TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL
WWW.TPiMAGAZINE.COM JANUARY 2016
LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • JANUARY 2016 • ISSUE 197
BRING ME THE HORIZON THAT’S THE SPIRIT... OF LIFE ON THE ROAD
CAN YOU FIX THE BROKEN?
THE PRODIGY • ANE BRUN • DISCLOSURE • IN PROFILE: JOHN HENRY’S IN THE SPOTLIGHT: FOCUSRITE • THE UK FESTIVAL AWARDS
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CAKE OR DEATH? (OR TWINS?) “Eddie! Eddie! EDDIE! Oh my God man, I don’t know how I ever made it to my uni classes because I used to watch your standup on, like, repeat mate. I also had the munchies for three years, so the answer was always cake. But, basically, I love you even more than cake.” At least that’s how I think the transcription might have gone as I rather tipsily stalked Eddie Izzard at one of our events, the UK Festival Awards. I’m usually so well behaved if I happen to meet a famous person (I had an accidental beer with Keanu Reeves once - I’d tell you more but I’m still traumatised from having been clad in an Itchy and Scratchy Simpsons t-shirt) yet I had to take the opportunity to insist on a hug with Eddie. He was presenting Peter Gabriel with The Outstanding Contribution Award for his efforts with WOMAD, and I was generally losing my teenage self’s mind. I think he replied to my outburst with something along the lines of: “That’s very kind of you, I hope you passed.” I swear there was a sarcastic wink as he edged away but I was too distracted by his perfect eyeshadow and ahem, glorious heels (bigger than mine) to take it all in. Festival Awards coverage starts on Pg.8. This issue also allowed us to check out some spectacular tours. Watching Andy Hurst’s work with The Prodigy felt like I was witnessing a spaceship having an electrical malfunction. I loved it. It was the first time I’d “The crew pulled off one of seen the band perform outside of a festival environment, and the results were quite the most impressive gigs I something. Fun fact: I also had vertigo that night, saw in 2015, complete with and consequently entered some kind of strobewhat has to be the best induced mind trip. Did I mention that I loved it? sound I’ve ever heard at Ste Durham tells all on Pg. 40. I can’t sign off without asking you to take Alexandra Palace...” note of the team behind our cover stars, Bring Me The Horizon. The crew were not only complete diamonds for talking to me as the long tour was nearing its end, but it was also the first time some of them had ever been interviewed. Namely FOH Engineer and video wizard, Hutch. I’m glad TPi took the reigns there, because I learned a lot! And, just when I thought I’d put my brain back together, I got a science class in theoretical laser diffraction from BPM. Blimey. The crew pulled off one of the most impressive gigs I saw in 2015, complete with what has to be the best sound I’ve ever heard at the notoriously tricky Alexandra Palace. They might not have been overly exposed in the trade press before, but that’s about to change - their story starts on Pg. 26. Huge thanks to BMTH’s tour photographer Ashley Osborn too, her stunning accounts from behind the lens give an intimate insight into the atmosphere on the tour on and off stage. Lady, I owe you a drink sometime! And finally, 2016 is looking busier than ever for us. From the Middle East to the West Coast of America, there’s a lot of ground to cover before we have 1,200 of you over for dinner. Brace yourselves; you know we like to throw a good party. Kelly Murray Editor
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CONTENTS 01/2016 EVENT FOCUS 08 UK Festival Awards 2015
Coverage of the November conference.
14 Peter Pan The musical tour make use of Coda’s new AiRAY
16 Tupac Martir
Editorial Assistant Stewart Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7712 607419 e-mail: email@example.com
General Manager - Magazine & Awards Hannah Eakins Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7760 485230 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The ‘light magician’ gets creative with the Avolites Tiger Touch II for his latest exhibition.
18 Ane Brun Parashoot and A&H’s dLive console provide audio solutions for the Norwegian singer.
20 Nexo goes to the pantomime
The French loudspeaker manufacturer takes part in a very British tradition...
24 Nitin Sawhney
The famed producer uses the revolutionary new IEM system from KLANG:technologies.
26 Bring Me The Horizon
The crew behind the Yorkshire metalers invite Kelly to get to grips with the live setup of the band’s biggest 2015 tour date.
40 The Prodigy
Renowned for their incredible live shows, the trio bring a jaw-dropping production to life with the help of Show Designer, Andy Hurst.
Mondiale Group Chairman Damian Walsh
52 Johnny Hallyday
www.tpimagazine.com • www.tpiawards.com
Cover Photography Bring Me The Horizon by Ashley Osborn
60 Disclosure With the release of the Lawrence brothers’
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Issue 197 / January 2016
The 72-year-old French singer proves that age is just a number at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
second album Caracal, the band performs three sellout nights at Alexandra Palace.
68 TPi’s Stewart Hume visits the famed John Henry’s HQ to talk history, development and plans for its 40 year anniversary.
DAY IN THE LIFE OF... 72 Silent Partners’ Gabriel Coutu-Dumont lets us
TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Publishing Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2015 Mondiale Publishing 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 Publishing 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 Publishing Limited United Kingdom. The 2014 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 Publishing Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
into his diary.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT 74 A look at Focusrite’s RedNet AM2.
MOVERS & SHAKERS 76 The latest industry appointments.
PSA 78 Andy Lenthall attends the Event Safety Summit
VITAL STATS 82 LD Chris ’Squib’ Swain stops by for a chat. 07
THE UK FESTIVAL AWARDS 2015: The conference
The 12th annual UK Festival Awards & Conference took place on 26 November 2015 at The Roundhouse in London, celebrating and discussing the myriad achievements of the UK festival industry over the past year. The conference, which ran throughout the day, brought together industry insiders for some incisive debate across issues pertinent to festivals, reviewing the preceding 12 months and portending the potential challenges ahead. The first panel of the day, entitled ‘Cashless Rules Everything Around Us’, comprised a debate on the relatively recent phenomenon of cashless technology. The session evaluated the first-hand experiences that several festival organisers and suppliers had with cashless systems throughout 2015, weighing up the benefits and pitfalls of each. The ‘CDM Regulations 2015 – A Review’ session was pretty selfexplanatory, including speakers Andy Lenthall (PSA), Steven Corfield (Serious Stages), Pete Holdich (Star Events), Gavin Bull (HSE), and Q Willis (PRG). The panel discussed how the new regulations have been implemented within the live event sector with debatable success. The implementation of CDM across the board has seen varying complaints, and this issue is still being navigated on a job-by-job basis. The ‘State of Welfare’ panel invited an eclectic cast of security specialists, harm reduction innovators, drinks brands, and academics to discuss the health risks involved in festival attendance – from the frequently addressed and constantly developing issues of crowd safety and drug and alcohol usage, to the oft-overlooked problem of hearing damage. With these areas in mind, the panel discussed whether festivals should be doing more to reduce the potential harm their audience members may incur onsite. UK festival industry group Powerful Thinking launched an environmental impact report, ‘The Show Must Go On’, during the 08
final panel of the day. The report focussed on how festivals can minimise their carbon impact. It was subsequently presented to the UN Convention on Climate Change, which took place in Paris from 30 November until 11 December, and saw 196 countries meet to sign a new climate change agreement. By presenting a concise overview and proposed roadmap for reduced carbon impact at festivals in line with international targets, the report’s authors hope that the UK festival industry sector can lead by example in achieving impact reduction targets by 2025. Based on the most extensive research to date analysing the carbon footprint caused by festivals in the UK, the report detailed the current impact of the UK festival sector. It covered the significant impact areas and discussed where there is potential for reduction. There is a call for festivals to pledge their commitment to achieve a 50% reduction in green house gas emissions by 2025, in line with UK targets. Chris Johnson, founder of Powerful Thinking, commented: “This is a critical moment for the future of the world. Festivals can play a valuable role, collectively reducing their own environmental impacts, while showing the 3.17 million ticket buyers that they can also make a difference. “The response has been amazingly positive, and we hope that will be reflected in the list of festivals signed up to the pledge that we will be publishing on the first day of spring, 20 March 2016.” During the evening’s UK Festival Awards, the award for the Best Use of New Technology went to Quantum Special Effects for their pioneering biofuel flame system utilised on Arcadia Spectacular at Glastonbury Festival. Shaun Barnett, CEO of Quantum Special Effects, commented: “We are delighted to have our work recognised within the festival industry.
Opposite: The conference once again attracted talking heads from all over the UK festival industry. Below: Chris Johnson of Powerful Thinking speaks on sustainability initiatives during the ‘Making Green Fields Greener’ session; Powerful Thinking launched its environmental impact report ‘The Show Must Go On’ to conclude the conference; Michelle O’Loughlin of Chill Welfare explained the company’s approach to harm reduction at festivals; Paul Legge of Showsec and Alex Brooke of Peppermint Bars share a nice moment during ‘The State of Welfare’ panel.
“It’s been a lot of hard work but so rewarding to see our biofuel flame system being spectacularly showcased on the Arcadia spider around the world. It’s not all about getting as many awards on the mantlepiece as we can, it’s about gaining the recognition and respect from our peers in the industry who can appreciate the time, thought and work that is put into this new, sustainable technology.” Other notable winners were Bestival, Y Not, and Festival Number 6 for Best Major, Medium-Sized, and Small Festivals, respectively; Kendal Calling for Best Toilets; Virgin Trains for Best Brand Activation; Liverpool Sound City for Best Metropolitan Festival; Liverpool International Music Festival for Best Festival for Emerging Talent; Eroica Britannia for Best Non-Music Festival; and Creamfields for Best Dance Event. Perhaps the most coveted achievement of the night; The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award, was presented to Peter Gabriel for
founding and developing the world music festival WOMAD. Since its inaugural year, WOMAD has presented over 170 festivals in more than 30 countries, and remains the most successful and highly regarded world music festival on the planet. Perhaps the most cosmopolitan festival in existence, WOMAD’s truly singular endeavor to represent as many cultures as possible has led it into its 33rd consecutive year as both a bona fide British institution and international phenomenon. Presenting the award was British comedian and actor, Eddie Izzard, who had flown in specifically for the event on a short break from his North American comedy tour. The two notable stars sat together during the awards dinner and bestowed great chemistry and mutual admiration on stage. TPi www.festivalawards.com
CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH-ON EVENTS
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uk festival awards 2015: THE WINNERS
Best Use of New Technology
In association with: White Light
The Extra-Festival Activity Award
WINNER: QUANTUM SPECIAL EFFECTS FOR ARCADIA WINNER: THE BIG FEASTIVAL FOR THE WHEAT PROJECT BIOFUEL FLAME SYSTEM AT GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL
Concession of the Year WINNER: THE BREAKFAST CLUB
The Brand Activation Award WINNER: VIRGIN TRAINS
Anthem of the Summer
WINNER: WILDERNESS FESTIVAL
WINNER: KENDAL CALLING
In association with: Snoozebox
Agency of the Year
Promoter of the Year
In association with: IQ Magazine
In association with: Bulmers
WINNER: LOST VENTURES
Headline Performance of the Year
Line-Up of the Year
In association with: TPi Magazine
In association with: Festival Insights
In association with: Charge Candy
WINNER: MARK RONSON - UPTOWN FUNK
WINNER: FLEETWOOD MAC AT ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
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uk festival awards 2015: THE WINNERS
Best New Festival
Best Festival for Emerging Talent
The Grass Roots Festival Award
WINNER: WILD LIFE FESTIVAL
WINNER: LIVERPOOL INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
WINNER: BEAUTIFUL DAYS
In association with: ID&C
Best Overseas Festival
Best Dance Event
In association with: Bucks New University
In association with: PRG XL Video
WINNER: ANNIE MAC PRESENTS: LOST & FOUND
WINNER: LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY
Best Family Festival
Best Non-Music Festival
Best Small Festival
WINNER: ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL
WINNER: EROICA BRITANNIA
WINNER: FESTIVAL NUMBER 6
Best Medium-Sized Festival
Best Metropolitan Festival
In association with: Yourope
In association with: Eventbrite
In association with: Heineken
Best Major Festival
The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award
WINNER: Y NOT FESTIVAL
WINNER: PETER GABRIEL
In association with: Playpass & PayPal
EVENT FOCUS: Peter Pan
FLYING HIGH, TRAVELLING LIGHT CODA AiRAY ON TOUR WITH PETER PAN PETER PAN - THE NEVER ENDING STORY IS AN ACTION-PACKED, ARENA-SCALE PRODUCTION CREATED BY THE MUSIC HALL OF BELGIUM, THAT HAS TRAVELLED THE WORLD TO RAVE REVIEWS. A PRODUCTION IN THE ROUND, THIS TRULY SPECTACULAR SHOW HAS CONSISTENTLY WOWED AUDIENCES WITH ITS COLOURFUL COMBINATION OF STATE OF THE ART DIGITAL IMAGING, ACROBATICS, PYROTECHNICS AND STRONG MUSICAL PERFORMANCES. FEATURING CLASSIC SONGS AND A SCORE BY GRAMMY-WINNING COMPOSER MATT DUNKLEY, THE SHOW RECENTLY EMBARKED ON ITS LATEST JOURNEY, THIS TIME ACROSS ASIA. Sound Designer Guido Olischlager worked with Belgian audio rental company Studio Haifax on the critically acclaimed, large-scale production of the First World War musical 14-18 and this next stage of the Peter Pan tour would reunite them in tackling a new challenge. While Studio Haifax already carried an extensive inventory of Coda ViRAY compact line-array speakers, Olischlager had attended the official launch of Coda’s brand new AiRAY series in July 2015 and was left in no doubt that the new range was a perfect fit for the forthcoming tour. 14
He perceived that AiRAY would offer both sonic and logistical advantages to the tour. Studio Haifax in consultation with Olischlager, decided to invest in AiRAY and ordered 54 units with which to embark on the Peter Pan tour. In mid-August, Pieter Begard, Managing Director of Studio Haifax and his team installed the new AiRAY configuration into the Hasselt Ethias Arena for rehearsals. Begard immediately shared Olischlager’s impressions of the new system and declared that AiRAY marked a new concept in line array. The AiRAY is fully-integrated, as a compact
12-inch, three-way line array systems, designed for a wide variety of applications where high output, even coverage and outstanding intelligibility is required. The unique package brings together the high output of a large system with the flexibility of a compact system creating a new category in large reinforcement systems. No other manufacturer has achieved the sonic results offered by AiRAY from a lightweight package (40kg) that has the same footprint as a two eight-inch systems. The fact that AiRAY is able to deliver this level of performance from
EVENT FOCUS: Peter Pan
Opposite: The story of the boy who never grew up has now been made into a musical that has been touring the globe. Below: The Peter Pan tour is now entertaining audiences across Asia; Sound Designer Guido Olischlager decided to use Coda’s new AiRAY series for the tour as he thought it would offer both a sonic and logistical advantages for the show.
