WHEN FIRST RELEASED in 2013, The Doors iPad edition – a comprehensive collection of music, photos, videos and ephemera – set the standard for the artist archive app. The recently released Freemium version encourages Doors newcomers to sample its content before taking the full-on plunge (£1.99 in UK, $2.99 in the US)
Downloaders of the Freemium app can enjoy features including an in-depth audio-visual exploration of the group’s debut album and the anecdotal diary of the making of Absolutely Live.
Then there’s “The Miami Incident": a compelling account in graphic novel style of the group’s notorious 1969 performance at Miami’s Dinner Key Auditorium which ended in Morrison’s conviction for lewd behavior – a turning-point in the life of the group.
Exclusive and revealing interview material abounds, such as this touching tribute [embedded below] to the skill and spirit of Doors keyboard maestro Ray Manzarek by the surviving band members, guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore.
MOJO talked to former Elektra Records head honcho, Jac Holzman, the man who signed The Doors in 1966 and has driven this most recent evolution of their catalogue, as The Doors break on through into the digital sphere.
MOJO: Do you see the artist/band app as an extension of the box set format?
JH: Box sets are often big and wonderful and with winsome packaging, but the contents do not feel ‘of a piece’. The Doors iPad app allows you to hear the songs, lose yourself in the stories, view the photos and learn about the technology behind each album. You can look at a single app page and hear music snippets, watch videos — each piece in context and to the point — all as part of a cohesive whole. And we can keep the content fresh by issuing updates. That’s one of the great advantages a digital product has over its physical counterpart. It can evolve.
What's left in The Doors archive?
JH: [Laughs] Only Doors archivist, David Dutkowski knows for sure, but we used the best of everything that was relevant to their story from among the vaults’ many glories.
If someone didn't know The Doors, would you point them towards the app first?
JH: Absolutely! Our 'look before you purchase' feature provides a comfort level, so if Doors music keeps playing in your head, your next port of call should definitely be the app.
“The Doors changed my life and the trajectory of Elektra.”
How have you found the creative process compared with the other things you’ve done?
JH: It’s more like making a movie and almost as hard. You hire the writers, you research and curate thousands of photos, videos, outside articles and commentaries from a wide variety of publications, each unique in what they say about The Doors. But, most important is to have a vision first, and then to pull it all artfully together. It is a far more complex process than recording an album. For me it has been great fun, and The Doors app is one of the most exciting undertakings with which I have been involved.
So what's the next stage of evolution for the Doors app?
JH: The app is exactly the way we want it to be at the moment and I don't think there’s anything I would change. There are 1600 different pieces of content and the techie in me loves the challenge of using the latest digital tools to bring it all to life. On a deeply felt personal level, the Doors changed my life and the trajectory of Elektra. Doors music lives on with incredible tenacity and the band and their management associates were a joy to work with. I think that love and pride shines clearly through.
There’s more info in this trailer...