TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • APRIL 2020 • ISSUE 248
THE SCRIPT Sunsets & Full Moons
WE’RE NOT GONNA MOVE...
FIGHTING COVID-19 • MURA MASA • DJ SNAKE • THE BME SESSIONS • DREAM THEATER BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL • AVOLITES: AI V12.1 & Q-SERIES MEDIA SERVERS
APRIL 2020 #248
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A global community we’re proud to be part of... How the hell do I sum up the past month? As I’m sitting in a makeshift office in my flat, speaking to the rest of the TPi team via Google Hangouts with my phone buzzing away with BBC notifications, it’s hard to quantify the seismic change Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on this industry. However, even though our usual schedule of trade shows, company visits and, of course, live shows has been put on hold for what we hope will only be a few months, there is one thing that never changes in the live touring world: the people. Despite these strange and, let’s face it, terrifying circumstances, the global family network has truly banded together, with each day bringing new stories of how the industry is coping and keeping the fire burning. As you’ll see in the following pages, we’ve collated a selection of these stories documenting how the industry has answered the call so far. This is a project we will be continuing to update with our new online hub on our Production Futures website: www.productionfutures.co.uk. As we are now entering our second week of the lockdown in the UK, the ideas and projects that we have already discovered have been truly inspiring. As for TPi, like the rest of the Mondiale Media titles, we are still committed to delivering our monthly print and digital publication, as we always have. Along with producing exclusive features for shows we covered pre-lockdown, we have already begun conversations about some new types of coverage to continue to report on the industry in these changing times. There are some really exciting things in the pipeline, so watch this space. As for this issue, we have a delectable range of features including three Production Profiles – Irish three-piece, The Script; French electronic pioneer, DJ Snake; and new kid on the block, Mura Masa. We also, prior to being housebound, managed to head to Avolites HQ to get a sneak peek of the, at the time, unreleased Q-Series range of media servers and speak to the team behind them. As I leave you to peruse the rest of this issue, I’d like to remind you that just below we have a list of all our contact details. Each member of our team is always willing to talk and throw around ideas for new projects. Till next time, stay safe. Stew Hume Editor EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: email@example.com
STAFF WRITER Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8352 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Peter Iantorno Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7763 233637 e-mail: email@example.com
ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Lyndsey Hopwood Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7800 557094 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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DIGITAL EDITORIAL ASSISTANT James Robertson Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7725 475819 e-mail: email@example.com
COVER The Script courtesy of Joe Okpako
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue 248 – April 2020
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: email@example.com GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: firstname.lastname@example.org Sonam Diki: email@example.com
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TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2020 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2020 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
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Fighting COVID-19 The creative ways the sector is coming together in the face of adversity.
The Live Sound Podcast Live sound engineer, Ben Hammond sets up his very own podcast.
The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub Lighting Designer, Luke Edwards of Cue Design, creates a safe space for roadies.
16 The BME Sessions A SXSW revival project taking place behind close doors at The Mill. 20
Dream Theater Entec supplies an audio package to the American prog-metal figureheads.
MM Band and Services Hull-based MM Band and Services pave the way for a greener style of touring.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical The Broadway and West End success story returns with a JBL VTX A8 system.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 30
The Script Stew meets the long-serving crew bringing a new visual masterpiece to the Irish three-piece’s loyal fanbase.
Mura Masa Following a successful album launch, the Guernsey-born artist embarks on his first headline tour with a band in tow.
DJ Snake The hometown hero returns to Paris with an awe-inspiring sell-out show at the 40,000-capacity Paris La Défense Arena.
CLOCKING OFF 53
Enlightened’s JP Cavaco makes a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support.
PRODUCTION FUTURES 54
TPi Breakthrough Talent Undergraduate of the Year, Owen McIlreavy.
IP65 MOVING HEADS
GEAR HEADS 56
An in-depth look at Avolites’ Ai v12.1 and Q-Series media servers.
Some of the latest product releases on the market.
Production & Sales Manager, Rory Stewart discusses PK Sounds’ EDC roots.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 66
A public service announcement from PSA.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 68
The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 74
Lawrence Wright, General Manager of ER Productions USA, takes the hot seat.
ELATION PROFESSIONAL EUROPE www.elationlighting.eu firstname.lastname@example.org +31 45 546 85 66
FIGHTING COVID-19 With the live events industry on an immediate hiatus due to the COVID-19 crisis, TPi learns some of the creative and innovative ways the community is sticking together and helping to push progression. TPi’s Stew Hume and Jacob Waite report.
Like many of you, the entire TPi team has been confined to our makeshift home offices and, from our collective kitchen tables, beds, apartment floors and bathrooms [it’s the only place where I have phone reception], we have been coming to terms with the current state of the world. As well as going through the usual motions of putting our beloved rag together, we have spent our time speaking to people about how they are dealing with the pandemic. Of course, there are a number of heartbreaking stories out there – not to mention a great deal of uncertainty about how we as a global community will recover. However, as the TPi team gatherers around our computers for our daily conference call, the positive and inspiring stories from the community just keep on coming. Whether it’s a manufacturer giving customers more online training options than ever before, clever streaming solutions or even companies offering their knowledge for the medical frontline, many people have done themselves proud during these trying times – and that is exactly what we
want to highlight. As well as this article, TPi and the wider Mondiale Media family have been hard at work producing our own digital resource. Using our Production Futures website, we’ve created a hub to share various online training schemes, an upcoming events calendar and job opportunities. We hope you find this resource useful and if you or your company are working on any projects in a similar vein, please get in touch. One way we’ll get through this is to keep the conversation going. Stay safe out there. ONLINE TRAINING With such a huge number of the live events industry now housebound for the foreseeable future, it only seems fitting that many have taken this opportunity to bolster their skills. From open webinars and training videos, to online incentives where users can complete certified qualifications, there are more online options than ever. One of the first companies to respond to this need for online training was Powersoft, ramping up its online presence and capacity to deliver 08
courses worldwide. The first set of sessions ran up until 2 April and included an introduction to ArmoniaPlus 1.4, along with an in-depth look at the company’s T Series. Several other members of the audio sphere also got involved with online training, such as L-Acoustics, which committed to daily webinars, including Q&A sessions on various topics such as L-ISA, line source optimisation and AVB networking. Fellow loudspeaker manufacturer Adamson also upped its online presence with its Education Webinar Series, addressing some of the challenges facing the pro audio community. “Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19, which is why we’ve been working hard on ways to support and engage with our global network despite the fact that we can’t get together,” stated Jeremiah Karni, Head of Education at Adamson. “In addition to offering informative, insightful and interesting content for attendees, the webinar series also provides them another means to interact directly with our team, as well as their peers in the Adamson Network,” he continued. “It’s about asking questions, sharing ideas and making sure that, as a community, we’re better poised to come out of this challenge stronger than ever.” Not only is the company producing these webinars, but it is also adapting its other education and networking initiatives to be delivered remotely. Another company using this time to open a dialogue with customers, with a range of webinars is d&b audiotechnik. Topics already announced include ‘How to use QLab with Soundscape’ and ‘Why AP is absolutely not about making it equally loud everywhere’. Avolites has also created a dedicated section of its website with a schedule of upcoming training options, including sharpening your skills with both Titan 11.4 and Ai v10.3, which can both be downloaded from the company’s website. Also from the visual field, Pangolin is putting out a wealth of educational content. This includes a new QuickHints tutorials from its
support department, as well as various live streams and training webinars aimed to help users improve their skill set as it relates to laser displays. “We have been delighted to see that many of our users are using this downtime in the best way possible,” commented Pangolin’s Josh Pilon. “We have seen many people sharing what they have been learning online. We have been very excited to see this from the community – it motivates us to keep making and pushing content as fast as possible for our users.” LIVE STREAMING Although for the time being, the doors to all our favourite venues are closed, in many cases, the music still lives on thanks to the proliferation of bands and artists embarking on live-streamed online performances. The live events industry has, as ever, adapted quickly to the challenges, utilising their expertise and technology to broadcast to millions at home. Take Sennheiser, for example. The company initiated a series of exclusive streaming concerts dubbed #dontstopthemusic on its Instagram account, which was broadcasted via IGTV (Instagram TV). DJ and producer, Mousse T kicked off the series, followed by Love Fame Tragedy (Murph from The Wombats) and DJ Madoc, with further collaborators on the horizon. Pierre Morant, Head of Relationship Management at Sennheiser, commented: “As we all adjust to the world on temporary lockdown, we are taking the show online. Music lovers can stream and enjoy unique and intimate sessions from the safety of their homes thanks to the participation of Sennheiser friends around the globe.” Equally undeterred by prospect of an audience-less gig, US band, Dropkick Murphys celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day with a rollicking live performance of their irrepressible blend of Celtic, punk and rock music. Broadcast to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch, the show was seen by over 10 million fans, making it the most viewed livestreamed concert in history. Lighting Designer, Brian Lareau conveyed the energy and excitement of the occasion with a dynamic, fast-moving and green-tinged lightshow that featured more than 100 CHAUVET Professional fixtures and video 09
panels designed and supplied by Derry, NH-based Events United, which put together the lighting rig and studio setup in 48 hours. “It was a nonstop effort,” said Tim Messina of Events United. “Everyone involved in this show pulled together in a very short time. Accomplishing this in the face of everything going on today with the coronavirus felt amazing and stressful at the same time.” Lareau was able to run his show much as he would if it were a live venue or festival concert. “The only real difference in how the show was operated here verses any regular gig was limiting some quick solo bumps that you’d normally have,” he said. “We were still able to capture all the dynamics from their faster songs into the moodier down-tempo tracks. There were sections where I could pull back on the fill lighting to let some of the breakups take over, and we were able to keep a number of the tight blackout stops the band is used to seeing.” Messina pointed out: “None of us have ever lived through a time like this. How do you even begin to describe the challenge we’re facing as an industry? This is something that we should approach as an industry, not as competitors. We need to share ideas, whether they involve live streaming or anything else. It’s important that we do what we can to keep moving forward until this all passes.” Dropkick Murphys are far from the only band taking their show online. Stars of the screen and stage including John Legend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Katharine McPhee, Keith Urban and David Foster are among the thousands streaming free live shows from the comfort of their own homes. Playwright Nick Green recently launched the Social Distancing Festival (www.socialdistancingfestival.com) to shine a spotlight on lost projects. The website has received hundreds of submissions from all corners of the globe, celebrating art and showcasing talent, as a community at a time when we need it more than ever. Montreux Jazz Festival has also announced the exclusive digital release of more than 50 legendary concerts from its 54-year history. Available to stream in full free of charge, the performances are available, with Stingray Qello bringing the spirit of the festival directly into the homes of music lovers across the globe.
RESOURCE SPECIALISMS The live events industry has also answered the call from outside our community to help the medical professionals across the globe in tackling the pandemic. PixMob, known by many for its involvement with events including the Olympic Games, Super Bowl Halftime Shows and the Spice Girls: Spice World 2019 Tour, has reinvented itself to support efforts against the spread of COVID-19. Pausing its normal activities, the RF LED wristband specialist is currently focusing on three new initiatives: SafeWatch, Triago and the production of protective equipment for front-line personnel. PixMob CEO, David Parent, commented: “With all of these initiatives, we decided to create PixMob Crisis Solutions. Our goal is to slow the spread of the virus, and support caregivers and those who continue to provide essential services to citizens.” Creative Technology in London has also answered the call, setting up a server farm – doing all it could to support the Folding@Home project. The initiative allows researchers from all over the world to use the CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) capacity of donated media servers to draw, calculate and analyse complex formulas and graphics in the global fight against COVID-19. A number of other familiar names from the pages of TPi are also joining in on this project, such as Skan PA, which has put forward six of its MacPro 6s towards the cause, while AED Group is making the processing power of its catalogue of media servers available for scientific research to fight the disease. From the lighting world, Hawthorn donated its CPU and GPU capacity, as well as Avolites Ai and disguise 4X4PRO media servers, along with 16 of its highest-spec laptops to the Folding@Home project. Refocusing efforts to help communities and government officials by providing IT, networking and communications services for temporary disaster relief structures made necessary by the COVID-19 outbreak, Clair Global has partnered with Mountain Productions to integrate Clair’s turnkey solutions and custom designs into Mountain’s large-scale temporary hospitals and disaster relief centres. “When we launched the MTN Emergency Services platform, Clair Global immediately heeded the 10
Welcome to The Hub The industry has, as ever, adapted quickly to the challenges we face, with new opportunities and ideas being shared each day. It’s important that we highlight and make the most of these efforts, so, across all Mondiale Media titles, we’ve created The Hub – a one-stop shop listing all new online training opportunities, webinars and job opportunities, as well as an updated events calendar. If there is anything that you’d like to share via our magazines or this new feature, please do get in touch.
call, and we are proud to be working with their world-class organisation and unique solutions to address this global crisis,” said Ricky Rose, CEO at Mountain Productions. The combined efforts of the companies help to ensure emergency personnel can continue uninterrupted operations while working in temporary or improvised locations. Clair’s services include LAN/Wi-Fibased connectivity, pre-built mobile office setups, network security and monitoring, and push-to-talk mobile voice communication. “We are thrilled to be able to integrate our expertise into a resource that enables those who are working on the front line to combat this pandemic,” added Matt Clair, CIO at Clair Global. MAGIC FX has set up MEDICFX production lab, which uses isopropyl alcohol-based flame fluid to produce hand sanitiser. The first batch of 3,000 bottles were donated to the Netherlands Red Cross (Rode Kruis) earlier this month. In line with the World Health Organisation (WHO), MAGIC FX will distribute the bottles to local hospitals and other healthcare organisations. The UK-based trucking industry is also doing its bit, pooling its collective logistics specialities into providing key services. While most of the UK was slowing down, drivers were still out going the extra mile to keep supplies moving – delivering eggs, hot cross buns and, most importantly, beer over the Easter period. On a logistics front, rock ’n’ roll service Edwin Shirley Trucking rebranded to ‘You rock, we toilet roll’, with its drivers being just as motivated to make sure all essential consumables were getting delivered to the supermarkets as they are to ensure its usual haul of flight cases get from venue to venue. Also joining EST on the road, keeping the UK fed and watered were the likes of Fly By Nite and Stagetruck, KB Events and Stardes. Tour catering favourite, Eat to the Beat has also mucked in, offering its services to keep key workers fed during this trying time. Freelance audio engineer, Phil Wright, got together with a group of companies, including ATP Projects, to make free face masks for the NHS. The visors are being cut on ATP’s laser machine and the headbands are being 3D printed around the country by people who offered their personal machines. They were also offered a substantial number of plastic pellets for injection moulding free-of-charge and have a specialist company volunteering to do this work. The call went out for trucks to transport the pellets and a crew of people to unload it. The response was astounding and
within an hour, the industry had rallied, and Wright and team had everyone they needed to start things rolling. INDUSTRY SUPPORT During this time, it is also of the utmost importance to look out for one another within the industry. Show Maker Symposium was at the forefront of this drive, announcing its ‘I’m With The Crew’ campaign. Taking the form of a series of weekly webinars, this incentive aims to take the perspective of those who have any kind of supporting role in the live entertainment business and to serve as a guided conversation on the challenges the industry now faces. “The series is designed to provide a very personal look at human nature and adaptability that’s required to get through this unprecedented time in our industry,” explained Show Maker Symposium Founder, Jim Digby. Hosted by Digby and Misty Roberts, Produced by Shelby Carol Cude and guided by mental health professionals, Taryn Longo and Dave Sherman, with weekly special guests, this live-webinar provides an opportunity to gain greater insight and control over how we respond to these times and manifest the resilience to survive and start again when that time comes. In terms of keeping up to date with all the incoming news and how it affects the industry, Andy Lenthall and the PSA team are working tirelessly to keep all the streams of information up to date and happy to give advice in any way they can. Live Nation has established a new charitable fund to help support concert crews around the world. The $10m fund will be split, with half directly to Crew Nation, and another $5m to match contributions by artists, fans and employees dollar-for-dollar. The fund is powered by Music Forward Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organisation, that will administer the fund to those directly affected by COVID-19. With companies and individuals all over the world donating their valuable time and resources to help fight COVID-19, the projects mentioned in this section are only the tip of the iceberg. In these trying times, we will continue to highlight the incredible efforts being made by this extraordinary community. TPi Photo by Silviu Beniamin Tofan on Unsplash www.productionfutures.co.uk/opportunities 12
VL5LED WASH THE RETURN OF A LEGEND TPi teams up as a media partner for The Live Sound Podcast. We catch up with founder and FOH Engineer, Ben Hammond to learn more about the new project.