significantly smaller-than-standard cabinets has clear implications for the market. When the logistical elements of the equation are factored in, it quickly becomes obvious that savings in costs and time are significant. A tour’s budget is very much at the mercy of expenditure on transportation and crew and since the AiRAY speakers are something like half the size and weight of comparable systems, the financial implications are clear. Many venues on this particular tour (as is often the case) offered only a short window of opportunity for load-in and set-up, so the lightweight, easy-handling AiRAY system reduced pressure by saving a great deal of build time. The speaker was developed with the economic considerations faced by touring productions very much to the fore and the Peter Pan production neatly illustrated the unique advantages offered by AiRAY. The requirement for the highest possible sound quality is a given for a production of this nature and taking both sound quality and logistical aspects into consideration, Music Hall’s David Wright, Production Manager for Peter Pan and with 40 years of touring experience, offered this appraisal of AiRAY: “On my recent tours we’ve been equipped with most of the popular brand line-array systems and it’s worth saying from the off that the AiRAY system travels, loads and unloads easily and efficiently. We carry six
hangs for an ‘in the round’ arena production and it unloads and flies in no time. AiRAY’s light weight is beneficial when calculating rigging weight combined with other production elements in the same roof space and its low power consumption to high performance ratio is also a bonus. “Its compact, lightweight design made a significant contribution in saving space for freighting and trucking. The system is certainly powerful, appearing to effortlessly produce surprising volume that has a classy warmth and clarity. We’re very happy with AiRAY.” Sound Designer Guido Olischlager was similarly impressed: “I was already an enthusiastic Coda user, especially the ViRAY system. I’d heard about AiRAY in early 2015 and went to its introduction at Frankfurt. At that point, given its specifications, I began to consider whether it might prove to be a good fit for the Peter Pan arena tour. Its subsequent performance at the product launch confirmed everything I’d thought. The system has enormous power and great projection and even at 100 metres, the sound is still ‘in your face’. In rehearsals at the empty Ethias Arena I was surprised by the power at low output levels, resulting in a show level without the massive slap-back you normally get in an empty arena. I’ve worked in that arena on many occasions, with many major brands and it was quickly
obvious that AiRAY performed way better than the others. During rehearsals we were playing tracks through the system without any channel or system EQ and the sound was perfect!” Having confirmed AiRAY’s sonic credentials in advance of the tour, all that remained for Guido was to load up and ship out into the real live environment of Peter Pan, where every aspect of the system’s capabilities would be fully tested. Guido’s report from the front confirmed that every expectation, creative and practical, had been met: “The easy and fast fly rigging system means that putting up the arrays is a breeze. The prediction software is very precise so there not much in the way of correction when the system is flown - only the occasional minor system correction was necessary to adjust to a particular venue. Both production and promoter were very pleased with the sound. Apart from the superior sound that the system produces, it’s the power to size ratio that really makes this a great touring product. Ultimately you have the size and weight of a mid-sized system, which takes up far less trucking space but the performance of a large scale system that can handle any venue. When the ease of rigging is factored in, for me, Coda’s AiRAY is a winner!” TPi www.peterpan.is/en/ www.codaaudio.com
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EVENT FOCUS: Tupac Martir
TUPAC MARTIR GETS UNIQUE WITH AVOLITES TIGER TOUCH II THE CONSOLE’S WINAMP PLUG-IN MADE IT THE PERFECT SOLUTION TO ARTIST TUPAC MARTIR’S AUDIO/ VIDEO REQUIREMENTS ON A NEW KINETIC SCULPTURE, IN ADDITION TO PROVIDING LIGHTING CONTROL. Graduating in 2000 from Omaha, Nebraska’s Creighton University with a bachelor’s degree of fine arts, Tupac Martir - of Satore Studio returned to his alma mater recently to present a special art installation called Unique, a selfdescribed giant “graphic novel” brought to life with light and shadow. Light is central to the art of multimedia artist Martir. After illuminating concerts for Elton John, Sting and Beyoncé, major festivals like Coachella, and London Fashion Week shows for designers Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen, Martir has gained an enviable reputation. “Using new and old etching techniques, the story is told through 12 chapters, with eight drawings per chapter,” he explained of his latest project. “The 96 drawings are then processed and individually placed within four three ft by 10ft MDF panels. Each panel has a set of tools behind it, which is prepared with motors, lights, wireless dimmers and controllers, in order to programme their movement and intensity, thus using them to tell the story one drawing - or shadow - at a time. “The installation is programmed to music composed by George Blacklock, Oiram and Cabinet of Living Cinema to tell the story, as the light unveils in coordination with the score, revealing the images that have been created. A juxtaposition exists between the box, image, shadow, movement and music in which all collectively create a new experience for the 16
audience, who become both viewers and participants.” Although the kinetic sculpture appears fairly simple from the front, Martir noted that the technological implementation behind the piece is deceptively complex. “When I was looking at how to control the installation, one of the main concerns was about the audio, and how we could trigger the timecode from a separate machine,” he said. “After some research, we found out that the Avolites Tiger Touch II has a Winamp plug-in that would allow us to control music directly from the console, eliminating the need for another computer. When you leave an installation for a long period, there is always that worry of what can go wrong and the process to fix that problem. “By taking an entire computer out of the equation, it helped those looking after the installation be a lot calmer, since they knew everything would come from a single place. This also made it easier for us, in case we needed to troubleshoot something, to know where to look.” A longtime Avolites fan, Martir points out that he regularly uses the Tiger Touch II for his fashion show lighting designs, which require quick setups and intuitive control. “Most of my dimmers are Avolites,” he commented. Martir reported that the Unique installation at Creighton University came off without a hitch, and the plug-ins and programming ran very smoothly. “The desk performed perfectly,”
he said, adding that the console will be travelling with the piece to its next presentation in March 2016 at the USITT Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah, where an iPad will be added for even more control over the experience. Following USITT, Unique will then head to London, Martir’s base, later in the year. He uses a lot of macros and as well as some cue lists to create the process with which the motors come to life. Avolites engineers wrote a specific fixture profile for the system’s encoders and drivers made by RC4 Wireless, which provides wireless lighting and motion technology for theatre, film, and television. Although he received Unique’s Tiger Touch II only five days prior to the show going live, Martir said it was “enough time to make sure the fixtures were reacting properly to what we were trying to do.” He noted that RC4 had only five RC4Magic Series 3 DMXmot available at the time, and that he actually had four of them. “So we needed to make sure that it was all stable for the duration of the installation,” he added. Martir concluded by saying that he was humbled over the positive reaction to his creation. “There is a great connection between what the technology allows us to convey and the human element of the piece,” he said. “The more you are into it, we have realised, it becomes a type of meditation for people.” TPi www.avolites.com http://satorestudio.com/
27/10/2015 8:41:51 AM
EVENT FOCUS: Ane Brun
ALLEN & HEATH DLIVE GETS ITS FIRST UK OUTING WITH ANE BRUN HAVING BEEN A KEY POINT OF CONTACT DURING THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALLEN & HEATH’S NEW DIGITAL MIXING DESK, FOH ENGINEER OSCAR SÖDERLUND WAS THE IDEAL CANDITATE TO SHED SOME LIGHT ON HOW THE DLIVE HAS FARED ON ITS FIRST UK TOUR. TPi’S STE DURHAM HEADED DOWN TO ANE BRUN’S MANCHESTER DATE TO SPEAK WITH THE MAN HIMSELF.
Three days before Norwegian songstress Ane Brun was due on stage in Manchester, her FOH and Monitor Engineer Oscar Söderlund was lying in a hospital bed, quite understandably feeling the effects of a disagreement between his enduro bike and a tree. Nevertheless, true to the adage made famous by Freddie Mercury and co, he and his new Allen & Heath desk were both present and correct at the city’s Gorilla venue to ensure that the show did, in fact, go on. Söderlund has been an integral part of Brun’s live production since he joined the ranks in 2007, stepping in to oversee audio responsibilities for the singer / songwriter’s Changing of the Seasons tour. This was the 18
beginning of what he called a “complimentary dynamic”, in which both performer and engineer have consistently endeavoured to improve the quality of their live offering. He explained: “Her records have become more challenging over the years, taking it up a notch every time, and we always want to do the same from a production standpoint. I try to take it as far as possible live and get it as close to the records, making sure I deliver them in an interesting way. Ane knows what she wants but also trusts me to do a good job. “It is very challenging to put Ane’s later albums into live sound. It’s a constant journey and one that teaches you new tricks all the time.” Söderlund has been on the road since 1990,
starting off directly from school. He said: “I was tired of school so I went to the local sound company. I was really into music and knew I wanted to work in the industry in some way, and engineering was the best choice. I gradually stepped up the shows and gigs, always trying to move forward and raise the bar. Working with the artists I choose gives me freedom to grow and they trust me to deliver their vision live. It’s a very privileged way of working.” Söderlund has had his own freelance company, Parashoot, since 1999 and, during this time, has accumulated a wide range of stock - consoles in particular. “I try to focus on creating a nice mixing environment and this includes consoles, outboards, microphones, and speakers. To create a perfect signal chain from
EVENT FOCUS: Ane Brun
Opposite: FOH and Monitor Engineer Oscar Söderlund has been directly involved with the development of the dLive. Below: Söderlund tries to take Brun’s music as far as possible in a live environment, making sure he delivers her records in an “interesting” way.
start to finish is my ultimate goal, but this is a constant journey as I am such a gearhead!” After hearing the capabilities of Allen & Heath’s iLive T-series for the first time on a PJ Harvey tour in 2009, Söderlund instantly bought an iLive-T112 and has continued buying more Allen & Heath consoles ever since. This loyalty, along with his willingness to suggest improvements to the iLive desk, led to Allen & Heath consulting him during the development of its new offering - the dLive. Over the last two years, Söderlund has made trips to the company’s factory in Penryn, Cornwall and lent his insight throughout the dLive’s beta testing phase. He commented: “I initially had suggestions for the iLive that were held back due to lack of computing power. We had to wait until the iLive Mk II came around, which ended up becoming the dLive, but we continued the process of working together. I saw the first mock ups of the dLive two years ago, and two Christmases I have been to Penryn. The first year it was a cardboard box, then the next year it was a
factory build. I feel really close to this console because I have been part of the process. “When I got the beta console I couldn’t have hoped for it to be this good. They’ve done remarkable work with the preamps, which are, I think, the best sounding preamps in the digital live world. They are super flat, natural, and have a good dynamic range. This is strengthened by really good effects and EQ, just like the iLive. It’s been a joy to use the dLive ever since the official release,” Söderlund added. “I knew that the team at Allen & Heath were developing a nice preamp, but they really knocked it out of the park with the end product.” With a mixture of instruments such as upright bass, violin, vibraphonette, acoustic and electric guitars and keyboards, combined with large reverbs, delays and sometimes even distortion on the drums, the system (along with Söderlund himself) has a lot to deal with! The key success in this challenge is rooted in Söderlund’s strong work ethic, and complemented by his familiarity with, and
fondness for, his Allen & Heath desk. He said: “I have found myself working the hpf on Ane’s vocal in a span of 185-233hz, depending on the song. It is so precise in its handling of the source you put through it. The same goes for the EQ, in that even the smallest changes can make a huge difference. When using the dLive it really feels like I’m using a surgical tool!” That said, Söderlund was still keen to point out that the dLive is designed to deliver this precision whether the surgeon in question is dealing in acoustic guitars and violins or leather jackets and distortion pedals! He concluded: “No matter what you are trying to create, the dLive gives you the tools to do it. The desk really does nurture creativity and that means it is a lot of fun when mixing live!” TPi
www.anebrun.com www.allen-heath.com www.parashoot.se 19
EVENT FOCUS: Nexo at the Panto
NEXO DOES PANTO STRANGE THINGS HAPPEN IN BRITISH THEATRES AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. MEN DRESS UP AS WOMEN, WOMEN DRESS UP AS BOYS, BOYS DRESS UP AS HORSES. CHARACTERS NAMED WISHEE WASHEE, BARON HARDUP AND THE UGLY SISTERS LISTERIA AND SALMONELLA WEAR OUTRAGEOUS STYLISED COSTUMES AND MAKEUP: STAGES ARE FILLED WITH SHETLAND PONIES, SHEEP PUPPETS AND DANCING DWARFS - ALWAYS IN GROUPS OF SEVEN. THERE ARE TRULY TERRIBLE JOKES, AND USUALLY, A FAMOUS STAR TOPPING THE BILL. “WHERE’S MY CAREER?” HE CRIES, AS THE AUDIENCE CHORUSES IN REPLY, “IT’S BEHIND YOU!” LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO PANTOMIME... It’s pantomime season, a quintessentially British theatre form that has never really caught on anywhere else in the world. As Andrzej Lukowski, the Theatre Editor for Time Out London, said: “Frankly, pantos are so weird…I’ve never managed to explain what they are to somebody who didn’t already know.” Let us try. Dating back to the 17th Century, the development of English pantomime was strongly influenced by the continental commedia dell’arte, a form of popular theatre that started in Italy. This street entertainment made its way to the theatres of 18th Century Britain, where production values really took off: fusing spectacle, music and ballet, the London theatre scene added mechanical serpents and flying vehicles, and introduced animal roles dragons, ostriches, camels. It gradually became more topical and humorous, often involving spectacular and 20
elaborate theatrical effects. By the early 1800s, the pantomime’s classical stories were supplanted by stories adapted from European fairy tales, classic English literature or nursery rhymes. The arrival of the modern clowns like Joseph Grimaldi brought comedy and slapstick to the panto formula. Traditionally performed at Christmas, today’s pantomime stories include Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Mother Goose, Dick Whittington and His Cat, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. Scripts change from year to year, but generally contain four strands of humour including sightgags, topical jokes, corny lines and downright rude innuendo. In the UK, this is considered to be family entertainment! One person who does understand the mysterious art form of panto is Chris Headlam, MD at leading theatre audio providers London-
based Orbital Sound, which had 40 pantomime productions in the UK this season. Yes, you read that right – 40 productions, all running from mid-December to early 2016. Working closely with the UK’s specialist producers First Family Entertainment, Qdos and Evolution, the seasonal load takes Orbital teams all around the UK, to regional auditoria as well as some of the largest theatres in the country, such as the 2000-seater Royal Opera House in Manchester, the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, and the Hippodromes of Bristol and Birmingham. “The production values are of the highest order,” explained Headlam. “These shows ask for a lot of volume, with live bands competing against an audience of screaming kids. Yet because of the script and the jokes, speech intelligibility has to be perfectly clear above the music level.” Orbital has got the business of pantomime down to a fine art. The company provides
EVENT FOCUS: Nexo at the Panto
Previous: The bright lights and extravagant costumes that are all too familiar to the population of the UK. Below: This season Orbital Sound was involved in 40 pantomime productions; The company employed the services of French loudspeaker manufacturer Nexo to develop sound solutions for the UK theatre market.
design, logistics, support, accommodation, for more than 150 crew throughout the season – in fact, the process starts in early summer. The company joined forces with some of the UK’s top theatre sound designers, scattering the likes of Gareth Owen, Rick Clarke, Richard Brooker, Chris Wybrow and Tom Lishman into the provinces. In the most prestigious venues, they bring in high-spec sound reinforcement to deliver SPLs high enough for the all-important audience interaction, while maintaining a duty of care for the delicate ears of young audiences, getting their first experience of live theatre. This is no easy task. This season, for the first time, Orbital has sourced its new systems from French manufacturer Nexo, which recently squared its R&D sights on the theatre market. In Bristol, a little bit of history has already been made, as Orbital became the first in the world to install Nexo’s brand-new ID Series loudspeakers, developed with under-balcony fills in mind. For the Hippodrome’s production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sound Designer Tom Lishman is working with three complementary Nexo loudspeaker systems, a modular STM line array for the main PA, supplemented by a GEO M6 compact line array flown above the proscenium arch to serve the second balcony, and numerous compact cabinets from the ID Series installed as underbalcony and front fills. Chris Headlam is as energised as a pantomime Dame about his investment in the little ID boxes, buying the first units off Nexo’s production line for Orbital rental inventory. “This 22
is a latest generation product from the modern era of loudspeaker modelling. The ID24 has a user-rotatable horn, providing 60° or 120° HF coverage; at 120° it is ideal for our delay, under-balcony, infill applications in the theatre auditorium.” The bijou ID24 cabinet (310mm wide by 132mm high) contains twin four-inch drivers in combination with an HF compression driver offering two preset directivity options. Since the box can be mounted vertically or horizontally, this effectively gives the user four different directivity options in a cabinet that, Nexo reported, is the smallest it has ever created. “Vocal projection is very important and these cabinets sound natural even at high SPL. Nexo has made it easier for theatre sound designers; the ID24 is small enough, powerful enough and light enough for use in multiple applications. In Bristol, we’re using two different Nexo line arrays with the ID compacts, and as a rental supplier, I’m impressed by the ‘family sound’ that makes all these loudspeakers sound so cohesive as a system.” One of the hallmarks of pantomime is the highly interactive participation of the audience. “This is not a respectfully hushed environment,” said Headlam. “There’s a lot happening on and off stage. Sound imaging quality is a priority so that the audience remain engaged, even with a very crowded stage, but it is harder to maintain the imaging when you’re working with high SPLs. We keep our speaker line arrays low, closer to the performers, but this increases the risk of feedback. This season, we’ve used Nexo’s GEO M6 compact line array on several shows,
and I believe this is the new benchmark when it comes to feedback rejection, often the problem that lets down the baby line arrays.” Headlam cites another Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs production taking place at the elegant Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. For this 1,200-seater, with two balconies, Orbital has installed six arrays of GEO M6, at performer level, upper stage level for balcony one with two more six-cabinet arrays flown over the proscenium arch to address balcony two. In Manchester, at the historic 1,800-seat Opera House, the GEO M6 is deployed in left and right 12-cabinet arrays, under the direction of highly experienced Sound Designer Chris Whybrow. “The SPL and throw of this little cabinet almost defies logic. In this auditorium, we’re still getting consistent SPL in the 90s!” As you’d discover if you went to the 11am show, packed with 1,800 primary school children, jumping around like excitable frogs and screaming the classic panto responses, the defining characteristics of pantomime sound are that it has to be dynamic, highly energetic and LOUD!!! “Oh no, it doesn’t!” “Oh yes, it does!” “Oh no, it doesn’t!” “Oh yes…. [right, that’s quite enough of that Editor] TPi Photos: First Family Entertainment www.nexo-sa.com/en www.orbitalsound.com
Aerial photograph ©DeSciose 2015
Make everyone happy. Even the neighbors.
“The rig almost defies gravity with the sound staying put exactly where you want it. The place was sold out every night and everyone in the venue had nothing but positive things to say… and we didn’t hear a peep from the neighbors – exactly what we were looking for.” Jason Decter
FOH Engineer, Bassnectar, at Red Rocks Amphitheater
The goal of any production is to make everyone happy. Artist. Audience. Promoter. Crew. And now more than ever – the neighbors. To uniformly cover the audience with breathtaking audio that easily meets the volume demands of the production is one thing. Staying within the limits of local noise ordinances is another thing entirely. But Adaptive Systems™ from EAW do all of that at once. In seconds. With only the click of a mouse. For a typical Adaptive System, EAW Resolution™ software harnesses the power of thousands of discretely controlled audio components to perfectly match any three-dimensional coverage requirement while simultaneously minimizing levels outside the venue. Everyone is happy. Every time. Find out more about EAW’s game changing Adaptive Systems at eaw.com/products/adaptive
Adaptive_ad NoiseOrdinance_TPi.indd 1
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EVENT FOCUS: Nitin Sawhney
NITIN SAWHNEY MONITORS SUCCESS WITH KLANG RENOWNED PRODUCER AND COMPOSER, NITIN SAWHNEY, USED KLANG:TECHNOLOGIES’ 3D IEM SYSTEM ON HIS MOST RECENT TOUR. THE PRODUCT AIMS TO GIVE THE ARTIST A MORE ORGANIC ONSTAGE SOUND AS WELL AS ALLOWING FULL CONTROL OF THEIR MIX. TPi’S STEW HUME WENT ALONG TO THE LAST DATE OF THE TOUR TO GET THE OPINIONS OF THE CREW AND MUSICIANS. For some artists, there is a hesitation to make the leap from wedge monitors to IEM systems due to fears such as unnatural sound or being disorientated by a traditional stereo mix. German company KLANG:technologies has developed a solution with its KLANG:fabrik and revolutionary 3D IEM processing. Rather than providing a simple left and right mix, the 3D IEM gives artists the ability to manipulate where the sound appears to be originating from, creating a simulated acoustic environment. The KLANG:fabrik also puts the power of an artist’s mix in their hands with an app that is controlled on a tablet. Pascal Dietrich, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of KLANG:technologies, stated: “It’s all about unrivalled sound transparency for live and studio musicians. Our 3D audio technology lifts your stereo headphones and IEMs to the next level.” 24
In last month’s TPi, we covered a showcase of the new KLANG system courtesy of its UK distributor, HD Pro Audio. After the event Andy Huffer, HD Pro Audio’s Sales Director, commented: “If initial client reaction is anything to go by, KLANG:technologies’ 3D IEM processing has the potential to be the next major step in the evolution of stage monitoring. With multiple musicians able to control their own mix with standard touch screen tablet devices plus the revolutionary effect of the 3D processing, they can bring greater separation, clarity and more importantly, reality to their personal mix.” Several artists and bands have already sung the praises of the KLANG:fabrik including John Dolmayan, drummer for System Of A Down. The system had not been used on a tour in the UK until HD Pro Audio supplied it for producer and composer, Nitin Sawhney. The producer, who
tours with eight other musicians, entertains fans with his fusion of traditional Indian music and everything from drum ‘n’ bass to folk-influenced pieces. Speaking to Sawhney backstage on the last date of his tour, he discussed about the KLANG:fabrik, stating: “It is very effective in allowing everyone to work with their own sound and control exactly what they are hearing in their in-ear monitors. It’s a fantastic system and it has noticeably improved everything for us. We are able to play a lot tighter and really listen to ourselves as well as each other. This means we get to enjoy the gig and that often means the audience enjoys the gig as well.” Sawhney’s FOH engineer David McEwan explained how the relationship with HD Pro Audio came about: “I got in contact with Andy Huffer from HD Pro Audio because I wanted an Avid S3L to take on this tour.” It was at this
EVENT FOCUS: Nitin Sawhney
Opposite: Nitin Sawhney and his eight fellow live musicians all making use of KLANG:technologies’ KLANG:fabrik and revolutionary 3D IEM processing. Below: David McEwan standing by his Avid S3L; Both FOH control and the KLANG:technologies equipment was supplied by HD Pro Audio.
