Peter Martin Makes Claptone "Immortal"
The world of Electronic Dance Music has its own unique culture. Minus an exception or two every generation, only in EDM can an artist’s career and form be bolstered from behind a mask. When music is a visceral experience shrugging off the construct of fame, social identity is secondary. Or, some may argue, the mask allows for true and honest communication. Voiceless and hidden, expression is employed only through music. It creates a direct line between the artist's expression and audience members, creating flawless communication.
Recently joining Daft Punk, Deadmau5, and Sia is Claptone, a German, golden masked deep-house artist. His initial collection of singles swept the EDM scene last year, making a tour and EP inevitable. After a year of development, Claptone began his first international tour this spring entitled “Immortal.” The show has been called groundbreaking thanks in large part to Oscar Nominated director Peter Martin who was at the helm to ensure it was as beautiful and affecting as can be.
The name of the show, “Immortal,” represents an indictment of time, explaining why Peter focused on time’s life cycle. In many ways, time is a human construct but one that has become so ingrained we literally live and die by it. Unless you are immortal. Past, Present, and Future each got their own musical chapters in the show, each featuring their own visual languages. Still compositions and moving pictures fill out a full experience. When these imaginings are paired with Claptone’s music it becomes a celebration and investigation of the past, present, and future. The visual cues and environmental methodology paired with Claptone’s music create a fully immersive experience.
Like all experiential events, you really just had to be there. But check out the official trailer and showreel for a taste of the magic.
Peter Martin on His M.I.A. and Janelle Monae Holographic Duet for Audi
Peter Martin masterminded last month's M.I.A. and Janelle Monae holographic duet, tied to Audi's A3 launch. "The first part of the process is ideation," explained the B&A newcomer. "I sit down with the clients, find out what they need, and tell them what I would do – and I'm only interested in doing things that haven't been done before – so, in this case, I didn't want to project characters onto a building or put a hologram on a black stage. I'm constantly trying to evolve the medium."
He first booked the musicians ("I tend to get very involved at every level") and decided to plug them into an immersive environment. "There's no one-stop shop for this type of project," Martin said, "so I formed a team of three companies." Obscura Digital filmed the holographic performance in Atlanta, which was then animated and given a projection-map background by New York City-based Dorian Orange. Vita Motus constructed the same set for Los Angeles's Quixote Studios (where Monae belted it out alongside a holographic M.I.A.) and N.Y.'s SIR Stage 37 (where M.I.A. Galang-ed alongside a holographic Monae). "We got all of it together in under four weeks," Martin noted.
He called the duet the culmination of his past work and an updated form of storytelling: "I'm focused on the experiential area because I can create original, dynamic, memorable experiences." Martin's now toying with the idea of a DJ who could spin in 100 cities, synchronously. "A century ago, people would watch a play with ten actors in it, and that was it; then we suddenly started filming these plays and it became cinema," he mused. "Today, there's 25,000 cinemas on earth, but you're effectively still watching a play – it's just advanced to this incredible mode – and you don't realize that the act of watching occurs simultaneously in the world. With everyone I talk to, I steer them in this sort of direction, compelling them to think, 'What's next?' "
Martin's career began as a journalist in the eighties, specializing in music and film, before moving into television production a decade later. In 2001, he became creative director of Ealing Film Studios and went on to create the cross-platform content company Zeppotron, later sold to Endemol. He then set up the film division of Done & Dusted with director Hamish Hamilton and produced the 2003 "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" for CBS.
Three years later, Martin founded his own production company, Surreal Films, and produced his first feature-length documentary, "The Workshop." In 2009, his and Jamie Hewlett's BBC television program "Phoo Action" won a BAFTA for Best Drama, and in 2010, he created and produced "Waste Land," which took home more than 35 festival awards and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Last year, Martin formed Virtual Artist Agency, a venture that already boasts an array of formidable partnerships with A-list talent and VFX houses like Digital Domain and Framestore, and he is also working on a six-part TV series about immortality and life extension.
Photographs: MKG: the blog
Production: Obscura Digital
Animation: Dorian Orange
Set Design: Vita Motus