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KISS New Era Begins: Meet Thierry Coup, Creative Director Of The KISS Avatar Project

On December 2nd at NYC’s Madison Square Garden, KISS surprised fans during the culmination of KISS’s last show of their ‘The End Of The Road’ tour. After 50 years in the spotlight, the band handed over the stage to their new digital avatars, performing an encore of ‘God Gave Rock And Roll To You’, symbolizing the transition from the flesh-and-blood group to their digital counterparts and marking the continuation of the KISS journey into a New Era. The transformation into avatars not only ensures the band’s immortalization but also pushes the boundaries of rock and roll performances — a trajectory that KISS have followed throughout their career.

The upcoming KISS avatar show promises not just a concert but an immersive entertainment experience, offering fans unprecedented access and interactivity. As the avatar project takes shape, Coup envisions a New Era in digital entertainment, where the essence of KISS meets cutting-edge technology, creating an experience that transcends traditional formats and captivates both longtime fans and new audiences alike.

Thierry, tell us a bit about yourself! 

“I’m Thierry Coup, Chief Experiential Futurist at JOCOUP Creative, formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Universal Destinations and Experiences. My career revolves around a passion for bringing extraordinary stories and experiences to life. I have had the privilege of leading groundbreaking projects worldwide, creating immersive experiences that transport audiences to fantastical worlds such as “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man” and “Super Nintendo World”. My work merges creativity and technology to push boundaries and create unforgettable guest experiences.”

Your background spans impressive work in themed entertainment. How does your previous experience, particularly with high-profile projects, inform your approach as the Creative Director for KISS becoming avatars?

“My extensive background in themed entertainment, especially with projects like “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” and “Super Nintendo World,” has equipped me with skills and insights that’s crucial for my role as Creative Director for the KISS avatar project. These experiences taught me to meet the high expectations of hardcore fans, emphasizing audience engagement and meticulous detail in creating immersive experiences. With KISS, it’s about more than digital representations; it’s capturing their spirit and energy in a way that resonates with both long-time fans and newcomers, striking a delicate balance between staying true to the essence while bringing innovative, immersive elements to life.”

Attending a KISS concert in Columbus transformed me into an instant mega fan, solidifying my love for music and its power to create unforgettable experiences.

Thierry Coup

Could you share a bit about how your journey led you to collaborate with Pophouse for this project? What drew you to this unique opportunity to work on the KISS avatar project?

“Collaborating with Pophouse for the KISS avatar project aligns with my goal of redefining entertainment. Inspired by experiences like ABBA Voyage and a transformative KISS concert, this collaboration merges professional expertise with personal passions, offering an exciting opportunity to explore new avenues in digital music experiences. Additionally, attending a KISS concert in Columbus transformed me into an instant mega fan, solidifying my love for music and its power to create unforgettable experiences. These moments underscored my belief in the immense potential of digital and experiential music ventures. This collaboration is a natural progression in my pursuit of redefining entertainment, and it presents an exhilarating opportunity to delve deeper into the world of digital music experiences.”

How do you plan to translate the iconic energy and stage presence of KISS into the immersive and digital space of an avatar show?

“To capture KISS’s iconic energy digitally, we employ cutting-edge technology to recreate the electrifying atmosphere of a live concert. The goal is to provide fans a fresh way to connect with the bands’s legendary music and performance style, blending the familiar raw energy with an immersive digital twist. This project is about pushing the boundaries of digital entertainment, offering fans a new way to connect with the band’s legendary music and performance style. Expect a blend of the familiar, raw energy of KISS with a fresh, immersive digital twist.”

What unique challenges do you anticipate when creating an avatar show based on such legendary and larger-than-life personas like KISS?

“The key challenge is authentically representing KISS’s larger-than-life personas in a digital format while ensuring an emotional connection and immersive experience comparable to a live concert. To balance authenticity with innovation is our focus, aiming to create an experience that resonates with both long-time fans and new audiences.”

How do you balance staying true to the essence of KISS while introducing innovative elements in this avatar show to captivate both longtime fans and new audiences?

“Balancing KISS’s essence with innovative elements involves respecting the band’s legacy while embracing the digital possibilities. Our strategy focuses on core elements like their unique style, iconic music, and performance energy which have captivated audiences across multiple generations. The innovative elements will bring a fresh dimension to KISS’s iconic performance ensuring the show appeals to all viewers. The key is to create a harmonious blend that respects KISS’s heritage while breaking new ground in digital entertainment.”

“The KISS avatar show is poised to be an immersive music adventure surpassing the wildest of dreams, setting a benchmark in the realm of digital entertainment much like ABBA Voyage did.”

Thierry Coup

What kind of interactive or immersive experiences can viewers expect from the KISS avatar show, and how do you envision engaging fans beyond traditional entertainment formats?

“The KISS avatar show is poised to be an immersive music adventure surpassing the wildest of dreams, setting a benchmark in the realm of digital entertainment much like ABBA Voyage did. It will be a groundbreaking show that blends the physical and digital worlds. Viewers could be able to take part in exclusive behind-the-scenes access, a time-traveling journey to KISS’s first show, and the ability to influence the setlist; the possibilities are endless. This immersive experience transcends traditional concert viewing, creating a vivid sense of presence and participation, deepening the connection with the legendary music and spirit of KISS.”

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