time that McEwan saw the KLANG for the first time and got offered the option to take it on the road. “We had three days rehearsal when Tom Turner from HD Pro Audio came out to set up a KLANG system and to show us how to configure it with the Dante matrix.” For this short tour, McEwan explained that he used a Focusrite RedNet AM2 device to take analogue feeds from the Avid stage boxes and convert to Dante which then feeds into the KLANG:fabrik 3D IEM processor. Backline Technician for Sawhney, Paddy Dell, spoke about his experience with the KLANG app. “After two rehearsals all the guys on stage
were more than happy with using the app. Nitin himself was blown away by how effective it was and how easy it was to use.” McEwan added: “Nitin hasn’t even touched his set up since we rehearsed. He got it right and left it.” The crew were keen to comment how smoothly this whole tour had been running and it saved so much time while setting up at soundcheck. “With a band like us with nine musicians and several instruments, soundcheck can be a bit of a nightmare. The KLANG system has reduced are souncheck time significantly.” Huffer summarised: “Hats off to Nitin and the band, and to David for taking the plunge with this great new live performance
technology. Hopefully he’ll be among the first of many converts to the wonderful world of KLANG.” To learn more about the system, KLANG has produced a short video available online that demonstrates its 3D monitoring technology and can be experienced with any stereo headphones. You can also download a trial version of the app to get a feel for the user interface. TPi www.nitinsawhney.com www.klang.com/en/home http://hdproaudio.co.uk
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
BRING ME THE HORIZON
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
LANDMARK ALBUM THAT’S THE SPIRIT, BECOMES AN INTERCONTINENTAL LIVE VICTORY THANKS TO “SOME OF THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY”. TPi EDITOR KELLY MURRAY TALKS TO THE CREW BEHIND THE CURTAIN...
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: The band enjoy a little bit of sparkle on this tour, thanks to SFX vendor, BPM.
The city of Sheffield typically gives me three reasons to inappropriately high five certain strangers: whoever is within reaching distance when northern accent warrior Sean Bean brings epic death scenes to the silver screen; anyone able to quote the Monty Python genius of steel city gentleman Michael Palin; and Henderson’s Relish advocates for knowing the key to a decent vegan Bloody Mary (this one usually involves hand-slapping barmen when unable to lift my head). In ‘our world’ however, Sheffield should also be noted for the likes of electro metal merchants, Bring Me The Horizon. The five piece has caught the attention of mosh pit forging gig goers across the globe so effortlessly that their reputation has ensured their touring production values have been ramped up, bringing a full throttle, gut churning technical feat to the forefront of their shows. Whereas the band could once be found in the sweaty depths of the country’s stickiest venues (think sweat rain), they’ve progressed into one of the nation’s most reliably entertaining metalcore acts worthy of main stage festival glory. They’ve also seemingly established a touring vibe that has their crew and suppliers genuinely gushing about working with them. Not that any of that takes away from the blue-aired (probably unprintable) grit of their grassroots performances, mind. Helping them achieve continued success from country to country over the last couple of years is their Tour and Production Manager, Rob Highcroft. As hard a grafter as one might imagine for a relatively young PM, Highcroft 28
is the kind of no-nonsense business man that Yorkshire breeds in abundance. It’s just a mere observation that the majority don’t come from a DIY hardcore punk background and boast fast food logo knuckle tattoos… CONSISTENT PRODUCTION SUPPORT “I got into the touring business 14 years ago, when I was working with a friend’s band. I then started a small rehearsal studio in Leeds and the bands started trying to hire my van to get to their gigs! One thing led to another and I started touring full time until I opened my own splitter van hire company. I’ve been on the road ever since,” he said, as a Burger King crown helped to move his glasses back in their usual resting place. His connections with up and coming bands led to a job with Raw Power Management, where he helped to package some of its roster’s touring essentials. “I was looking after a couple of their bands for pre-production and tour budgeting, including You Me At Six [whom he’s worked with since 2008] and Bullet For My Valentine,” he explained. It was during this time that Highcroft further developed his own skills and became versed in managing a dual touring role, which he first did with You Me At Six: “They started doing production tours and as I learned more and more about how the technical side worked, seeing the ins and outs of a full touring production, I learned those managerial skills too. With that band, there was a point where I could take on both roles, which is what I now do for Bring Me The Horizon.” The band have been a client since the
summer of 2013 and by the following year it was clear that Highcroft needed to grab a bunk in their tour bus: “After the advancing stage it just made sense to see it all the way through, and give the band my full support.” To ensure this can happen seamlessly, he credits his team for their consistent support: “You have to have a crew that you can trust 100%. I’ve got a great bunch of lads who keep this show going time after time; without them, there is no way I would be able to do both jobs. My Crew Chief, Oliver ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson [also FOH Engineer and Video Operator - yes, really!], is my right hand man and we work in unison to achieve the show the band want.” The first few months of this touring cycle which began with warm up shows in Liverpool and Oxford, stormed into Reading and Leeds festivals, then went to North America, Europe and the UK before finishing in Russia - had several challenges for the crew, the first being a lack of available pre-production time. Highcroft continued: “We took the same show from the US into Europe and when we hit the UK, the production stepped up for a few shows before moving to the B rig [no video screens or touring PA] for the club shows that were added at a later date. Going from the US to Europe required some swift freighting from EFM and then a re-build for the European and UK shows. We did 15 shows back-to-back going from the B to the A rig, and it definitely took its toll on the crew but I’m proud to say that they came into the larger shows without so much as a moment of hesitation.” Stage Manager, Joshua Perrée, was brought onto the tour by Highcroft, having worked
the complete pre-production a n d l i v e e v e n t s c e n t r e fo r t h e u k WWW.PRODUCTIONPARK.CO.UK
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: This is the first time the band has embraced a two-tier video backdrop within their set design.
for him with You Me At Six and Bullet For My Valentine since 2013. On a typical day, Perrée is tasked with making sure the production trucks load into venues at 7.30am, arranges for the catering team to set up so that breakfast can be served on time, ensures the lighting crew is on site to mark the rigging and truss points, then oversees the hung video elements (on the back truss), the flown PA and the special effects requirements. Said Perrée: “The staging elements have been different throughout the whole cycle but it’s been challenging for me in a good way. I coordinate the local crew and ensure that everyone on the touring crew has enough labour to get their gear flown. The show has to be ready for soundcheck every day and I do the same routine with our support bands, PVRIS and Neck Deep. “I’ve worked with most of the vendors in the past, which was a nice touch because it’s been such a long and busy tour. It’s also been good fun; putting this show on in 3,000-5,000 capacity venues and then bringing it into arena size venues like Alexandra Palace are the kind of things you have to expect on long tours like this, but it’s thankfully worked out smoothly.” THE MULTI-TASKING MAN The aforementioned Hutch is a man of many talents, and looking at his workstation, a man who knows how to work many black boxes in various sizes. An influential part of the technical team, he joined the camp by chance, after a one-off gig led to an unfaltering friendship. “I filled in on monitors for what was meant 30
to be one gig in Sheffield, and I’ve been with them ever since - which is over two years now! They’re the kind of band people like to stay with,” he explained, post soundcheck in London. The original idea when discussing video (more on this later!) was centred around projection. When those plans didn’t come into fruition, the team opted for hi res video, and Hutch’s inquisitive nature got the better of him. “I was quite intrigued by the idea of it to be honest, I just wanted to give it a go,” he smiled. “I was operating both FOH and video for their Reading and Leeds shows which was broadcast for BBC TV, so I felt the pressure a bit there!” Credit where credit is due, Highcroft and his team managed to fit the entire production onto both site’s main stages before headliners Metallica consequently tore it down... For his audio mixing duties Hutch is using an Avid Profile console with two DVI / VGA displays (one for the desk, one for his video monitor). He is also utilising an Avid Stage 48 input rack on stage, connected via 4xBNC multicore APC UPS. Interestingly, he’s opted for Waves C4 plug-ins as a “gentle parametric”, instead of as a traditional multi-band compressor. He describes the Profile as “a worldwide standard”, noting reliability and ease of use (he can get all of his channels on one layer for quick accessibility) as key features. On the style of mix he generates, he commented: “I need to make sure the fans are hearing what they’re expecting to hear, especially with the new album because it’s so melodic - they should get the full force of all the hooks in all the right places. It’s not
meant to totally replicate the album sound though, because it doesn’t sound compressed. They’re a lot more dynamic live than you can capture on record.” Will we need earplugs? “Both the band and their fans are very loud, no matter where we play, so there is a lot of screaming. But I try to stick to under 102dBA. That rarely happens though - their fans are so noisy!” he laughed. The microphone package comprises a combination of Shure and Senhheiser models; the bass guitar uses an Avalon DI and a Shure SM57, guitars use Shure SM57’s, Sennhesier e904’s and MD421’s. For vocals, a Shure Axient wireless microphone is the tool of choice. Hutch furthered: “We have both Shure KSM9 and Beta 58A capsules. The preference depends on how Oli feels vocally in the specific venue.” Hutch often works with the tour’s sound supplier SSE (control package) and Wigwam Acoustics, which has provided the PA. Pete Russell, Project Manager at SSE has been working with the crew for last three years. Hutch explained why: “SSE is my preferred company to use because they’re very good at tech support and they have very wellmaintained equipment. They’ve also got some great people working for them, and it’s been brilliant having the PA with us for the larger shows.” TEASING THAT TROUSER WOBBLE Wigwam Acoustics System Tech, Jack Murphy, joined the tour for the five dates that required a PA system - a d&b audiotechnik J-Series. Speaking of the sound design at Alexandra
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: Singer Oli Sykes uses Shure microphones - robust enough to take that throat rattle! Tour & Production Manager, Rob Highcroft means business...
Palace specifically, he stated: “I designed the sound system for the venue and made the necessary sub array calculations. I decided to place infill at the front of the stage and then have a mixed sub array of d&b J-SUBs and d&b J-INFRAs. The reason for that is because it’s such a sub-heavy show and we wanted to make sure that we got a real impact across the front for
even coverage. And,” he laughed, “the INFRA is there for a bit of trouser wobble!” [Editor’s note: This also works spectacularly on shirt dresses]. “Alexandra Palace is a challenging venue to work in, so we’ve flown some delay speakers after the FOH position. The size of the venue isn’t out of the throw of the J- Series but the big arched drapes really help with the room
acoustics and the delays complement that.” The main PA system comprises (per side) 10 boxes of J8’s and four J12’s. Subwoofers are configured in a mixed sub array pattern of 16 J-SUBs and four J-INFRA. Infill consists of four Y10Ps, and outfill is three ground stacked V8’s per side. The delay hangs are five V8’s per side. The system is driven by d&b D80 amplifiers and
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon Below: Crew Chief, FOH Engineer and Video Operator, Oliver ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson; Monitor Engineer, Jared Daly explained that with their current set up, the band are happy within one or two songs during soundcheck; Lighting Designer, Ben Inskip; The ‘A’ team with Stage Manager, Josh Perrée.
controlled by R1 V2 software. All processing, time alignment and system EQ is done within the amplifiers via the R1. The hung drapes made a difference to Murphy’s ideal sound. “The drapes dampen the reverberant field as it’s such a big room,” he continued. “I was glad to see them in place for our show as they make a big difference - I’d always recommend having them in Alexandra Palace. The acoustics is also why we chose to use delays - to keep the system angled downwards instead of entertaining that reverberant field. This is in the interest of keeping the best sonic quality throughout the show for the audience.” So, the next time you’re being flung around a circle pit in a fancy buliding on top of a hill, remember to look up! A SHURE THING Australia-based Monitor Engineer Jared Daly, joined the band’s core crew in 2014 - again by chance upon filling in at the monitor position. Daly inherited the use of the band’s own monitor system (bought in 2012) - an Allen & Heath iLive digital mixing system, which comprises an iDR-64 MixRack and iLive-R72 control surface. The iLive IDR is Dante-enabled for both live show recording and virtual soundcheck. Daly is also utilising an iLive Monitor Control app via Apple iPad. 32
He introduced the band to a new way of thinking when it comes to their personal monitoring systems. Shure’s PSM1000 IEMs, AXT600 spectrum manager and the AXT200 wireless vocal mic are now key features to their on-stage comfort. With input from each of the band Daly has upgraded their in-ear monitoring and helped to incorporate the use Shure wireless technology more extensively. He said: “The band have always used in-ears; they all have very specific mix requirements, including click tracks and cues. The band and crew have been using Shure PSM900 units for a few years on stage; they owned those when I joined. Oli [Sykes, singer] always used wedges for monitoring on-stage, right through their 2014 dates, but as that tour was finishing, they were thinking of upgrading, because they were getting a few dropouts at gigs where the RF spectrum was really busy - like at festivals. So at Wembley in December 2014, they tried out a rack of Shure PSM1000’s, and Oli changed over to in-ear monitors. The guys all liked the 1000’s, and we started using them in 2015. They’re much more stable in a festival environment; the two antennas on the beltpacks make all the difference.” In August, when the band played the 2015 Reading and Leeds festivals, the Axient AXT600 spectrum manager was added, and Oli began trialling an AXT200 handheld wireless
microphone with a Beta 58 head, which was subsequently adopted on the US tour. “The AXT600 has made my life so much easier,” explained Daly. “It’s a big step up from what the UHF-R system offered, and being able to sync it with Wireless Workbench is a game-changer. Now we have the Axient mic as well, I can check audio levels throughout the show and back off the vocal gain on the fly remotely via the software if it’s too high. Oli constantly switches between singing and screaming, so finding a gain setting that works for both is a priority, and the ability to change it during the show is excellent!” Given the crowded state of RF spectrums today, Daly has found the spectrum manager useful on the current tour. “At some of these gigs, I’m scanning for sources of interference throughout the show. When we arrived at one festival in the States, I couldn’t find a workable set of frequencies for us to use before our changeover time at all. But when we set up and were line checking, the frequency manager automatically found a clear set of frequencies, including multiple redundant back-up frequencies, and assigned our gear to them.” Daly has future plans to switch more of the band’s live rig over to a wireless operation and control it via Shure Wireless Workbench. “We’re putting wireless routers into the back of the guitar racks now, so that we can control and
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon Below: Electronics pro, Jordan Fish amidst an explosion of CO2.
deploy frequencies over the network, including the UR4Ds. Basically, we’re linking everything and because it’s all Shure and it’s compatible with the spectrum manager, it all works.” The band all use JH Audio molds: singer Oli and guitarist Lee Malia use JH11’s while keyboardist Jordan Fish, bassist Matt ‘Vegan’ Kean and drummer Matt Nicholls opt for JH16’s. Daly gave an insight into what he is mixing for the band. “Oli has the closest thing to a CD mix, with very prominent vocals. The main goal with his mix is for his vocal to sit just above the mix at all times, whether he is screaming, singing or whispering, it always needs to be the focus. “Jordan has quite an electronic-based mix but also is very particular with the sound of Matt’s snare drum. Jordan has recently started hearing a lot more guitars and has a talk-back microphone that is sent directly to his backline tech Jamie McKivitt and myself throughout the duration of the show. This way he can let us know of any problems he might be experiencing such as sensitivity levels. Most of the time he communicates signals to Jamie, but it’s also a very important part of the set up for me because he like to express what he needs directly. “Nicholls likes a big reverb sound that is very compressed, and he’s also a fan of light gates so that he can play his toms at any velocity and knows not to worry about gates opening and closing. Vegan likes to keep it simple: kick, snare, hats, click track, minimal electronics and a full - slightly compressed - bass mix. He prefers to hear nearly 100% mic over DI so that he knows exactly what his bass cab is outputting. “Lee’s mix is very guitar orientated - every note is like a rock mix, with plenty of overheads.
This is the closest to a wedge mix that we do, with lots of drums and vocals. Lee prefers to only listen to the SM57 on his in-ears as it replicates the closest tone coming from the cab.” Daly’s monitoring duties are completed by John Jones (JJ), the band’s session guitarist. He added: “JJ has a general band mix, with some selective panning to help him identify his playing from Lee’s. JJ prefers to have himself slightly panned to his left ear, this is because he likes to have Lee’s guitar quite loud so that he can essentially play off Lee during the show rather than just concentrate on the click.” On stage, touring monitors from SSE comprise two d&b audiotechnik B2’s, two d&b Q-Subs and two d&b Q1’s. Concluded Daly: “It’s been such a busy tour but the crew are really smooth at line checks by this point, they’ve come right down to one or two songs, and everyone is happy with what they’re hearing out there.”
systems ensure these will keep going in the event of unit or drive failure, whereas there was no plan B before. The BlackBoxes are placed at stage right, racked with the band’s samplers and interfaces with Jordan Fish’s electronics world. He continued: “I operate the players with a footswitch to begin the set each night, just before the band go on. “We are using the units for click tracks, player cues, basic backing track reinforcement and also to send timecode to the lighting and video consoles so that every aspect of the show is in sync. For future tours we’re looking at using the device to send sine waves to open gates at FOH, as well as for further cues, such as special effects. We had the option to use 16 channels at most before but with JoeCo we now have the option for 24. We’re trying to get as creative as possible!” The backline crew is completed by Joey Black, Jon Dunford and Andy Clements.
