Vision Four 5: Ready for a reunion

In the beginning, god created the earth and then he did all sorts of other inconsequential stuff over the next six days that was all basically leading up to the most important development in the history of mankind… I’m talking about rave, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the place where dance music culture was born, and it was kickin’ hard right across Australia throughout the early to mid 90s. During October there’ll be two special gigs celebrating its heritage, with a bunch of classic acts coming out of retirement especially for the event. Expect plenty of decrepit and elderly gurners!

Once such classic Australian live act that’ll be dusting off their ancient computer hardware will be Vision Four 5, an act that fired up in the early 90s with the lofty ambition of challenging the perception of what live music could be. It was all about the technology, baby – or at least, what the technology could be used to achieve. The quartet of Noel Burgess Tim Gruchy, Ben Suthers and Al Ferguson blended their music with video, animation and live camera work, touring heavily up until ‘97 and throwing down rave anthems like Everything You Need and Funkify Yourself. This month they’ll be hitting Sydney and Brisbane for two special ‘Reunion’ tours. ITM interrupts them while they’re transferring their files over from their clunky old Amigas to their new shiny Apple laptops.

How long has it been since you last performed together? What have each of the members been up to since?

Noel: Over 10 years as each of us have been pursuing our individual careers.

Could Reunion: Back Again be the start of a comeback for Vision Four 5?

Noel: Not that we foresee. Ben: But then, neither of us was ever very good at seeing the future.

A lot of fuss has been made about the way you blend visuals with the music, can you tell us some more about the set up you have on stage and how it works?

Noel: Back in the day it was a combination of video, live camera and an interactive system that could control any aspect of the music, vision or lights and it involved a lot of hardware to make it work. The concept is slightly different for this gig as it is the video elements interacting with the music and the show can be achieved with 2 laptops and a few controllers. Ben: The audio and video computers are tightly integrated in a way that was only hinted at when the original V45 live show was designed.

How much work goes in to planning a set?

Noel: As much as a traditional ‘band’ rehearses but instead it is building all the elements and then rehearsing how they get performed and respond. Ben: More. More than a traditional band.

For those of us too young to have experienced one of your sets back in the day, can you paint a picture of what we can expect on Saturday night?

Noel: Here’s the meta tag: rave ravey fast techno energy everything at once stunning bright very loud video lasers boom boom boom.

Ben: We’re planning on supplying everything you need.

What’s the craziest/funniest thing you have seen at a gig?

Noel: Do you mean apart from nude dancers at the back of the stage and 30ft inflatable panda’s in a sheep paddock? Nothing, raves are pretty tame really.

Which three tracks can we be guaranteed to hear on the night?

Noel: Everything You Need, Funkify Yourself and Purple Lamp but not necessarily in that order and I’m not telling which mixes.

What was your favourite/least favourite thing about the old days?

Noel: Favourite was the evolutionary change of the music with the technology, and least favourite was tonnage of equipment needed.

Ben: The thing I most want to recapture is the childlike feeling of wonder that accompanied walking into a rave.

What do you think the new school can learn from the old school?

Noel: sure there are always tips to pass on, but likewise plenty to learn from new school perceptions. Ben: I would hope that they learn nothing; that everything they discover is new again.

Catch Vision Four 5 during October at the following special ‘Reunion’ gigs…

Saturday 4th October – The Metro, Sydney

Friday 10th October – The Met, Brisbane