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Eyes Of Others 'Once, Twice, Thrice' by Niall Trask

Rob Ulitski - 19th Apr 2023

Niall Trask completes the third part of his trilogy of videos for Eyes Of Others - and this one really does get the most from shooting the series in the rural Norway in winter.

It also puts the artist - real name John Bryden - through the kind of endurance test that recalls Thom Yorke's experience making the video for Radiohead's No Surprises. When he nearly drowned.  

In this case the video for Once, Twice, Thrice is a totally captivating one-shot reveal. The camera draws out from a close-up of Bryden's eyes, to show what appears to be a snow-covered field behind him. But then we find that it's actually a frozen lake - and Bryden is chest deep in the icy waters.    

How did this happen? Did Scotland's latest exponent of groovy indie-electronica survive the experience? Thankfully, yes - and he explains all here.

"I began taking cold baths at home - miserable - and swimming in the sea at Wardie Bay, Edinburgh - also miserable. I never quite reached those zen awakenings that you hear Wim Hof followers go on and on and on about. But I could feel my tolerance for cold water steadily increasing so I hoped I could pull it off on the day with the help of some adrenaline.

What if I died? Pulled under the ice by some invisible current...

"Three weeks later, it’s January 18th and we are off to Norway, using The Betty Fjord Clinic as our base. The clinic is a residential recording studio tucked away in the Søndre Land region. It is also equipped with sauna and a host who offers good times and a can-do approach to everything.

"Cut to the morning of the shoot. I was under strict instruction by Simon to stay in the sauna while the small crew went to set up the shot. After a leisurely hour of sauntering in and out of the sauna, he appeared, saying that the original ice hole was inaccessible due to the previous night’s blizzard. So they were off to cut open another hole in another lake. Fine by me. I was enjoying a relaxed morning.

"Simon returned an hour and a half later with his buddy Åge - a retired lumberjack - to say that they needed to pick up a bigger chainsaw. By this point I was getting restless, sitting with those same feelings I get before going on stage, namely; excitement and dread.

"I feared after 10 seconds in the water I'd go into a state of shock and have to be hauled out, thus reducing the whole thing to one big waste of time and money. Further, what if I died? Pulled under the ice by some invisible current. I felt a sense of embarrassment around my imagined future death. I began to feel sorry for Niall who would probably feel responsible as producer/director, his life ruined by guilt.

"Anyway I was spiraling a bit so I reminded myself to have faith in my training. I found comfort in some words of affirmation, my mantra if you will: ‘don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine, don’t worry about anything at all, ever.’ Simon finally returned early-afternoon to announce that the hole was ready. I got into his toasty car and requested some ambient music for the journey. We put on Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. All going to plan, I’d be at the airport the following day.

"Arriving, I walked across the frozen lake and observed the ice hole. I’d imagined something more pure and pristine. It looked like there had been a struggle, with scraggly blocks of ice strewn about the entrance and there was a lingering odour of 2-stroke fuel in the air. The water was murky, equipment had already been lost to the water in the form of an ice fishing drill, it was -10 degrees Celsius and they all looked knackered.

"I stripped down to my favourite swim shorts and pulled on a pair of wetsuit socks that Rob had lent me. Simon said he had a trick. He produced a flask of hot water and tenderly poured the contents into my socks. He then lassoed a rope over my head, pulling it down and around my torso. I was taken aback as Simon looped his end of the rope around his own torso. A sense of responsibility washed over me. We were brothers-in-arms.

"Niall was brief and to the point with his instructions. I repeated to myself my ‘don’t worry about it’ mantra and slipped into the water. It didn’t feel cold, it didn’t feel like water as I’d known it before. Was it the hot socks? As everything began to slow down, the camera started rolling and in four and a half minutes we were done.”

Rob Ulitski - 19th Apr 2023


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Niall Trask
Niall Trask
Production Company
Executive Producer
Dan Matthews


Director of Photography
Rob Jarvis


Art Director
Simon Tickner


Åge Osflaten


Lead actor
John Bryden


Niall Trask


Colour Producer
Jai Durban
Dan Levy
Colour grade company
Rascal Post


Director's Representation
Sam Davey @ob Management
Director's Representation
Polly Millner @ob Management
Director's Representation
OB Management


Danny Mitchell
Heavenly Recordings

Rob Ulitski - 19th Apr 2023

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