BACKLINE INVESTMENTS Delivering the emphasis on their electronics skills, Bring Me The Horizon have recently purchased two JoeCo BlackBox Players for use as a ‘failover system’. Electronics Tech McKivitt specified the systems. He said: “I found out about the BlackBox Player by googling different redundant playback solutions for the stage. I discussed it with a few people who had seen them being used and the failover feature is one of the main reasons we chose to use JoeCo, as our show is becoming more dependant on solid playback in the way that it triggers our video and lighting cues in sync. The JoeCo failover
SEAMLESS TRANSITIONS Lighting Designer Ben Inskip has worked with the band for the past five years. He’s since become something of a permanent fixture as production demands have increased. “They were always a popular band with their diehard fans, but as they’ve begun to appeal to more and more people, their shows have obviously gotten bigger and I’ve been required to support them on tour a lot more. It’s been great for me because I love touring with them!” he said. “These are some of the biggest shows they’ve ever done, production-wise, and it’s made me up my game for sure.” 33
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: Frontman Oli Skyes creates most of the visual content for the live shows; London’s Alexandra Palace played host to the biggest show of the tour, allowing SSE / Wigwam to implement the PA requirements suited to the notoriously challenging venue; The band performed for 10,000 fans at their Alexandra Palace show.
Inskip planned for this tour with scalability in mind, allowing for each venue to benefit from the finished look. To pull this off, a prerigged truss and a well thought out design was needed. His enthusiasm is clear: “I’ve been playing with their ideas and it’s developed into something more substantial now. It used to be a very strobe-heavy show that highlighted them going mental on stage, but now I’m helping to steer their ideas and adapt them into different designs. There’s no real theme as such but visually it’s definitely a show that’s grown into something quite special.” He explained that the band isn’t overly hands-on in terms of show design because they’re so trusting of the crew, but did note that: “They’re getting more curious the video side of the show and Oli creates a lot of the visual content himself, but the development of this tour has been a learning curve together.” The video and the lighting cues run off the same timecode, and Inskip spends a lot of time programming with Hutch. “He and I will try different things out, experiment with colours, bring different lights in or fade lights out until we’re happy with the final look.” The is to deliver a big impact from the lighting rig, making sure it stood its ground when the video screen ran at its brightest. 34
“Lighting worked hand in hand with the video content to immerse the audience,” he added. When not touring, Inskip is an Account Handler at Siyan, the tour’s lighting vendor. He continued: “I use Siyan because the kit and the people are fantastic. They have supported my entire career. Being part of that family environment and having that amount of support on the road is second to none. Siyan’s Jez Johnstone project managed this job and, as always, went above and beyond to make it all happen.” From the Siyan warehouse, the LD specified 36 Robe Robin Pointes, 24 Robe Robin LEDWash 600’s, eight GLP X4 Bar 20’s, 30 Philips Showline Nitro 510’s, seven James Thomas Engineering 4-lite PAR 36’s and 22 James Thomas Engineering 2-lite PAR 36’s. For control, Inskip uses a Jands Vista S1 control surface, connected to a PC laptop running Jands Vista v2 control software. This set up enables him to access the full functionality in an S1 that can usually be found in Jands’ full size flagship console, the L5 - the desk he chose to use for the band’s mammoth Reading and Leeds festival shows. For ease of touring the S1 provides a powerful console in a small package - a main pulling point when you’re effectively doing a mixture of club and arena-size shows
that require a seamless transition. Inskip furthered: “I love that my laptop is so portable. It’s my flying system that I can take anywhere without any notice. I’ve really enjoyed having such a small set up and I’ve used it on a lot of different types of shows with the band. My two laptops and S1 Wings [duplicate Vista control and backup systems] really holds its own.” At Alexandra Palace, the lighting crew was completed by Matt Morris, Dan Everitt, Jo Zilm and Jim Potter. Video Illusions were brought in to provide the full spectrum of video across the tour’s largest two shows in Cardiff and London. The company had previously worked with the camp for a DVD shoot at Wembley Arena in 2014. “We know the crew and were so excited to work with them again,” stated Video Illusions Director, Nick Whiteoak. “We love Bring Me The Horizon’s music so being able to provide video for their biggest shows on this tour after their success at Wembley was a very exciting prospect for us. We really like the way the band work and we’re big fans of the new album too. Even as they toured America, we had constant communication about bringing the video aspect into the show.” The company was given the brief to implement a 56ft by 20ft LED screen - flown
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: Backline Tech Jamie McKivitt; All Access Staging supplied stage risers for the double-impact video-heavy staging.
upstage - with two 56ft wide LED steps downstage. In addition, two IMAG screens, HD projectors, full HD PPU racks and camera operators were provided. The engineering racks comprised a Panasonic AVS - HS410 vision mixer, a Marshall 19-inch multiview monitor, Blackmagic Hyper Deck Pro 2 HD recorders, two Barco Image PRO 2 scalers and LED processors, four HXC 100 CCUs, a six-way RTS Comms System, a Kramer HD/SDI matrix and a Kramer DVI DA. To control the video, Hutch is using a Mac
Pro 15-inch Retina with Resolume Arena 5.01 software (and a MacBook for backup). He utilises a Novation Launchcontrol XL MIDI controller in order to control various elements of Arena such as the Master Intensity, Timecode Offset, RGB Levels and Strobe Opacity and Strobe Speed. Both Mac machines run on a simultaneous timecode feed into a HDMI switch. The MacBook native HDMI outputs to a second DVI monitor which is then attached to his Avid Profile audio desk and he sends two lines
of 25FPS LTC timecode from the stage into a Radial SW8 Auto switching DI. “They switch automatically so if one dies, the feed via a single output goes to my Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K interface,” Hutch explained. Video Illusions also supplied two AV Stumpfl 16ft by 9ft rear projection screens and two HD projectors. Two DVI fibre lines went to the projectors from the PPU rack. Whiteoak continued: “Our racks were linked into Hutch’s Resolume media server so that he could use our mix, and we then overlaid graphics on the side
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: LD Ben Inskip thought carefully about his lighting design as the rest of the production stepped up; Laser diffraction effects were employed for the show.
points, deliver more subtle colour graphics. The screens. Overlaying the content as well as the whole show design is nothing short of amazing, live footage really added depth to the visuals of from pryo to lasers and the bold lighting effects, their show. It had a very cool impact.” it was their most accomplished production to Video Illusions’ own VIL10mm 5,500 nitts date.” IP65 LED panels made up the screen, and, The video crew was completed by Camera according to Whiteoak, “really pack a punch,” Director, Dave Irving, camera operators Ross due to their brightness. The product is also Jordan, Rupert ‘Pesh’ Dean, Jack Lilley, Sam quick to assemble. “Considering we had to rig Wynne and Ross Gerry. Concluded Whiteoak: 270 panels and ground stack two large sections “This was a great show to be a part of. The of LED across the entire stage, we knew we band have got a great team around them and needed a product that could hold itself up we were honoured to be a part of it.” quickly during the set build. A few days before Charlie Longcroft oversaw the show’s the first gig, we were notified that we could house rigging duties at Alexandra Palace, and only fly the top five rows of screen and would explained why the change to the original video need to ground stack three rows, and drop the design had to happen: “We were given the top section in due to weight restrictions. The rigging plot by Live Nation and then translated rigging was challenging but it worked out really it into the roof. The upstage video wall was too well,” he added. heavy for the allowable winter snow loadings, The graphics are timecoded, with the band’s and to verify the actual loads, we used a Kinesys playback system and enable a full impact to hit Load Cell System at each motor point. the audience. “At times there’s lots of full-frame “The intended flown design had to be graphics and lyrics on screen which work on recalculated due1 to the winter loading time for the to sing along to, and1at09/12/2015 other JOECO TPicrowd magazine DEC15_Layout 16:16 Page
restrictions, which reduce the allowable loads in order to accommodate the possibility of heavy snowfall accumulating on the roof.” THEORETICAL DIFFRACTION To quite literally add a little bit of sparkle to the show, BPM was asked by Perrée to supply varying special effects. They included 14 CO2 jets placed up and downstage - which created a 3D effect, four X-Treme shots with 20-metre streamers and four confetti blowers. A focal point for the special effects department was a 30-second silver twinkling waterfall, created by Ultratec. It fell between band members on both sections of the stage during a guitar solo. Matthew Heap, Head SFX Technician from BPM stated: “We find Ultratec is the best product to use for the kind of effect they wanted; its not smoky and is very vibrant. It really created the desired look for that point in the show.” The special effects are operated by a wireless
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Bring Me The Horizon
Below: The brotherhood - Bring Me The Horizon continue to progress as a touring unit, leaving their suppliers keen to work with them again; Merch Manager, Tom Begley has been keeping the band’s fans kitted out for seven years.
Galaxis Firing System, allowing cues to be driven from anywhere in the venue. The band has used special effects throughout the tour, mainly on a dry hire basis, until the added wow factor was needed for the larger UK shows. For this, Heap and Laser Operator Nick Lloyd were on hand. Heap continued: “We came in to enhance the package they already had, and this includes the laser design. We’ve got 12 4W Starbeams and two 18W OPSL lasers which create a really powerful effect. Theoretically, we’re putting diffraction lasers into the crowd; we’re taking the raw beam - which is projected into the back of the venue - and placing a diffraction in front of it. This then brakes down the layers into their
Director, Mary Shelley-Smith, there’s a key skill that ETTB are renowned for: “Being able to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs while on tour is never a problem for our team. Paddy Quilligan, Chloe Whitehead and Genti Hoxha are travelling with the tour party and every day they create a mixture of tasty vegan meals and treats for the band and crew. “Our team also look after the band’s dressing room catering needs as well as any additional requirements they may request in order to feel fuelled enough to put on an outstanding performance each night. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the band for having us back they’re a pleasure to work with.”
“Right now, the touring crew around Bring Me The Horizon are some of the best in the industry. I can’t ask for any more than that, can I?” - Rob Highcroft, Tour & Production Manager
primary colours at a lower power, making it safe for the human eye.” Lasers are operated by Pangolin software. Concluded Heap: “It’s been an interesting job, and when you see the finished production on this gig, it’s all very worthwhile. It’s been a highlight of the year for us.” HOME COMFORTS, BRAND EXPOSURE AND LONG-LASTING RELATIONSHIPS Tour busses come from MM Band Services and production logistics via Highcroft’s long-term association with Transam. But we’re not finished quite yet… Having spent time on the band’s hugely successful world tour in 2011, rock ‘n’ roll catering titan Eat to the Beat was “thrilled” to be asked back for the latest part of this road journey. According to ETTB’s Global Operations 38
That sentiment is echoed by Merch Manager, Tom Begley - long-time friend of the band and now TM for one of Highcroft’s earliest clients, You Me At Six. “This tour was especially interesting for me as I’d worked with and become friends with almost all of this crew already because many of them have worked with Rob and I on You Me At Six tours in the past. I’ve worked for Bring Me The Horizon for the last seven years and it’s amazing how they’ve grown. It’s been great to be a part of their biggest headline tour to date.” Travelling with the band throughout the UK and Europe, Begley points out that Bring Me The Horizon are pack leaders when it comes to offering their fans somewhat of a more personal touch. “The band has reinvented its merchandise set-up in the last year and have
more creative control than most of the bands I’ve worked with. This results in much more stylish end products which has helped to establish a brand rather than some throwaway designs knocked up the week before a tour. It’s only a matter of time before more bands copy their set-up. They’re ahead of the game on this thanks to Oli’s experience with his clothing company, Drop Dead, which he established over 10 years ago. There’s no one better suited to understand the importance of branding when it comes to touring bands.” As a show-stopping night closes in London - 10,000 fans can’t be wrong - and a Drop Dead afterparty ensues (fret not, inappropriate high fives did not occur*), the last word goes to Highcroft. There’s a clear sense of achievement as this tour nears its end, due in part his choice of coworkers: “I always try to use the same people and the same companies. It’s a mixture of them really wanting to work with my clients, and me developing long-lasting relationships. In this case, it’s great to know that as a team we were able to produce the live shows that the band wanted. All the hard work pays off when that happens. Right now, the touring crew around Bring Me The Horizon are some of the best in the industry. I can’t ask for any more than that, can I?” TPi *possible lie Photos: Ashley Osborn www.bmthofficial.com www.dropdead.co www.bandtours.co.uk www.transamtrucking.com http://allaccessinc.com http://videoillusions.net www.sseaudiogroup.com/wigwam www.outbackrigging.com http://bpm-sfx.com www.eattothebeat.com www.siyan.co.uk www.mmbandservices.co.uk http://efm.global
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
THE PRODIGY ALTERNATIVE DANCE PIONEERS THE PRODIGY ARE KNOWN THE WORLD OVER FOR THEIR BLISTERING LIVE SHOWS. FOR THE BAND’S LATEST TOUR IN SUPPORT OF THE DAY IS MY ENEMY, A SUITABLY OUTRAGEOUS PRODUCTION WAS IN ORDER. TPi’s STE DURHAM WAS IN ATTENDANCE AT BIRMINGHAM’S BARCLYCARD ARENA TO MEET THE MINDS BEHIND THE MADNESS.
PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: The show design started with the floor package in February 2015, encorporating a concept centred around radio transmitter towers, with the striking truss roof structure acting as an extension of the theme on a much larger scale.
Since their beginnings 25 years ago, The Prodigy have rarely left the limelight; courting controversy and critical acclaim in almost equal measure, while performing the seemingly impossible task of earning respect from ravers and metalheads alike. Rather than spawning imitators, the band has carved out a niche for themselves - ensuring popularity at venues and festivals across the globe. Whether in a sodden field or a cavernous arena, one thing that a show from The Prodigy can guarantee is intensity. In spades. This goes for the crew as well as the band – you even get the sense that the fixtures themselves are working up a sweat. The production design is full on for the majority of the show, and even managed at times to leave TPi’s gig-hardened jaws on the floor. This visual assault was punctuated by hypnotic interludes, giving a welcome opportunity for respite before the next wave. Lighting and Show Designer Andy Hurst was asked to join the band’s touring crew in 2009 and, being a long-time fan of their music, jumped at the chance to lend his creative flair to the audio-visual maelstrom that is The Prodigy’s live show. Hurst is also Creative Director of lighting and rigging supplier HSL, which has provided lights for The Prodigy for the past four years, as well as carrying out all rigging duties. For this tour in particular, Hurst plundered HSL’s warehouse for a quite frankly gargantuan lighting rig. He explained: “The band get involved with the initial artwork then leave me to develop the show design. I then present visual renders for approval.” The show design started with the floor package in February 2015, encorporating a concept centred around radio transmitter towers, with the striking truss roof structure acting as an extension of the theme on a much larger scale. Hurst continued: “I wanted the flown structure to be imposing even without the lights on it. It was important that it was interesting architecturally as well as providing dynamic lighting angles to light the stage. As the band are not fans of video screens on stage we always start from the backdrop image and work forward from there. It’s quite challenging coming up with new set and lighting concepts while keeping certain aspects on stage that the band like to have around them, such as walls of strobes.” The Prodigy and strobe lights come in handin-hand and, having tried several LED versions throughout the year, Hurst has returned to Martin Professional Atomic 3000 strobes for this arena tour, 54 in all. He laughed: “The band would literally spend the whole show looking straight into one if they could!” A total of 389 lighting fixtures were used in Hurst’s design, spread over 24 lines of DMX. 41
PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: A total of 389 lighting fixtures were used in Hurst’s design, spread over 24 lines of DMX; He used old radio transmitter images as a conceptual launchpad; An early render of Hurst’s design.
Generic lighting for the audience was taken care of by 16 4-cell molefays, 28 2-cell molefays and 20 Robe Patt 2013’s. This base was brought to life by 204 moving heads, including 48 Robe Pointes, 24 Robe Robin 100 LEDBeams, 12 Robe Robin CycFX 8’s, 54 Ayrton MagicBlades, 46 Philips Lighting Showline BEAM 300 FXs, 14 Martin Professional MAC Aura XBs and six Martin MAC III’s. Hurst also specified 64 Philips Lighting SL eSTRIP 10’s and three PixelRANGE PixelLine 1044’s. He used his own High End Systems Hog 4 Full Boar and Road Hog (as backup) consoles for control, running via Art-Net. Hurst commented: “I’ve been using High End Systems consoles for over 20 years now! It’s a great console platform that works very well for me and my work. I currently have four Full Boar 4’s, four Road Hog 4’s, and a Nano Hog 4.” He has also recently invested in FOH racks for his console collection, which comprise HES DMX Processor 8000’s, HES Super Duper Widgets and Luminex GigaCore 16Xt Ethernet switches, giving him a sturdy 32 lines of Art-Net from each source. VIDEO NASTIES Rather than joining many of their 42
contemporaries in embracing giant LED walls, The Prodigy have kept video confined to an IMAG screen on either wing of the stage with the signals scrambled, overlayed and filtered with effects to enhance the radio transmitter theme. This allowed the screens to act more like a scenic element than traditional IMAG, keeping the band on side and the crew on their toes. Hurst brought in Kent-based Video Illusions to run the video production for The Prodigy’s New Year’s Eve gig in 2013 at the O2 Arena in London. Director of Video Illusions, Nick Whiteoak explained: “It’s our first full tour with the band following the New Year’s Eve gig and two consecutive nights at Alexandra Palace. At first, much like another of our clients, Arcadia, The Prodigy said that they didn’t like video. “They don’t see it as an integral part of the show and if they do have it they want to make sure it is different from what everybody else is doing. They particularly don’t like any clean shots. Andy’s brief was to make it look like we’re hitting the camera with a hammer! The strange thing was, and this is probably a testament to how good our working relationship is, that we knew exactly what he meant! They were really pleased with how it turned out.”
