Earlier this year we posted a clip of DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist’s “The Hard Sell” performance. Soon afterwards, one of the architects of the visuals for this show – Josh Cardenas – got in touch, and I was able to meet up with him for an interview the morning after one of their performances in Brisbane, Australia.

Josh designed and built the robotic pan-and-tilt camera rigs (and wrist-mounted camera) responsible for The Hard Sell’s strikingly intimate look at the work of these two top turntablists, and he was very open in sharing his experiences and the technical details behind his part of the show.


Also along for the tour is a couple of V4s, DVJs, and a Pioneer SVM-1000. Josh gives us some background on the tour and insights into how the rig works.

Visualist Interview: Josh Cardenas – The Hard Sell tour with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist from Create Digital Media on Vimeo.

Some of the most common post-gig remarks I heard from crowd members was that they wouldn’t have understood or appreciated the show nearly as much if they hadn’t been able to see so closely what the DJs were up to. Josh’s robotic cameras really brought the performance to the people, and in a form factor which was completely unobtrusive. A remarkable achievement, and still he was happy to share details on how this was achieved.

Visualist Interview: Josh Cardenas – Midi Controlled Robotic Cameras from Create Digital Media on Vimeo.

The technological hub for these camera mounts is the Yost Engineering ServoCenter MIDI, controlled with a Korg MicroKontrol and Ableton Live (if time permits).

Obviously this is a guy with plenty of ideas who’s not scared of sharing them, so if you have any questions for Josh please hit the comments, and if you’re a touring visualist with tips to share, get in touch with us so we can bring your art to CDM.

… and for a little more Josh, Jean Poole has a post on Skynoise with some more texty goodness from his subsequent visit to Melbourne.