When Secret Cinema was founded in 2007, it introduced film fans to the idea of immersive cinema – film worlds brought to real life as part of a screening (with added dressing up and cocktails). This weekend, new London event Trespass is hoping to do the same for music, putting the audience in a music video-like environment. Lowri Gerrard, who co-founded Trespass alongside IAM New Music’s Ben Spetsiotis and Barn On The Farm Festival’s Joshua Sanger, tells us about it.
What’s Trespass all about then?
It’s an immersive event that redefines how you experience live music. The first show takes place in Spitalfields in a secret location. We have four exceptional artists performing on every night who are kept secret. The first time the ticketholders (the 'Trespassers') learn about the artists is when they start to perform. The immersive element is in how we transform each of the spaces. We’re working with the artists before the show, sitting down with them and discussing their work, the emotions attached and the story around their music. We’ve been able to design almost a living music video set that the audience will step into as the artist starts to perform. Ultimately we want our audience to experience live music in the most thought provoking way possible.
Where did the idea come from?
All three of us were promoting shows and realised there was something missing... We started thinking about how we could develop a space that exists purely for the music, not a traditional venue. I’d directed a few music videos prior to this and spent hours thinking about how to bring to life the artists world on screen, so naturally we began to create a physical version of that. It felt like the closest to what we were trying to do. Simply said, we’re trying to create a deeper relationship between the audience and artist.
How do you design a room around an artist’s work?
Well everything is there for a reason. We sat down with each artist and threw about ideas for their space. Each room is very different. Imagine someone gave you the keys to a room and said, ‘This is your space; you decorate it, light it, create a playlist, do what you want but make sure it gives us a deeper insight into who you are, where you’re from and your aspirations’. As an artist, Trespass is about opening up even further, giving the audience a completely unique ‘one time only’ physical experience and performance.
It seems like there’s loads of scope to do amazing things in immersive gig experiences. Laura Marling did some interesting shows with Secret Cinema, Bat For Lashes’ current tour is in churches and arranged like a wedding… where do you see the trend going in future?
Much like Laura Marling’s shows, we think there will be more of its kind that bring to life the body of an established artist’s work. Music is in some ways a story and it’s only a matter of time before people start telling those stories on a large scale in a physical form.
And the team behind Trespass specifically – what do you have up your sleeves?
We like the idea that this is just the beginning of a very unknown journey. Much like the audience that attend, we’re in for the ride.
Why not tell people which artists are playing?
That’s the exciting part – the unknown. If you come knowing who you’re going to see you’ve already imagined what it will be like. You should be open and ready for anything…
Part of the joy of Secret Cinema is the familiarity of being in the world that’s being pulled from the screen. How does that work with lesser-known bands?
Although we do have established names we definitely want to include one or two new artists. Sometimes the most exciting stories are the ones that haven’t been told before!
You’ve promised a music video-like experience. If you could recreate any music video, which would it be?
The music video for Jamie T’s single ‘Don’t You Find’ was definitely inspiration for Trespass. It’s incredibly simple, just a moment in time, but really thought provoking. I also adore Lana Del Rey’s music videos. That’s a bit further down the line though...
Trespass runs from Thursday May 26 to Sunday May 29th in London. Tickets are £18.