Whiteoak’s brother Dave, also a Director at Video Illusions, converted the HD camera signals using an ‘old school’ PAL visual effects unit to create composite images and outlines of the band’s vocalists, as well as adding effects. Whiteoak continued: “Frontman Keith Flint has those two spikes of hair and the MC, Maxim, has huge dreadlocks so they create distinct silhouettes on the screens. It looked amazing. Andy has taken over the effects operation and we send the signal through a Catalyst media server, where he now has full control of the effects on the screens via his lighting desk.” The effect looks something between a night vision CCTV feed and a found-footage horror film, causing shots of the band that would look relatively benign with traditional IMAG to take on a much more unsettling quality. Hurst adds to the disorientation further by washing the grainy black and white images with brash, coloured filters. Undertaking his first gig with The Prodigy, Whiteoak was warned that the band didn’t appreciate intrusive shots while they preformed - frontman Keith Flint has even been known to kick cameras that are too close for comfort. Sure enough, on New Year’s Eve, Whiteoak
PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: The Prodigy whipped the Birmingham crowd into a frenzy; Stephen ‘Knuddy’ Knudsen, Stuart Jackson and Tanya Collier of newly-formed catering company, Little Pickers; The team from Video Illusions; Longest-serving crewmember, Jon Burton, with his Midas XL3.
became backed against a subwoofer, with nowhere to go, and had Flint bearing down on him. “He got to me and just screamed in the lens and started having fun with it. I think they quite enjoy it now,” he laughed. Whiteoak continued: “We could use lower resolution screens because the content is so crushed but we like the audience to be able to see it fully.
The team’s HD PPU and engineering rack consisted of a Panasonic AVS-HS410 vision mixer, a Marshall 19-inch multiview monitor, Blackmagic Hyper Deck Pro 2 HD recorders, Barco Image PRO 2 scalers and LED processors, four HXC 100 CCU’s and 6-Way RTS comms systems, a Kramer HD/SDI matrix and a Kramer DVI DA. The company also provided two of its own
“For me, mixing a show has always been a very hands-on experience, and I enjoy getting to grips with the mix, which involves making lots of changes. On digital, everything’s buried and I lose interest trying to find it. I like to be tinkering all the way through every song.” FOH Engineer, Jon Burton
We integrated HSL’s Martin LC40mm screen with the show design at Alexandra Palace and went with the retro low res feel, but this looks better and works well with the show. Barry Logan, The Prodigy’s videographer, was the Camera Director for the tour, while Dave was System and Effects Engineer and Glenn Gardner served as FOH Camera Operator.” 44
VIL10 LED screens, along with a full HD camera package. Hurst commented: “Video Illusions have always done a great job with The Prodigy. Since the New Year’s Eve Show we have been applying these kinds of effects to the all The Prodigy shows including festivals for the past couple of years. Clean video is just not them.”
THIS KIND OF THUNDER FOH Engineer Jon Burton has worked with band for 11 years, after initially being drafted in to mix for Keith Flint’s solo project, Clever Brains Fryin’. Although it was some time after this that he was asked to work with The Prodigy on a permanent basis, Burton has since become the longest-serving member of the band’s touring crew. While this has included arena tours, the bulk of The Prodigy’s stage time during Burton’s tenure has been on the international festival circuit. This has allowed him to fully-explore the array of kit available to the touring sound engineer, naturally finding himself drawn to analogue desks. For this tour, Burton selected one of his three Midas XL3 consoles - his favourite analogue desk and one that he believes is a cut above anything else. He explained: “I’ve always preferred analogue, plus this is a bit of a dub reggae-style gig so it doesn’t lend itself to digital desks. Often with the two vocals I am spinning an echo on one that is different from the other. “For some reason most digital desks don’t allow you to do two things at once very easily. They haven’t grasped the concept that most engineers have two hands that we like to mix
PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: The ‘Crenelated Thumpunderous Array’ stretched from one side of the stage to the other, creating a fearsome wall of bass frequency fortification.
with!” Burton was actually an early adopter of digital and has spent his career at either monitors or FOH, giving him an indisputable familiarity with the range of desks on the market. He said: “I think that they don’t sound as good and, side-by-side, an analogue desk will win. A lot of average analogue desks aren’t better than a good digital desk, but a great analogue desk is unsurpassable. I think the XL3 is one of the finest desks ever made - that’s why I bought one (or three!).” “I feel like digital takes some of the fun out of it. For me, mixing a show has always been a very hands-on experience, and I enjoy getting to grips with the mix, which involves making lots of changes. On digital, everything’s buried and I lose interest trying to find it. I like to be tinkering all the way through every song,” Burton added. Burton maintained that his current setup is no bigger or heavier than many of the other FOH arsenals that he has squashed in alongside during The Prodigy’s many festival slots. Moreover, he was quick to point out how much easier desks like his are to maintain - a valuable quality on a high 46
intensity tour such as this. “Most analogue desks are modular so we can carry spares and I can fix it. If a channel goes wrong, then you replace it - it’s as simple as that. A digital desk goes down and you spend half your day on the phone to customer support,” he laughed. As well as being discerning when it comes to mixing desks, Burton also wanted to use a scientific approach when deciding which PA configuration would work best with the band’s aggressive and bass-heavy mix. Although The Prodigy were accustomed to using EAW prior to Burton’s arrival, he convinced the band’s manager to use the upcoming festival season as a trial period to sample different line arrays alongside the same backline and desks. The intention was to give every brand and model a fair chance and eventually decide which produced the best sound overall. Burton continued: “The hands-down winner of this trial was L-Acoustics, the V-DOSC in particular, and Wigwam came in with the right price and the right amount of gear. As a result we’ve used them as our supplier ever since. We used J-Series on the last tour but I’ve
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: Hurst wanted the gigantic lighting rig to be just as imposing even when the majority of the fixtures weren’t active.
gone back to V-DOSC this time because it has a big 15-inch speaker in it.” Although Burton takes care when selecting each aspect of the audio system, he conceded that The Prodigy’s live show is “all about the subs”. He explained: “We’re using d&b audiotechnik B2 subs and d&b J-INFRA subs. We have J-Series on the sides because it’s easier and doesn’t have to throw as far. That is purely for weight and convenience.” The novelty of choice was not lost on Burton, and he relished having the opportunity to tailor the sound to give the best coverage for his audience. “I care as much about the kids at the back as the ones at the front and I think this tour sounds particularly great. I’ve worked with System Tech Sid Rogerson of Wigwam for almost 10 years and he knows what I’m after. It’s really easy working with him.” The freedom of this working relationship has allowed Burton and Rogerson to spend time conducting experiments with subwoofers, culminating in the stage-spanning act of rib-rattling supremacy that is the ‘Crenelated Thumpunderous Array’. At the mention of his creation, Burton was clearly still brimming with pride. He smiled: “It came out of years of work. We are using a broadside array, which is basically a long line of subs on the floor in front of the stage. We use a J-INFRA sub upright every two B2’s, making it look a bit like a castle wall which is where the crenelated bit of the name comes from. I’m very proud of it and we’ve 48
been having great results with it on this tour. We can achieve really even bass coverage with very little dropout on the floor. “My least concern is it sounding great at the mixing desk. I want to make these songs sound great for as much of the audience as possible. We’ve taken these peoples’ hard-earned money so we deserve to give them a good show. The Prodigy always give 100% and we should too.” For system control, Burton selected the
quieter in terms of dBA level.” In addition to serving as the bedrock of his academic pursuits, Burton’s theory plays a huge part in The Prodigy’s show. He explained: “The Prodigy is all about the low end, the physical experience. What we’re going for is powerful, not loud. The J-INFRA subs don’t come on until around the fifth song, and when the bass comes in, you tend to know about it! It’s fully free of subtle nuance and is all bold brush strokes really.
“I want to make these songs sound great for as much as the audience as possible. We’ve taken these peoples’ hard-earned money so we deserve to give them a good show. The Prodigy always give 100% and I think we should too.” FOH Engineer, Jon Burton
Meyer Callisto 616 array processor, while analogue to digital conversion returns were completed via Optocore. BACK TO SCHOOL Burton is currently undertaking a Masters degree in electronics at York University with the weight of his thesis focussing on the effects of low frequencies on the listening experience, sub-50Hz to be precise. He said: “I always want to keep learning. My theory is that, by adding sub-bass, you can give the physical experience of volume while running the system slightly
It’s a dynamic show and, by the end, we want it to feel like you’ve been on a journey.” The band have been endorsed by Sennheiser for a number of years and, partly due to the onstage antics of the band themselves, the crew tend to prioritise reliability above all else. Burton specified rolled steel “virtually indestructible” drum microphones from Hebden Sound and Radial DI boxes for the rest of the band’s instruments, as well as Sennheiser EW D1-935 vocal microphones and in-ear monitor transmission systems. These were secured by a mixture of Ultimate Ears UE 18 and ACS T1 in-
PRODUCTION PROFILE: The Prodigy
Below: HSL’s Andy Hurst in the zone during The Prodigy’s set on his High End Systems Hog 4 Full Boar.
ear moulds. The band members, particularly vocalists Keith Flint and Maxim, use the in-ears to boost their parts over the top of what Burton described as the “incredibly loud” on-stage monitor volume. Sidefills are comprised of four stacks of d&b C4’s, along with two B2 subwoofers at either side to deliver the bass power that the band requires. There is also a similar configuration used as a rear fill for band mastermind Liam Howlett, making 16 stacks in total on stage. Monitor Engineer Tom Maddocks commented: “Liam’s monitor stack is the size of most people’s PA systems! It’s all about getting the adrenalin pumping during the performance - he’s got to feel everything in the music that he’s playing and wants it to sound as real as possible.” Maddocks has been part of the band’s audio department for seven years working across a variety of roles including FOH Engineer, PA Tech and Monitor Engineer. He also favoured a Midas
desk for the tour, selecting the compact PRO2C. Although he was pleased that the band has been able to tour the festival circuit so consistently, he agreed with Burton that the arena gigging lifestyle is a great deal easier. “It’s great because we travel as a touring production and everything is designed and specified as I’d expect it. At festivals you have to use preinstalled kit that might not be as preferable as your own first choice and space is often a problem too. Birmingham was exactly as we wanted it, with no compromise.” As well as Burton, Rogerson and Maddocks, The Prodigy’s audio crew was completed by Monitor Tech Stev Stevart and System Tech Jack Langfeld. NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK It is perhaps deceiving to say that this tour is a debut outing for catering company Little Pickers - particularly given the amount of experience there was in the kitchen at the Barclaycard
Arena in the shape of Stuart Jackson, Stephen ‘Knuddy’ Knudsen, and Tanya Collier. Between them, the team was responsible for feeding around 75 people with breakfast, lunch, dinner and after show food for the duration of the tour. Collier explained: “We have five choices on every night, while lunch is usually two meat options and a vegetarian option. We’re all chefs so we like to sit down and come up with exciting new menus. “The menu completely depends on the time of year. This tour is also a diverse mix of nationalities and palettes ranging from real ‘foodies’ to those who prefer comfort dishes like shepherd’s pie. We travel with stores and buy stores as well, depending on the dishes that night.” Collier continued: “We are all different as well - I’m into Asian cooking so I’d always opt for that, while Knuddy is into more traditionally English meals. It’s a good mix for the band and crew over the seven weeks.” Little Pickers has suppliers all around the country, while stores such as condiments are sourced from local supermarkets. Collier said: “We know where we are going to be so we arrange things in advance. It depends on the suppliers but most catering companies use the same ones because they are tried and tested. It’s a lot to think about and long days but we have a great time!” Trucking and bussing was taken care of by Fly By Nite and Phoenix Bussing, respectively. TPi Photos: Sarah Rushton-Read www.theprodigy.co.uk www.hslgroup.com www.videoillusions.net www.flybynite.co.uk www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
JOHNNY HALLYDAY LIVE IN PARIS ALTHOUGH RELATIVELY UNKNOWN OUTSIDE HIS NATIVE FRANCE, JOHNNY HALLYDAY IS ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST FAMOUS AND WELL-LOVED ARTISTS. WITH THREE SOLD OUT SHOWS IN THE NATION’S BIGGEST INDOOR ARENA, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE 72-YEAR-OLD SINGER IS AS POPULAR AS EVER. TPi’S STEW HUME FLEW TO PARIS TO SEE FIRST-HAND THE MAN THAT HAS LIVED AND BREATHED THE MUSIC BUSINESS FOR ALMOST HALF A CENTURY. Just as with any profession, there is a time when musicians are expected to retire from the spotlight, or at the very least, turn down the scale of their performances. Johnny Hallyday did not get the memo, as the 72-year-old treated his Parisian fans to a no-holds-barred performance and truly spectacular stage show. From the moment that the ‘French Elvis’ appeared from behind the back of a giant skull, his 2.5 hour performance was a non-stop barrage of hits from his back catalogue, aided by a large backing band of guitarists, drummers, brass instruments, four backing singers and even a harmonica player thrown in for good measure. A LA TÊTE DE LA PRODUCTION If there was anyone to give us a crash course in all things Johnny Hallyday, it is Production Manger Roger Abriol, who has worked for the singer in various capacities since 1974. “For 20 years I was the FOH Engineer for Johnny and then I became his Production Manager. For a 52
couple of years I did both jobs but it got to a stage where I had to make a choice between the two because it was far too tiring. I decided to take on the role of Production Manager as Johnny’s shows were increasing in both quantity and quality.” He stated that working for Hallyday was an incredibly rewarding experience, as his show represents the pinnacle of touring for a French artist. Abriol stated: “He is kind of a French legend and he really is the only artist to do this kind of amazing and extravagant production. I would say there are only three artists in France that could put on a production of this magnitude. What is more impressive with this guy is that, after all these years, he is still able to attract such a diverse audience and is still able to give such a top notch performance.” 2015 was a busy year for Hallyday. Firstly, the singer played several festival dates, which he has not done for 20 years, and the performances received great critical praise from the national media. Following on from festival season, the crew prepped for the Rester Vivant (Staying Alive) tour, which involved a whole
new production and stage design. According to Abriol, this meant bringing in a lot of fresh faces to the production team in all the sectors, as well new suppliers. The Production Manager went on to state that although the scale of this production represented a significant challenge, the whole crew had done everything with a smile on their faces. “It’s a small industry in a small country and this tour is arguably the biggest challenge for people in the sector. But the whole crew in this tour have become a very close family even though many of them have not worked together before. It’s a great atmosphere.” MONTRER LA CONCEPTION One of the many fresh faces on the Rester Vivant tour was LD, Dimitri Vassiliu. This is the first time that Vassiliu had worked with Johnny Hallyday and had been asked on board to bring a new creative perspective to the singer’s show. Abriol stated that Vassiliu’s huge experience, fertile imagination and talent for lateral thinking (with a history of creating vibrant and powerful
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
Opposite: The 72-year-old rock ‘n’ roll legend played three nights at the AccorHotels Arena with his gigantic stage show. Below: During the show, the production team made use of many visual elements including six flown LED screens and over 460 lighting fixtures; Marie Pierre Bussac, Production Assistant, stands with Production Manager Roger Abriol, who has worked for Hallyday in various capacities for over 40 years.
‘big rock shows’) secured him the job. Speaking about his initial concept for the show, Vassiliu said: “I wanted to create a real vintage look. Johnny is a timeless artist so the show had to enable the audience to lose themselves in all the various time periods.” He also commented how he really appreciates the generous amount of creative freedom he had been given by the artist, which allowed him to experiment and produce some very dynamic results for lighting,
video and automation. Once commissioned for the tour, Vassiliu set about forming a creative team that included Stage Designer Emma Favre and Artistic Coordinator Peggy Moulaire; both of which got to add their own ideas to the multi-layered visual equation. “For this whole project, all the people working on the show including Peggy, Emma and my FOH team Philippe Marty and Stephane Chiron have all worked very closely
throughout the initial design period,” explained Vassilliu. Abriol added to this, stating that the close working relationship really benefitted the show, which despite containing several visual elements and over 460 fixtures is a cohesive design with both lighting and video working together seamlessly. Supplying lighting fixtures and desks for the tour was European lighting supplier, Dushow. Singing its praises, Vassiliu commented how
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
Below: The team behind the lighting (from left to right) Philippe Marty, Stephane Chiron and Lighting and Show Designer Demitri Vassiliu; The LED screens were provided by Skynight and made to the specific requirements by Artixum; The complete audio team, (left to right) PA Tech Steve Hernandez, Monitor Engineer Vincent Mantz, System Engineer Matthieu Marionneau, FOH Mike Keating, Radio Tech Ronan Cassar, Monitor Assistant Daniel Matthews, Monitor Engineer Julien Vouillon and PA Tech Thomas Barbarat; Head of Automation, WIcreations’ Chris Das coordinated all automation with the Kinesys K2 software running on a WI optimised control desk with the aid of his assistant Rick Peeters.
the company was incredible attuned to his need as an LD. “They are always suggesting new products to me to use on projects I am working on. Dushow’s Technical Director, Didier Dast, was dedicated to this tour and was incredibly helpful during the design period and during rehearsals for the tour.” For the live show Vassiliu commissioned the help of fellow Lighting Programmers Philippe Marty and Stephane Chiron. “I have worked with both of them for a very long time,” stated Vassiliu. “During the show Philippe controls the 192 Ayrton Magic Panels on the back wall as well as Clay Paky Mythos’ and A.leda B-EYE K20’s. Stephane pilots all the ground and band lighting as well as the Martin Professional Atomic 3000’s.” This left Vissiliu to control all the video elements of the show on the various LED panels. For control, Marty used an MA Lighting grandMA2 whereas both Chiron and Vassiliu used High End Systems Hog 4’s. Chiron said of the show: “Dimitri has worked with both of us for a very long time and it is very easy to work with him. We don’t need to talk much during the show, as we all know what each other should be doing.” One of the most impressive looks throughout the show was produced by the back wall of Ayrton Magic Panels. Five lighting 54
pods upstage accommodated a total of 192 Magic Panels and were automated by 10 motion controlled chain hoists that moved up and down constantly. This created a variety of looks throughout the show. The design for the tour also featured 36 Robe BMFL Spot moving lights on the rig but, for the AccorHotels Arena performances, an additional 20 were added to help light the audience. Some of the BMFLs were positioned on the front and over-audience trusses for crowd lights and to illuminate the B-stage that was positioned in the centre of the arena, which Johnny and the band made use of throughout the show. There was also a ring of BMFLs around the deck of the main stage where they were mounted on different level plinths and used for aerial effects and skimming low across the audience. This had the effect of incorporating the audience during the show and was a special request from Hallyday - who really likes to see his audience when he performs. Vassiliu had never used the BMFL Spots until 2015, having trialled them during their various festival appearances. Also present were 24 Clay Paky Sharpys and eight Sharpy Wash 330’s, 20 Martin Professional MAC Aura XBs. Vassiliu also made use of 26 Showtec Sunstrip Active DMXs and Robert Juliat Lancelot 4000w HTI follow spots.
