 'Immersive' Anomaly: Live Mode Tour

7 August 2023 | 5:08 pm | Jessie Lynch

"I could just see about three years ago that it wasn't going to be about music on its own anymore."

What So Not

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Sydney producer What So Not recently got fans paying attention with the news that he was set to kick off his highly anticipated Anomaly: Live Mode Australian Tour.

Following the release of Anomaly in 2022, this tour marks What So Not's triumphant return to the live stage in Australia, his first since 2018.

Anomaly: Live Mode is the culmination of three years of passion and dedication that Chris “Emoh” Emerson, the creative genius behind What So Not, poured into this groundbreaking project.

And his painstaking planning certainly paid off; Anomaly: Live Mode is a meticulously crafted audio-visual experience, seamlessly pairing the 'Anomaly' 3D animated storyline with What So Not's eclectic music catalogue.

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The show is an adaptation of the acclaimed US Immersive Mode run, offering fans an unforgettable visual journey intricately intertwined with live synthesis, mesmerising vocals, electrifying drums, and innovative production techniques.

With his signature blend of cutting-edge electronic music and genre-defying sounds, fans can expect an unparalleled audio-visual spectacle that pushes the boundaries of live performance.

“We'll be doing our damn best to put on a show like you've never seen in these rooms before. I’m amped beyond belief,” Emoh said prior to the tour kicking off.

Ahead of his performance at The Tivoli in Brisbane on Friday (August 4), Purple Sneakers caught up with Emoh over the phone to discuss the Anomaly: Live Mode tour, his passion for supporting emerging talent, his love for rocking up to random house parties, and everything in between.

Emoh! How's the tour going? I saw you had a bit of bad luck last week…

Yeah, I mean, it just kind of comes with the territory. There are always problems and hurdles and whatever.

Everyone worked so hard and then it ended up being a smash - but before that, someone ended up in hospital the night before. Then, this really important piece of equipment hadn't arrived from America, but then we found someone local that happened to have a version of it and was happy to bring it in and make it work - it was actually for the hologram that we had.

It’s your first tour in around five years, is that correct?

Yeah, I've done shows in Australia, but I just haven't done my own shows.

I've done festivals and events and things like that, but it is a totally different ballgame. When you're doing your own event, you've got to construct a concept, and then work with everybody to build it out, and then you have to work out how you going to construct it.

This has been a three-year project for me. It was conceived through COVID when I began thing, ‘How are we going to do this?’ And I actually started building a 3D animated film and converted that into a show that is scored by my Anomaly album.

That's really cool! The show sounds like it’s quite the audio-visual experience.

In America, we actually did a prototype of an immersive show, using all these worlds and these visuals that we built.

What we’re doing [for the Australian tour] is our adaptation for more traditional rooms that don't have the surround screens and all that.

So we worked out new clever techniques with production to be pushing light and smoke through spaces in LED walls to make it feel more three-dimensional. We have the hologram appearing in a different part of the venue, hopefully, fingers crossed,

There are some really beautiful, dynamic moments in the show; there are some monologues that happen throughout and different characters speak - they're part of the thoughts of what's going on in this storyline.

And then I do live synthesis, live drum, and live singing, plus there's all the exciting hype, electronic production, and DJ-type moments you might have commonly come to expect from our projects as well.

You mentioned this has been a three-year project. What made you want to tackle something so big and what did that whole process look like?

I could just see about three years ago that it wasn't going to be about music on its own anymore, and that has kind of eventuated.

Even with TikTok, you can't just like put a song on that; you have to give it a story with a hook, with a delivery, while including incredible artistic, captivating visuals, or whatever it may be - it's no longer a standalone just with audio. So basically this is how I wanted to prepare myself for that and start to approach my shows as an all-encompassing visual and audio experience.

It will be interesting to see how the rise of AI how will affect how artists will start approaching their work. It’s definitely an interesting time technology-wise right now.