Known by many within the industry as the man behind the faders for the likes of Skunk Anansie, At The Drive-In and Don Broco, Ben Hammond has recently turned his attention to another project. With the live touring temporarily on hold, the Managing Director of Events for Rock-Tech has opted to use his time wisely and create a podcast, which aims to give a voice to fellow sound engineers. “I have had the idea for quite a while now – I’ve just been too busy to put it together,” began Hammond. “Now seemed like the perfect time to start.” The FOH Engineer explained that he was inspired by so many companies offering various training schemes encouraging people to improve their skills during this period of downtime. “In my 15 years of touring, it’s my belief that you never stop learning,” mused Hammond. “I want to explore people’s approach and way of thinking more than how they push faders. Anyone can learn how to work the gear we use day to day, but it’s they way people do it and their approach to it that gives them their signature sound – which is what gets us gigs!” He continued: “Hopefully in this time of uncertainty, we can all come out of it armed with so much more knowledge and skills than we possessed before and hit the ground running.” The first few episodes are already in the can, with a distinguished line-up of FOH Engineers, including: Brad Madix (Florence + The Machine), Jay Rigby (The 1975) and Dave McDonald (Adele), as well as Monitor Engineer, Bruce Danz (Avenged Sevenfold and Marilyn Manson). “We have a huge list of confirmed guests, and the response has been amazing,” enthused Hammond. As well as partnering with TPi, Hammond has already garnered the interest of a selection of companies to aid in the project. “My company, Rock-Tech Events, is providing all the recording and video kit, and our good friends at Make Noise Pro Audio are also on board, which I’m really happy about. It’s a great team of people.” In Hammond’s original plan for the podcast, he would conduct all the interviews at FOH on the road. However, due to the current situation and government regulations, the first few shows will be hosted from his home studio. Moving forward, the plan will very much be for The Live Sound Podcast to live on after COVID-19 is a distant memory. “You will see us at FOH sticking a camera in people’s faces in a field somewhere – this is the very start!” The first episode will available on the TPi website and you can find more information on The Live Sound Podcast’s social media channels. TPi Facebook – www.facebook.com/livesoundpodcast Instagram – @livesoundpodcast YouTube – Search: ‘Live Sound Podcast’
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Lighting Designer, Luke Edwards of Cue Design tells TPi’s Jacob Waite why he has created an online safe space for roadies to discuss business, share a joke and get support with their mental health…
As live event spaces across the globe go dark, live stream feeds flicker with a hive of activity as roadies and touring personnel take their talents to the internet, proving that technical expertise knows no physical proximity. Creativity often thrives under constraint, and quarantine is no exception. Lighting Designer, Luke Edwards of Cue Design has put this to the test by opening The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub – a safe space for roadies to talk about business, concerns, and best practices for financial and mental health – in the wake of COVID-19. “The idea is to bring people together in a time of uncertainty and selfisolation,” Edwards began. “We want to give people an hour or so in their day where they can be distracted by a pub quiz, or chat about issues they are currently having.” Flying high after spending the past year working as Lighting Designer for Jacob Collier, Jessie J as well as stints as Production Designer and Production Manager for Gary Numan’s 40th Anniversary Tour 2019, Edwards was keen to reunite with his friends from the road. “Becoming a patron of The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub is straightforward. We’re open to all walks of the live events industry,” he said. “From friends to friends of friends, which pretty much encompasses the entire live touring and events family. The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub is home to a lovely bunch of people who want to have a moment of fun during this lockdown.” Underplaying the patronage of the virtual pub, Edwards, in fact, plays landlord to whole range of punters – from designers to manufacturers, pilots and rental houses – all of which have been through the virtual doors of The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub in the past week. Questioned what the response has been from visitors and other live events professionals so far, he replied: “They are enjoying it. One of the things people are struggling with is not being able to go out at the weekend so they have nothing to look forward to. This gives them something, however trivial, to look forward to. It breaks up the routine.” As well as providing roadies with some well-needed jokes and laughter as a form of escapism, The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub also doubles as an online safe space for the industry. “My encounter with mental health issues in the past made me think that some people might need some extra support now,” Edwards continued. “When there are a lot of people in the pub, it’s all laughing and jovial and, when we only have a few people, the talk gets real about the pressures and hardships we are all enduring.” Edwards speaks openly about the importance of mental health on social media, championing the work of registered charity, Music Support, which is founded and run by people from the UK music industry, for individuals suffering from mental, emotional or behavioural health disorders – including but not limited to alcohol and drug addiction.
Edwards expanded on the importance of generating a space for people to communicate. “People feel anxious about a whole host of things including worrying about money, or a loss of purpose, and I think people enjoy having a space for a safe conversation and no judgement,” he said. “It’s especially important to lend an ear to people and be open minded about their individual mental health and daily struggles.” You can find out the next available meet up via The Dirty Corona Virtual Pub Facebook page, which posts timings and announcements regularly. TPi Photo: Luke Edwards www.facebook.com/CueDesignLtd
THE BME SESSIONS Following the cancellation of SXSW due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Music Embassy Showcase put together a behind-closed-doors event in London at Production Park’s The Mill Studio. TPi’s Stew Hume catches up with Production Manager, Ant Forbes.
Each year Austin, Texas’ South by Southwest (SXSW) welcomes musicians from across the globe, with many up-and-coming artists getting their big break at the event. However, this year, the famed cultural melting pot became one of the first among the long list of cancelled tours, festivals and events due to COVID-19. Ant Forbes – Production Manager of The Mill Studios in London and, for eight days a year, the production head for the British Music Embassy (BME) stage at SXSW – was as shocked as anyone when he heard news of the cancellation. However, after just two hours, he was already concocting plans to, in his own words, “produce a phoenix from the ashes” and put on a three-day showcase to ensure a number of artists still got the exposure they deserved with a behind-closed-doors, live performance. “My first calls were to the bosses of the British Music Embassy, along with a collection of our partners such as the Department of International Trade and the BBC – all of which partner with us each year on the BME stage in Austin,” Forbes explained. The PM suggested that they create a
“Later with Jools Holland-style show” that would be filmed and hopefully streamed. “This was all in line with SXSW’s original statement following the cancellation, stating that they were looking to create some virtual methods to recreate some elements of the annual gathering,” he said. Forbes explained that keeping some of the SXSW magic alive for 2020 was quite a personal mission, as he had not only been the Production Manager of the BME stage for half a decade, but he’d also worked as a Tour Manager taking bands to SXSW for years. “I have pushed gear up and down Sixth Street countless times, battling through those crowds,” he chuckled, looking back at his history with the festival. “For many of us crew it has become our annual tradition, which keeps us coming back year after year.” After a number of negotiations, a plan was set: a two-day event in collaboration with BBC Introducing, where bands would play a set to be aired later on Huw Stephens’ radio show. “The first day went off without a hitch,” asserted the PM. “But then on Monday night, the announcement 16
THE BME SESSIONS
came from the Government that small gatherings had to cease, and therefore, we had to limit the number of guests invited for the second day.” However, despite this blow, the momentum that the BME Sessions had created inspired Forbes to push the event on for a third day of streamed performances. “The goal of this last day was to create a true SXSW vibe here in London,” he explained. “Each year in Austin, stages tend to put on 10 to 11 acts a day, all with 20-minute turnovers – it’s intense.” To create this final day was a masterclass in organisation that saw Forbes join forces with Artist Manager, Charlotte Caleb, who simultaneously had been attempting to put on a number of SXSW revival gigs in the UK, which subsequently got cancelled following the government’s announcement. Forbes exclaimed: “We got eight extra acts to come down to The Mill in about 24 hours, with the last confirming at 1am on the day of the shoot!” With such an operation at his feet, the PM explained how none of this would have been possible without some of his wider SXSW family answering the call – specifically Steve Davies of Subfrantic Productions. “Steve has been doing the BME stage for longer than me,” stated Forbes, who added that not only did Davies take up the Monitor position for the three days, but his company, Subfrantic, provided a turnkey audio, lighting and video solution at an incredibly generous rate.” He furthered: “We were prepared to do this on a real shoestring with next to no production, but Steve provided a top-of-line package. It was head and shoulders above even what we usually
The next generation of wireless mics 17
THE BME SESSIONS
The BME Sessions team.
have in Austin.” A video camera package was also essential for this project – a job that was taken up by Brighton-based Wild Stag Studio. “The company’s owner, Dave Neale, was equally generous, giving us a five-camera package for the price of one,” enthused Forbes. As the first two days were done in collaboration with the BBC, the audio was taken by Huw Stephens’ team, with Wild Stag handling all the live footage. Then for the third day – where streaming all performances was the aim – MQA was brought in to ensure the online audience wouldn’t miss a beat. “MQA brought another five cameras, giving us a 10-camera shoot on the Wednesday,” laughed Forbes. Also lending its support to the production was Allen & Heath, with a dLive S5000 and a DM32 MixRack at FOH, as well as another S5000 paired with a DM64 on monitors, connected via gigaACE. Another notable addition was the new Avantis, which was chosen as the production console, fitted with gigaACE and Dante cards, allowing easy patching to the dLive systems and providing a multi-track feed for the BBC and MQA live streams. A trio of Allen & Heath’s new PRIME premium eight-channel preamps, fitted in a DX32 expander, were also deployed onstage for optimal audio quality. “Allen & Heath’s support has been amazing this year,” commented Steve Davies. “We’ve managed to pull this together on a tight budget, tight deadline and, with A&H’s help, it’s really eased the stress of everything else.” Davies went on to express how the dLive, was “a hugely welcomed addition,” being the console of choice for the past few years at SXSW. “The drag-and-drop user interface allows me to build scenes, get rid of channels and navigate the console quickly and safely – it’s a great console to busk a gig on,” he explained. Freelance FOH Engineer, Gareth Cox, who manned the mixer for
the three days, commented: “The latest Avantis console is brilliant. It’s user-friendly and, with those huge touchscreens, you’ve got everything you need. It really puts the controls right at your fingertips and it sounds incredible – plus, it’s incredibly easy to patch between Avantis and dLive.” With the final band playing their set, the BME Sessions ended and the team kicked back with a well-deserved beer. “At SXSW, we are used to a barbecue by the pool rather than a can of Fosters in South West London,” joked Forbes, who asserted that despite being a lot colder than Texas, the team managed to capture the vibe of the annual event at The Mill. With the event over and a lockdown in effect, Forbes still had the task of mixing all the audio recordings. “The plan with all this footage is to package everything and give each band who played the footage to use for whatever ends they wish,” he stated. “The audio from the first few days is due to be played on the Huw Stevens show and the performance will also be available. Last but not least, we have also spoken to the SXSW team, who will be posing the footage on their website in the coming weeks.” In these trying times, Forbes explained that this setup could be incredibly useful to other events that have faced a similar fate to SXSW. “What we did at The Mill could definitely be recreated,” he concluded. “We now have a setup and a tried-and-tested formula which, among other things, is BBC approved.” TPi Photos: Tynesight Photography, Thomas Jackson. www.thebritishmusicembassy.com www.productionpark.co.uk/studios/the-mill www.subfrantic.com www.wildstagstudio.com www.mqa.co.uk 18
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DREAM THEATER Entec supplies a comprehensive audio package for the American prog-metal figureheads’ recent tour of Europe.
Founded in 1985, Dream Theater – featuring original guitarist, John Petrucci and bassist, John Myung, with lead vocalist, James LaBrie, keyboard player, Jordan Rudess and drummer, Mike Mangini – constantly reinvent with every album release, and this ethos is mirrored by their approach to touring. For their 2020 tour of Europe, the band called upon Entec to provide a complete audio package, comprising its recently acquired d&b audiotechnik KSL line array and EXE rigging hoists, DiGiCo consoles, monitoring and wireless equipment. Launched last March, the Distance Over Time Tour included a European festival run in between two US legs, before recommencing in JanuaryFebruary with 29 dates that concluded with two shows at Hammersmith Apollo and another at Glasgow’s SEC Armadillo. Throughout the tour, the GRAMMY-nominated five-piece paraded their genre-defining combination of powerful dexterity and fantastical concepts, earning media plaudits all the way. Working with Entec was a new experience for long-time Production/ Stage Manager, TJ Rodriguez, who was delighted with the outcome. He explained: “We were ready to make a change of vendor and Entec came
to us through our stage technician, Ed Hammond, whose experience with the company was key to them coming onboard.” Dream Theater’s relationship with Entec began during the transition between Jonny Clark’s final months as Head of Sound, and the appointment of Dan Scantlebury as his successor. “It was a very smooth handover from our perspective – we were very well looked after by both of them,” said Rodriguez. “We are a very relationship-based organisation and it’s clear that we and Entec share a lot of the same values. From day one, communication has been detailed, regular and extremely helpful, with the aim of giving us the easiest ride possible.” WIN/WIN The overwhelmingly positive reactions earned by the band were in no small part due to the crack audio team – FOH Engineer, Michael ‘Ace’ Baker, Monitor Engineer, James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin, and Entec System Technician, Bart de Wit – and the d&b audiotechnik KSL system, which was configured by Ed Hammond, effectively playing the middleman. “It’s a really warm-sounding, powerful system that fills the room with great-quality audio – the clarity is incredible,” claimed Rodriguez, a former 20
Production/Stage Manager, TJ Rodriguez; FOH Engineer, Michael ‘Ace’ Baker; Monitor Engineer, James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin with Ed Hammond; Entec System Technician, Bart de Wit.
along with 12 SL-SUB enclosures. The cabinets were assembled in carts of four. Generally, the crew used front hangs of 12 or 16 with the exception of Glasgow where, to aid vertical coverage, carts were split to allow a 14-box hang. In venues where additional out fill was necessary, the crew added ground stacked V8s at the sides to boost dispersion. “Traditionally, you’d link speakers in pairs and run them back to the amplifiers but, with KSL, every box is on its own circuit to enable individual fine control through ArrayProcessing,” observed Hammond. “That has come about since d&b introduced the D80 amplifier – a technology that has improved operation in leaps and bounds.” On this tour, the system was rigged in tension mode using the first batch of Entec’s EXE Rise 1,000kg D8+ low voltage hoists, recently purchased from Area Four Industries Direct UK. Offering maximum reliability and durability, the D6+ hoist solves issues that have arisen in parts of Europe concerning other low-voltage models, and Entec’s intention is to defer to its new investment for all future projects.
audio pro with years of touring with Bruce Springsteen behind him. “We’ve used pretty much everything out there, but having KSL on this tour has definitely taken things up a level. With Ace driving it at FOH, it’s been winwin all the way.” Now a veteran of three Dream Theater world tours, Hammond explained how KSL was selected: “Ace had noted that every time the band played with a d&b rig, the difference was remarkable, but the added bonus of the low-end rejection onstage was what got it over the line – especially as Jordan Rudess is very susceptible to extraneous noise onstage and particularly low-end. It’s surprising how little bottom end you hear behind the hangs. When Entec told us of its intention to invest in KSL, everyone was keen to pursue this route.” Ace made his debut with Dream Theater during rehearsals for the world tour last February. He talked about how d&b audiotechnik KSL helped achieve the best from this impressive band. “Our guitar and bass amps are kept offstage and everything else goes direct, so it’s already pretty quiet up on stage,” he said. “What you then want to avoid is a tonne of low-end leakage coming out the back of the boxes and into the microphones, adding mud to the sound. KSL gives me every possible advantage of working with the purest sources at the desk.” He continued: “With KSL, I have the best ammunition to deal with any acoustical situation we might face. Even in a funky, old theatre or a big, boomy ex-factory, I was never left wanting something more from the PA. A significant part of the winning formula was Bart de Wit, who was on top of everything.”
