Pacemaker: Handheld Dj System

Pacemaker being shown live in a crowd of people

Interesting interview with the guys behind the Pacemaker here. Of course some really good quotes to get you going.

What was the inception of Tonium?

MR: Two and a half years ago, I met this odd fellow. He came up to our agency that we had at the time; it was called New. We were doing lifestyle graphic design and advertising for music clients and culture things and fashion. He came up to us and told us about this idea that he had. He was talking about computer processing capacity, developing, portability and the digitizing of music. He held up this little cardboard cutout mockup—it looked like an iPod. He said, ‘What if this was a DJ system?’ And we were like, ‘That sounds like fun. What are you paying us for this?’ At about the same time, the two colleagues at this agency with were drifting off into another focus where they wanted to be more involved in real art stuff and more graphic design. At some point, this guy, Jonas Norberg, asked me if I wanted to join the company—there wasn’t any [real] company—and I said, ‘Yeah,’ because it sort of summarized all the stuff that I had been doing up until that point with music and design. That was two-and-a-half years ago.

You had it in the street and the public gravitated towards it and instantly wanted to know more.

MR: Yeah, I mean this is a huge conference. I was totally blown away when I came down there because I’m not really a house music or an electronic music fan myself. [I’m] much more old school. I thought there should be around five, ten thousand people there, but it was over 150,000 people there, and [all of] Miami was all about the ‘dunka dunka.’ It was really cool to be down there with this thing because, since it’s portable, all you need is some sort of portable speaker system. We had this little tent for meet-and-greets with the industry, but then we had our guys with us that would play it and showcase it and we were just walking around Miami with this portable speaker playing and people were just huddling around us and were really just astonished with it.

Is the cost something that was an obstacle for you perhaps?

MR: When we developed [the Pacemaker], we had this naïve attitude: ‘Let’s not care what it costs; let’s just do something that we want.’ So, it ended up being pretty expensive. Some of the reactions that we’ve been getting is that it’s too cheap. [But] because the people that are most interested in this device are quite young—they’re in their early twenties—for them, $6,500 kronor is a hell of a lot of money. We’re looking into it [to] maybe see if we can offer a version that’s not as big a hard drive.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.