Helen Sartory is living a double life. By day she’s a self-proclaimed “tech nerd” immersed in the startup world. By night she’s a—well, it’s a little hard to explain. She transforms herself into an android who uses a glowing crystal equipped with touch sensors and other space-age devices to create electronic dance music. And at the same time, she screens an animated sci-fi film about her character’s journey, making this a movie that you can dance to.
Sartory created this persona, called Androdes, after a stint as an investment banker in London and a startup consultant in San Francisco. A classically trained musician, she never stopped writing music on the side. She wasn’t sure how to bring all her areas of interest together until she heard the score that Daft Punk wrote for the 2010 movie Tron: Legacy. “It was the first time I had heard dance music applied to film,” she says. So two years ago, she returned to London to refine her idea for Androdes.
It wasn’t a solo effort. Over the course of 18 months, Sartory enlisted some of the best in the business for help creating the film, costume (especially the sleek helmet), and, most importantly, huge musical instrument at the center of the performance. “We call it the mothership,” she says. “It’s a crystal-shaped audio-visual instrument that is touch and gesture controlled. It glitters with about 1,000 LED lights.”
Sartory has performed her show more than a dozen times, and the response from audiences has been overwhelming. Her idea won her an $18,000 at the London Creator Awards, and she knows exactly how she’ll use the money: to create a virtual reality version of her show. That way, fans can watch from anywhere. “It’s definitely the next step for us,” says Sartory. “It will appeal to video gamers who might not go to a music event, or ravers who might not like sci-fi movies. There are so many crossover points.”