November 7, 2017

Vindor Music - Creating Sweet Sounds of Electronic Music with Accessibility

At last month’s HUBWeek Demo Day, there was a table that caught guests’ attention with songs from Star Wars and various classic video games. One aspect that drew people in was one of the entrepreneurs’ ability to play, what seemed like, anything he wanted to on the fly, showing event attendees how easy it is to make music with their technology.

Vindor Music team at their HUBWeek Demo Day table; Joel Edinberg, Chief Musicologist (left) and Fen Trias, Founder and CEO (right)

 Taking one look at their product, it looks like the mouthpiece of any woodwind instrument, but it doesn’t sound like a traditional one. Utilizing technology similar to a smartphone touchscreen – and in combination with various other parts inside, the instrument can also control the pitch of how someone plays.

The company’s name is Vindor Music and they have built an instrument that can create electronic music and, more interestingly, is easy-to-learn for even the most struggling aspiring musicians. A handful of bands across Boston have tested it, but one that stood out to the two co-founders was an after-school program in East Boston called Zumix.

“Zumix shows students creative outlets in performing and media,” said Vindor Music Chief Musicologist Joel Edinberg. “The kids in the program got to perform with Vindor last fall, and it was a success. It was easy to pick up with the kids, and they loved all the weird noises they were creating.”

The children involved with the program actually performed a few ensembles for their parents. In one performance that stood out to Edinberg, some students created hip-hop background music, with which some students performed original songs.

“It created a lot of positive experiences, and the kids were excited to learn the next tune,” Edinberg said.

The idea of creating an instrument that was not only unique but also easy-to-learn actually came from Founder and CEO Fen Trias’ home.

“My son was learning to play the clarinet, but for him, it was tough to learn,” said Trias. “All he wanted to do is play songs and have fun, but he just couldn’t get the hang out it. So, I started investigating to see if there was a much easier way to learn how to play.”

The two co-founders met not through a networking event, but in a much more informal manner: Craigslist.

Trias’ research led him to discover instruments and programs that could teach music but found that it would be easier to create his own, which resulted in him posting an ad. The man who answered the ad was area musician Joel Edinberg, who joined Trias as Vindor’s Chief Musicologist.

The Vindor Music instrument

“I have been a musician forever, and I come from a musical family,” Edinberg said.

After getting to know each other, Trias and Edinberg started to brainstorm ideas on how to build an electronic instrument. The two have had experience working in a variety of tech industries, but this marked the first time both Trias and Edinberg worked with a company that had a more creative, artsy side.

“We decided, ‘Let’s do something fun, but make a real personal impact,’” said Trias.

“Trying to market this was tough,” Edinberg added. “Since it’s artistically-based, it adds its own separate challenges, and a consumer of this type of product requires a different skillset.”

Product development took three years to complete, which included building the instrument from a variety of tools, including a computer processor and technology used on an iPhone. The final model is compatible with amplified speakers and can be used on a computer with music software such as GarageBand.

Vindor Music has also been partnering with other Boston-based music companies, including iZotope and Harmonix, and have received advising from the Berklee College of Music.

Last month, Vindor Music had a chance to connect with even more musicians, thanks in part to their Kickstarter campaign. Despite being a bit of a niche product, the company was featured on the ‘Coolest Products’ section of the crowdfunding site.

“This is my second time on Kickstarter, but there was a lot of prep that went into the campaign,” Trias said. “We wanted to create a page that fit the Kickstarter demographic, but the response we got was from all over the world.”

Vindor Music’s impact on music is a unique one, but one that is welcome. After all, wouldn’t it be great to play the classic Tetris theme on the fly?

Colin Barry is a contributor to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash.

Image via Vindor Music.