October 25, 1999 - David Bowie has been in the bloodstream of nearly every musical movement, from folk to the glittery birth of glam rock, and now into electronica and beat-driven balladry. With his role in the upcoming Omikron, he's found a way to marry his many interests, doing the voice and music for the virtual rock star Boz. He recently talked to us about his role in the Internet community, and the present state of future music.
IGNPC: A lot of music and film stars have supported the Internet, but you're really the first to become such an active part of the online community. What first sparked your interest in creating BowieNet?
David Bowie: - It struck me that most ISPs had very little inherent personality - and that there was an opportunity to create something altogether more 'personalized'. I think my role on BowieNet is as a kind of 'sticky' central database, you know, come onto my site and stuff will stick to you - here's where all the things I'm interested in collide, books, art, music, so make of it what you will...and I suppose it wouldn't make as much sense if I wasn't on there every day possible...
IGNPC: You have a lot of faith in the power of the Internet in general -- where do you hope the Internet will go in the next few years?
DB: Well, you know it's probably going to go somewhere it hasn't been before...If you can wade through the mounds of 'get-rich-quick' schemers,there's some astounding ideas out there, and at BowieNet we're trying to utilize the best of what is already there and the interesting notions we have ourselves.
IGNPC: With MP3's making the copying of music an instant reality, are you worried about how the Internet will affect the future of music?
DB: If you're into the Internet, it's kind of an all-in deal. I'll go with the flow, take my lumps, and occasionally come up for air with one new idea or another. In many ways the future of music, listening to music, will be DEFINED by the Internet. Though, believe me, it's much easy to be a bootlegger in the real world than online. Once you stick your URL in the air, you can be closed down in minutes. It's safer to do the old fashioned thing and have the CD's pressed in the East and then sell 'em at the market.
IGNPC: I've heard that your son is a gaming fan, and was a key part in getting you involved in Omikron -- do you actually play videogames yourself?
DB: Duncan's the assigned gameplayer of the household, and yes, he was instrumental in the early negotiations with Eidos - I think they respected his videogame savvy and pitched Omikron to us in an informed, intelligent way. I've tinkered a bit with Tomb Raider -I won't tell you which bit, but hasn't everybody?
IGNPC: How do you (and Iman actually, since she appears in the game as well) feel about your experience becoming part of a game -- do you find yourself suddenly having shaky urges to play Pac-Man all of a sudden?
DB: Coming across my digital alter-ego in a dark street is not necessarily my idea of fun - but to anyone else who comes across my character in the game, well, I think they'll judge my performance in terms of its cinematic characterization like one would any dramatic performance. So, lucky for those digital creations in there who don't have real-life counterparts to be analyzed! The game has turned out to have a very cinematic feel, with the music adding emotional depth to the playing out of the drama.
IGNPC: You've played more than your share of alien beings (and that includes Andy Warhol) -- how was the experience of playing such a unique character behind the camera, so to speak?
DB: Performing Boz was like performing any other role, learn your lines, hit your cues, but it was interesting to play something that just couldn't exist in reality, at least not yet... it was like playing the Internet as a sentient being. Also I enjoyed the fact that the motion-capture choreography designed for Gail, Reeves and me, as part of our performance as the band, is existing now only in digital form. That the various steps and moves were digitally spliced and combined, creating a unique event happening only in the game.
IGNPC: How is the Ziggy Stardust animated film progressing?
DB: It's not just an animated film. It uses several types of film genre, including animation. It will also be a stage piece and an Internet archive.
IGNPC: Any chance of taking your Omikron experience and making a Ziggy Stardust game out of all this? Ziggy's hair is pre-made for polygons, you know.
DB: As all these vast preparations are being made for the return of Ziggy, in a multitude of forms, polygonally speaking we may deliver him like a botched kidnapping job, piece by piece. We'll not start with a game, first we'll just release a huge polygonal ankle. Then...
IGNPC: And most importantly -- TVC-15?
DB: Not forgetting his little brother, DVD-15.....