Eran Egozy has been combining music and science since his time at the MIT Media Lab. Today, he’s one of the minds behind the addictive music and rhythm games produced by Harmonix in Cambridge. His next project, Dance Central 3, came out this month for the Xbox Kinect.
I’m so curious about your time at the Media Lab; I’d love to hear more about that.
It was a wonderful time. I started there in 1992, when I was a senior in college, and finished with a master’s degree in 1995. It was an amazing opportunity given all the kinds of research they do in the lab. It was a way to learn how technology helps with the way people live their lives. For me, it was music technology. Tod Machover (the current head of the Media Lab’s Opera of the Future Group) really helped me see the ways in which music and computers intersected.
And on top of your computer science background you’re a professional musician?
In school I studied computer science and electrical engineering, and I also earned a music minor. For me, music was directly relevant to everything I did. Being at the lab was something that allowed my hobby and my academic studies to be combined. Today, I use my science background to analyze music; for example, we create computational models that generate melodies. Knowing how music is put together helps me create new experiences for other people. I also play clarinet in the chamber music group Radius Ensemble. At Radius, we try to show today’s audiences how great classical music really is.
What’s next on the horizon for Harmonix?
Harmonix is known for Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but we’ve been working on the music video game Dance Central 3; it’s for people who love to dance and enjoy music. The system works with the Xbox 360 and the Kinect (the 3D camera sensor for Xbox). The game knows where you are in your living room and teaches you how to perform awesome dance moves.
People have a go-to karaoke song…do you have a go-to Rock Band song?
Honestly, any of the Beatles songs. I’m a big Beatles fan and I think those are some of the best songs ever written. It’s really fun playing their songs on guitar, drums, or bass, and seeing how the whole song is put together.
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