Perphaps Contraption is one of the three music acts that joined Revelland for an exhilarating two-year process to transform their live show to an immersive experience. Part choir, part chamber orchestra, part avant-rock group; the 9-piece progressive brass band from London fuses jazz, punk and artpop. Christo Squier – one of the three band leaders, flute and piccolo player, and singer – introduces the ensemble.
Christo, can you describe the sound of Perhaps Contraption to someone who can’t hear?
“Perhaps Contraption is something like staggering and spinning through a colourful, twisted fairground. It’s full of joy, anger, surrealism and surprises.”
Two years ago, you joined a brand new Revelland project to research, develop and showcase an immersive live performance. Why did you decide to commit to this? What were your expectations starting this project?
“Our ensemble has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of live music and how it can combine effortlessly and uniquely with performance. We have worked in theatre, cabaret and festivals for many years, so when we heard about Revelland, it felt like a very logical and natural step forward for us. We were drawn in by the potential to work with many experts in sensory experiences, who would help us hone our ideas and create something that challenges conventions as well as being built with accessibility and under represented communities clearly in mind.”
Why do you think accessibility is important?
“It’s crucial that all creative experiences are assembled with disabilities firmly in mind. Art has great power to enrich people’s lives, it’s crucial that these transformative feelings can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, in the most profound ways possible. As a practitioner, building work with accessibility in clear focus helps to democratise the performing arts.”
What insights have you gained thus far regarding accessibility in the music industry and in relation to your live show?
“The industry appears to be vastly improving but still has a long way to go in terms of accessibility. Captioning of events should be commonplace but is still very patchy, also many venues need infrastructure to be altered to allow access for wheelchair users.”
“Our project is working closely with D/deaf artists and so far I’ve learned so much about best practice for creating and presenting work that can be enjoyed on a deeper level by that community. We are using visual vernacular which is a sign-based performative language that can also be interpreted by hearing people. Using this medium feels like it beautifully bridges a divide, as it can be experienced and easily enjoyed by a huge range of people.”
“We also opted to use a huge sand pendulum which will serve as such an exciting and arresting centrepoint to the piece.”
Can you paint a picture of what the future looks like for Perhaps Contraption?
“Perhaps Contraption will continue to strive to create extraordinary musical and live experiences that can be enjoyed on stage or in site specific settings (we love to parade too!) We’re excited to present the new work that we’ve built with Revelland, and tour it to new venues and communities. As well as this, we are still working on our gig theatre experience about the cosmos (Nearly Human) and will be releasing recordings linked to both concepts in 2022.”
Header photo taken by Matt Jolly