CategoryA02. Applied Innovation
EntrantSYN Tokyo, JAPAN
Idea Creation SYN Tokyo, JAPAN
Production SYN Tokyo, JAPAN
Additional Company TATCHA San Francisco, USA


Name Company Position
Nick Wood Syn Composer
Alan Mawdsley Syn Music Director
Mathieu Kranich Syn Production Assistant
Akaku Takashi Syn Mix Engineer
Joe Patitucci DataGarden Co-Producer
Vicky Tsai Tatcha CEO of Tatcha

Why is this work relevant for Innovation?

If 'innovation' is defined as a new method, idea or technology, then this project encompasses all three. Working with new technology (the 'PlantWave' pocket device from Data Garden), we developed a method of recording living plant matter and using that musical data to create original music for a brand experience. Exploring the concept of creating the soundtrack of a product by using the product's own ingredients (in this case, the Indigo plant), we believe this project is relevant for the Innovation Category.


San Francisco based skincare brand, Tatcha, have deep roots in Japan - with key ingredients sourced from the country and a distinctly Japanese aesthetic. For this project, launching their 'Indigo Five Senses' night-time ritual, Tatcha tasked us to use the sound of the Indigo plant and create an 8-minute soundtrack for this multi-sensory ritual. The challenge was whether to interpret the sound of Indigo plants abstractly and create a musical interpretation of this key ingredient, or to harness the actual sound of the plant itself and weave it into a soundtrack? The budget enabled us to perform a field-recording at an Indigo Farm in Shikoku, Japan, so we were fortunate to have access to these magnificent plants and work with them.

Describe the idea

The Indigo Calming Ritual from Tatcha is a multi-sensory night-time ritual that encompasses sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, with sound being our area of expertise in the experience. The intention was to incorporate Indigo into the sound experience, highlighting the 'Overnight Indigo Repair' serum, a key ingredient of which Indigo. Rituals are culturally an important part of Japanese beauty culture, and as such, we sought to bring an authentically Japanese heritage to this experience, whilst using innovative new technology (the 'PlantWave' device) to push the boundaries of the sonic experience. The concept engaged Indigo plants as the raw materials for this composition, and ties together the experience's integrity.

What were the key dates in the development process?

Working with nature is seldom easy, and for this particular project, there were unique circumstances that had to be considered. Indigo Plants in Shikoku are generally harvested between July - September, and so it was crucial we visited the Indigo Farm in Shikoku before the harvest (and before the plants withered) in order to record them. Our production team visited the farm in August of 2021, immediately passing the musical data from the field-recording to our composer in Northern Japan. The composition was then delivered for mixing and mastering in mid-September 2021, ready for release on October 1st 2021.

Describe the innovation / technology

PlantWave technology - developed by Data Garden - is a pocket device that detects slight electrical variations between plant leaves, using two small electrodes attached to two plant leaves. These variations are then graphed as waves, which are subsequently translated to pitch messages, resulting in MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data. This MIDI data can then be interpreted by a range of electronic musical instruments or samplers, and used to create unique soundscapes or soundtracks from any plant material of your choice.

Describe the expectations / outcome

Once we delivered the soundtrack, Tatcha CEO Vicky Tsai and 30-participants underwent EEG neuroscience testing in a lab in Austin, Texas to determine the relaxation effect of the ritual. The results of this testing were overwhelmingly positive, showing a + 21% increase in relaxation and a - 17% reduction in stress levels. This was followed up by a successful PR campaign, including features in 'Muse By Clio' and 'LBB', as well as workshop/presentation opportunities to share the project with both new and existing clients. Since the launch of this project, we have been engaged on subsequent briefs directly inspired by this project, including further opportunities with Tatcha.


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