EDM Duo Epoch Rises Creates LED Wall as Awesome as Their Music

EDM Duo Epoch Rises Creates LED Wall as Awesome as Their Music
Samy Kamkar, one half of Epoch Rises, showing off the duo's LED panel.
Samy Kamkar, one half of Epoch Rises, showing off the duo’s LED panel.


When most think of electronic dance music (EDM), flashy lights are sure to come to mind. Electronic music duo Epoch Rises went a step further and designed an interactive LED panel that responds to music as it’s played. Get your old school rave bracelets out of the freezer – this is about to get good.

The project started when the music duo decided to amp up their performance value. How could they make an interactive set that engaged the audience even more? The answer: create an interactive light show using LEDs, duct tape, a pegboard, zip ties, hot glue, sweat, blood and tears.

behind the scenes

The process begins by laying rolls of Ws2812B LEDS upon a pegboard (more than 800 per board!) and tying them in place using zip ties. The tinkering musicians used LED rolls with varying space in between each LED for a nifty final light effect.

simple behind the scenes

Once the LEDs were tied in place, a 300-watt power source and Teensy 3.0 microcontroller was installed on the board, equipped with the OctoWS2811 library. Once the tech panel was complete, it was covered by a frosted plexiglass pane and encased in a custom frame and presto chango, the board was nearly complete.

hot glue!

The second part was creating the software to command the MCU and LEDs to respond to light. The tinkerers connected the LED board to an iPad with Lemur installed, which spoke OSC to a MacBook Pro running Resolume Arena and Syphon, which feeds video into Processing, the custom app build by the duo to manipulate various aspects of the LEDs. The board responds to any type of musical input, and to your dance moves too.

Samy and his collaborator Moniker have shared all the project details on Suprmasv, which is a platform for all hackers, makers, modders, and tinkerers to showcase their work, build community, and find financial support: See the Epoch Rises project page to build your own!

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Samy Kamkar told me, “Use the octows2811 library on the Teensy and use our processing sketch instead. It requires Mac OS X as it uses Syphon, but Syphon is an awesome library that lets you use virtually any VJ software (or other processing sketches) to send video frames in with virtually no CPU overhead (all done within the GPU accessing the same memory).

He continued, “We actually do have a slightly customized octows2811 library that allows for more configurations (different amount of strips, more zigzag patterns, but it’s not necessary for this). I’d suggest using something like Resolume Arena (Modul8/VDMX/many other VJ software can also work)”

Lastly, the duo developed a custom Kinect app in openFrameworks so the LEDs could respond to both music and dancing.

Samy told me about more recent developments, “…we’ve used the panels at a few shows and they were awesome! One of them was outdoors and the panels can get EXTREMELY bright — in the video, we have it at probably 30% brightness. Sound reactive was cool and because we can control them live, we could send any relevant video during tracks and have them interact with the tracks in fun ways (using Resolume Arena). We also had a Kinect hooked up for one of the shows which was great!”

Perhaps for other reasons?

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