VIDÉO ET DE L’AUTOMATISATION If 17 musicians were not enough moving parts to worry about, the design team decided to add several automated staging elements to the set. This ranged from the giant skull that descended from the rafters to reveal to the French singer at the start of the night, to the six movable LED screens that transformed the stage aesthetic throughout the performance. One of the first people that Vassiliu brought on board to join his creative team was Artistic Coordinator Peggy Moulaire from 5 Fevrier, who created the visual elements that were played on the LED screens on stage. Moulaire was also on the road with the tour acting as the official photographer. “I got a call from Roger back in November last year to talk about the project,” stated Moulaire. “In the beginning I was left to come up with the initial concept, then later on a company called Cut Back, who specialise more on developing 3D effects, were brought in to help complete the project.” She went on to explain her initial inspiration for the designs: “I was told at the beginning of the project that Johnny was a very instinctive man who always spoke his mind. I tried to mirror these aspects of his personality by using a lot of natural elements such as wind, water and fire. For example, in his song Requiem Pour
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
Un Fou he sings about love so I used the fire to reflect the content of the track. Generally how I work is to come up with a simple idea and then adapt it into something bigger.” Vassiliu commented: “I have been familiar with Peggy’s work for a long time. She has the ability to adapt her work into many styles and is able to design images that work really well with the content of the songs.” During the show, content for the screens was controlled by Vassiliu who made use of a Pro Systems Catalyst media server running playback video to the six moving screens and a digital proscenium arch that surrounds the stage. Engineering and automation specialist WIcreations supplied multiple automation elements and control solutions to the massive show. Abriol has worked with WIcreations many times. He said: “They are one of my go-to companies for automation due to their creative engineering and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.” Koen Peeters, Production Manager at WIcreations commented: “Johnny is an amazing performer and the Rester Vivant tour is a very energetic rock ‘n’ roll show that embraces dramatic scenography and cutting-edge technology. This touring production perfectly showcases what WIcreations is capable of!” Out on the road representing WIcreations was Chris Das who was coordinating and
operating the automation using Kinesys K2 software running on a WI optimised control desk with the aid of his WI Motion Assistant, Rick Peeters. The giant scenic skull - which truly became the icon of the tour - was flown in from the roof and also tracks up and downstage on 18 metres of WI Touring Track, which was attached to four half-tonne, zero speed chain hoists. The six LED video screens - all of which were different sizes - were flown and tracked using another 108 metres of WI Touring Track to glide them seamlessly into over 20 different looks and positions, from a flat horizontal roof. Throughout the show the screens were used highly effectively as a big block light source to a large dramatically-angled single surface backdrop, which then fragments in different directions to several different shapes. The screens were made from a new lightweight 6mm proprietary LED product provided by the tour’s video contractor Skynight. Abriol talked about the production of the screens stating: “To reach all the specific requirements in this project we had to ask a company called Artixum to customise a new system based on their Xenon series. As well as providing a great quality image, the screens are incredibly light.” The three pairs of screens measured at 7.4 metres wide by 2.9 metres high, 7.9 metres
wide by 3.5 metres high and 8.4 metres wide by four metres high, respectively. All are slightly tapered at the offstage edges, maintaining the finesse and clean lines of the stage design. Each screen was moved by four one-tonne, zero speed chain hoists (500kg double-reeved) from which some of the positions entail the lower screens moving right down onto the stage just behind the backline. It’s just one of a number of careful moves for which the accuracy and stability of the K2 is needed along with the ever-important WI operator skills. The rest of the rigging for the tour was supplied by Stacco, which also was the supplier for the rolling stage. Head Rigger Georges Abele explained that there was 50 tonnes hanging from the roof and that it was all done with wide bridals rather than straight hands. Abele added that: “AudioRent and Clair Brothers helped us enormously with the rigging of the sound systems.” DERRIÈRE LE SON Ove the course of the evening, Hallyday drew on songs from his vast back catalogue, and this mixture of old and new did not stop at the set list. The trend was also seen in audio control, with a traditional analogue desk at FOH controlling one of the newest PA systems on the market.
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
For this run of dates, AudioRent and Clair Global were brought on as audio suppliers for the tour and provided Abriol and his production with the brand new Clair Cohesion CO-12 line array system. Abriol had worked with Clair since 1987 and he did not hesitate to bring them on board again. Taking the role of FOH Engineer was Mike Keating, a long-time Clair Global employee known for his work with such famed bands as The Police and Sting. Keating had worked on the Johnny Hallyday 66 tour in 2009 and in Keating’s own words, “it’s an honour to be asked back”. Sitting in catering away from the pre-show preparation, Keating spoke about how he was able to secure this cutting-edge PA for the tour. “When I first asked if I could take out the PA system, everyone basically said I didn’t stand a chance as it was being used for the U2 tour.” However Keating was not about to take the naysayers’ words to heart until he had spoken to Troy Clair, President and Chief Executive of Clair Global. After one well thought-out email, Keating got the go-ahead to use the Cohesion CO-12. When asked how it had been running for this tour run Keating responded immediately stating: “It’s a dream. It’s the biggest sounding small PA I have ever used. I come from the time before line arrays where we used to have a big black cloud of speakers either side of the stage. Then all of a sudden we have this PA that is so small yet so accurate.” Clair Global’s Dave Skaff, who acted as System Designer for the tour, talked about the development of the Cohesion CO-12: “The design brief while developing the Cohesion CO12 was to make a product that would fit productions, be simple to rig, and behave responsively for the audio mixers who would be using it. What we have produced are boxes that are lighter, more efficient and take up less space, yet are able to produce coverage for large venues. “From an audio mixer’s perspective, we believe we have produced a PA that will really give out what you put into it. A live system that feels like you were driving a high performance vehicle while mixing.” He went on to state that this year, Clair Global were in the beta stage of
releasing the Cohesion CO-12. He continued: “The first big tour that it went out on was U2, as well as some smaller runs. By September when Mike began to reach out, we were in a pretty good state of development. The timing of his request was perfect as we wanted the European market to see what we had.” For the main and side hangs the audio department deployed 24 CO-12 at 80˚ and 32 CO-12 at 120˚ with 12 CP-218 subwoofers. For floor subwoofers they used six CP-218’s with eight CO8’s used for flown centre fills and an additional four CO-8’s used for floor fills. As well a praising the new line array system, Keating also was highly complementary with the French audio team. “I really can’t say enough about the crew that we have here. The audio and backline teams are totally world class. I have toured all over the world and I can swear that these guys are totally top notch.” One of the crewmembers that worked closely with Keating on the tour was Matthieu Marionneau, System Engineer. “I first met Mike when we did the first run of rehearsals in LA. I was a bit nervous due to the language barrier but we have worked really well together,” stated Marionneau. Just like Keating, Marionneau had nothing but good words to say about the new Cohesion CO-12 system. “With 16 boxes its only one-tonne. It is powerful and coherent and when you walk around the arena the sound is very consistent. It is difficult to get that result with PAs but this one is doing the job.” Despite this fresh-off-the-lot PA system, Keating has faithfully stuck to his analogue roots by using two Yamaha PM 5000’s. “I don’t speak digital. I guess it’s just the generation I come from but for me there is always some personality missing from digital consoles. I can work a digital console but I find that when I do, I spend my time digging through layers rather than concentrating on mixing the show.” Keating went on to praise the work of Clair, which over the years has been incredibly understanding to his need to work with analogue consoles. “Clair keeps all this older gear in really good shape and with stations in Europe and America they are 57
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Johnny Hallyday
Below: Despite his age, Hallyday shows no signs in slowing down and, according to his production team, is always thinking ahead to his next performance. He is set the hit the road again early this year.
usually able to accommodate our requests for the Yamaha PM 5000. Plus the equipment from Clair always works!” Juxtaposed to FOH, monitor world is completely digitised running two DiGiCo SD7’s. Standing in the trenches on stage left, TPi spoke to the two Monitor Engineers Julien Vouillon and Vincent Mantz. Vouillon started off by stating: “For this show there are 17 people on stage. I control five mixes that include Hallyday himself and the Musical Director Yarol Poupaud, while Vincent controls the remaining 12 mixes on stage.” Everyone on stage used IEM that came courtesy of French supplier Ear Sonics, although Mantz commented how Poupaud likes to use both in-ears and a wedge mix. “Yarol likes to use both and also requested two side feeds. This is to keep some sound on stage to maintain the vibes of the show throughout the performance.” The two monitors engineers’ experience with DiGiCo SD7 varied slightly with Vouillon being a long-term user of the desk whereas this tour was Mantz’s first time on the console. He said: “You can have a lot of channels which is ideal for us. We are using an Optocore Loop between the two desks and we have three SD racks so we can change the inputs.” Adding to this, Vouillion talked TPi through the wireless system: “For all our wireless equipment we employed the services of the Belgium-based company RF Transmission. What they have provided for this tour is two passive cavity filters for transmission.” Altogether the monitor engineers worked with a total of 36 58
frequencies, which they organised into groups of six. “We put each of these six frequencies into one TV channel which we plug into the passive filters.” At this stage, all six groups of frequencies are then combined into a signal antenna. “It’s amazing. All groups have no internal modulation. These passive filters are insane. This is kind of ‘military’ equipment; the signal is so clean.” LOGISTIQUE ET DE LA RESTAURATION There are very few productions within France that can match the level of a Johnny Hallyday tour or require a crew of this size. “Altogether we have a 51 members of crew, not including locally based riggers,” stated Abriol. “For trucking we have used French company, Artys. Due to the size of the tour, which required 20 trucks, Artys had to sub contract extra coaches from Transam and Stacco. For busses the production employed the services of Blackline Star. The company had been involved with the tour since July for the European festival season. CEO of Blackline Star, Séverine Berthelet, talked about the company’s experience with the tour: “Since October we’ve had four nightliners on the tour, three for technical teams and one for to the production team, carrying more than 70 people. This tour has allowed us to expand our fleet to seven vehicles as we specifically develop a single deck nightliner, which was used for the production team. I am very thankful to the production team for trusting us.” Keeping the crew fed and hydrated throughout the tour was French caterers Egg
Cetera. Formed in 1989, the company prides itself on serving traditional gourmet French cuisine. Offering a buffet that would not be out of place a five star restaurant, Egg Cetera’s services were certainly a hit with the crew. LA LÉGENDE CONTINUE Regardless of a 2015 that would put performers half his age to shame, Johnny Hallyday and his crew are already prepared to hit the road once again with rumours of another run of festivals planned for summer 2016. Speaking about the star’s mindset for future tours, Abriol commented: “He doesn’t want it to end. He never talks about the last show, but he always talks about the next show.” Although ‘The King’ may be gone, it seems that the ‘French Elvis’ is planning to entertain crowds from many more years to come. TPi Photo: Peggy Moulaire www.johnnyhallyday.com http://audiorentclair.com http://clairglobal.com www.earsonics.com/en www.rftransmission.be/en www.dushow.com www.skynight.com www.artixium.com www.stacco.com www.wicreations.com www.blacklinestar.com www.artys.net www.eggcetera.fr
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
MUCH MORE THAN WHITE NOISE FRESH FROM THE RELEASE OF THEIR SECOND ALBUM CARACAL, ELECTRONIC DUO DISCLOSURE SOLD OUT THREE NIGHTS AT LONDON’S ALEXANDRA PALACE ON THEIR RECENT UK TOUR. TPi DROPPED IN TO MEET THE CREW BEHIND ONE OF THE UK’S MOST SUCCESSFUL DANCE ACTS. Made up of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, Disclosure have had an incredibly successful year. From co-organising their UK Festival Awards-winning Wild Life Festival to a headline show in New York’s Madison Square Garden, the UK house producers have certainly made a name for themselves, just two years after the release of debut album, Settle. Off the back of their North America tour the pair scheduled several dates in the UK, which culminated in three nights at Alexandra Palace. Although only originally planning to play two nights, demand forced the band to play a third show. Despite their outstanding success, it’s good to see that the band have kept many of the class of 2013 in the ranks of their production. Starting the role-call is long-term Disclosure crewmember, Toby Iddison. “I have been working with the band since 2013 and I have had the joy of getting to see the guys go from strength to strength,” stated Iddison as he sat in the homely production office. With a selection 60
of candles and a trusty coffee machine, it offered a welcome reprieve from the December temperatures. “It’s kind of strange, this band’s success seems to have been a global event. With most acts you usually find they build up a reputation in various corners of the globe, but with Disclosure the popularity has been an upward trend everywhere.” Although technically working under the job title of Tour Manager, Iddison has had to wear multiple hats through 2015. Production Manager Phil Murphy was sadly taken ill on the North American run and returned home. Thankfully, Murphy is apparently making a recovery and even managed to pop along to Disclosure’s Manchester show. Murphy’s sudden absence from the tour meant that Iddison had to play the role of Production and Tour Manager for the rest of the US leg, while temporary replacement for Murphy, Chris Gadd, got to grips with the show. Juggling multiple jobs is nothing new to Iddison, who in the early days of his Disclosure career used to be the Production Manager, Tour
Manager and the band’s PA all rolled into one! Gadd was originally brought in to work as stage manager, but soon got a call from Iddison to stand in for production manager duties. “I had never worked for Disclosure before but I had worked on the same tour as Toby while I was stage managing Example and Toby was working for his support band,” stated Gadd. “He’s come a long way in the last three years. He’s a great guy to work with and this band are lovely.” He went on to say that once Murphy is back on his feet he plans to return to his stage manager role. Iddison spoke of his work ethic when it came to running a production of this size; the real secret is to cut down all hierarchy. “I don’t like to think of this production as having a hierarchy; I want people to feel like they can just walk into the office regardless of their station. There is no need to be scared of anybody and we’re all here for each other and it’s our responsibility to get this gig up and running.” Tour Assistant Sooze Moyes backed this statement: “The family vibe on this production
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
Opposite: Disclosure on their second night at Alexandra Palace. Below: The show design was created by Will Potts and video content was pre designed by artist Kate Moross; Tour Manager Toby Iddison standing with Gregory Porter, one of the many featured vocalists on the current Caracal album; Production Manager Chris Gadd who was originally meant to fill in the role of stage manager.
is what makes it great. Being away from home for so long, it’s good to have the consistency of people that you know and get along. This makes it much more comfortable.” STEPPING UP Since Disclosure started their touring career, Will Potts of Will Potts Lighting Production Design has been at the helm of their lighting and show design. Having been with the band since their first show in March 2013 he has seen them move up from 200 capacity venues to the 10,000 plus capacity venues such as Alexandra Palace. This particular production saw Potts collaborating with James Scott and Louis Oliver of Okulus as well as Kate Moross who was in charge of producing video content for the show. With several people involved in the creation of this large stage show, Potts explained that there was a need for a central point to channel all the aspects of the design. “You could say I took on the role of Creative Director. It was really good to have James and Louis on board. They were able to carry on programming the show while I went to meetings and also provided a great collaboration point on the design. This show has the largest amount of production I’ve ever controlled with
250 fixtures, automation and lots of video so it was great to work with guys who both had arena experience. The Scottish LD did admit to being rather excited about driving such an impressive rig. “Back in the early days I used to busk the whole show, triggering everything myself manually. It was an intense task! But this year I decided it was time to step it up a notch and produce a really impressive visual show.” Just as for Disclosure’s North American tour, lighting, video and rigging was supplied by PRG XL Video. One way in which Potts stepped up the production involved updating his lighting desk to an MA Lighting grandMA2. “I first used a grandMA2 on Sam Smith’s show design. That project really got me into the way of working with the console. Making use of its timecode functionality means we are not restricted when developing looks for the show and I can take time to actually view the looks, rather than performing them out on the road where much of the adaption and finesse is achieved. There are rhythms in the cues that I wouldn’t be able to trigger myself without timecode and it has certainty made the show a lot more consistent for the guys onstage.” The festival shows were programmed by Scott and updated by Potts for the adapted arena design which included
additional tracks. Potts went on to state that, in the world of dance music there is a required standard that leaves little room for error. The design stage began before festival season. Potts explained: “We did two festivals in the summer, Park Life and Wild Life. We did those two shows with the idea of premiering the new look for the up and coming tour.” Disclosure had taken a bit of time from the stage while writing their new album. “As this was the first time Disclosure had played live for a good while, not to mention that Wild Life was their own festival and being documented, there was a real pressure to produce a tight show and leave a great impression from the start of the campaign. The rig we have now is almost the same as the one we took out on the festival run. The main difference is that we used to have a lot of automation behind the screen, and we have mobilised more of the pieces out front for the structural looks.” Automation for the show comprised of a riser that lifts both the artists and backing singers to the various movable trusses the staging was continuingly being manipulated to produce new looks. Cyber Hoist Programmer Robert Gardener spoke about several of the moving parts within the show. “When I came into the project Will 61
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
Below: Cyber Hoist Programmer Robert Gardener; LD and Show Designer Will Potts with his MA Lighting grandMA2; Video Programmer, Icarus Wilson-Write sitting with his d3 Technologies media server; Head Rigger Simon Lawrence.