DIGICO’S FOOTPRINT SOLUTION Another crucial influence behind this audio success story was the specification of two DiGiCo consoles: an SD10 at FOH and an SD12 on monitors. These choices provided the ultimate solution when the tour brief included a wish to minimise the control package footprint. “On our previous tour, we ran two brands of desk and that required an analogue split and everything that went with it. Audio took up a much larger space and that impacted on weight and trucking which, ultimately, means extra cost,” Hammond commented. “Jimmy and I had the opportunity to take a step back, look at things afresh and find a way to trim down without compromising sound quality. With the ability to share one stage rack [SD-Rack] between the two desks,
RIGGING While d&b KSL8 speakers were joined by a pair of KSL12s in each of the left/right hangs, a row of six Y10P front fills was in service at every gig, 21
DiGiCo solved the issue.” He continued: “This band used to generate 96 inputs and, of course, the SD-Rack handles 56. During pre-production, we reviewed our input list from the last tour and tightened it up so that it would be accommodated within the single rack. We’ve ended up with the tidiest rig we have ever taken on the road.” DiGiCo SD10 is Ace’s favoured console – one that he has used frequently with Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Although Entec supplied a Waves SoundGrid processing package with the SD10, Ace made light use of its powers. “I specified Waves because there are some vocal effects that I need to duplicate with flange and distortion, and I also use the SSL pre-amp on the two snare drums, but otherwise I run things pretty straight,” he explained. “I’m an old-school guy who has been extremely lucky to have worked for some very good-sounding bands. This music is extraordinary but, from a mix perspective, it’s a pretty straightforward rock band,” he noted. “If you pick up some high-quality mics and have your system tuned correctly, you really don’t want to mess with the formula,” he continued. “John Petrucci has spent a long time developing his guitar sound, so when he’s set up and ready to go, my only job is to get that into the mix without adding any colour.” Just before Ace joined the team, James LaBrie upgraded to Shure Axient Digital for his lead vocals, using it with an SE Electronics V7 dynamic capsule. When it came to reviewing the rest of the existing mics, Ace
introduced a Beyer M88 for the bass guitar amp but found little reason to make further changes to the Shure-dominated line-up supplied by Entec for Europe. MONITORS Through working with Dream Theater as a studio engineer during the recording of their last two albums, and also touring as their ProTools Playback Technician, James ‘Jimmy T’ Meslin acquired the wealth of knowledge required to create the best possible monitor mixes on stage. Making his Monitor Engineer debut on the Distance Over Time Tour, Meslin was exposed to DiGiCo for the first time. “Even though I had never used a DiGiCo before, the SD12 was a no-brainer for me. I find their platform really simple to follow. It took a maximum of two hours at the desk before I actually started working with it.” Jimmy T admitted that he previously had “a little favouritism” towards Avid due to his previous use of their products in the studio, but when he weighed up the criteria, “everything pointed to DiGiCo”. He added: “It was so refreshing to set up at the side of any stage, allow plenty of room for artist access and not eat up space that the guitar tech needs.” Five of the mixes generated by Jimmy T were sent to Shure PSM1000 wireless in-ear systems – a model that has successfully served the band for five years. For drummer, Mangini and keyboard star, Rudess, Jimmy T sent 22
Entec’s Head of Sound, Dan Scantlebury.
a group of sub-mixes to the 16-channel Aviom 360 personal mixers they used to tailor their own feeds. As well as using IEMs, Petrucci enjoys the extra support of a pair of monitor wedges and strongly favours Meyer Sound’s MJF-210 for its size and shape. “It has to feel comfortable when he rests his foot on it, which happens regularly at each show,” Jimmy T said. “A different shaped wedge affects the way he holds his guitar and, ultimately, his performance. This mix has more low end, so John can gain a greater physical sensation of sound through his body.” Jimmy T also records each show on to a laptop to provide a reference for the band. Also included in Entec’s audio package was its custom INDU 120v isolation transformer, which Hammond designed for the company ahead of Marilyn Manson’s Heaven Upside Down European tour in 2017.
world and the truck. They included all the fibre and an additional SD-Rack, which we put into the Opto-Loop, maxing out the output card. I gave a copy of my patch directly to François and he was able to chase analogue tails right out of the card and into the truck, and also took a MADI feed as a redundant back-up. It was a great endorsement of DiGiCo’s strengths.” According to Ace, the Distance Over Time Tour has been one of the most rewarding he has worked on over his long career. “Entec’s supportive staff were always at our disposal,” he said. “Anything we needed was right there and we were immediately confident that they’d have our backs throughout the tour. I hope we enjoy a long and fruitful relationship with the company into the future.” In closing, Entec’s Head of Sound, Dan Scantlebury, reflected on the tour. “This was an excellent opportunity to have our KSL system out with such a high-profile act, and with sound engineers who really know their craft,” commented Scantlebury, who joined Entec at the end of 2019. “It was good to note how well KSL performed in a wide range of venues. Working with Dream Theater’s team was a very rewarding experience – one that we hope will come around again soon.” TPi Photos: Joe Okpako & Entec www.dreamtheater.net www.entecLIVE.com www.dbaudio.com www.digico.biz www.fogolabs.com
SHOOTING THE SHOW Both nights at Hammersmith Apollo were captured by Canadian filmmakers Pierre and François Lamoureux of Fogo Labs, who hired recording engineer, Will Shapland to multitrack the live audio in his SSL-equipped studio truck. “Entec played an important role in helping us achieve the end goal with this,” informed Jimmy T, who will soon mix the video soundtrack in preparation for a forthcoming release. “François was passionate about getting an analogue feed to the truck, but with our compact configuration, we no longer use a split, so we were faced with the challenge of compromise,” he outlined. “In the end, we asked Entec to supply all the elements that bridged our 24
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A GREENER WAY OF TOURING Hull-based MM Band Services paves the way for a greener style of touring, with a clear set of carbon-neutral policies and practices.
Following the expansion of its already impressive fleet of band tour buses – moving to larger premises closer to the Port of Hull in Yorkshire, UK – MM Band Services has now found itself as one of the ambassadors of environmentally friendly touring, with a clear set of carbon-neutral policies under its UK and European seatbelt. “Our eco-friendly buses are up to 50% more fuel efficient than others on the market,” MM Band Services Marketing Officer, Nick Thompson began. “It’s funny to think we started off two decades ago with Status Quo’s old tour bus, which was purchased with the idea of using it for golf tours.” Founded at the turn of the millennium by Mike Moulds, MM Band Services has been a mainstay within the music industry, learning on the road what bands require from a tour bus company. “Mike quickly saw that there was demand in artist touring; from there, he built the fleet,” Thompson said. To this day, many of the original staff are still on the
company’s books, including drivers. “We’ve had to employ new faces because we’ve been growing at an astronomical level, but some of the drivers have been with us for a long time.” A nod to the massive growth of the company has been its recent £800,000 investment for new premises closer to the Port of Hull. “I am excited to lead this expansion of the business over the course of the next few years,” MM Band Services General Manager, Ian McCoid commented. “This investment has allowed us to grow our office and workshop space, meaning we can store a larger number of buses. The projection is that we’ll double our fleet of touring buses.” MM Band Services’ fleet of trailers, ideal for backline, were crafted with a view to save tours money in trucking costs. However, for the larger tours, the company has joined forces with its official trucking partner, TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley. “We look out for each other,” Thompson said. “One of the 26
MM BAND SERVICES
primary reasons we partnered is because bigger tours require expert trucking, and when they ask us, we’re able to recommend our close partners rather than it go to anyone else.” It roughly takes six to eight weeks for a vehicle to be transformed into a bona fide MM Band Services bus. “The buses are bought in Europe because they’re left-hand drive, and it’s quite a dramatic transformation from A to B,” he stated. “During the conversion process, we take out some components such as seats we don’t need. If they’re still viable but no longer required by us, we’ll sell them online to people who make their own buses and ship them using carbon-neutral couriers.” Despite the growth, the company ethos remains intact: make carbon-neutral decisions where possible. “The water is reused within the business and the oil we use in our operations is recycled. We also replaced plastic bottles on board with reusable drinks bottles,” he furthered. “We have eliminated plastic bottles from our buses by introducing water boxes on board. Once these are used, they can be recycled easily because card is easier to recycle than plastic.” The company’s touring buses range from eight to 16-berth and feature living areas including lounges, kitchens and berths. “All of our buses are custom made and come equipped with some fantastic features. For the artists and crew onboard, we also provide branded reusable water bottles, which they can use throughout the tour,” he noted. “As well as being environmentally friendly, it means we can also get our brand out there.” As well as making greener decisions on board, the company has rolled out a carbon-
offset programme. “We include environmental considerations in our decision making, and we review our policies regularly. We implemented a set of green policies in line with our customer base, and we have found clients are very positive about the initiative,” he underlined. “Fundamentally, they understand that they’re working with the greenest sleeper bus provider in Europe with a clear set of carbon-neutral policies in place.” As well as the £800,000 new premises investment, £3m has been spent on new fuel-efficient Euro 6 buses. “Our buses are the cleanest on the market; they’re up to 50% more fuel efficient than other companies,” he said. “We’ve invested £3m in making sure all of our buses are Euro 6 and Diesel Euro 6 compliant – this means they’re compliant with Low Emission Zones (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) for London and other major cities.” He explained how sleeper buses are actually a more eco-friendly means of travel than flying. “We accommodate anything from eight to 16 beds and all sizes in between,” he commented. “Because we can transport all artists and crew on one or two buses, the demand for road transport is greatly reduced.” MM Band Services’ carbon-offset programme also sees the extensive planting of trees through its support of The Woodland Trust. “It’s a fairly new policy we have brought in, where the offset is calculated by taking the mileage from each tour and each fleet,” he commented. “We are becoming green in every aspect we can.” TPi Photos: MM Band Services www.mmbandservices.co.uk 27
BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL The Broadway and West End runaway success returns to stages with a brand-new JBL VTX A8 system, specified by Associate Sound Designer, Tony Gayle, and supplied by Orbital Sound.
Following a string of successful dates on Broadway and London’s West End, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical hit theatres across the UK and Ireland. Sharing the story of Carole King’s journey from schoolgirl to superstar, the show was sounded out by the brand-new JBL VTX A8 sound system, supplied by Orbital Sound. Associate Sound Designer, Tony Gayle – who’s recent credits include Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, The Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, and The Book of Mormon – picked up the story: “I’ve been involved in a lot of tours,” he laughed. “I approach every production differently, depending on the requirements.” And the latest incarnation of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical was no different. “This production started in the West End around five years ago,” Gayle recalled. “The show came over from the United States, where it had been running on Broadway for two years.” Following a successful run on London’s West End, the musical toured a series of UK and Irish venues, with Gayle assuming the role of Associate Sound Designer. “It’s the same show that opened on Broadway over seven years ago,” he reminisced. “The quality is just as high.” The show features
countless classics such as You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might As Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof, and Locomotion. “They’re all well-orchestrated, household songs,” Gayle commented. “Although you might not be aware of their name, as soon as you hear them, you’ll recognise them. The hits range as far back as the ’50s right through to the ’70s and ’80s.” As the orchestration of the tracks was so detailed, Gayle approached the task with a strong focus on “translating the intricacies” of the mix to the audiences’ ears. He told TPi: “It’s important to think about what speakers, desk and radio mics will do it justice.” While the inaugural production featured an L-Acoustics dV-DOSC PA system, specified by long-time Sound Designer, and good friend of Carole King, Brian Ronan, this year marked a change of tack for the sound team with the implementation of the JBL VTX A8. Gayle’s primary challenge was adjusting his ears to a new PA system. “As soon as you hear the show on the VTX A8, it sounds so crisp and open,” he stated. “There was an initial adjustment period to ensure what I did was 28
BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
true to the product.” Having heard the JBL VTX A8s at a demonstration over a year ago, Gayle said he was “impressed” with the output of the loudspeaker. “This is the kind of show that requires a level of detail that the JBL VTX A8 can deliver – that’s why I specified it,” he explained. “As soon as you hear the music and vocal output, you realise how transparent the system is… you can hear every single detail of the orchestration.” The sound system comprised 34 JBL VTX A8s, with eight individual boxes in the stalls, circle and upper section of the theatre. A further 10 VTX A8s covered the centre circle, along with six JBL VTX B18s – four in the stalls and a pair in the upper section of the theatre. The PA was supplemented by 38 d&b audiotechnik E6s, four E5s for front fills and delays and an alternative cluster of two Meyer Sound UPQs. All were amplified by 11 Crown I-Tech 4X3500 HDs and four d&b audiotechnik D20s. “I rely on the JBL VTX A8s to deliver the bulk of the system. It’s a very simplified design that means I don’t have to over process the speakers,” he added. “The majority of my processing and EQ work is done on the DiGiCo SD7 at FOH, because it’s powerful and sounds good.” Time alignment on the processing side was achieved by JBL and d&b’s proprietary software. “If I need to EQ, I use the JBL HiQnet Performance Manager or d&b R1, but I prefer to do most of the EQ on the desk to keep it central with less signal path.” Gayle specified a Shure Axient digital system for radio mics, while band mics were a mixture of AKG, Audio-Technica, Neumann, Sennheiser, Shure, Audix, Radial Engineering and Orchid Electronics. Wireless communication was achieved by a 12-way Clear-Com FreeSpeak II wireless intercom
system. Navigating a series of famously tricky theatre spaces in the UK and Ireland, the PA system was entirely venue dependant. “We have a flexible touring system to cover most touring spaces in the UK and Ireland,” Gayle noted. “I’m familiar with quite a lot of the venues from years of touring, so it was a case of using that knowledge and learning from prior mistakes to ensure the best sound quality each night.” Production Sound Engineer, Richard ‘Dickie’ Bower was responsible for all logistics and crewing of the audio aspect of the tour; Production Sound Engineer, Stuart Moffat was responsible for tuning the audio system at each venue; Head of Sound, Tom Meehan handled FOH mixing duties for the performances; while Production Lead for Audio Rental Company, Orbital, Dan Bailey provided support on the road. “They are key to the running of this show,” Gayle praised the audio crew. “It’s all well and good me drawing a design and specifying the gear, but they’re the guys who turn it into a reality on the road.” Gayle summed up his experience with the tour, which was sadly cut short due to the current climate regarding COVID-19. “It’s been a great experience, giving me the platform to use and showcase new technology, while witnessing the evolution of the show,” he concluded. “I’ve also seen it deliver for delighted audiences across the country which, for me, is what this job is all about – delivering the art to the paying customers.” TPi Photos: Sound Technology www.beautifumusical.co.uk www.jblaudio.com www.orbitalsound.com 29
THE SCRIPT: SUNSETS & FULL MOONS The Irish three-piece and their long-serving crew present a live masterpiece to their loyal European fanbase. TPiâ€™s Stew Hume checks in with the team at Manchester Arena to discover the origins of the solar-lunar-inspired production.
Coming to prominence in 2008, The Script have continued to pull large crowds across the UK and Europe, with each tour cycle pushing their production values. With the trio making a point to surround themselves with similar crew from tour to tour, this tight-knit group of roadies welcomed TPi to Manchester Arena, keen to divulge the latest chapter in The Script’s live anthology… Although most of the faces were familiar to TPi, following our coverage of the band back in 2018, one notable omission was Production Manager, Bob O’Brien. Having stepped away from touring to his new position at SOS Global Express, the PM torch was taken up by the capable hands of Tony Gittins. A familiar name to TPi readers – most recently for taking the lead on the Spice Girls: Spice World 2019 Tour – Gittins brought in many of the same suppliers the band had worked with on previous projects including: PRG, MIRRAD, Adlib, BPM SFX, Brilliant Stages, Airworks, Beat The Street, Stardes and Popcorn Catering.
