A performance on a glacier is the hardest that we have done as a band so far. With the finished video of this, we can now finally let you relive this incredible and unique experience.
The difference hardly could have been any bigger. During the rehearsal, we were still standing at the grill. A day later, we had to endure freezing temperatures on a glacier. As spontaneous and informal as the art project with the visual artists Mar-K.os was, as challenging and exhausting was it. In any case, it paid off. Even if, just one day earlier, we could not have guessed what kind of an adventure it would turn out to be. We knew that we’d go into the mountains and into the snow, where we would combine visuals and music in a completely new way. After all, that is the idea behind “MMOVE meets IVOTION”. We find unusual places and allow music and art to be born out of the moment.
The final destination for that day, the Rettenbach glacier on 3,000 meters, was only picked at the last minute, though, when we were already in Austria, with our cars full of equipment, a pickup with a quad on the bed, and of course the MMOVE – a former rocket launching truck that Mar-K.os customised to be his mobile projection vehicle.
Since everything was so spontaneous, we soon faced our first problem. On the way to the glacier, we stood in front of a closed barrier. According to the men guarding that barrier “no one is going up there today“. Luckily, Mar-K.os isn’t just creative when it comes to visuals. There is a reason why his personal slogan is “impossible is just the beginning“. On the way up, we had already seen posters for an upcoming Red Bull event with David Guetta. And after a little conversation with Mar-K.os, the men behind the barrier were suddenly convinced that this 10-man team with their unusual truck belong to Red Bull and absolutely have to get up to the glacier. So the barrier was opened, and we could go on. “Go on” soon also meant “right into very deep snow”. During a turning manoeuvre, the MMOVE got stuck. Good thing that we now had the men from the barrier on our side. Not only did they come to our aid and pull the MMOVE from the deep snow with their snow crawler, they also moved around some snow so that we’d have enough space for our setup.
After that, we had to be fast. The perfect time for what we had planned was the blue hour – that moment between day and night, when the light is perfect for the projections Mar-K.os had in mind. Unfortunately, that’s also a very cold time of the day. When we were ready to play, the thermometer had dropped to -10 degrees Celsius. We couldn’t even be sure that all our equipment would work under these conditions. We were especially worried about the Nyx because we had never tried using it under conditions that were even remotely similar. But in the end it wasn’t the Nyx that refused its service. In the middle of our performance, a part of the mixing board failed, which meant that the sound came out extremely distorted. To the human ear, IVOTION suddenly sounded like punk metal. However, the signal that went into the computer was clean. And so the recording was not affected.
The equipment wasn’t the only thing that was suffering from the temperatures, though. Thomas had been afraid all along that he’d freeze his fingers off when using the touch screen of the Nyx. Only when we were on the glacier and it was time to play did he find out that, unlike the touch screens of smart phones or iPads, the Nyx can very well be played while wearing gloves. Tom and Ariane weren’t quite so lucky. There is no way for Tom to play his guitar with gloves. Which, on that day, meant that he had to tough it out and suffer the pain of playing the freezing steel strings with his bare fingers. And Ariane did not have anything to protect her vocal chords either when she sang. But although every deep breath – so essential for a powerful vocal performance – hurt, her delivery was flawless. Everything you hear in the video has been recorded live on the glacier.
The challenge was still bigger than we could have imagined. The plan was to play Gonna Go Now three times. In the end, the extreme circumstances dictated that one time had to be enough to capture this amazing event on video – in part because Ariane was struck by a sudden case of altitude sickness. Shortness of breath and severe headaches made any additional singing impossible. But it was also the point where Tom’s Himalaya experience paid off. He quickly put Ariane into one of the cars and drove her down into the valley, where all symptoms where gone even before everyone’s hot dinner was on the table.
Technical problems, altitude sickness, aching fingers, freezing temperatures and other problems are forgotten pretty quickly anyway when we look at the result. The day on the glacier was an unforgettable experience – a one-of-a-kind art happening. It was exactly what we, together with Mar-K.os, wanted to achieve. Spontaneous. Extraordinary. And even with the risk that not everything runs as smoothly as you would like it to. But we were happy to pay that price. It was the only way to do on the glacier what gives us so much joy: The first half of our musical performance was completely improvised, just as Mar-K.os improvised his incredible projections. “MMOVE meets ivtion” on the glacier – it was a unique moment for us, that simply can’t be replicated. But we can promise that the outdoor events will continue. For now, enjoy the video. We’re looking forward to your comments – here on the website, on Facebook and also on Twitter.
All the best,