KISS Becomes First U.S. Band To Go Fully Virtual and Stage Avatar Show

KISS will fully embrace virtual technology with an avatar show.

By: Dec. 03, 2023
KISS Becomes First U.S. Band To Go Fully Virtual and Stage Avatar Show

KISS, the legendary rock band known for electrifying live performances over a 50 year career and sales of more than 100 million records worldwide, is marking the end of its physical existence by crossing into the digital world. 

At 11pm EST on Saturday December 2nd at NYC's Madison Square Garden, at the conclusion of the last show of the final KISS live tour (‘The End Of The Road'), the band made a surprise handover onstage to their new digital avatars who performed as an encore ‘God Gave Rock And Roll To You': marking the withdrawal of the flesh and blood group, yet the continuation of the KISS journey into a new era. The band's transformation into avatars ensures their immortalization, while pushing the boundaries of rock and roll performances, as KISS have done throughout their career to date. This avatar performance features KISS as fantasy-based superheroes, and provides a glimpse of just one of the many and varied ways in which KISS will live on as digital performers through their avatars in the future.

Achieved through a partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group, the Swedish entertainment company renowned for its development of brand-building enterprises in music and entertainment, this end-of-show performance marks the official reveal of plans for a new era of KISS in the near future - which will see avatars of the band perform to fans for decades to come. KISS's long history of experimenting with special effects and staging, as well as iconic personas and costumes, will evolve through pioneering technology. 

The KISS avatars are created by the George Lucas-founded visual effects company (and Lucasfilm division), Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), who showcase their unique creative expertise and artistry using their advanced performance-capture technology. The technology has enabled ILM to capture the band's face and body performance, forming the basis of the avatars in combination with ILM's artistry and machine learning technology, allowing the creative essence of KISS to be able to live on forever. ILM's previous work includes credits on iconic movies and franchises such as Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and groundbreaking episodic series such as The Mandalorian, amongst others.  

Following the physical band's final performance, Pophouse Entertainment Group will continue to champion the KISS legacy for fans old and new, and for all generations. The new KISS avatar shows will be the second immersive, avatar-powered music concert project that Pophouse Entertainment is involved in - following the success of the ABBA Voyage show in London, UK, where Pophouse is the lead investor. Thierry Coup - former Chief Creative Officer, SVP at Universal Destinations & Experiences - is announced as the Creative Director of the upcoming avatar show.  

Fans wanting to get the latest information on the new era of KISS and the upcoming avatar show should visit www.kissonline.com  

To coincide with the reveal of their digital transformation, KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons joined Per Sundin (Pophouse Entertainment CEO), Thierry Coup (Creative Director, JOCOUP Creative), and Grady Cofer (VFX Supervisor, ILM) for a special discussion about the band's history and the inspiration behind the move into innovative avatar-powered performance. The video of the discussion (that includes a glimpse of the avatars, which were featured at Madison Square Garden and in the future KISS avatar show) can be accessed here:
Short version: https://vimeo.com/890052978/8c3c6c6de4?share=copy 
Full discussion: https://vimeo.com/890053166/432d6a9749?share=copy

In the discussion, KISS bassist and co-founder Gene Simmons comments that through partnering with ILM and Pophouse Entertainment, “We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we've never dreamed of before. The technology is going to make Paul jump higher than he's ever done before.”  

During the conversation, lead vocalist and co-founder of the band Paul Stanley comments: “What we've accomplished has been amazing, but it's not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are.” He later adds: “It's exciting for us to go the next step and see KISS immortalized. I mean, we've spent 50 years building it to this point. And by working with ILM and working with Pophouse, we're all sharing this vision of taking KISS to a completely different level beyond being just a music band. And we've always thought of ourselves as more than just a music band.” 

Per Sundin, CEO of Pophouse Entertainment, comments: “Pophouse Entertainment Group is thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with KISS, and showcase to fans what is on the horizon as part of future avatar show. Our partnership will fuse the rich history and iconic status of KISS with cutting-edge technology, allowing fans - now and in the future - to experience the band like never before.”    

About KISS:

KISS remains one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll after 45 years. KISS has earned more Gold Album Record Awards than any American rock band in the history of The Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) Gold and Platinum certifications with 26 KISS albums and four solo albums released simultaneously—a feat never before achieved by any American rock band. To date, KISS has released 44 albums, with 14 achieving Platinum status and three albums reaching multi-platinum.  KISS has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and their legacy continues to grow their fan base, generation after generation.  KISS continues to build on the momentum recently generated by sold out tour dates, incredible media coverage and consistently phenomenal concert performances on their End of the Road world tour, which is scheduled to culminate in the band's final shows on December 1st and 2nd at New York's famed Madison Square Garden. For more information on the band's activities and events, visit www.KissOnline.com.

About Pophouse Entertainment Group:  

Pophouse acquires and develops brands within entertainment – specialising in music catalogue investments. Acquired catalogues include Avicii and Swedish House Mafia. Unlike traditional entertainment IP investors, Pophouse adds value to their investments through artist-centric concept development by working closely with existing stakeholders. With a proven track record of successful ventures such as ABBA Voyage, which has sold 1,900,000 tickets since its launch in May 2022, Pophouse continues to redefine entertainment by pushing boundaries, embracing technology, and creating unforgettable experiences for fans worldwide.

The company was founded in 2014 by EQT founder Conni Jonsson and pop music icon Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA). 
www.pophouse.se

About Industrial Light & Magic (ILM):  

Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., was founded in 1975. The company has become synonymous with groundbreaking visual effects work and continues to be a recognized leader in the field. ILM has operations in San Francisco, Vancouver, London, Sydney, and Mumbai which work hand in hand to produce cutting-edge visual effects and animation for feature films, television, commercials, themed attractions, and immersive entertainment experiences. ILM currently operates state-of-the-art StageCraft virtual production LED volumes in Los Angeles and Vancouver and can deploy bespoke volumes anywhere in the world. The company has been awarded 15 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and 34 Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has been honored with 4 Emmy Awards in the past 3 years.. To learn more, visit ILM online at www.ilm.com. 

Lucasfilm Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Industrial Light & Magic, the ILM logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

About JOCOUP:

JOCOUP Creative is an experiential design and Innovation Studio founded by visionary trailblazers Thierry Coup and Johanna “Jojo” Atilano. They bring together their extensive industry expertise and visionary insights to revolutionize the guest experience while pushing the boundaries of what's possible through innovative solutions that leverage emerging technologies, immersive experiences, and groundbreaking storytelling. Their mission is to change how audiences experience entertainment by constantly striving for excellence and ingenuity with a competitive edge by converting challenges into opportunities and visions into tangible successes.
www.jocoup-creative.com 

 

About Pophouse Entertainment

 

Pophouse acquires and develops entertainment brands within music, podcast and gaming, and the company began a serious venture into music catalogue investments earlier this year. Unlike traditional entertainment IP investors, Pophouse adds value to their investments through artist-centric concept development by working closely with existing stakeholders. The company was founded in 2014 by EQT founder Conni Jonsson and pop music icon Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA). The company has expanded into numerous other endeavors in Sweden's capital city, including: Space, the largest gaming centre in the world; the aforementioned Avicii Experience, and Perfect Day Media, the leading podcast house in the Nordics.



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