100 Million Nights


Sound And Vision

The incredibly hard to categorise Canyons – otherwise known as former Perth residents Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson – have teamed up with acclaimed Indigenous visual artist, Daniel Boyd, to present a work that is kind of hard to describe. A combination of live music and video installation, it even gives Grieve himself trouble when the question of what it’s all about is put to him.

“What is 100 Million Nights?” he muses, pausing for a few moments before continuing. “It’s a collaboration between us, that is Canyons, and Daniel Boyd, a Sydney based visual artist. It’s basically… we’ve scored music to Daniel’s visuals and vice versa – he created visuals from our music as well across the collaboration. It’s a collaboration in the true sense. We weren’t just putting music to his visuals – it was back and forth. That was a very important part, to make it a real collaboration. At times the focus was on the music and at times it was on the visuals.”

But that explanation only scratches the surface. “Technically, that’s what it is,” he continues. “And I guess the themes behind it are all to do with things like creation and decay, nature and time and space and all things, a little bit. It’s a little hard to pinpoint.”

Clearly. Leaving aside the actual form and function of the thing for a while, we move on to how this welding of forces came about. According to Grieve, it was a fairly organic process.

“We’re all kind of friends. We have a bunch of mutual friends and it came about through Daniel, who got in touch with me maybe a couple of years ago – I’m not sure how long. He’d just come back from London after doing some work over there and he had an upcoming exhibition and asked me if I wouldn’t mind writing some music for it. I did it, we had a great time doing it and then I went and saw the exhibition. The exhibition, Black Matter, was shown in this totally blacked out room and there are screens, four screens, one on every wall and you’re kind of immersed and the music is blaring. We saw that and thought we could maybe try and do something like this live. So that’s kind of how it came about, so me and Leo and Dan got together and it all went really good.

“Basically, it started from a couple of pieces we did for Dan that we had left over from previous work,” Grieve goes on. “Sometimes it would go from that, where we’d start playing and just see where it goes, so we’d record it and send that to Dan and he would work from that. So some of the pieces were like that, and then others Dan would send us the visuals and we would write to that. It was just a bunch of back and forth, really. You’re just kind of getting into each other’s headspaces.”

Of course, we don’t have access to those vaunted cranial vaults. If we want to get a handle on 100 Million Nights, it seems we’re going to have to go and see it for ourselves.




Part of the 2014 Perth International Arts Festival, 100 Million Nights will be performed at  The Chevron Festival Gardens on Tuesday, February 11, with support from Mathas. For tickets and info, head here.