What is The Gun Music Box?
The Gun Music Box is almost the same as a normal customisable music box you might find in a toy shop. The Difference? We made it bigger and replaced the steel combs with ten working pistols; so, instead of playing music, it shoots the beat.
How Fresh is Your Idea?
The idea of a gun as an instrument is not a new. If you look at our inspiration wall you can see many different gun instruments that have already been created. We began our research online and then took to the streets to visit some of the artists we’d found in our search creating interesting musical machines. On our journey we met Akko Goldenbeld a Dutch craftsman who made a music box that plays the sounds of Eindhoven.
Then we visited a music box museum in Utrecht, and brought a couple of toy music boxes to play around with and understand how they work. With all this new information we set out to try and make something different, something that hasn't been done before.
What Challenges Did You Face?
Our first main challenge was to trying to figure out the mechanism, which would trigger the guns. Jorg Sprave the famous slingshot genius kindly offered to help us, and made a prototype with a cap gun.
His prototype was turned into a larger version, before coming the frame for the final all steel music box. But that wasn’t our biggest challenge. With a mechanism that worked, now we needed to actually get all the guns and licences for them - this was very time consuming.
Once the instrument was made it was time to make a music track with it. We wanted to write a song emphasizing the main concept: make music, not war. This is where up-and-coming music artist, MC Mesijus joined us to make a music track using The Gun Music Box.
How Did You Adjust the Beat?
To keep the neighbors happy and not accidentally shoot anyone while playing it we used a Programmable Wooden Barrel-Organ. Where we altered it slightly to play the same notes no matter which key is kicked. Once the beat was created we tested it on this toy and later transferred the positions of each pin to the main gun music box.
We also shot a great music video. But after mass shootings at Bataclan concert venue in Paris our manifesto to make music with guns took on a new meaning, which we didn’t want to achieve.
Any More ‘Hurdles’ ?
There were other ‘hurdles’ throughout the project. We found out automatic guns are very unpredictable; the bullets would get stuck inside the barrel and the triggers would break easily. Having said that, the most memorable ‘hurdle’ is when we didn't want to buy a Wooden Barrel-Organ, as it is rare and rather expensive, so we thought we would 3D print it.
It took us some time as the printer kept stopping, the quality was poor and worst yet, it didn't actually make any sound, so we ended up buying the Organ anyway. Still, in the end it was worth it as we used it a lot and now we have a nice music box collection.
It was once said: “Guns don’t kill people; people do.” This was our way of using guns for a more positive reason than killing, by converting them into instruments and creating music. Not everything worked out perfectly but what is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?