Thompson. The team of creatives chose to steer away from traditional IMAG, swapping the familiar flanking video screens for a large back LED wall along with an automated LED circle – both of which streamed live footage in among the live generated content. “Having two side screens is practical, but I feel that they often become an afterthought,” mused Thompson. “With this setup, we are able to weave images of the guys into the overall show design while, at the same time, ensuring that the person sitting at the back of the arena will still be able to see a 10m tall Danny [O’Donoghue, singer].” Essential to this design process were two other individuals – namely Tom Wall from blinkinLAB, and Video Director, Ben Farrey. “All the video content is set out on a timeline that plays throughout the whole set,” said Thompson, as he explained the importance of storytelling. He used the example of a track where the video content has the audience flying through a valley, which ends at a waterfall, then during the next song, the contents takes the audience inside the falls – blending the set seamlessly. Under the surface, there was some video wizardry taking place – with more than 70% of the content being rendered in real time via Notch. “We’ve never done a show that has been this Notch heavy,” began Wall, who had been brought in by Thompson for the past three album cycles. “The real advantage to this was that we were able make changes in real time during the rehearsal period rather than providing a whole render,” he added. “This gave us a greater level of flexibility and allowed us to try new things, which wouldn’t have been possible with the traditional render setup.” Powering the visual backbone was an Avolites Qgen – the company’s latest media server offering. As part of the Q-Series, the Qgen has been
THE ENERGY NEVER DIES Walking TPi through the early stages of Sunsets & Full Moons was MIRRAD’s Jamie Thompson. Having been a permanent fixture of the band’s live offering for over a decade, Thompson explained that this is the only tour that he still heads out on the road for. With design conversations beginning in the summer of 2019, Thompson, alongside his business partner Dave Cohen, designed looks leaning heavily on the iconography of the new record. “Based on the album title, Sunsets & Full Moons, the design includes a lot of circles and curves within the set, with very few straight lines,” began 32
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designed specifically for projects relying heavily on Notch integration thanks to its Nvidia graphics card, which can deliver approximately 30,000 Notch marks. “It was exciting to work with the servers as they were still in the prototype stage when we began putting this production together,” explained Thompson, whose company, MIRRAD, is a long-time Avolites user and was also using the Sapphire Touch desk on this production. “We have made use of Avolites Ai technology for some time and this tour is no exception. We’re using Synergy to link our server and console, which means we can map fixtures behind the LED screen within the video content.” The production had two different LED products for the tour. The first was a ROE Visual Carbon used for the automated central screen, while the rear wall was made up of PURE10. “It’s a 10mm 70% transparent product – the most transparent screen you can get,” enthused Thompson. “It’s the same product that was used on the last U2 tour and – as we have PRG as our supplier – we are lucky enough to have many of that crew on this one looking after the LED wall each day.” A Movecat automation solution was selected to give the circular screen a huge degree of movement, for a variety of looks throughout the show. “The show starts with the screen hanging a few metres above the band’s heads,” stated Thompson. “Then, as soon as Danny starts singing, it lifts slowly to its highest position. It fits really well into the theme of the moon and the sun, drawing parallels with the album artwork.” The central screen also created some interesting moments of symmetry within the venue, with the Airworks Inflatables moon – also automated – hanging just above the B-stage and descending when the band went out to the secondary stage.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION Another familiar face for the production from the previous tour, Ben Farrey once again took up his seat behind the video switcher at FOH. “I stepped in a bit later compared to Jamie and Tom,” began Farrey. “I replicated a similar camera system to the last tour, which was made simpler as we had the same supplier – PRG – this time round.” Farrey oversaw two main feeds, which enabled him to focus on two members at once. He used a mixture of Agile Remote Cameras and the “trusty” Sony HXC-100 manned cameras, both in the pit and at FOH. “We have five Agile Remote Cameras with one on the B-stage,” he explained. “Although the B-stage performance is a great moment for the guys to connect with the audience, it creates a challenge to shoot with a handheld camera – especially with the variable positions of FOH. So, having the flexibility of an Agile robo camera is really useful.” Farrey went on to explain the importance of having his switcher position at FOH rather than backstage. “There are times in this show when I have content on the automated central circular screen, the IMAG footage to its left and right on the back wall. I couldn’t make that work solely by looking at monitors. The fact that I can see the LED screen means I can react and make changes more quickly and make the show as a whole much tighter.” He added that the fact he was mere feet away from Thompson led to much better communication than would be possible over comms. “It’s a really fun show to shoot,” continued Farrey. “It’s one of the main reasons I was keen to come back on board this time. The fans are really passionate about this band and it’s exactly the kind of show I want to cut. As a group, they are really into the visuals of the show – it’s big, colourful 34
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with loads of effects.” To close, Farrey made a special mention to his camera crew. The pit cameras were overseen by Steve Jones and John O’Brian, while FOH was taken care of by Head Rigger, James Heath and Lead Truck Driver, Kevin Webster. THE MAN WHO CAN’T BE MOVED Thompson continued the visual conversation by outlining the finer points of his lighting rig. Starting on the rear wall, behind the large PURE10 screen were 70 GLP JDC1s, along with a selection of PRG Icon Stage fixtures. “A full LED rig behind the screen was essential due to the fragility of the PURE10,” stated Thompson, explaining that he wanted to guard against burning any components of the screen. The rig featured a number of other PRG products, including the Icon Beam as well as the Best Boy in tandem with the GroundControl Followspot System. The use of LED was seen throughout Thompson’s rig. “There are no ‘tungsten looks’ in the production,” asserted the designer, who admitted this was probably the first show he’d ever operated that didn’t have some element of the traditional audience blinder look. “Like many, I often fall into that trap of just thinking you need blinders in your rig. We wanted to create something different for this project – in this case, having a full LED rig.” This meant that during moments of high audience participation, Thompson made use of a front truss of GLP JDC1s, which brought an added advantage as he could match the colours of the respective songs they were being used for. The LD also used the GLP X4s, FR10s and the new KMBs. “The KMBs are super bright. I’ve used them underneath the side screamers, which illuminate when one of the band stands on them, providing a really impactful up light.” A final key aspect of Thompson’s rig was the Vari-Lite VL4000 BeamWash. “They’re great as they’re massively versatile and able to function as a spot, wash or beam.” The Designer also used the VL3500
Monitor Engineer, Marc Peers; BPM SFX’s Jack Webber and Cosmin Barbuceanu; Video Director, Ben Farrey; The audio team consisting of Kenny Perrin, FOH Engineer, Steve Pattison and System Engineer, Alan Harrison; Show Designer, Jamie Thompson.
on the B-stage. The rig also comprised of a number of Claypaky K25s. Owing to the high level of video and lighting integration, timecode was always going to be a necessity with this production. As well as explaining the need for the timecode backbone, Thompson was also keen to give credit to MIRRAD’s Francis Clegg, who aided extensively in the programming of the show.
take advice to come up with a solution.” Continuing the SFX conversation, Webber discussed some of the elements in his care. “We brought back the pyrotechnic waterfall again from the last run, albeit in a slightly different configuration,” he revealed. Another favourite returning to the tour were a number of confetti and streamer effects. “What has made this so much easier is that we’ve gone completely wireless with these effects,” he stated. “I have a Galaxis wireless receiver in the back of each cannon, which has been a blessing when going into small venues that have a smaller footprint to work with as the cannon can effectively be placed anywhere that’s safe.”
SOMETHING UNREAL The double act of SFX Tech, Jack Webber and Laser Technician, Cosmin Barbuceanu once again joined forces to complement the overall show design. “There are a lot of familiar faces across all departments on this one,” began Webber. “I think there are only four people who weren’t with us two years ago.” He went on to explain that this was incredibly useful as all the special effects used on the show were incredibly integrated on the set and could only be achieved with good communication between each department. A selection of lasers were used on the automated circular screen. “We are using our brand new Kvant 3400s for those looks,” stated Barbuceanu. “What is really cool about these fixtures is the fact that as well as working with Pangolin Beyond, they also work via DMX, so they can be controlled by a lighting console.” Also in Barbuceanu’s rig were a selection of 24W RGB OPS Lasers. These were on automated columns that sat flush with the upstage and were moved into their position via a Wahlberg column system. “Working with Jamie from MIRRAD has been great,” stated Barbuceanu. “He’s a flexible guy and if something isn’t working, he’s always willing to
SCIENCE & FAITH Giving an insight to the band’s audio setup was FOH Engineer, Steve Pattison and System Engineer, Alan Harrison. With an audio package provided by Adlib, the production once again put its faith in a full CODA Audio system. With both men being with The Script tour for some time, they had witnessed the integration of the PA to the band’s live setup over the past few years. “We first used the system during a warm-up tour for the album, Freedom Child,” began Harrison. “Back then, we were looking at going into some smaller venues that didn’t have a great deal of weight capacity. As a solution, Adlib suggested that we try the CODA system which – due to its weight – could be hung anywhere.” Following the success of those smaller shows, the production opted to keep the system when the band scaled up to arenas. “During that tour, the lighting and video rig was quite sizeable, so it was good for the riggers 36
in that they didn’t have to also worry about a very heavy PA.” That said, the System Engineer asserted that, although using CODA cuts the weight significantly, there’s no drop-in quality. “The way CODA drivers work is really quite ground-breaking, producing clarity that reaches every point in the room,” he enthused. Pattison jumped in at this point to explain that this level of clarity was vital while mixing The Script. “You get a lot of detail with the CODA system and, with these guys, there is a lot of information in the source material.” Both audio engineers made the case that, although The Script certainly fit into a pop bracket, they are very much a live band and aptly need the relevant low and mid frequencies to be predominant in the mix. “Mixing on a CODA system is more akin to studio monitors,” stated Pattison. “Some people might be happy to round off their mix when they enter big rooms, but I believe if you have a studio mentality, if you set up your system correctly, you can go from an ‘alright’ gig to and ‘amazing’ one. It all comes down to the level of detail.” The audio rig comprised 14 AiRAYs per side, with an additional four ViRAYs for down fills on the main hangs. There were also side hangs of 12 AiRAYs and four ViRAYs, with an upstage hang of 10 ViRAYs as a centre cluster. “With our centre cluster and overall PA setup, we have ideal coverage eliminating the need for a large front fill setup. This gives Jamie more clean lines for the visual side of things,” Harrison commented. For amps, Adlib provided a collection of LINUS amplifiers. “From the console, we run an AES feed into an Outline Newton which, in turn, sends AES to a CODA Master station. This takes AES onto a CAT6 to the stage and the LINUS amplifiers,” stated Harrison. “Essentially this means we are digital all the way with no conversion, which keeps everything much cleaner,” Harrison continued. Handling the
mix was a Yamaha PM7 – a relatively new tool for Pattison. “This is my first time out with the PM7, but I’ve found my way around it quickly,” he said. One of the first things that jumped out to Pattison was the wide array of plug-ins that were readily available on the console. “I try to limit the amount of outboard gear I use,” he explained. “I don’t want loads of conversion or incompatible software errors. I’ve found when you mix on various different manufacturers’ products, you often create problems.” He also complemented Yamaha’s preamps for their “fat, rich, warm sound”. He continued: “This is evident when you turn on the Rupert Neve Silk, which is part of the new Yamaha RPio622 i/o rack. It’s very subtle, but when you add it into the whole mix, you can really tell the difference.” HALL OF FAME Having been with The Script for almost a decade, Monitor Engineer, Marc Peers holds the title of one of the longest-serving crew members on the touring roster. “It’s just one of those shows you keep coming back to,” he enthused. “The lads are dead cool, and the wider crew are always so great. It’s a bit of a cliché to say how great your tour is, but this one really does have that ‘family’ vibe.” Peers earned his stripes as an audio tech for the tour, getting the call up to the Monitor Engineer title on the last campaign. “When I first got the gig, I was keen to put my own slant on it rather than be just the new guy filling someone else’s shoes, so I altered the setup somewhat, including the use of a Midas PRO X.” The engineer went on to explain when it came down to his choice of desk, reliability was a key factor. “If it sounds great but is always breaking down, it’s no good. I’ve been using the PRO X for a number of years and have found it to be extremely reliable. The fact that it’s right up there in 37
terms of audio quality is kind of a given. It’s quite flexible and you can make global changes and still have a rather ‘analogue’ workflow to the system. For all those boys and girls who grew up using XL3s, there are lots of things that are very familiar on the PRO X. “A lot of tours you go on, the artists are more interested in the visuals,” continued Peers, describing his working relationship with the band. “These three are all really into the audio side,” stated the Engineer. “They all have a bit of background in studio sound, which is great, although it means if you make a mistake, you have to put your hands up,” he chuckled. As well as handling the faders, Peers also oversaw all the RF operation during the show. “RF management has become something of a dark art that has crept into the Monitor Engineer role,” he mused. “As I was a tech before, it seemed natural to maintain the RF role as well as Monitor Engineer.” With all the IEM packs and wireless instruments, Peers oversaw around 23 frequencies. “I would class myself as an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to RF,” Peers joked, admitting that although he would never put himself down as a sole RF tech for a large pop show, he had the expertise to carry it off for The Script. “I’ve also had some fantastic advice from Adlib over the years on how to manage that side of my job,” he stated. The production, as with previous tours, put its faith in a Sennheiser solution for the wireless, and Peers was pleased to report that, once again, the manufacturer provided a high level of series and backup. For IEMs, the band opted for Ultimate Ears. The only wedge on stage was an Adlib MP4 sub for the band’s drummer. “The big issue faced with all drum subs is the bass drum mic faces the sub directly,” said Peers. “Fortunately, we had a spare Roland SPD-SX, which we dropped in a sample
of the drummer playing his own bass drum. We use this triggered sample in the sub and, because it’s completely electronic, it breaks that microphone facing sub feedback loop. The results are very impressive.” On the subject of mics, both Peers and Pattison discussed the use of the Sennheiser 9000 Series for vocal mics with a MD 9235 capsule. “The capsule has a really nice top end, which works really well as Danny has quite a full voice,” commented Pattison. With the stage set and Manchester Arena full to the brim with an eager audience, the Irish trio blasted through a selection of new songs alongside some old favourites such as The Man Who Can’t Be Moved and Breakeven. All to the stunning stage backdrop and under the watchful eye of the hardworking crew, who were happy to collect yet another laminate to add to their The Script collection. TPi Photos: Joe Okpako www.thescriptmusic.com www.mirrad.com www.blinkinlab.com www.prg.com www.adlib.co.uk www.bpm-sfx.com www.brilliantstages.com www.airworksinflatables.com www.beatthestreet.net www.stardes.uk www.popcorncatering.com 38
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MURA MASA: R.Y.C WORLD TOUR From SoundCloud artist to a GRAMMY Award-winning debut record, Mura Masa has made significant strides in the past five years. TPi’s Jacob Waite meets the young crew of creatives behind the Guernsey-born music producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s first headline tour with a live band in tow…
Having spent the past five years collaborating with some of the biggest names on the touring circuit today – he’s the studio wizard behind recent Nao, Stormzy, Cosha, Charli XCX, ASAP Rocky, A. K. Paul, Desiigner and slowthai tracks – Mura Masa’s live shows are famed for their proliferation of electronic music gadgets, instruments and headline guest performers. Following the release of his second record, R.Y.C. (Raw Youth Collage), Mura Masa embarked on a radical departure from convention, expanding to a full band setup. TPi caught up with the young team of creatives on board as they loaded into Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse, 24 hours after a headline show at London’s Alexandra Palace. Dangling safely from the roof of Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse was none other than Production Manager, AJ Sutherland. “I’ve always been quite hands-on,” he began, loosening the straps of his harness, having fitted a custom backdrop frame to the video wall. “We are on the brink of academies and small arena venues on this tour... we aren’t blessed with arena numbers of crew, so everybody pitches in.” The supplier roster comprised PRG for lighting and video, SSE Audio, TRUCKINGBY Brian Yeardley, as well Corvid Events and Hangman for the scenic elements. “All of our suppliers are fantastic,” Sutherland commented. “PRG and SSE have both been involved with Mura Masa projects before, so it was a natural choice to bring them back onboard.” Of equal importance for Sutherland was logistics. “Trucking is always overlooked, but having TRUCKINGBY on the road with you makes life as a Production Manager much easier,” he explained. “The way that TRUCKINGBY’s Jordan Potts looks after us from the office is excellent. We have four drivers on the road with us – Elliot Harte, Laura Singleton,
Chris Morris and Ray Eke – they’re always cheery and happy to go above and beyond to help.” The whole production was constructed in a modular format and was expanded and contracted easily for varying stage sizes and festivals. The album campaign kicked off in January with in-store launch shows before heading to America for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and the much-talked about NME Awards performance at the O2 Academy Brixton in London, ahead of the first headline tour date. “We went straight into Ally Pally with our biggest show of the campaign,” Sutherland explained. “We have managed to get the same level of production into Victoria Warehouse, which is a smaller venue with its own unique set of challenges.” As with any artist who is pushing to the next level, there was increased investment in both the touring kit and crew. “We wanted to step up and deliver something special while keeping it financially viable for the artist,” Sutherland said. “We make sure we’re able to spend money in the useful places, ensuring the engineers get the tools they need to make it shine, but instead of throwing money at all problems, the team have utilised their brainpower to devise a show that is cost effective and still impressive.” As well as handling the production, Sutherland oversaw the playback rig, boasting Ableton Live, Antares Audio Technologies and Universal Audio, as well as iConnectivity PlayAUDIO12 interfaces, which handled a MIDI network on stage, run over Cat5e network cables. “Building this playback rig was a fun challenge. I spent Christmas experimenting with various brand new features and technologies and talking directly with programmers to implement their software and hardware in cutting-edge ways while 41
ensuring stability. The result is a four-laptop system, which takes less than five minutes to set up and runs itself reliably, allowing me to keep focussed on the big production picture.” Summing up his experience, Sutherland praised his “talented” young crew – ranging from 17 to 36, with an average age of 26. “We’ve put together a team based on their merits as musicians and engineers, but it was also important for Alex [Mura Masa] that we connect on a personal level, so that has been a key consideration when assembling this team. We’re all very much onboard with the vision.”
