If you think that hackathons are just 24 hours of having fun and messing around with no real long-term results, #MTFHacks will make you think again. In the past couple of years the Music Tech Fest community has produced and tested the viability of revolutionary components and products, which are now altering the landscape of interaction with data, sound, and gesture in physical space.


Transhumanism “epitomises the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity”. Bionic artists create new musical fashion wearables; creative technologists splice the inherently experimental Gunk (geek punk) ethos with notions of gender and accessibility to create new forms, new powers, and new ways of being anything other than merely ‘normal’. #MTFHacks gives selected artists, hackers, makers and developers exclusive tools to build new ways of interacting and making people extraordinary.


Hands-on experimentation and making has been at the core of the Music Tech Fest from the very start. At the #MTFHacks some of the best brains join forces in this space for experimentation, and take interaction with physical objects to its limits, over challenges that get them thinking, building, collaborating and creating projects that can go on to have a life beyond the festival.


In the past we had lots of fun hacking light sabres and ping pong tables, creating air guitars from two Android phones, making goats scream to metal, playing music with water, and electrifying didgeridoos. We also got ambitious and started creating products that seriously challenge ideas of accessibility, health and the ways we communicate. Some of the guys involved have been running a hacker space programme. Really.


Previous hacks were judged by some great music minds, including Graham Massey, Rolf Gehlhaar, Matt BlackNitin SawhneyJosh SaundersJason SinghPaul Sonkamble and LJ Rich. Hackers were given exclusive access to our #MusicBricks toolkit, to develop entirely new product concepts.


We won’t reveal the exact challenges until the start of the #MTFBerlin element14 Hack Camp, but here’s some stuff that inspires us:


Music is a form of expression. Different sounds mean different things. We use songs and playlists to communicate how we feel. Think of music as a form of communication.


Sound signalling in the home environment has been the domain of shrill alarms and annoying bleeps. Yet sound signalling offers a much greater range of tools for communication.


Sound offers many ways to bridge physical and verbal limitations. How able are we? Can we be extraordinary? Limitations often give us the opportunity to explore interaction from a different perspective.

Cymatics Challenge

In spring 2015 hackers were invited to make a video of their CYMATICS music hack and win a trip to the land of the midnight sun. 

Click here to see the winning hacks

Photo: Jeremy Pfeiffer 2010


For more info contact hacks@musictechfest.net

Here are some of the heroes who have helped us build this ecosystem over the past 5 years:

Jason Singh, Adam John Williams, Matt Black-Coldcut, Eska, Graham Massey, Emika, Nitin Sawhney, Reeps One, Viktoria Modesta, Martyn Ware, Laura Kriefman, Ezra, Grace Savage, Shlomo, Synthestruct, Crewdson, LJ Rich, Jamie Cullum, Scanner, Tim Exile, Mørk, Ross Flight, Leafcutter John

Ninja Tune, Warp, Soundcloud, RJDJ, The Echo Nest, Spotify, Last.fm, Shazam, Mixcloud, MusicBrainz, Musimap, B3 Media, Drake Music

Reactable, Alphasphere, Ableton, Native, ROLI, Izotope, FXpansion, Teenage Engineering, Toontrack, Serato, Soundation, Bare Conductive, Jays, Dizzy Jam, Grain Audio, Ultrasonic

element14, RS Components, Makey Makey, London Music Hackspace, Music Tech Meetup, Monthly Music Hackathon, Innovation Warehouse

The BBC, Abbey Road, Warner Music, EMI, RCA Records, London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican, WIRED, MTV, Stephen Fry/Penguin, Realta Films, Rebel Uncut, Riff Raff Films

Sonos, Volvo, Philips, Microsoft Research, Cisco, Swedbank, Red Bull

EU Commission, British Council, Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Cankarjev Dom, MSUM, Umeå Kommun, Region Västerbotten, Uminova, Ume.net, Guitars Museum, NZ Music Commission, Sounds Aotearoa, Sound and Music, Redstar Union, Factory Berlin

MTG, IRCAM, C4DM, Fraunhofer, BCU, MIT Media Lab, Harvard Music Minds, Berklee College of Music, McGill, Goldsmiths, Umeå University, Royal College of Art

...and an ever growing list of music tech startups with great ideas on how to reinvent this space.

The Music Tech Fest evolved from the ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE OF MUSIC TECH.

The Music Tech Fest soundtrack is growing courtesy of those great guys at Soundcloud.

Every network should have a soundtrack.