South Australian film makers and an Adelaide musician bring one of the world’s most beautiful walking trails right into the heart of the Adelaide CBD. South Australia’s Heysen Trail will be brought to life in Light Square, at Adelaide’s newest multi-genre immersive performance space, The Lab. Simon Kither from music industry media group KITHER CO. and cinematography Jake Cooper will build the specific locations, through film and audio to place the audience right on location on the trail. These beautiful locations will be musically curated and performed live by award winning musician B.S Roberts from the Ukulele Death Squad.
This special performance will also encompass the launch of an EP entitled Live on The Heysen Trail, which was recorded on location in July 2020 on an overnight hike. The idea spawned from the COVID restrictions at the time, to take a group of 10 participants on a hike and have intermittent performances and record and film an album along the way in a COVID safe way. Six film clips and audio recordings were conducted on the Heysen trail to create a feature length visual album/ documentary. The EP will be played in its entirety live by B.S Roberts, as the locations will be rebuilt by pairing audio and visuals of the trail by Simon and Jake on the 50 square metres of LED screens (that’s 14 million pixels) in the performance space of the LAB. Each location will be recreated to make the audience feel like they were present at the original recording of the original film clips and audio recordings.
The way the production will marry the talent of film, music, digital, light and sound creators will enhance the audience’s experience of a live performance and exceed expectations. This will be an immersive experience that will bring the artists and the audience together like no other. The audience will be taken to the rugged coast line of the Fleurieu Peninsula, through rolling hills, hidden waterfalls and thick tree lines, as Roberts plays the songs in harmony with the stunning visions of the very locations that inspired them. B.S Roberts talks more about the production.
How did the whole Live On The Heysen Trail come about?
Once COVID hit, we (Ukulele Death Squad) had over a years’ worth of gigs and touring swept out from under our feet. As an artist I was lost and anxious as finally I had been making a full time income from music. The project began by brainstorming COVID safe ways to perform, and a way to provide work for other aspects of the industry such as audio and film. So we set out with ten strangers and a film crew and recorded a live EP/ Visual album on an overnight hike along the Heysen Trail where we were able to be outdoors and social distance. As restrictions have now opened up, we plan to recreate this journey In the CBD.
Is this one of the most challenging and satisfying projects you have worked on?
By far, this is one of the most satisfying projects I’ve been apart of. Not only the physical aspect of the actual overnight hike, but the chance to work closely with the digital and visual art form of film. This project is not only something new for me, but it’s going to be an experience that audiences haven’t seen either. The real challenge has been to build a 3D outdoor space in a venue to make it seem like the audience is right there on the trail, where the album was recorded.
Did it take quite a bit of work to fit the music with the visuals?
Marrying the visuals to the music was the easy part, as we are recreating the spaces they were originally recorded at in July 2020. So since the original recording of the album and film clips this time last year, we have been back to capture the exact location in a multi angle format to be able to build them on 50 square metres of LED screens in the CBD venue The Lab.
Are you nervous about playing this show live?
This is the most extensive and expansive project I have undertaken. There is some underlying nerves but probably more excitement as all the pieces are slowly falling into place.
Is there any room for error or if things don’t go quite right on the night?
I don’t want to give away too much in how the show will be performed, audibly and visually, but I am in safe hands. Think of the visual aspect of the show as a DJ, they’ll all be mixed into the performance live, but Simon Kither of Kither CO and Jake Cooper.
Did you learn something about the Heysen Trail that you didn’t know before?
I had never been hiking at all, especially not an overnight hike. I had only heard about the Heysen Trail and had no idea how long it actually was. Around 1200 Km. Pretty awesome.
Who will the show appeal to?
The great thing about this show is that it appeals to so many different people. If you’re into folk music, if you’re into hiking, if you’re into film, if you’re into photography, if you’re into the outdoors, if you’re into ukulele, live music, art, documentaries. It really has something for everyone.
Has this project got you thinking about other projects?
Myself and Simon Kither (Kither CO) are already brainstorming what’s possible and what’s next. We are certain we want to do more projects like this, not just in South Australia, but all around this country. We have plenty more songs and plenty more locations in mind.
What’s next for B.S Roberts?
I have just released a Ukulele Fingerpicking book, so I’ll be touring around workshopping that and in September I’ll be releasing my own book of Songs and Poems which will link into my whole discography of my solo stuff, Ukulele Death Squad and also The Timbers.
Is Ukulele Death Squad still bubbling away in the background?
The UDS is still very much alive, we have some interstate and local festivals coming up later in the year and preparations are already in place for Fringe 2022. So stay tuned.
Interview By Rob Lyon
July 10th 2021
The LAB – Light Square Adelaide
Tickets Available from https://www.thelabadl.com.au/events/b-s-roberts-trio