MIDI information from Ableton, so there isn’t any physical switching of cables or packs between songs,” he added. “This was initially spec’d so that Mura Masa could switch between his electric guitars and an acoustic for certain songs, but the acoustic idea was scrapped in rehearsal, so it’s now used for Abi, the guitarist, to switch between her two instead,” Griffin underlined. “Automation is key because I look after the whole band. If I have to leave guitar world to fix anything on stage, the Kempers and Line Selector don’t need manual input.” While Mura Masa’s last tour cycle consisted of him on stage performing with a live vocalist, Fliss Jackson, and sometimes guest vocalists, Griffin noted the change of tack: “His new album is written with a live band in mind, which means the transition has been seamless. The atmosphere backstage has also become livelier, as there are now three times as many people there buzzing after a great show!” He summed up: “The best aspect of this tour is the team that has been built around Mura Masa. Everyone is great at what they do and easy to get on with. It’s work, but it can still be fun and enjoyable, which is fantastic.” At FOH, TPi was greeted by the longest-serving member of the touring camp. “I actually mixed Mura Masa’s first ever show in Brighton five years ago,” FOH Engineer, Luigi Buccarello said. “On and off, I’ve been on the road with him ever since, which has been an absolute privilege.” For control, the Engineer used an Avid S6L. Buccarello commented: “I’m a big Avid Profile fan. The S6L feels very familiar, but with more functionality and greater sound quality. It is designed to be very intuitive.” Buccarello’s Avid S6L featured an extensive number of plug-ins. “I also chose this desk because of its integration with Waves. However, with the S6L, I find myself using more on-board processing than on Profile,” he explained. “Often engineers reach for a plug-in for familiarity over sound, but with this desk I feel I don’t need to as much.” In audio world, the
‘THE PERFECT FIT’ The backline rig was Kemper based with a fully integrated RTP MIDI network utilising the new and improved functionality of the iConnectivity series of MIDI and audio interfaces. Carl Griffin has been working as a Backline Technician for Mura Masa since May 2019. “I’m a big fan of his music, so when the opportunity came up to be part of the crew, it was the perfect fit,” he enthused. “His music is quite heavily electronic, which means that we didn’t go down the conventional route of amps and pedal boards for the new live band.” As well as the playback rig, the team integrated three Kemper Profilers into the live setup. “This allowed us to really push the guitar sounds towards how they sound on record,” Griffin noted. “To get this out of a pedal board and amp would’ve been difficult with the amount of different tones, effects and processing that are used song to song and even within each song.” Audio Technica 5000 series Gen 3 RF units were purposed for three guitars and a bass, which fed into three Kempers. The team utilised Ableton to control patch switching via MIDI for all three Kemper Profilers. “We’ve got a custom MIDI-controlled selector prototype made by Jonny from Hall & Ohms, so that guitar swaps are made easier,” Griffin said. “This unit receives 42
Systems Engineer, Mark Pantlin; FOH Engineer, Luigi Buccarello; Show Designer, Miles Weaver. Production Manager, AJ Sutherland with Tour Manager, Ben Morgan; Monitor Engineer, Freyja Lawson.
Engineer made use of the Sennheiser 6000 series wireless for vocals. “It sounds great and it’s extremely reliable – that’s why it’s such an industrystandard product,” he added. “Guests can jump off and on stage and you never run into trouble.” With two contrasting albums, the major challenge for Buccarello was ensuring the mix was cohesive, in line with the musical arrangement. “Each song is very different, with sub coming from many different sources. We spent a lot of time working on patches and arrangements in order to translate the feel of the albums to the live environment,” he explained. Systems Engineer, Mark Pantlin oversaw the PA of choice – a d&b audiotechnik KSL system. The main hangs came in the shape of four KSL 8s and four KSL 12s per side. A strip of eight SL-SUBs were arranged in an arc at the front of the stage. d&b audiotechnik Y10Ps and V7Ps were used as front fills, with additional delays behind FOH to cover the all-important bar area. Pantlin underlined: “It’s pretty much half of the Ally Pally system, due to the size of the venue. However, the great thing about this system is that it’s scalable.” The system was ArrayProcessed on d80 amps with Dante returns. “It’s all digital, running on 96k from the desk to the amps,” Pantlin noted. While the band utilised Jerry Harvey Audio JH 11 in-ears and side fill subs, additional wedges and side fill tops lined the stage for the support band. “It’s very clean and quiet behind the PA because of the rear rejection of the KSL system and the subs – it’s great for performers as long as they don’t miss the noise from the PA,” Pantlin furthered. “In this situation, it’s brilliant because the band are well versed and great for off-site noise when we’re in spaces with noise restrictions.” In monitor world, TPi met the newest member of the touring camp: Monitor Engineer, Freyja Lawson. “This is my first official gig as a Monitor Engineer. I typically work as an Audio Tech, so it’s been a strange but much welcomed step,” she said enthusiastically. “As a tech, it was my job to
control everything except for the faders, and now it’s my job to look after what goes in and out.” Lawson was joined by Monitor Technician, Dan Devine at stage left. “Having my own tech to delegate has also been a strange experience. I used to be first in and last out – now I waltz in halfway through and I feel bad,” she laughed. “It’s been nice to make something my own and know from input to output what’s going on.” Lawson reflected on the slightly daunting task of being Mura Masa’s first ever Monitor Engineer. “He is very well versed and can pinpoint and communicate exactly what he wants. The band also have the same mindset because they understand the intricacies of music production.” For control, Lawson utilised a DiGiCo SD12. “They’re available worldwide and DiGiCo are always on the other end of the phone if you need them,” she added. “The best thing about the desk is being able to customise it with macros and scene changes.” Due to the many patches with the guitars, Lawson explained that it made sense to utilise snapshots rather than them having to change Kemper levels. “We made sure that was always a finite point and then I would make the changes to their mixes individually.” JH Audio 11 in-ears were chosen for the band and core crew. “Mura Masa has jumped from generic to JH Audio 11 in-ears, which has made a world of difference,” Lawson noted. With 56 inputs, guitar, bass and vocal patches – vocals and tracks ran through Ableton, which could be altered at any point within the signal chain – Lawson was conscious of not giving the band a generic mix for the whole show. “The band really need to feel the vibe and hear themselves playing,” she commented. “It gives them something extra, because it’s daunting to be on stage with the lights on you, in front of hundreds of prying eyes. These shows are firsts for quite a lot of us.” 43
‘FEELS LIKE FAMILY’ The visual design comprised a blend of old-school set pieces with modern visuals. The band was an active part of the show, along with guest appearances from some of the big names Mura Masa has collaborated with. “Mura Masa’s eye is really good, and he knows what he wants from a show’s aesthetics,” Lighting and Show Designer, Miles Weaver said. “The new album features a studio vibe, so we’ve taken those elements and placed them in a live environment.” The result was a custom gauze backdrop by Hangman in front of the video panels and a garage band feel with a nostalgic living room, complete with grey household furniture set pieces by Corvid Events and the band interacting with each other in a fun and informal way. “There’s a strong focus on nostalgia and teenage angst,” he said. The LD enlisted the services of Creative Consultant, Jack Headford. Weaver recalled: “We needed someone with a set design background who we could throw ideas against. He came up with a theatre-style set, and management wanted a video wall backdrop, so we got some furniture and props from Corvid Events painted in a concrete grey colour – a nod to Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense – which was one of the key references of the tour.” These props were rustled up in an astonishing 36 hours when the short-notice decision was taken to use them at the NME Awards. Building on the visually striking aesthetic established by Matt de Jong for the album artwork and Yoni Lappin for promo videos, Video Content Designer, Terry Scruby of South London-based creative design studio, Fish Nor Fowl, created visuals for 15 songs. These incorporated stereoscopic 3D GIFs, photography, typography, promo and documentary footage. Parallax movement and asymmetrical layering of assets in a modular form were the building blocks to create the
distinctive style. Weaver said: “I gave Terry from Fish Nor Fowl very little guidance; he is amazing and understands the concept. The content is probably the driving element of the show. Terry is great and a friend of the manager, so it feels like family.” Weaver pointed out the key lighting fixtures (though he referred to them as “toys”) that complemented the show. He said: “When we’re playing the old stuff, we need big and beamy looks, while the new stuff has a rock ’n’ roll edge to it, with lots of tungsten-inspired lighting looks.” The team reduced the front truss from 60ft to 40ft in Manchester. Lighting Technician, Alex Griffiths talked TPi through the lighting rig: “Across the top rig trusses are a series of Robe MegaPointes and PRG Best Boys on the front truss, along with two GroundControl (GC) followspot systems,” he continued. “A couple of Molefay units cover the front of the stage. Working down, the left and right towers boast Showtec Sunstrips and GLP JDC1s down the centre and the GLP impression X4 Bar 10s on the inside towers.” He outlined the PRG Best Boys and Robe MegaPointes as “arenastandard” fixtures. He said: “They’re really punchy; they’ve performed well and are really bright in a space like this.” The floor package saw more Robe MegaPointes and GLP JDC1s. Towards the back of the band were five GLP impression X4 Ls per side, utilised for cross light. Additional LED strips were used for side lighting and the gauze when the video wasn’t on, with haze machines adding extra atmosphere. “It’s a bit more challenging to get this rig into Victoria Warehouse, compared to Ally Pally because trim heights are lower and narrower,” Griffiths explained. “Although we’ve got the full rig, it’s not quite as high as we would like, but that’s down to height restrictions – we’re at 16ft trim. The rigger said 44
it’s definitely the most points they’ve put in this venue at around 20 plus points.” FOH lighting control came in the shape of MA Lighting grandMA2s, both full size and light. “I can get this console anywhere in the world, rock up to festivals and know that it’s going to work seamlessly,” Weaver chimed in, gesturing to the console. “The video is the main reason why we use timecode. There are elements such as lyrics that are synced up with the video. Although it restricts the band, it allows us to be more creative.” Weaver explained the need for accenting certain beats during the show. “I listen to the music as if it’s the last song on the set and do everything I can to make it feel as big as possible, without giving away all my tricks at once,” he acknowledged. “The audience aren’t here to absorb the intricacies of the lighting or video design, so I do what I can to complement the music.” ROE Visual MC7 panels and frames locked together to create the LED backdrop. “I love anything that comes from ROE Visual,” Video Crew Chief, Chris Everett said. “It’s great and works every time. The Evision HD102 processors are amazing. It’s a very intuitive calibration system.” Recounting initial trepidation ahead of the two shows, Everett, joined by LED Technician, Tom Prew, clarified how the team lost half the LED, gauze and Prew for the Stateside and European tour dates. Everett explained: “We transition to a ground stack system, so the frames will be locked to an upright truss piece with stage weight and braces in the back and the gauze will push up to the side, rather than having to hang it along with the LED.” Reflecting on the two headline UK dates, Everett pointed out: “Every piece of video content was made to fit the screen. It’s great when an LD thinks about the product they’re using – the gauze is pixel counted to the exact number of frames, which is fantastic and works really well. Miles is great at integrating video and lighting seamlessly. He has such a global
vision for the entire project, right down to the look and design of the stage.” Crew Chief, Steve Major and Lighting Assistant, Conor Vennard made up the lighting team. Lighting Programmer, Alex Brown joined Weaver at PRG’s pre-vis suite in Greenford, London, for four days ahead of the tour. Weaver quipped: “It was priceless – visualisers these days are fantastic.” On the topic of the tour’s visual supplier, Weaver said: “PRG are great because I send them a drawing and it happens. I don’t have to worry about rigging plots or the power – they just make it come together seamlessly. We also have a lot of American projects, so being able to turn up with the same kit and one point of contact for lighting and video has been excellent. Simply put, they’re big for a reason.” Wrapping up two successful headline shows in London and Manchester – featuring the likes of guest collaborators Fliss Jackson, Cosha and slowthai – Mura Masa’s ascension from SoundCloud bedroom artist to studio wizard turned frontman may have come as a surprise to some, but not to Tour Manager, Ben Morgan. “I knew straight away that he had the ability to play bigger and better venues,” he said. “The reception to this tour has been excellent so far. It’s been a change of gear and a step up from the past five years. It’s been nice to see the fruits of the labour given the musicianship of Mura Masa – as a producer of music, and now, a performer.” TPi Photos: Shirlaine Forrest & TPi www.muramasa.me www.prg.com www.sseaudio.com www.brianyeardley.com www.corvidevents.co.uk www.hangman.co.uk 45
DJ SNAKE: PARIS LA DÉFENSE ARENA As the hometown hero returns to Paris with an awe-inspiring sell-out show, TPi’s Stew Hume catches up with some of the talented individuals bringing this monolith of a production to life.
DJ Snake achieved a massive milestone earlier this year as he became the first DJ to sell out the Paris La Défense Arena. Commemorating the monumental feat was a crack team of touring experts, brought in by the artist’s camp, to create a spectacular show for 40,000 concertgoers. One of the artist’s first calls was to long-time collaborator, Romain Pissenem of High Scream. Speaking from his London office, he reflected on the journey he had been on with the French DJ. “We first worked with DJ Snake back in 2016 for his performance at the Zenith,” he began. Back then, the DJ was playing to 7,000 people; a mere four years later, he was packing out La Défense Arena. “Conversations for this show began back in September 2019,” reflected Pissenem. “Due to the scale of the show, he asked us to pitch a few ideas. The first rendition was completely different to the production we ended up putting together.” Pissenem explained that the original concept involved a lot of automation elements and was “very tech heavy”, however, it lacked “the element of storytelling”. The Show Designer went on to explain that inspiration eventually hit during a Christmas celebration. “Two years ago, Snake performed on top of the Arc de Triomphe and, with that monument in mind, I started to wonder if there was any way to bring that structure into the Paris La Défense Arena.” The end result saw the creation of a massive LED cube that was able to transform into a scale model of the famed monument, as well as acting as a surface to provide some ground-breaking content. Alongside High Scream, a crack team of suppliers were brought in to make this show a reality, including S Group, which provided a complete audio, lighting and video package, as well as automation supplier WIcreations and BPM SFX.