We saw that kind of idea with Splendour XR, they did an online festival. And they came back to us at the end, they said, “You had the most detailed and the best use of what this was out of any act on the entire lineup,” which was really just us testing the ropes of the few things, but we were pretty stoked with that response.

That's awesome. Do you think we’re going to start seeing more artists following in that same vein?

Oh, I think they will have to, I think a lot of the high-tier acts will go there. It's just very expensive, and complicated, but it is also getting cheaper. AI makes things that were impossible budget-wise before now, pretty easy. But then there are all the issues with ethics and the licencing, too.

Yeah, it’s pretty muddy waters at the moment. I have no idea what’s even in store for us with the rise of AI.

It'll even out. It’s like saying, “You’ve got to make music without a computer”. When the computer came in real were musicians, like “that's cheating!!'“, like we’re going to put a clarinet player out of a job.

But like, it's evolving, and there's still absolute creativity in the concept. I look at it as being a curator with a skill, and you just have to adapt your skills to the new technologies and still be a curator.

Not to get too deep on AI, but what AI is doing is just what we do - they just doing it a lot faster based on everything that they've seen on the internet to then craft some sort of version that has tiny references of all these different things.

And that's what we do, even as songwriters, we listen to all these songs and hear all these tones and get inspired by whatever it might be and then we just craft a song from the emotion and the inspiration that we have from those things.

I saw on your Tiktok that you gave a call out for people to apply as your tour support act. Is shining a light on up-and-coming talent something that's important to you?

Yes, super important because they kind of got shafted [due to COVID]. For some of us that have been doing it for a while, [COVID lockdown] was a nice break, and then we worked our way back into it.

But for the younger artists, they were starting they were coming of age - there are 21-year-olds that have never even been to a nightclub and don't even know that they might like it. It's hard for them.


greenscreenvideo Who should i being on tour? Who have i missed? Lmk! upandcoming livemusic australia electronicmusic

♬ original sound - What So Not

I have all these super-talented kids that send me stuff and then they’re not getting shows, or they can't even work out how to make enough money to do it properly. They're all working jobs. So I wanted to go on a mission to find out not who’s the most popular young person that's already got a bit of a platform, but who are the ones that don't have platforms yet?

I think I hit gold with a few of them. like the kid we had in Perth called Ownlife, he was amazing, his show was actually seamless!

He had this live electronic hybrid, where he's singing and all this granular synthesis stuff going on, and it was so cool and everybody at the concert was like, “That was so sick!”

My other support act Prophecy Girl was just blown away by it as well. It was so cool. It was awesome.

I also noticed on your Tiktok that you’ve been crashing house parties around Australia. What did you enjoy most about doing that? It looks like a lot of fun.

Oh, it's just such a no-brainer for me. The first time I did was kind of an anti-lockout kind of protest, where I kept coming back to Australia every six months from touring overseas, and just all the clubs, all the promoters I knew, lost their venues and couldn't put on anything cool, because they couldn't afford it

And I was like, where are we even going to play anymore? And how are kids going to know about this culture and get excited about music? So the first time I ever did it, we actually did seven house parties in one night.

We got a sprinter van and went all the way around the back of Sydney through the city, and up to the Northern Beaches and did some house parties. It was so much fun! And they appreciate it so much.

A lot of [the kids] were DJs or it was one of their local friends who was the DJ who brought all the equipment, and then they got to play before or after me.

I was just like, this is so easy and so fun. And these people are so grateful and so up for it. And they're just throwing a really cool party for all their mates and they're the next generation of people that are hopefully doing what I'm doing.


Best part this is the town i grew up in & exactly how my career started. Always pass it forward 🔊 #bunkerrave #rave #edm #livemusic #whatsonot #electronicmusic

♬ RAVE - Dxrk ダーク


29th July 2023, Centenary, Perth WA

4th August 2023, The Tivoli, Brisbane QLD

11th August 2023, Roundhouse, Sydney NSW

12th August 2023, Northcote Theatre, Melbourne VIC