Skip navigation

About the Band


(a Greenlandic word): An exposed summit of a ridge mountain or peak (not covered with snow) within an ice field or glacier.

Nunatak rehearses for the big day

These stunning features occur in the most remote beautiful yet fragile and threatened environments on our planet.

About the band

Nunatak is the British Antarctic Survey’s Rothera Research Station’s house band. The five person indie rock band is part of a science team investigating climate change and evolutional biology on the Antarctic Peninsula — a region where temperatures have risen by nearly 3°C during the last 50 years.

From April to October — the Antarctic winter — planes can’t fly in because of the cold — the frozen sea keeps ships out. Physically isolated from the rest of the world, the 22 wintering team share their talent and creativity with one another. But now Nunatak will play what must surely be the planet’s coolest gig.

Profile - Matt - ThumbMatt Balmerelectronics engineer with the physics and meteorology team

The 22-year old who cites Led Zeppelin, Oasis, The Verve and Britpop as his musical influence is no stranger to performing. As singer songwriter he played rhythm guitar with Lancaster band ‘Think of Anything’ — a euphoric live act, who in November 2005 recorded the limited edition Bonfire sessions EP released on white label. Matt gets back to UK sometime in 2009.

Profile - TrisTris Thornecommunications engineer

Tris, who manages the satellite technology and IT ensures that Rothera Research Station stays connected to the outside world. The 28-year old from the Orkney island of Sanday loves the sound of long-stroke diesel engines and live mackerel — presumably from his days as a fishing-boat deckhand. He plays his fiddle like a lead guitar and has performed with various bands including Finn Macleod & Kris Drever, “Ugly as Sin” with Dom Tucker, “Remedy” with Dan Burgess. Tris leaves Rothera in Spring 2008.

Profile - AliAli (Alison) Masseymarine biologist

For the next two years going to work everyday for Ali, 28, means kitting-up in dive gear, cutting holes in the sea-ice with a chain saw and plunging into the chilly water to investigate how the rich marine life around the Antarctic Peninsula is responding to rapid climate change. Ali has been playing the saxophone since she was at school. Nunatak is her first band and Live Earth will be her first large audience. Ali gets back to UK in May 2009.

Profile - RobRob Webstermeteorologist

Former voluntary maths and English teacher Rob, 24, was based in Nepal before taking up the challenge to work in the world’s most exciting place making meteorological observations that will help scientists world-wide understand climate change. A folk and techno music fan he packed his guitar and fiddle when he left for Rothera five months ago. He is Nunatak’s drummer. He returns to UK late 2009.

Profile - RogerRoger StilwellField General Assistant (polar guide)

When Roger, 24, is not out using his mountaineering skills to keep science field parties safe he’s listening to Shakira, Britney Spears, The ‘Hoff’, The Village People, Metallica. Nunatak’s bass guitarist played trombone in youth orchestras and University dance bands. During the last six months at Rothera he’s missed cats — non-native animals are banned from Antarctica — but jamming with band, riding his unicycle and socialising with the science team help ease his pain. Roger is due home in May 2008.