THE SHOW “We’ve collaborated with S Group for a long time. They have been one of our main suppliers for a number of years,” stated Pissenem. “We developed a partnership with them where we can pick up the phone at any time and they are available to solve any issue – no matter how technical.” This project was no exception, as there were just five weeks from when the design was signed off to the first show. “We started working on the project during November 2019,” stated Léon Van Empel, CEO of S Group. “Our relationship with High Scream and Romain Pissenem started nine years ago with Ushuaïa in Ibiza. During all these years, we’ve produced many different projects everywhere in Europe. I really consider them partners at this stage.” Talking specifically about the DJ Snake performance, Van Empel explained how working on “such a major event – most of all in our French capital city – was extremely exciting!” Working behind the scenes for S Group was Technical Director, Bertrand De Saint Pern and a crew of 32 technicians. The stand-out technical element of the show was the monolithic LED cube, which comprised a staggering 960 tiles of ROE Visual Vanish 8s for its front three sides, along with 544 tiles of Gloshine Legend pro 4.8s in the rear, while processing was handled by eight Colorlight Z6s. “We toyed with the idea of creating the Arc du Triomphe as a real prop, but figured that having a solid object would limit what we could produce. With this massive LED surface, the options for the worlds we could create were endless,” Pissenem explained. “We have a good relationship with ROE,” stated Van Empel, who added that as soon as the need for a transparent screen became clear, the Vanish 8 48
was always S Group’s first choice. “It meets our customers’ requests each and every time,” enthused the CEO. Also on display to run the content for the screen were two Resolume Arena media servers – one main and one backup at FOH. “It’s one of the main brands requested by VJs from the EDM world and was a natural choice for this project,” said Van Empel. As well as providing the impressive LED offering, the S Group also supplied a complete L-Acoustics rig of 48 K1s, 32 K1-SBs, 60 K2s, 40 KS28s, 18 KARAs and six SB18s. “We have a strong relationship with L-Acoustics and immediately proposed the K1/K2 system to the production,” stated Van Empel. The sound design proposed by System Tech, Alexandre Ly, was also directly dimensioned to the scale of the event and the size of the venue. Control came via a DiGiCo SD10. On the other end of the spectrum, S Group also provided an extensive lighting package made up of 121 Starway StrongLite HDs, 70 CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 4s, 20 Robe BMFL Blades, 129 MegaPointes, 18 LEDbeam 150s, 84 Claypaky Sharpys, 20 B-EYE K25s, 56 Ayrton MagicBladeFXs and four GLP impression X4 Bar 20s. Haze was provided by four MDG theONEs, with an MA Lighting grandMA3 light and a grandMA2 light for control.
he was due to perform for the entirety of the show,” opened WIcreations’ Geert Stockmans, who oversaw the project. “Then in the show’s main gag, he descended to the floor and the cube opened.” Stockmans revealed that WIcreations provided all the automation elements – the largest of which involved the LED cube splitting in two, allowing the DJ to roll towards the downstage edge on the company’s custom WI-wagon. Over the past few years, WIcreations has become the go-to company for creating the seamless opening and closing of LED panels using its own WImotion tracking system. “We’ve invested heavily in this technology since its use on the MTV EMAs in Spain in 2018,” stated Stockmans. “The idea was to ensure that no matter how closely you looked at the screen – even with a high-definition camera – you would not see the seam split. That show impressed a lot of video engineers around the world and has led to WIcreations being involved with a number of major performances.” Not only did these shows include all of the MTV EMAs, but the company was also brought on for the latest Beyoncé and JAY-Z On the Run II Tour. What Stockmans believed really separates WIcreations from other companies in this field was its attention to detail when handling this large project. “DJ Snake’s LED was a prime example, as it was 17m high,” he began. “When an LED screen is that high, you have to factor in a high degree of mechanical flexibility. An LED screen of that height is not ridged and will move. We have done a great deal of testing and utilised mechanical analysis software as well a real-world measurement to ensure our calculations are spot on and will create a seamless opening and closing of any LED screen.” Along with the knowledge and equipment, WIcreations also provided three technicians who were onsite at the Paris La Défense Arena to ensure a seamless automation delivery.
THE MOVEMENT As the concept for the show was based on the artist’s performance on top of the famed French monument, the idea of having his DJ booth at height was always on the cards. Belgium-based WIcreations, brought in by S Group, created a solution that saw DJ Snake elevated 12m in the air. “We had him play there for around 40 minutes so the audience would start to believe that was where 50
High Scream’s Romain Pissenem; WIcreations’ Geert Stockmans; S Group’s CEO, Léon Van Empel.
THE DESIGN A great deal of the design for this project was done under the High Scream roof. “We had Ian Tomlinson for High Scream working on Light Design alongside programmer, Rob Lister,” stated Pissenem. “We also created a lot of the content for the show as well as commissioning Ombra, Eyespop and Sugodesigntv to aid in the creation.” The High Scream team also worked closely with DJ Snake’s personal touring crew, which was essential as due to the nature of the show. Although there was a set list, everyone on the crew was aware that the artist may deviate depending on the crowd’s reaction. “In total, we created 45 different looks, which varied from the Arc de Triomphe, to clouds, to a massive TV,” stated Pissenem. “The show used a mixture a preprogramed looks designed specifically for certain tracks, but we were always ready in case there were any changes. All the crew had to
be incredibly focused. Thankfully, we had the help of DJ Snake’s Lighting Director, Rob Lister, along with VJ, Lorenzo De Pascalis of Ombra, both of whom were more than up for the challenge.” THE EFFECTS Having worked with High Scream for over eight years, BPM SFX has built a great working relationship with the show creators. “We were approached for this evet in late December 2019,” reflected BPM’s Managing Director, Adam Murray. “Romain and the High Scream team had a cool concept from the off and we already knew what kind of SFX and laser package proposal would fit the design after the first round of conversations.” Although both High Scream and the artist’s management presented ideas, Murray commended the production for allowing the conversation to be left open for BPM to give its input. “Romain is always happy to hear ideas
Vanish series V8 as used for AJ Tracey The Vanish LED screens are just one example of the excellent products ROE Visual manufactures. The Vanish V8 series offers optimal transparency for an unforgettable see-through experience. ROE Visual LED panels are recognized as the industry standard; with a range of LED solutions you have the freedom to create great visuals. Share our passion.
about what SFX and laser ideas we think will work within the design,” stated the Managing Director. Collectively, the company provided a huge range of effects including 18 Wave Flames, 12 stage pyro positions with 16 pyro hits including mines, gerbs and comets. A 40m waterfall effect and falling star sequence was also present. As well as plenty of confetti and streamer effects, with a total of 12 MagicFX Xtreme Stadium Shots and 12 XL Stadium Confetti Blasters, all alongside 12 PsyCO2 jets. A total of eight 30W Phaenon X Pro Laser Projectors were deployed, with four Le Maitre Freezefog Pro Low Smoke Generators. “Six of our crew went out,” stated Murray. “We had four overseeing SFX, with two looking after lasers, including Head SFX Tech and Operator, Danny Brelsford and Head Laser Operator, Danny Lait.” With such a dominant cube structure constructed out of LED, it would be natural to assume some issues in terms of SFX deployment. However, according to Murray, it was quite the contrary. “It was good to navigate a different kind of design and utilise that premier production piece on stage,” he commented. “It meant we could go to town in terms of framing the visuals, providing the cube with complimentary effects.” Giving an example, Murray referred to moments during the show when the pyro and lasers were colour-matched to the LED visuals and lighting looks on tracks. “The whole show stitched together to create complimentary looks,” he explained. Width and depth were also important for BPM. “We had waterfall effects spanning 20m in the wings either side, with flames spanning the whole width of the thrust, stage and wings,” stated Murray. “We then had confetti stadium blowers and stadium shots in the stage, wings and FOH, creating a totally immersive show for the whole crowd – not just the people in the front few rows,” he continued. Murray gave his final
thoughts on the show. “From our perspective, this was an outdoor stadiumsized rig. It was a great event on all counts, from video and lighting, to SFX, lasers and sound. Not only that, but it was great to have such a fabulous team to work with,” he enthused. “Romain and High Scream never say ‘it can’t be done’ – they look for solutions and want ideas,” he added. “They always want the optimum they can get out of a stage or area to produce the show, which makes it exciting for us to work on their projects.” Reflecting on the show, Pissenem explained how the whole team had one goal from the outset: to bring an historic monument into an arena setting. “Mission accomplished,” he laughed. “What we achieved with the show really exceeded our wildest expectations. I’m so happy with the High Scream team and the wider team.” Van Empel was equally complementary: “As usual, Romain is a master in ‘wow effect’ and, once again, he made it happen,” he commented. “The after movie published some days ago by the artist is the best proof of it and the best reward for us.” Pulling together a show of this scale in a mere five weeks is such a huge undertaking but, according to Pissenem, “the crew did exceptionally and all – amazingly – with a smile on their face.” He concluded: “This was a special moment to share in a show like this and, what’s more, a special moment for the world of electronic music.” TPi Photos: Anthony Ghnassia www.djsnake.com www.high-scream.com www.sgroup.fr www.wicreations.com www.bpm-sfx.com 52
Enlightened Sales and Business Development Manager, Joao-Paul Cavaco.
JOAO-PAUL CAVACO, ENLIGHTENED When Joao-Paul Cavaco, Sales and Business Development Manager significant role in my life – I met my wife, Victoria, co-promoting a at live events specialists Enlightened, attended a Pioneer Pro Audio dance music event in London – and I’ve been an admirer of Pioneer DJ’s showcase event in London, he might reasonably have expected to hear technology for a long time. Winning the NXS2 system was a dream come some good sounds, drink some good coffee (or maybe a cold beer), true, but I felt I might be able to achieve something of a positive doubleeat some good food and enjoy some stimulating whammy if I sold it…” conversation about sound systems. As anticipated, Feeling that the kit would be far more useful in JP, as he’s known to his friends and colleagues in the hands of an aspiring DJ, JP placed it up for sale, the industry, did indeed enjoy all of the above, but with an added twist to his motive: “Macmillan Cancer his day at immersive events space Aures London, Support provides invaluable help to a huge number of yielded more besides. people, myself included, and the proceeds from the As part of the proceedings, Pioneer Pro Audio sale of the NXS2 system has enabled me to make a entered everyone who attended the event into a draw substantial donation to the charity,” said JP. – the prize for which was a complete Pioneer DJ NXS2 “It’s impossible to overestimate the work done by system. Having enjoyed the event and returned home, Macmillan nurses in helping people through incredibly JP discovered the following day that not only had he difficult circumstances; being able to give something benefited from an informative day out, but he’d won back feels like an entirely natural thing to do.” www.macmillan.org the draw and was now the owner of the NXS2 setup. TPi “I was surprised to say the least,” recalled JP. Photo: Pioneer Pro Audio “Dance music culture has played an extremely www.macmillan.org
DONATE HERE 53
Owen McIlreavy After securing a full-time job at IPS, TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards Undergraduate of the Year, Owen McIlreavy, reflects on a successful 12 months...
McIlreavy weighed up his career options. “I went to many open days and third-level education events, with a view to studying a degree in structural and environmental engineering,” he explained. However, while he was intrigued by the prospect of a technical degree, his passion as a lighting designer took charge. “There’s something to be said for the adage ‘do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life’. I always found myself coming back to technical event production.” Looking into education for technical event production prospects in Ireland, McIlreavy found specialised institutions providing solely technical theatre degrees. “While I enjoyed doing school plays, I wanted to keep my options open, not limiting myself to one sector of the events industry,” he recalled. “This brought me to look overseas, where I found the Sound, Light and Live Event Technology BSc (Hons) course at the University of Derby.” Over the course of his degree, McIlreavy has spent the past few years studying the art of lighting design and garnering experience in all aspects of the live events industry. “What attracted me to this degree was the fact that it was a Bachelor of Science, providing me with the technical content that I wanted, in a subject that I had a real interest in,” he enthused. “After attending an open day, seeing the halls of residence and dedicated facilities the university had available, I had finally found a course that I knew I would enjoy doing.” McIlreavy highlighted the importance of planning and organisation as the building blocks of success. “At university and during my brief time in the industry, I have learnt the importance of planning ahead and staying organised. As the degree has progressed, time management has become increasingly important. Planned correctly, you have time to do everything you want to on site to prepare equipment correctly and make detailed plans to load in and troubleshoot any problems as they arise in a safe and timely manner,” he added. “Even if this involves testing ideas beforehand.” Having worked with IPS for the past two summers, McIlreavy was fortunate enough to gain experience on range of events, including festivals and gigs. He commented: “One of the regular productions I have been involved with is the events put on for Harper Adams University, where IPS provides full production.” McIlreavy also played a key role in IPS’ biggest event of the year, the Summer Ball, where he performed Lighting Technician and Operator duties. He noted: “I really enjoy seeing a show through, from design to implementation. Being offered these smaller, full production gigs is a great way to be introduced to technical planning and project management.” He pinpointed last year’s freshers’ event as a clear favourite on his everexpanding University of Derby events portfolio. “Our course was tasked with providing full production for all the freshers for two weeks. Earlier that summer, the course had received new CHAUVET Professional and
Owen McIlreavy developed an interest for live events while studying at Midleton College in his native Cork, Ireland. The motto of the College, ‘Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna’ (‘You were born with talents, develop them’) certainly rings true for this live events professional, who, during his brief time in the industry, has already spent the past few years plying his trade as a Technical Stage Manager at University of Derby’s Union of Students as well as a post as Summer Staff at IPS – a role which saw him go on to win TPi Breakthrough Talent Awards Undergraduate of the Year at Production Futures 2019. Having recently secured a full-time job at IPS, he sat down with TPi to reflect on the breakthrough year. During his third year at school – having been involved in the technical aspects of his peers’ school plays for several years – McIlreavy’s passion and creativity for lighting design and operation became a reality. “One of my friends started a DJ company and asked me to help do the lights,” he began. “We started doing discos, going on to provide technical production for charities, county councils and other private events.” It was here, on the job, where McIlreavy learnt the basics of lighting control, design and operation. “At that stage I didn’t think it would end up being a full-time career,” he reflected. After completing secondary school,
LSU LED Screen Support Robe lighting fixtures, as well as Allen & Heath digital sound desks. Having this new equipment available allowed us to create the kind of events that had never been seen before at the student’s union venue,” he continued. “Working with DJs, bands, comedy acts and talks over the two weeks, I got experience in a wide range of event types, which improved my people, technical and logistical skills.” McIlreavy walked TPi through the barriers he faced, while looking to get a foothold in the extremely competitive live events sector. “I didn’t know anybody in the UK, so I had to start from scratch, making connections,” he acknowledged. “The university helped, bringing us on a couple of company site visits a year, or getting in guest speakers from professional events companies.” His first “big break” came when he took part in IPS’ summer staff programme following his first year at university. “These schemes are brilliant for people in or just out of education, as well as people trying to get into the industry,” he explained. “Summer is a busy time for production companies, so they need extra hands. While some of the work may be menial or not the ‘exciting events’ you originally thought at first, it is 100% worth it to give it your all and prove yourself, as it will be recognised.” Asked about his biggest inspirations in the industry, he said: “It’s always nice to see other people’s workflow and processes in creating a show, and I’ve found myself using some of these process and workflows later in my own programming. It’s much appreciated when someone lets you look over their shoulder. Jonathan Pask and Tom Denny are two operators who have been very accommodating.” He referenced help and guidance of Prodigy FOH Tech, Jon Burton who is now a lecturer at the University of Derby. “He has given me a lot of valuable advice, particularly on how to conduct myself within the professional events industry.” McIlreavy also noted award-winning Lighting Designer, Paul Kell as a big influence. “After coming into my university to give a talk on lighting design, I have stayed in touch with
him. He has given me invaluable advice on how I should go about entering the industry as a professional,” he added. “I like to keep an eye on how certain lighting looks or effects are achieved and who designed them,” he said. “However, I don’t want to focus on the work of a small group of people at the top. If I see someone producing a good show, I will follow them and keep an eye on their future work. I like to take different parts of different shows and combine them into my own creation.” Having been named TPi Breakthrough Talent Undergraduate of the Year, McIlreavy shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, resting on his laurels is the last thing he wants. “It’s great to get recognised for the work that I have done, but it’s much easier to do good work when you have such a supportive company like IPS to do it with. I have had a few people congratulate me on the award, and it has certainly turned people’s heads more,” he declared. “TPi is a well-recognised professional body, and to be associated with them has and will help me in my career progression. That said, I want people to associate me with the work that I have done, rather than the award,” he added. “While the award has certainly exposed me to the industry, which is very much appreciated, I am still going to work hard and produce the best work I can – without doing so I would not have got the award in the first place.” Looking to the future, McIlreavy has secured a permanent position at IPS as a Lighting Technician. “I hope to expand my technical and practical knowledge through warehouse, on-site and design work. I also wish to continue official, accredited training in lighting desk operation, design software, vehicle licences and fixture maintenance and repair,” he concluded. “IPS has been very accommodating for me, and I would like to give back after the fantastic opportunities the company has given me.” TPi Photos: Owen McIlreavy & TPi www.ips.co.uk www.productionfutures.co.uk
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AVOLITES AI V12.1 & Q-SERIES MEDIA SERVERS
Avolites makes further strides in the integration of lighting and video with the introduction of Ai v12.1 and the Q-Series of media servers. TPi visits the company’s Park Royal, London, HQ to speak to some of the people responsible for bringing the products to market.
