Dublin duo Cry Monster Cry were due to launch their new documentary last weekend at Dublin's IFI, but for obvious reasons it was cancelled – along with their sold-out headline tour.
Instead of postponing, however, Richie and Jamie Martin have decided to make 'When the Snow Falls I'll Be Gone' available to watch online for free from this evening.
The film tells the story of their journey up the Swiss Alps, instruments on their backs, to play a concert in a cabin 2,200 metres above sea level.
Ahead of the film's release, we grabbed Cry Monster Cry for a chat to find out what 'When the Snow Falls I'll Be Gone' is all about.
Whose idea was it to travel to the Swiss Alps for a gig in the first place?
We were invited by a couple called René and Mirjam who are involved in events over in Brienz. We first met them at a festival that they had booked us for. We got along really well and struck up a great friendship. After we returned to Ireland, René mentioned to us this idea - to play a concert in an alpine cabin 2,200 metres above sea level. The only way to reach it was to hike with our gear on our backs, and if something were to go wrong the only aid we could get would be by helicopter. It was a daunting thought, but an exciting challenge that we knew would lead to lasting memories so we said yes.
The hike took ten hours – what was the most challenging part?
The most challenging part was the start and the finish. Beforehand, we were very nervous and didn't want to let anyone down. We have never undertaken anything like that before. There was a sense of trepidation as we rose at 5.30am to set off. But once we got out there amongst the nature, we soon forgot about our worries. You are so blown away by what you are experiencing - it forces you to be mindful. The end was tough as our legs were like stone by the end. The only time we even considered giving up was thankfully ten minutes before we spotted the cabin. Cold beers were waiting for us, the best we've ever had.
Your story is interwoven with Rene and Mirjam's - can you explain a little about who they are?
René is a luthier and master woodworker living in Brienz. Mirjam is a teacher and yoga instructor. Their town is bustling during the summer months, but quieter in the winter. They first had to idea to host gigs as a way to bring communities together during these darker months and to promote touring independent artists. The level of detail and love they put into any event is astounding. Crowds come for a handmade spread of delicious food, and there is a real sense of community at the heart of everything. René does everything from build stages that look like woodland scenes to hauling sound systems around while Mirjam gives sustenance in the form of food. Together they gather people together who have a deep passion for music. Where they go, people follow, and their spirit is infectious. As artists, it's something you really feed off and it inspires you, so we knew we had to tell their story.
The film was supposed to premiere at the IFI last weekend – why did you decide to make it an online release, rather than postponing it?
Postponing it would have made more sense from a business point of view. We could have had a premiere in a few months when everything settles down, and we could put more time into promoting it. We had a chat about how we are all feeling in self-isolation at the moment. Many of our musician friends are livestreaming and hosting events for people, and we have seen how helpful it has been for some. So what better time to be swept away to the Swiss Alps? We want to do whatever we can to tell people, the world is going to keep turning and we will all sing together again soon. If that means sharing a little movie we made, then so be it. It's our tiny part that we can do. And it gives us an outlet to connect with people. We have asked anyone interested in helping us fund the project and the loss of our gigs to consider backing us on Patreon, but that's a very small part of it. We want to be here to converse with people and to share our art.
So why should people watch the film?
Apart from seeing two sunburnt Irish lads sweating their way up a gigantic mountain? The movie has a great sense of lightness about it. It celebrates music, community and joy. The act of coming together. Something we perhaps took for granted for a while. We will never forget that now and it's a good time to remember and celebrate it.