STEFAN KNAP

 As with almost every great story, this one starts at the pub. Half of Dive Exit were in their aforementioned natural habitat when I started vibrating. “Allo” came the cockney-coated voice of Harry, the guitarist, over the phone. “Do you wanna go skydiving?”. It was probably my second weirdest call of the day, so it took me a second to reply “…yeah, alright”. ‘…F**k’ he said.

It turns out he was expecting me to say no, so he’d fobbed off the frontman, John, with an “I’ll only do it if he does it.” What a poor move, Harry, especially for someone quite scared of heights. So it comes to October and I’m staring bleary-eyed at a tent roof wondering what exactly I was doing with my life to be voluntarily falling from 14,000 feet strapped to a guy who I was hoping would be a good sport and open my chute before I high-fived the floor with my face. Armed with the knowledge that he’d done this before at some point, I set out (with my best boxers on for guaranteed safety) to face the day. Harry was going first (possibly not in his best boxers) so it was a little wait while they got ready to push him out.

Everyone was at least faking calm pretty well. John’s a veteran skydiver, hence the band name Dive Exit, so he was fine. The rest of us had a pretty good grip on things, maybe because the billions of shows we played last year got us acclimatised to nerves. We decided it was probably bad to take the guitars up with us, and probably worse for drums, so instead we stuck to some hard-core air guitar/bass/drumming/head banging on the way down. In the spirit of true rock, there was no screaming, no “ohgodnowhatnonono”. We went to the door, we jumped and we rocked. None of this ‘shoegaze’ nonsense.

As we jumped out, we flipped over a few times – and then came a feeling like holding your face against six industrial strength leaf-blowers. Maximum bass-face (see video) had to be engaged to prevent my cheeks from flapping and creating drag. The freefall was awesome, and the canopy even better, literally like sitting in a swing looking down a mile to the ground. Pretty cool. Harry was ready for another soon as his feet touched the ground.

Credit: Emma Pierce
Credit: Emma Pierce

Fast forward a few weeks later, and I’m lying on my face wondering exactly why I was back north of Watford again, and whether ‘5am’ is a something that happens a lot here. I asked around, but I guess I hadn’t managed to make words as all I got for a reply was an unidentified burp. Still unsure, the film crew, band and I piled into cars loaded with gear, including my very sexy dark Thunderbird bass with its strings gleaming in the soft morning glow. Or rather in the backlight of Harry’s van, because it was so RIDICULOUSLY EARLY.

There was still about an hour until sunrise when we arrived at the same airstrip as we took off from a few weeks ago. Everyone got out and, very slowly, unpacked and ate. The crew were John’s girlfriend’s mates, awesome at what they did and all really cool – especially as they were up that early and not getting paid. Hats off to them! We started to set up with multiple different instructions flying around from the director, Lee, producer, Kelly, and frontman John. I sat quietly and waited until I was spoken to like a good bass player, and tried playing behind my head like Hendrix, which turned out to be much more painful than it looked.

The makeup was the first really weird thing. Having never worn any before (no, really), a face-paint at the school fair is the lamest but also most accurate comparison I can make. After a harrowing session deciding how many eyebrow hairs Martina the makeup artist was allowed to pull out of me, we settled on two, but she managed to sneak a third before I ran away. The second really weird thing was having someone running up to me every time I even thought about scratching my face, which I did a lot. She got a good workout, and I looked pretty at least.

When we started, we had the amps turned off, but soon realised we were pretty much just standing there like lost sheep. We decided to find an extension cable to plug them in which did two things: One, being musicians, we played around on the guitars constantly between shots annoying everyone and two, whenever we weren’t playing around, the crew were listening to the same song over and over again. It must have totalled about 40 times in one day. Looking back, it’s actually pretty crazy nobody hit us, I know I would have. Again, hats off to them!

The third and weirdest thing was having a camera pointed at you and being told to perform. That, without looking like a prize muppet, is also the hardest thing I had to achieve that day. Without a crowd reacting to you, there’s nothing. Our best shows are made the best by the people that come and love the music with us – it’s a dialogue constantly made better by the energy you give each other. Without that, it’s like dancing with no music, or filling in your part of the conversation with no-one replying. THAT was strange.

All that aside, the whole experience itself was amazing, and the video turned out incredible! I won’t go on about it – find out for yourselves. Search for ‘Dive Exit Living Dangerous ‘, and if you like it, help us by liking and following us. We’re nothing without our mates!

Dive Exit is hoping to play soon at The Academy with a great mix of covers and originals – come support us and we’ll give you a great night! Keep an eye out on our Facebook for details.