already had all the designs and looks for each aspect of the show on paper. My first job was to simply provide everything that he needed.” He continued: “With the hoist system we’ve basically got five trusses that move with two hoists for each of them.” On each of these five trusses, Potts used four Clay Paky Mythos’ and seven Philips Showline Nitro 510c’s. Talking about the Mythos Potts said: “The fixture is really one of the workhorses of the design. It’s great for this show because it’s so malleable with multiple functions, which is exactly what you need for an electronic music show like this.” As with most dance acts, strobes play an important role within this show. With a total of 53 Martin Profesional Atomic 3000’s being deployed throughout the rig. Potts explained: “There isn’t a strobe out there that does the job of the Martin Atomic. There are lots of LED alternatives that are technically more reliable and energy efficient. We have made use of the Philips Nitro on the automated trusses as a bar of high power LED. However, for our main strobe solution we wanted a fixture that was truly electrifying. That made the Martin Atomic a clear choice in our eyes.” Potts also gave a special mention to the 32 PRG Best Boy HPs. “These lamps are great; they have a really powerful and even spread of output, and their focal length makes them great for firing through the screen which is mostly why we chose them.” he stated. Also seen on the rig were 24 Clay Paky Sharpys and four 62
Sharpy Wash 330’s as well as 22 molefay 4-Cell Linears, 22 Ayrton Magic Blade-R’s and four Philips Colour Kinetic Colour Blasts. NEW TOYS As well a sizeable lighting rig, Disclosure’s show contained several video elements. Video Programmer, Icarus Wilson-Write talked us through the system: “We’ve got six video destinations; four on stage that are elements and the two side screens. The video destinations are sent through a d3 Technologies 4x4 Pro media server, which is sequenced and controlled, at least in some part, from the lighting desk. Video content is pre-layered and pre-organised then we take in some camera feeds and lay them over the top.” Wilson-Write was brought on board to the project once Potts and Moross had already created the majority of the content for the show. He reported: “I went and sat down with Kate and Will to pull the show together, they were great to work with as they are both very creative and incredibly competent.” While creating the design for this tour, Potts explained how they had centred a lot of there design around the brand new Vanish 25mm which is produced by ROE Visuals and has a transparency of 51%. “We tested the screen while it was still in beta, and chose many other products as result of this, however for the festival run we weren’t able to get hold of the product as expected. But we’ve got it now,
there’s no complaints; it’s doing a great job.” Wilson-Write added that: “The Vanish has been able to integrate perfectly with the lighting show. It’s very lightweight, very fast to rig and it seems to be very reliable too, not to mention the fact that it displays a great image.” For the show, PRG XL Video also supplied MC-18T screens which were placed as a return below the two musicians’ desks, two sets of Pixled F-25s placed either side of the stage and a strip of MC-7 as high resolution automated piece in the flying ‘venetian’ screen. STAR SERVICE Keeping all these various visual elements up in the air was the responsibility of Head Rigger Simon Lawrence and once again PRG acted as a suppler. “Due to the size of this show we had to split the rigging into two sections,” stated Lawrence. “The guys in charge of automation are totally self-contained then on the lighting side we have quite a big job hanging all these fixtures on a daily basis.” Lawrence was only brought onto the tour a month before the Alexandra Palace show and was another member of crew who had worked under Iddison with singer / songwriter Ben Howard. He admitted that this show had been a fair challenge due to the fact that it was a very heavy rig but that it is always part of the challenge of the job. For staging, the production team employed the services of Star Events who provided 65ft by 12ft of VerTech
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
Below: One of the goals for this tour was to ensure both members of Disclosure were at the forefront. One element of this was to build custom workbenches for both members - a task undertaken by Brilliant Stages; Alex Turner from Gravity Systems was in charge of the band’s backline.
Ground support and integrated 60ft by 40ft stage and tech risers for the Alexandra Palace dates, overseen by Joe Sheals. Star Events had been involved with the band before, during the summer for Disclosure’s Wild Life festival. Sheals commented: “We were brought in specifically to provide a structural solution for the Alexandra Palace dates. The production exceeded the winter load capacity of the venue roof, so we designed a stage to fit their rider but with integrated a VerTech ground support to accommodate around 8,000kg of video and lighting. “The ground support masts were assembled and pre-rigged from the venue roof, with the stage and truss grid built beneath. The masts were then lowered through the truss, released from the roof rigging and the whole structure self-climbed as normal.” BACKLINE BRILLIANCE From the outset, Potts explained that one of the goals was to make sure that the band remained at the centre of the show. As well as having the two performers appear on the two side screens, the team also designed the two desks which the brothers stood behind through out the show and held the bands various supplies 64
of synthesisers, drum pads along with a whole other array of other pieces of hardware. Brilliant Stages was responsible for creating the circular desks themselves before festival season got underway. “We’ve always avoided having both musicians sitting behind loads of gear or hidden behind a big console,” explained Potts. “The tables are specifically designed so you can see both members from head to foot from all audience angles breaking the barrier between the crowd and the band.” The two desks also boast an impressive level of audio engineering thanks to the work of Alex Turner from Gravity who has created a whole new ‘Music Performance System’ for the band. Since 2014 Disclosure had wanted to go back to the drawing board and design the ultimate playback and performance system for their particular style of electronic music. “I was brought on in April to design and build their new rig with a brief to make it all digital.” Turner, along with his business partner Matt Cox, has worked with distinguished dance pioneers The Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip and The Prodigy - so in many ways they’re an obvious choice for Disclosure to help reinvent their live set up. “It’s all singing all dancing, with sweet
sound down to the digital signals [soft synths and samples] staying digital all the way to the PA’s speaker cables. The look is achieved by using data satellite boxes,” explained Turner. “The sleekness of the desks follow through into the backline, and anything that can be off stage, is. To enable this, a multitude of line drivers are used. Well out of sight and niched into each of the risers, are the backline satellite boxes, one allowing both of the musicians his own connectivity to the off stage racks. These low profile hubs allow for 100% reliable two-way long distance transmission of all the USB and MIDI control data, audio and HD video that is needed to keep the show going.” Both of the brothers have a rack, each of which is equipped with an RME MADIface XT. All of the group’s instruments and drum pads are plugged into a Midas XL48 microphone pre unit, which is capable of splitting the signal into two identical ADAT outputs. These outputs are then fed into two Ferrofish A16 Mk-IIs, which in turn feed into the A and B computers via the RME MADIface XT’s. “This playback rig is very cutting edge,” Turner stated. “It’s got every functionality that any tech would dream of in a playback and performance system. The band wanted everything at their fingertips as if they
PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
Below: FOH Engineer Rob Webster-Reed and Monitor Engineer Barrie Pitt both favour DiGiCo SD7 consoles, which were supplied by Nitelites.
had computers on stage, but the crew wanted 100% flexibility and reliability, and with RME that’s exactly what we got!” TWO SUPPLIERS ARE BETTER THAN ONE Newcastle-based rental company Nitelites provided monitors and control for the tour, as well as a number of crew to keep on top of Alexandra Palace’s specific audio demands. FOH Engineer Rob Webster-Reed, who is heading towards his third year with Disclosure, selected a DiGiCo SD7, using a UAD Apollo 16 Mkii plug-in system, which he claimed is “fantastic”. He said: “I’ve not used this desk before but it’s got a full-on vintage sound coming out. I’ve been a DiGiCo user on and off for a couple of years, having used an SD10 for the first album tour and then swapping from a Midas Pro system to DiGiCo for this album.” Monitor Engineer Barrie Pitt also ran a DiGiCo SD7 with Apollo 16 running plugins, and used a
combination of d&b audiotechnik wedges and Sennheiser 2000 Series in-ear monitors. Pitt commented: “I’ve used the DiGiCo SD7 for the last five years. I was doing Ben Howard before this and his channel care is astronomical - with a six-piece band there’s a lot of stuff going on. I just got into the SD7 out of necessity because I had to access lots and lots of outputs and it handles this tremendously well. DiGiCo have been great in terms of support, the desktop is amazing and it can virtually do anything I want it to do. I’ve got it working extremely hard on this show!” Eighth Day Sound Systems UK provided a d&b audiotechnik J-Series PA system, including a flown rack of J-Series and J-SUBs, with B2’s and INFRA subwoofers on the ground. As Nitelites’ gear was out on the road in Australia, some of the monitor package was sub-hired from Skan PA. MD of Nitelites, Jamie Moore, explained: “It’s been great working with Skan, it’s a great company to be involved with. We act as Disclosure’s international control provider and
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PRODUCTION PROFILE: Disclosure
Below: With such a successful 2015 behind them, Disclosure are kicking off the new year with an Australian tour.
Eighth Day Sound were brought in for racks and stacks worldwide. It’s quite a unique setup when there’s two companies doing it but I have a great relationship with Toby, the TM, and Phil Murphy, who is the regular PM.” The venue itself provided something of a challenge for the audio team, who used the d&b array to combat the acoustic ‘slap back’ inherent in larger venues - a problem especially prevalent when dealing with dance music. Webster-Reed said: “Alexandra Palace is challenging - it’s a big room. You have to fly the PA quite wide here, which a lot of engineers don’t like, but it’s the same for everybody so you just have to get on with it. Using the J-Series enables us to give a lot of hi-fi clarity and create a sort of big club sound in an even bigger space, which is a challenge in itself really.” Although Disclosure is only made up of two permanent members, they made use of 10 channels of live percussion, four channels of electric pads, two vocal channels, bass, guitar and various electronic synth instruments. The team also had a number of guest vocalists to consider during the evening, and this required a combination of preparation
and adaptability. Webster-Reed explained: “In pre-production we set up the guest channels in an attempt to anticipate who’ll come. I’ve got eight channels dedicated to potential vocalists for whoever turns up on the day. It’s then just a question of getting them sound checked before they’re live and making sure it sits nice within the mix. A live vocalist is always a challenge but I think I’m getting there. The UAD Apollo software is helping to no end, it’s quite clever.” THE HITS KEEP ON COMING For logistics, the tour required six trucks, all of which were supplied by Fly By Nite. Gadd commented how he rarely uses any other trucking companies: “Their support is fantastic, not to mention the drivers, who are all really good. I wouldn’t use anyone else. It’s the same with most things. Once you get on with someone and you like the way they work, why change?” For coaches on the UK tour, Disclosure used a mixture of Beat The Street and Phoenix Bussing - though the three nights at Alexandra Palace saw the entire production opting to use hotels instead. The Disclosure camp was kept well-nourished by Popcorn catering.
It does seem that Disclosure have tapped on a formula that attracts a broad range of people. Gadd explained: “To me, the music certainly falls into the house genre but at the same time it’s not your ‘normal’ house music. They keep their sets varied and there is not one boring song! There aren’t many bands out there like this.” With such positive feedback from their 2015 dates, Disclosure are planning to continue their quest for global domination - starting in 2016 with an Australian tour. This in particular is a prospect that the crew seemed excited about any excuse to avoid the wonderful UK winter! TPi Photos: Sarah Rushton-Read www.disclosureofficial.com www.xlvideo.com/uk www.lightingproductiondesign.com www.nitelites.co.uk, www.skanpa.co.uk www.8thdaysound.com, www.flybynite.co.uk www.phoenix-bussing.co.uk www.popcorncatering.com www.brilliantstages.com www.stareventsltd.com www.beatthestreet.net
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IN PROFILE: John Henry’s
JOHN HENRY’S SINCE THE COMPANY’S INCEPTION, JOHN HENRY’S HAS BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING MULTI-DISCIPLINARY SERVICES IN THE UK’S LIVE MUSIC INDUSTRY. AS THE BACKLINE SPECIALIST PREPARES TO CELEBRATE ITS 40TH YEAR IN BUSINESS, TPi’S STEW HUME VISITS THE HISTORICAL BREWERY ROAD SITE TO GAIN INSIGHT INTO THIS FAMILY-OWNED, EXPERTLY RUN BUSINESS. Starting out in 1976, producing a unique portable staging system, John Henry was unknowingly building the foundations for what would become one of the longeststanding brands in the pro audio and staging industry. An impressive 40 years down the line, the company today offers a range of services from rehearsal studios, backline rental, audio hire, and staging solutions, not to mention its Pro Shop where it supplies everything from MI to guitar stings and drumheads for some of the world’s most diverse and respected musicians. Although expanding its services at a steady rate, founder and owner John has remained very involved throughout all stages, and is still present on site, daily, alongside his two sons, Johnny and Jamie. Plus their extended company family of 50 employees and 30 freelancers. The John Henry’s facility itself is one of 68
historical notoriety, having been used as a munitions factory during the war. Trading ammunition for amplifiers, the 60,000 sq ft facility has since become a mecca for touring musicians. You only have to go to the company’s cafeteria to get an idea of just some of the famous faces that have come through the doors; the company has more signed photographs on the walls than a Hard Rock Cafe. MAKING HISTORY John moved to London in 1972 from Stranraer, a small town in South West Scotland. Developing a passion for music in his teenage years, he eventually packed his bags and moved to the capital to put his aspirations of becoming a professional bass player into motion. While pursuing his musical career, he began to work for TASCO (the largest PA company in its day). Sat in his office talking about his early years
in London, he said: “While I was there, they had a carpenter who made wooden flats and stage sets but, of course, they would always fall apart! I offered my services to create a new collapsible metal frame with plywood tops.” What John had essentially created was a unique portable stage riser, the likes of which the industry had never seen before. He pointed out this moment as the beginning of John Henry’s as we know today. During his time at the company, he achieved far more than an interest in portable staging: “TASCO were lacking a mains distributions system. I was once employed as an electrician and was able to build a proper travelling mains system,” said John. “I spent around two years making mains systems and in between was hiring out the staging that I had created.” From this point on, with the help of his wife Pauline, John continued to expand what the business could offer. “It was a case of
IN PROFILE: John Henry’s
Opposite: John Henry (centre) standing with his two sons Jamie and Johnny. Below: John Henry’s extensive backline store supplies everything from drum-heads to amps with a whole team of inhouse technicians who keep all the equipment in great condition; Across the road from the main building are two other wear houses which house the staging departments and the audio department.
supply and demand. Bands were coming in to use my warehouse as a rehearsal space and they needed somewhere to store their gear. So I’d build several storage cages next to the studio for bands to have a safe place for their equipment. I also had a fair bit of backline of my own from being in various bands. One thing led to another and I started hiring out my own gear as well as buying more. Before I knew it, I was hiring out staging, offering storage and supplying backline at the same time! I also realised that musicians often needed something to be repaired, so I started an electronic workshop and employed an electronics engineer to take care of any broken parts.” In 1999, the JHL Group of Companies, which included John Henry Enterprises, JHE Audio and JHE Overseas, consolidated into the central John Henry’s that we know today. KEY SERVICES The large staff base includes Johnny Henry as manager of the company and his younger brother, Jamie Henry, running the Pro Shop and endorsement programmes. The company’s four key services can be split into four primary sections: audio solutions, staging, backline rental and rehearsal space. Situated across the road from the main
building are two warehouses that house the audio and staging departments. The company’s audio services provide a range of live sound reinforcement, speaker systems, monitor systems and wireless IEMs and mics along with several audio consoles from Avid, Midas, Soundcraft, Yamaha and DiGiCo in the fleet. Recently, the company has supplied audio solutions for notable events such as BBC2’s late night flagship music programme, Later... with Jools Holland, for which it provides audio production planning, the floor package, sound engineers, monitor systems, staging elements, backline equipment and mains distro since the first show aired in 1992. It also offers its services to one-off events such as the premiere of Ed Sheeran’s recent film Jumpers for Goalposts at the Odeon Leicester Square. John Henry’s supplied audio equipment for the live performances both inside and outside of the cinema for client Warner Music. The John Henry’s staging department offers a range of products including staging rental, rolling risers, skid decks, steps and rails, stage dressing, flooring and even mobile dance mirrors! It also offers set design and staging technicians. This summer, the staging department was heavily involved with the UK festival season, offering staging solutions to
huge titles such as Latitude Festival, V Festival, Reading & Leeds and Proms in the Park. One thing that is hard to ignore while walking through John Henry’s is the amount of products under its roof. This is most prevalent in the backline warehouse. When TPi walked through row upon row of backline, Johnny noted: “We had some visitors over from the US and when they walked into our warehouse they made a point that our facility is much bigger than anything they have seen in North America.” Stocking everything from amplification, guitars and basses, drums, cymbals, percussion, keyboards, grand pianos, music stands, organs, synths and transformers. Recently the company has provided complete backline packages - including equipment, technicians and tour accessories - for The BRIT Awards, C2C Festival, Capital Summertime Ball, V Festival, Reading and Leeds Festival (all stages), and the London Jazz Festival. It also provided touring backline packages for Grace Jones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sir Tom Jones and Marilyn Manson. Finally, the purpose-built studios, which come set-up with digital consoles, monitor systems and basic microphone packages, are available for rehearsal space hire. Dedicated and qualified audio professionals are on hand too. 69
IN PROFILE: John Henry’s
Below: The audio warehouse and its huge stock on equipment all in the signature John Henry’s flight cases; One of several studios at John Henry’s, Studio 5, which has seen some of the biggest acts in the world come over to jam.
