John composed music for a tesla coil, named Chime Red, which he programmed using a keyboard to make the sound that formed the basis of the electronica backing track. “We had 60 speakers up and down Cuba Street, and this pre-recorded electronica was moving up and down it, stamping like big boots, and moving in a coordinated fashion through the live performance. The performance was moving past you.”
Nick Veale found his role changed over the course of the project. “In the early stages, John brought me on board as a sound designer, where I built custom synthesiser patches, which led to me designing most of the electronic sounds. Later, I did more administrative work.”
The music John composed was meant to be a riot—a fun, tongue-in-cheek piece—so the emotion expressed by the audience when it was performed in March 2021, with much of the world still under COVID-19 restrictions, took him by surprise.
“People afterwards were telling me ‘it felt like I was in a movie, I felt like I’d been taken out of my normal experience’, and I suddenly realised this impact was because this type of event wasn’t happening anywhere else. It brought that home to me, and I felt incredibly lucky, moved, lonely, isolated—all of these emotions,” says John.
“There was something so human about this amount of people coming together and lighting the whole of Cuba Street on fire for a few minutes,” Nick adds.