The immersive short film is an intersection between New Zealand’s natural environment and Montell2099’s digital dimension. Shot in Karekare, a small coastal settlement rich with native Maori history in Auckland, New Zealand, the film highlights Montell2099’s cultural identity as sacred land becomes the visionary’s stage.
Created in collaboration between show and lighting design moguls Human Person and Angus Muir Design, Montell2099 Live From Karekare marks the second visual collaboration between Montell2099 and Human Person, the world-renowned show design company led by Wellington raised Ben Dalgleish.
They last worked together on the visual counterpart of Montell’s debut 2020 EP FORCES , a dizzying cosmic odyssey of mind-bending, metallic 3D illusions. Taking an opposite approach on Live from Karekare , Dalgleish’s show design explores the relationship between technology and nature.
“I saw this project as a chance to celebrate all the amazing music that Montell has been making recently. Previously Human Person had created 3D visuals for Montell2099 - but I always had the feeling that these songs deserved a visual presentation that was more natural in nature.” Human Person’s Ben Dalgleish says.
“The location we chose, Karekare beach is in my opinion one of the most beautiful non traditional beaches in the world. The dark-coloured sand mixed with steeped rock formations, dotted with flax, tussock grass and other New Zealand fauna was the ideal setting. We wanted to add a touch of technology, so a large triangle LED formation was designed, paying homage to a similar shaped rock that sticks out of the ocean just off the beach.
Centering Montell in this triangle was a statement, grounding him and linking him to the beach and in a broader view; the country and land he is from. ”
“It was very much a collaboration with Ben and Montell,” Angus Muir expands on his contribution to the short film. “We knew the area, the gear, and what was achievable within the short timeframe. The light show has been choreographed to match the music perfectly. The lights really only come into effect as the sun goes down. The music is so dynamic, and the full range of the lights meant they could take the viewer on a full visual journey!”
“When I was making the set I'd bring up pictures of the location to reference the vibe of the set, and try to imagine the songs playing out in that setting,” Montell2099 explains of his vision.
“Since COVID hit and live shows took a back step, DJ’s all over the world have been doing different online stream videos. Playing off that we wanted to do something a bit out of the ordinary and beautiful. Essentially it's a music video but for a live set. Which I think is pretty cool… ”
A cinematic experience from start to finish, the 30 minute visual begins with daytime views of Karekare scenery with Montell2099 commanding its forces from a triangle-shaped light installation. Intensified by surreal drone footage, Karekare’s unique textures of black sand, rocky terrains and mountaintop greenery become an atmospheric backdrop for Montell’s pulsating frequencies. As he works his way through a set encompassing earth-shaking original instrumentals and remixes, the footage transitions from dreamy sunset scenes to dusk, the beach landscape illuminated by an iridescent LED light show.
Each point of the triangular light installation symbolizes the link between Montell2099’s music and his Maori heritage; as he exchanges energy between earth and electronic music.