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PREMIERE: Watch Skullcave’s “Bleak” in 360 VR

Tuesday 31st January / posted by Matt Tomich

If you've seen a Skullcave show recently, you likely bore witness to a brooding, 18-minute piece at the closure of their set. It's called "Bleak" - a song that's been taking shape since early 2016 and the first piece from a new album due out later this year.

They're launching the video for it in February, but it's not a regular music video: it's an 18-minute live-take, shot in 360 vision by a series of GoPros at Studio Sleepwalkers Dread, where the track was recorded.

Watch the video below and read a Q&A with guitarist/vocalist Jay Marriott.

To experience the full 360/VR effect, open the video in Google Chrome or in the Youtube App. Use WASD keys to move.

Bleak has been a huge part of your set list for the last 12 months - what's the process been, from writing such a long piece of music, to refining it live and finally putting it down on record with a video?

Bleak is our musical interpretation of an anxiety attack. The more we studied our personal experiences with them and began to develop some understanding of how it builds and affects the mind, the more we wanted to structure a piece around that theme.

It took almost 12 months to write, as we wanted to represent it accurately. Particular attention was given to the range of emotions that we experience and the way each emotion feeds into the next. We focused on the feelings of alienation, confusion, self-deprecation and (most importantly) the feeling of hope that get’s you through it.

We wanted to not only represent anxiety with sound, but wanted to let our audience know that there is always something better waiting for you on the other side of the attack. Even if at the time you can’t see it.

We spent the rest of the year figuring out the dynamics at live shows and began working on the video in December ’16.

Whose crazy idea was it to film a 360-video for an 18-minute track that had to be shot live in a single take?

Liam came up with the idea for the video while we were watching Tangled Thoughts of Leaving at the Rosie. We wanted to give Bleak a visual element too but couldn’t work out how to do it without making a short film, which we thought wouldn’t work at all.

Usurper of Modern Medicine’s 360 clip for Ego War was where we found the inspiration, so we got in contact with them and they hooked us up with their director Sam Winzar. Sam did such a great job; he and his team really added so much to the project.

So yeah… blame Liam…

How many attempts did it take and how did you manage to capture the video?

We had a great team of people at Studio Sleepwalker’s Dread to help us make the clip. Ron Pollard handled the audio capture, Sam Winzar and his crew handled the visual capture and Jack Hoffman came on board to run the light show.

The film was shot with 6 Go-Pro cameras, so it was difficult because we had no way of telling if the cameras had worked until the end a take… which took 20minutes to complete. You can imagine our despair when we realized that the first two takes didn’t work!

In total we did 4 takes. The one you see is the third take.

You worked with producer Ron Pollard (Tangled Thoughts of Leaving) at his Studio Sleepwalker's Dread near Fairbridge for this track. What was it like working with him, and how did that rural environment contribute to the tone of material you've recorded far?

We’ve become really close with Ron and the other legends in TToL since we started Skullcave. Ron’s advice and approach to songwriting has been a major influence on our own writing, so naturally we wanted to work with him when it came to recording the track.

The rural setup at The Dread is super chill. Steve and I grew up in Northam so I think we’re naturally drawn to that kind of environment. It made it a lot easier to relax between takes when you can step outside and kick the footy with Ron’s sheepdog Millie.

Bleak comes from your debut album which is set for release later this year - what else can we expect from that record?

Riffs… many many riffs…

Skullcave launch the video for Bleak on February 11 at Badlands Bar.

Listen to Jay Marriott talk about the track on Breakfast with Caitlin:

Image credit: Zac Gordon

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All live musical performances are included in our podcasts with the express permission of artists, who reserve all other rights in their music. All music used in our podcasts is licensed under an APRA Community Broadcasting license agreement.

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