Although Avolites’ heritage is very much in lighting control, the company has made significant steps into the world of video control over the past decade. With products such as the Q3 media server, not to mention its acclaimed Ai software with protocols such as Synergy, Avolites increasingly caters to an entertainment world where lighting and video are ever more integrated. This year marks an interesting milestone for Avolites, with an updated range of media servers: the Qgen, Q4, Q3Pro and Q3. As video content and projection mapping became ubiquitous in both live performances and installations, and the Synergy feature set made integrating video into designs even easier, the next step for Avolites was to create the ideal hardware to complement its powerful Ai software. Starting the conversation during TPi’s visit was Technical Director, JB Toby. “Avolites has been working on the integration of video and lighting for
some time,” began Toby. “There are a growing group of people that really understand the importance of a central point of control within a show or project, with lighting and video all going to and being sent out via one source. Now more than ever, we can offer the tools to make this possible.” Having been with the company since the early ’90s, Toby has been on the front line of Avolites’ transition to offering a full visual package rather than purely lighting. “We were lucky in many ways that when we started to look into video, we had many at the company who already had a fair bit of experience in the field,” he stated. Toby recalled how the company had a “real trial by fire” during the London 2012 Olympic Games, but since then – especially with the introduction of Ai to the market – Avolites has been able to gain “a secure footing into this side of the visual landscape”. The Technical Director went on to express what he thought Avolites added to visual landscape. “At the higher end of the industry, the 56
Avolites Technical Director, JB Toby; Avolites Ai Lead Software Developer, Ciaran Abrams; Avolites Software Developer, Peter Bridgeman; Avolites Sales Engineer, Ron Carrington.
equipment being used to run video elements of shows was never really intended for that environment. As we come from lighting and have a long history within this world, we know the importance of flexible programming which, in turn, makes it more functional in the live environment.” Q-SERIES Toby expanded on the latest addition to Avolites’ media server offering. “The Qgen and the Q4 are our new flagship media servers,” he stated. The Qgen has been developed to produce generative content with more focus on the processing and GPU power. The Q4 on the other hand offers more outputs to users with four, 4K outputs and separate GUI output giving users very highresolution media playback for large-sized tours, corporate events and installations. Further down the range are the Q3 and the Q3pro. For this latest release, the Q3 has received a facelift, now featuring one 4K output and two HD outputs with separate GUI output, as well as new EDID-managed HDMI outputs. The Q3pro meanwhile is a portable server for more demanding shows, with two 4K outputs and one HD, along with EDID-managed HDMI outputs. Speaking more about generative capabilities of the Qgen was Peter Bridgeman, Avolites Software Developer. “We have been very conscious with
all updates on the media servers to be able to support the workloads of end users,” he began. “With Qgen, the overriding principle was to provide fantastic hardware and software to produce generative content.” A look inside one of the Qgens on the production line gave TPi a chance to see one of reasons for its power – namely the powerful NVidia GPU, which delivers approximately 30,000 Notch marks. When released, the Qgen will also come with a two-year Notch Licence. “At the higher end of the “It’s a real value add for the Qgen,” stated industry, the equipment being Bridgeman. “You receive a full turnkey solution that enables you to hit the ground running in used to run video elements producing generative shows.” He went on to of shows was never really explain that as well as benefitting end users, the intended for that environment. two-year licence will also benefit the rental houses stocking servers, as they will be able to offer a As we come from lighting product that is ready to deliver to clients straight away, without the need for further investment in and have a long history additional licences. within this world, we know “Reliability and build quality of our products has been of the utmost importance for us,” Toby the importance of flexible asserted. “A good example of this is with the Qgen programming which, in turn, and Q4, both of which are built in suspended frames to protect the delicate parts inside.” makes it more functional in As Toby pointed out, these pieces of kit are the live environment.” designed for the entertainment world and have JB Toby, Technical Director to be absolutely tour ready. The exterior of all the 57
media servers also had an additional benefit in that it serviced a request that had come from various customers. “Many of our customers have complained about the number of input types they have to deal with,” he stated. “Although other media servers give the option to change the effects card for different input types, this often means opening the box. With the new Q-range, you can change the input type all on the exterior depending on the job.” AI V12.1 Along with a selection of hardware, the Avolites team were also were excited to announce the release of the new version of Ai Software. Talking through some of the latest developments was Ai Lead Software Developer, Ciaran Abrams. Among a selection of upgrades, Ai v12.1 has seen a whole update of the ordinal code base so as to support 64-bit architecture. “This has been one of the biggest demands from our customers, which has certainly been inspired by the use of Notch,” stated Abrams. “This also means that you can get more memory out of your system and have larger content files.” The new version also supports audio standards 5.1 and 7.1, providing additional audio channels, which makes it ideal for corporate events and art installations, while the AMD Texture Upload
enables users to have additional layers when used in conjunction with an AMD graphics card. One of the other new elements of v12.1, which Abrams gave a hands-on demo of, was the Pioneer PRO DJ LINK Bridge integration. As an official partner of Pioneer PRO DJ, the company has developed a tight integration with PRO DJ LINK BRIDGE-compatible products such as the CDJ-TOUR1, DJM-TOUR1, CDJ-2000NXS2, and DJM-900NXS2. What this means for end users is a greater overview of what the DJ is doing behind the desk, offering real-time information from the BPM of the track, to wave forms of upcoming tracks as well as the song names that are next in the cue. “There is a lot of information for our users,” enthused Abrams. “Designers can have their “All of our products, old and designs speed up and slow down automatically new, have always worked well depending on the mix.”
with other brands. But when you use all the Avolites pieces together, with developments such as Synergy, it can really take a live performance to the next level.” Ron Carrington, Sales Engineer 58
A LOOK TO THE FUTURE While speaking to the Avolites team, it was clear that this was very much the first chapter in the company’s development of tools that will continue to meld the worlds of lighting and video. Giving his take on the company’s latest developments was Sales Engineer, Ron Carrington. “All of our products, both old and new, have always worked well with other brands. But when you use
all the Avolites pieces together, with developments such as Synergy, it can “Our Ai Software is compatible throughout the range, from a laptop all really take a live performance to the next level,” he commented. From a the way to the new Q4 and Qgen.” It’s a statement that was echoed by sales perspective, he also made the case that the latest line of products has Bridgeman. “Our software is compatible throughout our range so as not very much been designed with the “global market” in mind. to limit designers,” he commented. “Our customers don’t design a show “In many ways, the Asian market has been thinking about the limits of the tool they have at ahead when it comes to the utilising video in their disposal. Therefore, we want to create tools entertainment, while the West is catching up,” that allow creatives to express themselves and not he explained. “When we create products, we are worry about having the biggest desk or server.” not just thinking about certain regions or vertical In conclusion, Toby expressed what he markets. The Q-Series can find thought this latest offering would bring to the a place in multiple markets.” live environment. “With an increased number of Carrington went on to explain that flexibility timecode-dependent shows, artists are looking for “Our software is compatible was also vital when selling these products. “We more spontaneity and creativity within the shows, throughout our range so as are seeing trends in the market where large artists which is just what the Q-Series – particularly are becoming interested in playing smaller, more the Qgen – along with Ai v12.1, enables. We are not to limit designers. Our intimate shows yet still wanting the same arenaempowering designers to be ‘perfect’ in an customers don’t design a standard visual show. We’re also seeing newer imperfect world and helping to make the visual artists being propelled onto the biggest stages show thinking about the limits canvas of lighting and video as one entity.” very quickly. In both cases, having solutions that The entire range of Q-Series will begin shipping of the tool they have at their are scalable is of the utmost importance.” late Spring 2020, while the new version of Ai v12.1 is He continued by explaining that one available mid-April from the Avolites website. disposal.” misconception about this type of technology was TPi Peter Bridgeman, that the entry point was too high for many smaller Photos: Avolites acts. “It’s not as high as you might think,” he said. www.avolites.com Software Developer 59
FUTURE INSIGHTS The latest product releases and announcements.
AMATE AUDIO Amate Audio has launched the LMS608 loudspeaker management processor platform. Employing a 64-bit DSP architecture, LMS608 provides continuous ‘round the clock’ operation and uncompromising performance in the most adverse application environments. With four analogue inputs, a two-channel AES/EBU digital input, and eight analogue outputs, all on balanced XLRs, the 1U 19 rackmount LMS608 offers advanced system configuration capabilities comparable with Amate Audio’s NÍTID active loudspeaker series for the management of large-scale passive sound reinforcement systems. www.amateaudio.com
AYRTON Ayrton has unveiled Domino – an IP65-rated fixture that delivers a massive 50,000 lumens from its 1000W LED source. Combining the output of Huracan, the feature set of Khamsin and the weatherproofing features of Perseo, the Domino is equipped with a liquid cooling system with six submersible fans outside its weatherproof enclosure. The company has also introduced its ultra-compact 300W LED beam-spot, Karif-LT – the first in Ayrton’s new line of LT (Long Throw) products dedicated to long-range applications. Equipped with a 168mm frontal lens offering a zoom ratio of 15:1 and a 3°-45° zoom range, the fixture has an overall output of 13,000 lumens and a centrebeam luminous intensity of 3.5 million candelas. www.ayrton.eu
CHAUVET PROFESSIONAL Ideal for studios, recital halls, theatres or other applications where absolute quietness is essential, the new CHAUVET Professional Maverick Silens 2 Profile is 100% convection-cooled and virtually silent. A 560W LED moving head, the fixture packs ground-breaking features like CMY+CTO colour mixing with CRI, R9, CQS, and TLCI all between 91 and 97, and 16-bit dimming with selectable red shift. www.chauvetprofessional.com
DISGUISE disguise has released the r17.1 update to its software, coinciding with the launch of a six-month free licence for its Designer software. The significant workflow improvements introduced in r17.1 enhance the ease of use for specialists delivering augmented reality (AR) experiences with disguise. The disguise solution provides full 3D simulation and camera planning tools that allow workflow specialists to pre-visualise and imagine every pixel of an AR experience ahead of time. www.disguise.one
EUROLITE Eurolite has expanded its KLS series with the KLS-902 Next. Boasting fanless operation and strong performance at a weight of just under 10kg, the fixture has a total of 20 modern four-in-one LEDs in red, green, blue and warm white, at 7W each. The KLS-902 Next can be operated with DMX, but can also be used in stand-alone mode or via music control. www.steinigke.de
LECTROSONICS Lectrosonics has introduced a new miniature IFB (Interruptible Foldback) Receiver pack, the IFBR1B, as well as the companion CHSIFBR1B Dock Charging System. The next-generation receiver unit is nearly half the size and weight of the industry-standard IFBR1A receiver that it is replacing and uses a slim 3.7V LB-50 rechargeable lithium ion battery instead of the archaic 9V type. www.lectrosonics.com
MAGMATIC Magmatic has started shipping the first snow machine in its Polar series of snow effects: Polar Crisp. Compact and lightweight, Crisp is capable of producing high volumes of naturalistic snow with the capacity to adjust snowflake size for greater versatility. Small flake or large, short throw or long, this 1250W high-volume snow machine can project snow up to 12m, with the flexibility to adjust to the occasion. www.elationlighting.com
MARTIN AUDIO Martin Audio has released two new compact, high-performance cardioid subwoofers: the SXCF118 and the SXC115. The SXCF118 is a flyable version of the SXC118 released last year and has been designed to accompany the WPS optimised line array system, while the ground stack SXC115 is set to partner WPM. The SXCF118 features a 460mm forward-facing driver and a 356mm rear-facing driver, each driven independently by separate amplifier channels and DSP; while the SXC115 contains a 380mm front-facing driver and 300mm rear-facing driver, each driven, again, independently by separate amplifier channels and DSP. www.martin-audio.com
TRIPLE E Triple E has launched a re-designed Rearfold accessory for its industrystandard UniTrack and UniBeam carriers. The curtain carrier body of the UniTrack and UniBeam has in recent years changed from steel to an MRP (metal replacement polymer) moulding that is stronger and lighter than the metal it replaced. To complement the re-designed runner, the new Rearfold accessory has been updated with a moulded re-developed rope bridge with snap-in fasteners, making it much quicker to fit whilst also improving the efficiency of the carrier. www.triplee.ltd
VARI-LITE Vari-Lite has released an update to its VL5: the VL5LED WASH. Packing a host of modern features, the fixture is equipped with the Dichro*fusion blades, first seen in the VL6500 WASH, while the RGBALC colour system provides a wide range of rich colour options. A separate ring of LEDs light up the Dichro*fusion blades a different colour than the light coming from source engine, which provides further visual options. www.vari-lite.com
VNS VNS has introduced a unique, pure-hardware, non-PC, 10-bit, HDR10 front-end intelligent processor solution. Intended to create more possibilities for large display installations, the GeoBox G901 processes 4K, 60Hz inputs/outputs for LCD or LED video walls, or projection edgeblending systems. The super-flexible, multipurpose, bit-for-bit G901 video processor places and controls secondary PIP or POP imagery (any digital input source in any format) onto projection-blended or video wall installations, without the need for a separate PC. www.vnstw.com
RORY STEWART, PK SOUND PK Sound’s Production & Sales Manager, Rory Stewart retraces the company’s roots and relationship with Electric Daisy Carnival…
As a wholly owner-operated sound manufacturing, touring, event production and rental company, PK Sound has garnered a reputation for its full-bodied and intelligible sound. “I first came across PK Sound at Shambhala Music Festival in 2005,” the company’s Production and Sales Manager, Rory Stewart, told TPi. “I started working with the brand at the same festival four years later.” In 2012, Stewart was invited to become a part owner of PK Sound. Despite the title, he still enjoys rolling up his sleeves to work on some of the biggest festivals on the PK Sound events calendar. “I have been working at EDC Las Vegas for the past five years, as well as FOH and Lead System Tech at EDC Mexico’s Main Stage for the past two years, alongside a colleague and good friend of mine, Bryan Andres,” he shared. As one of the largest electronic dance music festival brands on the planet, Stewart acknowledged the primary demands from both the artists and organisers of EDC. He said: “Typically, one of the biggest demands for a festival like EDC from both an artist’s and organiser’s standpoint is having a consistent audio coverage over the entire audience listening area.”
