Modestep have performed what can only be described as one of the scariest looking gigs ever - precariously perched on a net between two cliffs in New Zealand.
More specifically, the once in a lifetime show was performed at Cecil Peak in Queenstown, which just happens to be 6,500 feet above sea level and accessible only by helicopter.
The crazy show is the latest installment in Jägermeister’s annual IceCold Gig, with previous endeavours enlisting the likes of Bullet For My Valentine.
Music Manager at Jägermeister UK, Tom Carson had this to say on the event, “The gig is our annual embodiment of the bold, adventurous, spirit of Jägermeister, inspired by the perfect chilled shot serve of -18°C. It’s a big challenge for a band to perform in the freezing cold, never mind whilst suspended at 6,500 feet. Modestep blew us all away with an energetic and fearless performance - luckily they didn’t call us out on the lack of a dressing room either!”
Swinging between two mountains is no mean feat and requires a fair amount of engineering nous to pull off such a stunt. Luckily, people have been trying to kill themselves in the pursuit of extreme sports for years and it was a space net, developed for base-jumping, that was deployed as the stage.
The space net was handmade in Utah especially for Jägermeister and took 210 hours to create. Rigged from the cliff edge, the space net created a unique, suspended platform on which Modestep performed. To reach their unusual stage, Josh and Pat had to zip-line over a sheer drop.
We got chatting with Modestep frontman Josh Friend on such a unique opportunity and the upcoming album,
So whose idea was it to play a gig suspended between two mountains? You were insured right?
“Jager approached us with the idea earlier on in the year, we’ve had some mental ideas over the years but they definitely topped us here.”
Let's get the obvious one out of the way. Anyone in the Modestep crew scared of heights who was perhaps not consulted beforehand?
“Pat was terrified of heights, but I think this did a good job of helping him overcome it. He didn’t tell any of us that he was scared of heights until a few weeks before, holding it down for the squad!”
Did you need to do any special training for performing on the space net?
“We had a day in London where we got to play around and see how it behaved, but not with our instruments. Then the day we got to NZ we tried with our instruments and the plastic riser that had been built for us to stand on snapped in half. Lucky we got to try it out in a warehouse before trying it up the mountain!”
Was there anything you did differently with your live setup for this show?
“We actually built a completely new live show rig to make this show happen. Everything had to happen off-stage (off the net) so it meant being able to control everything without accessing any rack gear or a laptop. Lots of MIDI mapping and Cat5 conversations going on.
“It’s actually helped us massively for our future live shows as this new system is far more rugged and easy to set up than our last live show.”
You've had some lineup changes over the years, with Tony leaving the band most recently. How much of an impact has this had on your live performances and the band as a whole?
“Since Tony left we’ve been working on a much more electronic version of our live show. Lots more live synths, triggering of bass sounds and I even pick up a bass to cover some of the missing guitar parts.
“We’re still developing the show, and should have something exciting to show everyone really soon.”
It's been awhile since we last spoke to you in Future Music magazine. Are there any major gear updates in your studio (software and hardware)?
“Our studio has mainly stayed the same, we’ve moved to a new location with much better acoustic treatment which has done us wonders. Things have moved further in the box now, I even have a portable setup that I tour around with a little Apogee One, a Sub Pac, Audeze Headphones and an Aston mic.
“It’s amazing the level of quality we can get recording on the road these days, and even mix and master without ever having to reference back in the studio.”
Your new album is coming out soon, did you take a new approach to the recording compared to London Road?
“This album is a lot more based around good vibes and club presence. London Road was a conceptual record which we are so proud of. This time we’re going back to our roots, using everything we learned with London Road and applying it to the vibes that we created on our first record, Evolution Theory. So far, it’s sounding like my favourite Modestep record.”
Modestep’s new single, Higher, is out on November 13th 2017 and you can pre-save the track on Spotify (opens in new tab) now.