He furthered: “When you are trying to cover a crowd upwards of 100,000 people over an area of 250,000 sq ft, it can be a little tricky.” Back in 2015, PK Sound was chosen as the audio solution for the Basspod Stage at Insomniac’s EDC Las Vegas, which gave the company an opportunity to launch its advanced robotic line array, Trinity. “We rolled out the prototypes on multiple music tours and festivals,” Stewart said of the technology, which was finishing development in 2014. “We were ready for the official launch. Thankfully, Insomniac gave us the opportunity to do something big for it.” The opportunity of a lifetime saw PK Sound debut the system at the largest North American electronic event of the year. “They were happy with the results at EDC Las Vegas and, in 2016, we were brought on to deliver sound for EDC Mexico.” This year’s deployment on the main stage EDC Mexico consisted of 88 PK Trinity large format advanced robotic line array: two main left and right hangs (12 per side); two main left and right lateral extensions (14 per hang); four sets of mid-field FOH delays (eight per hang); a set of four-box ground 64
stacked VIP delays; 28 PK Trinity10s; two far-field delays for the inside left and right (12 per hang); a four-box hang VIP delay; 24 PK VX10s; two far-field delays for the outside left and right (12 per hang); and four PK VX12 front fills. Subwoofers came in the shape of 33 PK CX800s for the centre subwall cluster; 48 PK Gravity 218s for the outside subwall cluster; two PK Gravity 218s for the VIP area delay; 12 PK Gravity 30s for the mid-field FOH delays; and a pair of PK Gravity 30s for the VIP area delay. “Some of the audio engineers at the festival are already very familiar with our products, but generally the ones who are not familiar with PK Sound come in quite sceptical of it at first. However, usually by the time they are finished with soundcheck, they are pleasantly surprised with the performance of the box and are vocally curious as to why they are not more familiar with us as a company,” Stewart enthused. One of the major selling points of PK Sound’s technology in recent years has been its ability to remote steer the PA system. Stewart walked TPi through the real-world benefits of the technology, specifically in an outdoor environment. “The steerable technology has so many real-world benefits,” he commented, referencing EDC Mexico, where the audio team was faced with having two of its main PA hangs over 80ft in the air, and only 40ft apart. “Our other two main PA hangs had a trim height of roughly 40ft and were around 80ft away from the centre main hangs,” Stewart added. He furthered: “With Trinity being a 120° wide box throw by default, this created a lot of overlap between the four different hangs. Being able to narrow the centre two hangs to 70° wide each, and then individually adjust the width of the throw on the outside two hangs helped clear up an immense amount of overlap and bleed in certain areas, and ultimately focused each hang exactly where we needed it to throw.” Another huge benefit for engineers is the ability to utilise the remotely adjustable horn flares to steer audio away from other stages, or residential areas. Stewart commented: “Being able to focus the audio directly into your preferred audience area and having control of this feature while the speakers have already been deployed/flown and are no longer physically accessible is a feature no one else has at the moment.” Stewart outlined PK’s Kontrol “easy to use” software as another plus point. “It’s quite intuitive,” he said. “We have IR sensors installed in every box, which allows for the software to automatically align the arrays and sub clusters into groups as they are placed in the real world. The remote control of the vertical and horizontal angle manipulation is very easy to use and can even be adjusted while music is playing, or the show is going on.” The remote monitoring is also very detailed and displays the input levels, as well as the four different output levels and whether any or each of the four different output zones are reaching limits and if so, exactly how
much compression/limiting is engaging per zone. “There is up to 16 multiassignable five-band parametric EQ within the software, which also allows you control of gain boosting or shading for each individual cabinet, as well as some predefined EQ options/settings,” he noted. “Other features include a built-in rigging safety calculator, being able to measure flybar angles, amplifier temperature, and so much more.” Wrapping up a successful run with EDC, Stewart reflected on the prospect of an uncertain future. “We were about to have a really busy spring and summer with five tours and events in the works for April and May, all of which have now been postponed due to COVID-19,” he concluded. “We are all hoping these precautionary measures will curb the spread so festivals can continue to operate as normal throughout the summer period.” TPi Photos: PK Sound www.pksound.com www.lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com 65
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To our members, thank you for being there. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you To the PSA Council, the volunteers teaming up to gather, analyse and consolidate information, thank you Thank you to the Business Visits and Events Partnership, the Events Industry Forum and the UK Live Music Group. We’ve been partners with industry stakeholders for many years – groups that are proving to be greater than the sum of their parts. Thanks especially to Crew Cover and Live Insurance. Our partnership has enabled the growth that has given us our voice Stay well
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4Wall Entertainment welcomes the acquisition of Smart AV.
4Wall Entertainment has acquired Smart AV. “In the midst of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, joining 4Wall is a very exciting step forward for Smart AV, our clients and the wider industry,” said Founder and CEO of Smart AV, Darren Poultney, who will assume the role of Director of Global Client Strategy for 4Wall. “We have brought together two growing AV companies, who are both leaders in the industry, and together have the strength to bring about positive change and help lead the recovery process.” Wes Bailey, President and COO of 4Wall, added: “We knew from the moment we met Darren and his team that Smart AV was a perfect fit for 4Wall.” Adlib has made a sizeable investment in Ayrton fixtures, adding Khamsin-S, Bora-S and Diablo LED profiles and wash lights to its inventory, purchased from Ambersphere, Ayrton’s exclusive UK distributor. “We were looking to add some big, powerful LED fixtures that were bright enough to handle the areas that we are growing into,” commented Adlib’s Head of Lighting and Video, Tom Edwards. “The Ayrton products ticked all of the boxes.”
Dallas-based Freeman has also made a major investment in Ayrton, purchasing GHIBLI LED spot luminaire lights from Ayrton’s exclusive North America distributor, ACT Lighting. “We spent a year looking for the best and newest technology to offer our clients,” said John Leonard, National Director of Lighting Services at Freeman. “These lights fit all our parameters. Witnessing the benefits up close made the decision easy.” Bubble Agency has appointed Laura Cabarcos as an Account Director. Sadie Groom, Managing Director, Bubble Agency, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Laura as our newest Account Director. Laura’s vast experience, exceptional client management, knowledge of the entertainment sector and networking abilities make her a fantastic addition to our Bubble team, which continues to grow globally.” CPL has made major investments in a selection of lighting and video products. This includes the acquisition Barco UDM 4K22 projectors, Portman P1 Mini LED fixtures, Astera Titan Tubes and OXO Pixyline 150 LED battens. This is in addition to the 40 new Robe LEDBeam 150 wash beam 68
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Ambersphere’s Rob Beamer with Adlib’s Tom Edwards with some of the Liverpool-based company’s new Ayrton fixtures.
Enlightened has made a significant investment in its audio rental inventory, adding NEXO’s new P+ Series compact point source loudspeakers, L15 sub bass cabinets, and NXAMP4x2Mk2 amplifiers. Audio Specialist, Matt Shelbourn explained: “Enlightened has had NEXO’s popular PS series in rental stock for over 10 years. Over that time, they have proven to be great-sounding, reliable boxes that are popular with our clients. For these reasons, we chose to invest again in the NEXO brand.” Eurotruss Group has added the full NEXT Truss product line to the Eurotruss office and warehouse in Hövelhof, Germany. “NEXT Truss is a
moving lights that joined the CPL lighting inventory in December 2019. ELC Lighting has appointed Erikson Pro to exclusively represent both the ELC and Green-GO product lines in Canada, while in Israel, Danor Lighting Systems has taken on representation of the ELC Lighting range. “Each of these companies is a leader in its own market, committed to delivering innovative solutions to meet its customers’ challenges,” Silvio Cibien, Sales Manager for ELC and Green-GO, commented. “We are delighted to include them in our global sales network, and we look forward to working with them.”
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Bubble Agency Account Director, Laura Cabarcos; CPL invests in more new lighting and video technology; INFiLED Sr. Business Development Manager, Laurent Samama; Danor Technical Director, Shimshon Jehuda, and VP of Marketing and Purchasing, Erez Hadar; Eurotruss adds Next Truss to its growing portfolio.
LEA Professional has partnered with Soluciones Proactive Latin América, which will represent the brand’s full suite of products in Latin America. “We are proud to add S. Proactive Latin America to our growing network of global sales representatives and distribution partners,” said Scott Robbins, VP of Sales for LEA Professional. “We have ambitious growth plans for LEA over the coming months and this partnership further strengthens our global presence.” PMC Owner and Chairman, Peter Thomas, will assume the role of Manager Director, following Tim Ireland’s departure. “We would like to thank Tim for his endeavours and wish him well for the future,” Thomas said. “During his two years with PMC, he has overseen some great changes and steered a steady course, keeping our objectives clearly in focus while upholding the values of our brand.” The company has also appointed Mastering Mansion Pro Audio as its distributor in Madrid. Point Source Audio has made three new appointments, with Joe Cota joining as Customer Education Specialist, Justin Hall becoming Key Account Manager and Mitchell Ho being named as Account Manager, Western US. We are delighted to welcome all three of these highly talented individuals into our Point Source Audio family,” commented James Lamb, President at Point Source Audio. POLAR has added ClearOne to its portfolio. “ClearOne has an incredibly strong reputation for innovation in the sector, so we’re pleased to be partnering with another highly respected company,” commented
great addition to our product range, and we are now able to serve also clients who carry other truss types than Eurotruss,” commented Matthias Bohnenpoll, MD, Eurotruss. “Our new office and warehouse facility in Hövelhof and it is strategically located to satisfy demand and allow for quicker delivery times and technical support to satisfy their demands.” GLS Lighting has invested in Elation Professional Artiste Picasso LED profile moving heads, along with multifunctional Paladin Panel lights. “Elation is, in my opinion, one of the most exciting brands out there today,” stated Ian Turner, one of two Founding Directors at GLS. “Everyone has been waiting for a product to do what Picasso does.” INFiLED has opened a new service centre in California, USA. “America is a major market, with many of our key customers having headquarters here,” said Eddie Guo, CEO of INFI Group. The company has also hired Laurent Samama as Senior Business Development Manager for France, Switzerland and North Africa. “We are delighted to welcome Laurent,” said Marco Bruines, Senior Vice President of INFiLED EMEA. “Following our continued growth, Laurent is an excellent addition to the EMEA sales team bringing his proven track record of business leadership and strong customer focus.” Jetwave Wireless has opened a brand new, New York City-area facility. “The New York City metropolitan market is incredibly important to our business model,” said Jetwave Wireless Founder, Jim Dugan. “Being able to build a local shop is a game changer for us and our clients in the region.” 70
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Jetwave Wireless’ opens a New York City-area facility; Technotrix joins L-Acoustics rental network as new certified provider; PMC appoints Mastering Mansion Pro Audio as its distributor in Madrid; PMC’s new owner and chairman, Peter Thomas.
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POLAR MI Business Development Manager, Adam Hall; PROEL UK & Ireland Sales Manager, Chris Walton; RCF appoints Tommex as Polish distributor; Kelly Prince, Philip Giffard, David Shoemaker, Rod Sintow, Martin Tremblay, Frank Snipes; Solotech’s Paul ‘Macca’ McCauley with Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall.
Integrated Solutions Division Director, Stuart Leader. The company has also appointed Adam Hall to the post of Business Development Manager for MI. Tim Riley, Brand Development Director, said: “Adam has a genuine interest in, and thorough understanding of, the products we distribute. His experience as a musician and producer informs a real passion for the kit, as well as giving him valuable insights into where things fit in the market.” PROEL has appointed Chris Walton as UK & Ireland Sales Manager for its Commercial Audio and Evac divisions and for the brand Axiom Pro Audio. “We trust Chris will help us to improve the engagement with our end-users, and improve our presence, not only under a promotional point of view, but also as a technical assistance perspective,” commented Elio Caia, Axiom International Sales Manager. PSI in Ireland has invested in a large stock of Elation Professional lighting, including Artiste and IP65 Proteus series moving heads. “After looking at many of the manufacturers out there, I felt like Elation had the best to offer,” said Brian Reilly, Managing Director at PSI. “We invest with a focus on return on investment and want fixtures that are market leaders.” RCF has appointed Tommex as Polish distributor for its Installed Sound, Commercial Audio and Voice Alarm EN54 product lines. Tommex’s Commercial Director, Marcin Zimny, stated that the move resulted from changes in the ownership structure and distribution strategy of their existing long-term loudspeaker partner. “This meant we were looking for a new partner with a high-quality installation range, that could complement our portfolio; RCF provided a great opportunity and was an exact match.” Solotech has extended its video department into the UK and has opened new offices in Central London. The company has appointed Ian ‘Woody’ Woodall as Director of Video and Paul ‘Macca’ McCauley as Video
Business Development Manager in the UK and European markets. Mickey Curbishley, President Live Productions Division at Solotech, commented: “Projects across the board now increasingly call for a 360° service, where a single vendor supplies sound, lights and video. This is equally applicable in both live production touring and the sales and integration markets. Our ultimate aim is to become the preferred 360° vendor in the UK. Delivering the right equipment, with the right people at the right price will enable us to achieve that goal.” Solotech has also acquired Pro Sound including its Stage Equipment and Lighting (SEAL) brand as well as affiliates, Pro Sound CA and Show Systems. “Pro Sound and its divisions have an incredibly strong reputation in the North American marketplace,” stated Martin Tremblay, President and CEO Solotech. Pro Sound & Video, Stage Equipment and Lighting and Show Systems will each continue to operate under their current names, with the upcoming unified branding of ‘A Solotech Company’. Joining the senior management of Solotech, Rod Sintow continues his role as CEO of Pro Sound and will work closely with Philip Giffard, President of the Sales and Systems Integration Division at Solotech, and Mickey Curbishley, President, Live Productions, USA and UK. Technotrix has become an L-Acoustics Certified Provider for the rental market, expanding its equipment inventory with its first L-Acoustics purchase – a “K Standard” Kara package. The time had come for us to expand our inventory, so we decided to diversify our offerings to meet what our clients were asking for, which was L-Acoustics,” commented Technotrix Audio Department Manager, Brent Bernhardt. TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk/job-opportunities/ 72
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LAWRENCE WRIGHT General Manager of ER Productions’ US office.
What sparked your interest in the events sector? I have always had an interest in the technical side of live entertainment – the school disco lighting rig had my attention more than the cheesy music being played. Having had to ‘act’ in school for drama class, I realised quickly my preference was being on the other end of the multicore or backstage. After working for a few local school theatre productions, I discovered a creative outlet in lighting design, programming and operation – I recall spending many hours programming a Zero88 FatFrog.
What are the differences between the US and UK market from a special effects and lasers perspective? The sheer size of the USA and logistics is interesting to master. For example, when we ship something to Italy, it gets there quicker than a coast-to-coast shipment in the USA. There are great people working in this industry on both sides of the pond; with such an international business we work in, I was quick to adapt and embrace the differences. What are the favourite shows that you’ve worked on? Zayn Malik’s Like I Would music video, America’s Got Talent, Calvin Harris’ 2017 Tour and Coachella set, as well as helping set a Guinness World Record at LDI 2017 by pixel-mapping 317 lasers.
How did you get your start in the world of lasers? I had my first exposure to lasers while working at Ministry of Sound nightclub in London. We owned two Martin 1.6W lasers, which I started to learn to use and maintain, as well as the safety associated with them. After four years, I discovered what was then a small three-person operation called ER Productions and the rest, as they say, is history...
What are some of the most exciting developments in the special effects sector? Laser and diode technology have come on significantly; units are now smaller, lighter and consume less power. This has opened doors for designers to put lasers where we previously would never have thought possible. The reliability of equipment has made shows easier. At ER, we’re always developing new effects products, with a dedicated team working solely on bringing our ideas from paper to life, ready to go onto the next show.
What was your first role in the company? I was a laser technician, with probably the craziest first day ever in a job. Upon arrival, I loaded up a Ford Transit packed to the max with equipment, was given a plastic folder with documents at lunchtime and began the drive to Ibiza for an eight-month posting – learning programming and operating lasers, mastering load-ins and load outs. 74
Come see for yourself. The S-Series. Adamsonâ€™s commitment to technology and design means you can deliver unparalleled sonic performance and power to your audience.
The Script, Mura Masa, DJ Snake, Dream Theatre, BME Sessions, Fighting COVID-19.