Also onsite are secure storage cages as well as a showroom. Residents include the Fender, Blackstar Amplification and ACS. In the last few months there has been visits from The Rolling Stones, One Direction, Pixie Lott and Jamie Woon. Business is certainly booming. Johnny explained how the diversity of artists creates a really good atmosphere. “Last summer we had The Rolling Stones in one room and One Direction in the other. It was a real mixture of genres but the vibe was fantastic. When all the studios are fully booked and all the walls are shaking, it’s an awesome place to work!” The studios are also often used by pro audio companies to showcase products. Recently, HD Pro Audio and SoundCraft set up shop for the day at John Henry’s, because as expected, every key decision-maker in the industry knows where the door is. LONDON’S STILL CALLING Despite expanding into different areas throughout the years, one thing that has always been a consistent aspect of the business is the company’s continued presence in central London. In fact, the first John Henry’s warehouse is actually only one street away from
its current location on Brewery Road. Situated one stop away from Kings Cross train station, the company is more passionate than ever to maintain its London postcode. John continued: “It’s the heart of the business really. We are in a very handy position and have the luxury of a fair amount of space. A lot of our work is Londonbased and as a result, the business seems to be growing on a daily basis. We still have plenty of room for expansion however, and this year we have taken on another two top rental reps.” John explained what he looks for when taking on new employee. “Everyone has been hand-picked by me. I am always looking for good, solid people who display good knowledge that can then be backed up by a good attitude. In terms of staff retention, it is very rare that people want to leave.” A major part of our success is thanks to the dedication and long term loyalty of our management team and staff. Johnny expanded: “I’ve learnt alot by working my way up through the ranks; it’s all about sharing knowledge. Our management team need a special mention here as they have helped put us where we are today - Robert Harding, Pepin Clout, Tark Bates, Andrea
Westwood, Gary Felton, Patrick Louis and all our staff. No matter what gets thrown at us we all pull together and work as a team.” Johnny went on to state that a genuine passion for the job was always a big factor when taking new people on. “It’s a really nice place to work. It’s one big family and I think it’s rare for a company to have as little hierarchy as we do. You hear of companies where there is not a lot of interaction between the top and bottom tier, but my father’s door is always open.” This year marks the 40th anniversary for the company. A notable anniversary by any means, but for John Henry’s it doesn’t signify any kind of leisurely retirement, as John concluded: “Because we are so diverse in the services that we provide, the shopping list is endless. As technologies continue to develop, so do we. Whether it’s the latest keyboard model or the most sought-after digital mixing desk, we want to be at the cutting edge of it all.” TPi
Photos: Johnny Henry www.johnhenrys.com
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT FROM CREATION TO CONSUMPTION LONDON ENTERTAINMENT WEEK – A BRAND NEW SERIES OF EVENTS ADDRESSING THE MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT SECTOR HERE IN THE UK, WITH BVE AT ITS HEART EXHIBITION / SEMINARS & WORKSHOPS / CO-LOCATED CONFERENCES / AWARDS / NETWORKING & MORE
23 - 25 FEBRUARY 2016 / EXCEL LONDON
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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF...Gabriel GabrielCoutu-Dumont Coutu-Dumont
GABRIEL COUTU-DUMONT, SILENT PARTNERS Three time zones in 36 hours. Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, 100 dancers, too many extras, some multimedia Shakespeare. A broken iPhone, a black eye, a lost credit card and a lucky game of roulette. It’s just one of those days for Silent Partners’ Gabriel... I’m in Vegas now. I rushed here with Isabelle our producer and Jocelyn, a great Video FX guy we work with. After putting to bed the new video scenography for Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour, the show left, it’s on the road and we’re almost done! I’m in the City of Sin for 48 hours to drop off reformatted HD files for Taylor’s Vegas gig, and to add bits to Britney’s permanent show Piece Of Me. She’s got a new single with Iggy Azalea coming out and Baz Halpin, the Creative Director, hired us to take care of the visuals. So, after two weeks of designing the content, our little skeleton crew, who dragged a full suite of computers with them, will also need to capture a live performance from Britney with Iggy and add it into a teleportation VFX gag for a reveal during the Billboard Awards. Never a dull moment! The show airs in a few hours here in Vegas, so we’re cramming in our hotel room. I. Must. Smoke. I check in with my partners Janicke and David back in Montreal who are frantically prepping for the biggest production we’ve ever been in involved in; we’re producing content for the closing ceremonies of the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. We’re used to rock ‘n’ roll touring shows that look and feel big, but in the end, involve only a handful of talented people. In Baku, it’s gargantuan. The production office alone houses more than 120 people from several countries. Led by Five Currents, we’re working on stadium content that will involve a gazillion extras performing a mass choreography using 504 handheld LED screens. It’s ridiculous. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be fine, but there is some mild preparation panic going down 72
at HQ. Claudine, our designer, is already in Baku setting up shop and getting ready for Janicke and David to arrive. Everyone is racing towards deadline to finish the video and load the equipment. It’s like a Woody Allen heist-gone-wrong movie. The servers don’t fit in the truck, everything is chaotic. Janicke wipes-out on the ramp while also managing the amazing feat of taking her own picture with her phone while it’s happening. (Action shots are on our Tumblr!) Somehow, it’s now 10am in Vegas. We’ve got the goods and we hand it over to Mike Polito from Chainsaw who is cutting the final edit for the Billboard Awards. Jocelyn heads for the airport while I’m back in the casino. It’s the only place I can smoke in the hotel and it’s been a long, sleepless night. Baz calls me to say we need to go back and change a few things with the FX. To the Batmobile! Isabelle begins phoning Jocelyn to catch him before he boards his plane. I just happen to have 500 dollars in chips. I turn around and lay it all on black while continuing to take notes from Baz. We probably have another three to four hours to re-render the piece before the Billboard Awards goes to air. Black wins. Still preoccupied with Baz, I put my winnings on black again. Blammo. I win again! Eventually, Isabelle reaches Jocelyn and we’re back in the hotel room, set up and whirring away. The piece comes out fantastic. The show airs and we all jump on a plane back to Montreal. But not before I realise I’ve left my credit card at L’atelier de Joël Robuchon where we celebrated our work and my luck, and not before I slam my face into a television monitor in the lobby as I say goodbye to people on the way out. As soon as we land in Montreal, me and my black eye are off to a workshop for video scenography for a five-hour Shakespeare theatre piece. I’ve got 10 days to come up with the base of the show, then it’s off to Baku... Gabriel Coutu-Dumont
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Focusrite
FOCUSRITE’S REDNET AM2 FOCUSRITE HAS LAUNCHED A NEW PRODUCT IN ITS POPULAR REDNET RANGE OF DANTE AUDIO-OVER-IP PRODUCTS: THE REDNET AM2 STEREO AUDIO MONITORING UNIT. TPi SPEAKS TO FOCUSRITE’S WILL EVANS TO FIND OUT WHERE THE NEW DANTE-COMPATIBLE UNIT WILL RESIDE IN THE MARKET PLACE. Combining headphone and line outputs for flexible monitoring of signals sourced from the Dante network, the RedNet AM2 features a quarter-inch front-panel headphone socket and a pair of balanced line outputs, with male XLR connectors mounted on the rear panel that can be used for loudspeaker monitoring. The headphone output delivers significant audio output power, sufficient to drive even high-impedance headphones at substantial levels. The RedNet AM2, fitted with non-slip feet, is designed to either sit securely on a flat surface or be mounted on top of a microphone stand. RedNet AM2 includes a two-channel Dante receiver based around the latest Ultimo hardware - allowing up to 24 bit, 96kHz operation - and features a road-worthy aluminium extrusion-based enclosure. Two large volume control knobs are provided for headphone and line output levels; the latter also features a mute button with associated LED. Other indicators show the presence of power, network and signal. 74
The unit may be powered either via PoE (Power over Ethernet) or via the 12V DC input barrel connector (universal power supply included). Dual etherCON connectors are included to connect the network and to daisy chain to additional network devices. Will Evans, Artist, Media and Brand Partnerships at Focusrite, explained the thought process behind the new development in the RedNet range: “Since we launched RedNet we have had a very common request: lower cost, lower channel count output devices. The specific use-case cited in almost any workflow is foldback: adding headphones or a basic speaker output to a system. Up until recently it’s been cost-prohibitive to develop low-channel count devices. Thanks to Audinate’s Ultimo chip, we’re able to make a cost-effective device which delivers for the customer,” he explained. The company has also taken direction from various end users in order to further cater for their clientele: “We have worked with both touring engineers and system techs, as well as
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Focusrite
Opposite: The RedNet AM2 is planned for shipping in spring 2016. Below: FOH Engineer for Usher, Horace Ward, took an early version of RedNet out on the The UR Experience tour in the spring of 2015; Artist, Media and Brand Partnerships at Focusrite, Will Evans.
rental companies, broadcasters and larger education facilities. Our customers are the most important part of our product development. Their feedback is pivotal in shaping the design of products.” RedNet AM2 is planned for shipping in spring 2016, and Evans said that he is sure the product support will encourage new users alongside its key features: “We provide telephone support in
the UK and US, as well as email-based support, all free of charge. It allows us to provide greater coverage to our customers so, for example, even after working hours in the UK, our US support team can still help customers well into the night.” The first set of products in the series were extremely popular with engineers working on high-end arena tours, including FOH Engineer
for Usher, Horace Ward, who took an early version of RedNet out on the The UR Experience tour in the spring of 2015. Following a demo earlier that year, Ward commented: “I was immediately impressed and decided on the spot to incorporate the RedNet system for Usher.” TPi http://uk.focusrite.com
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MOVERS & SHAKERS
Nexo has appointed Merging Select to represent its products in Portugal. Based in the capital city of Lisbon, Merging Select handles a portfolio of blue-chip brands, including Yamaha Commercial Audio, Steinberg and Nuage, which are sister companies to Nexo, as well as AuviTran and Powersoft. Founded in 2007, Merging Select serves both the rental market in Portugal as well as the installation business. Projects include auditoria, theatres, multi-purpose and conference spaces, hotels and retail operations. Merging Select aims to offer the Portuguese professional audio market something over and above ‘black boxes’, complementing technical solutions with a high degree of support, education and training. According to Commercial Director João Velhinho, there are two priorities. “Firstly, helping our market to spend its money coherently in these difficult economic times. We facilitate this by building long-standing relationships with key brands, which gives us close links with their technical teams to the advantage of our clients,” he said. “The second priority is to leverage the possibilities between product ranges and companies; a great example of this is the synergy between Nexo and Yamaha, which can make life much easier for the customer in both the rental and the installation sector.” A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) has appointed Karen Fairlie to the newly-created role of Business Development Manager for Scotland. Fairlie brings a wealth of local market knowledge and experience to the position, having forged strong relationships with customers and suppliers in Scotland over the past 20 years while working in sales management and various support roles. She will be responsible for helping to raise customer awareness of AC-ET’s extensive ‘onestop-shop’ of over 200 technology brands, with 76
particular emphasis on promoting and increasing the market share of the company’s many UKexclusive marques. Shure Europe and US-based RF Venue have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement across the EMEA region. Shure Europe’s regional distribution offices in Germany, the UK and BeNeLux - alongside Shure Europe’s third party distribution partners across EMEA - will now distribute and sell antenna and signal distribution products made by RF Venue that are designed to improve the signal quality and performance of professional wireless audio systems. Boston, Massachusetts-based RF Venue manufactures proprietary antenna products, RF distribution systems, RF to optical signal conversion modules, and spectrum analysis hardware and software for the professional wireless audio market. “We’re pleased to partner with the world’s leading wireless audio brand to bring RF Venue products to EMEA regions,” commented RF Venue CEO Chris Regan. “Shure Europe’s marketing, distribution, and fulfilment capabilities will provide current and new RF Venue customers in those regions the highest level of sales and support. RF Venue products are highly complementary to Shure wireless systems, so this agreement is a great fit for both organisations.” NTP Technology has appointed HHB Communications as its exclusive distributor for the UK and Ireland. The agreement includes the NTP Technology AX32 2U modular audio converter system, the DX32 1U compact digital audio bridge, the Penta 720 modular 2U audio router and the compact 1U Penta 721 audio I/O interface. “NTP has an excellent reputation for the quality and reliability of its products,” commented Steve Angel, HHB’s Group Sales Director. “It has also proved a highly accomplished innovator. NTP routers are widely used throughout the broadcast
media business. “NTP’s DAD product range has arguably the most prestigious client base of any company in the professional audio sector, embracing many of the world’s foremost mastering studios, postproduction facilities, orchestras, music venues and record labels.” NTP Technology Sales Director Mikael Vest added: “HHB is one of the UK’s longest established and most successful pro-audio equipment specialists. Established nearly 40 years ago, the company is highly respected both in the broadcast and wider professional audio sector. “HHB employs a very talented and experienced team of people who clearly understand and enjoy what they do. Working with HHB on the recent Goldcrest Post Production project was a real pleasure and we are confident that it will lead to new business throughout the UK market.” Sennheiser has entered into a partnership agreement with Jordan-based Advanced Solutions. As an authorised partner, the reseller and systems integrator now offers products from Sennheiser’s System Solutions range, which includes conference and translation, tour guide, and a wide range of wired and wireless microphone systems. According to Sami Janho, General Manager at Advanced Solutions, the timing is now right for the aggressive expansion of Sennheiser’s market share in Jordan. He said: “A reasonable portion of the market now demands reputable and reliable products accompanied by a high level of service.” Advanced Solutions has stated that it intends to focus on the business communications, hospitality, education, government, houses of worship, visitor audio solutions, and guided tours market segments. It has also predicted that Sennheiser’s TeamConnect, Mobile Connect, LSP 500 PRO, and ADN and ADN-W audio conference systems will be particularly well-received in Jordan. Advanced Solutions has already taken delivery of a range of demo equipment,
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MOVERS & SHAKERS
Opposite: AC-ET has appointed Karen Fairlie to the newly-created role of Business Development Manager for Scotland; Mig Cardamone, Director of Sales and Marketing at Sennheiser Middle East; Chauvet Professional has appointed Jaime Friedstadt as Director of Business Development and Marketing for Hispanic Markets; Elation Professional has hired lighting industry veteran Gary Fallon.
allowing customers in the country to receive live demonstrations to aid their purchasing and implementation decisions. Sennheiser selected Advanced Solutions as a partner on the merit of its strong technical competencies in solution selling and implementation as well as its deep penetration into the local market. The systems integrator has been provided with a number of online training courses and a comprehensive two-day, handson course in Dubai to ensure that it is capable of professionally managing the entire project lifecycle. Advanced Solutions will also serve other systems integrators and solutions providers in Jordan. “Advanced Solutions was a natural fit for Sennheiser. The company has demonstrated its commitment to quality and home-grown expertise, and has strong competence in the fields of system integration and AV conferencing,” said Mig Cardamone, Director of Sales and Marketing at Sennheiser Middle East. Elation Professional has hired lighting industry veteran Gary Fallon. He assumes the role of Regional Sales Manager for Elation’s Eastern US region and will be based out of the company’s South Florida office and warehouse facility.
Fallon is a familiar face to many in the industry, having worked in product and sales management at Martin Professional for 12 years before leaving to establish his own business. “Gary comes to us with vast industry knowledge and experience and knows the value of hard work, discipline and supporting customers above and beyond,” stated Elation Sales Director Eric Loader. “Gary will work to support and continue our growth plans on the East Coast, managing our sales reps and supporting our dealers in the region. I am confident he will fit well into our company culture and growth plans.” Fallon commented: “I am excited to be part of a team made up of great people that are well respected in the industry for their knowledge and integrity.” Chauvet Professional has appointed Jaime Friedstadt as Director of Business Development and Marketing for Hispanic Markets for the company’s Chauvet Professional and Iluminarc divisions. Prior to joining Chauvet, Friedstadt was International Sales Manager of Philips Entertainment. Having been with that company since 2001, he managed Latin American sales of all Philips Entertainment brands, including
Vari-Lite, Strand Lighting, Selecon and Showline. Earlier in his career, he was Latin American Sales Manager of Hubbell Lighting. “The experience Jaime brings to this position dovetails very nicely with our vision of Chauvet’s future in the Latin American market,” said Albert Chauvet, President and CEO of Chauvet. “Jaime has a keen understanding of the lighting industry and of Latin American business culture. His experience in sales, marketing and business development will help us build on the momentum we’ve already established in this region for Chauvet and our dealer network.” Friedstadt will report to Stephane Gressier, International Sales Manager of Chauvet. “We’re excited to work with Jaime to strengthen and build client relationships throughout the Hispanic market,” he said. Friedstadt added: “I’ve been deeply involved in the entertainment and architectural lighting business throughout Latin America for a number of years. Joining an innovative and rapidly growing company like Chauvet is an excellent opportunity. I am excited to get started!” TPi www.tpimagazine.com/jobs/
VER are looking to recruit an LED Technician to work in our Warehouse in Whetstone North London. The ideal candidate will have a ‘can do’ and flexible attitude to work. The position will suit someone hardworking looking to expand their knowledge of LED Equipment. The standard hours for this role are Monday to Friday 9:00am – 06:00pm. Job Requirements • • • • • • • • • •
Starter or basic knowledge and experience in the Rental and Staging industry. Interest in video equipment and LED technology. A willingness to work weekends and evening when required to assist the company during busy periods. Basic knowledge of mechanics (assembly and disassembly) Computer literate Eye for detail Previous experience of working in a busy deadline driven industry Work methodically with outlined procedures and guidelines The ability to work well individually and as part of a team. A Full UK Driving License
Key Duties to include • • • • • •
Testing and Preparation of LED Equipment before dispatch to site. Monitoring Stock Levels, liaising with the company’s sales team about potential equipment shortages. Overseeing spares/part levels and liaising with the LED manager and European team when reordering. Technical support to clients and technicians encountering technical problems. Logging and reporting damaged / faulty equipment in the stock control system. Ensuring the department is kept safe / clean and tidy.
Closing date: 15th January Contact details: Fiona Thompson, Units 3-4, Downland Close,Whetstone, London,N20 9LB - UK T: +44( 0) 20 8445 0267 | F: +44 (0) 20 8492 1932 Out of hours: +44 7889 630 871 | email@example.com | www.verrents.com
THE BIGGER PICTURE
THE BIGGER PICTURE EVENT SAFETY SUMMIT 2015 Life Safety First - it’s a simple yet effective tag line, adopted by the Event Safety Alliance a few short years ago. Of course, with ideas, hopes, dreams and tag lines comes the need for effective action to develop tools to not only spread the message but make differences and affect change. The development of the US version of the Event Safety Guide has been documented here, as has the planned development of an international network of organisations devoted to live event safety but, despite online forums breeding active discussion and books of guidance being developed, there’s still nothing better than a bunch of people getting together under one roof to exchange views and advance the cause. The second Event Safety Summit came to pass, once again under the rather substantial roof at Rock Lititz Studio, Pennsylvania, with local neighbours Tait Towers and Clair Global amongst the many supporting sponsors. However, it’s not just about having a handy venue with power, sound and light to hand. All of the companies are passionate about safety. It’s a natural partnership and Rock Lititz Studio is just the first phase of a project that will see many more companies collaborating on site. Like Shaun Clair, Vice President of Sales for Clair Global, who said: “We at Clair Global are looking forward to welcoming The 2015 ESA Safety Summit to Rock Lititz. Safety is first and foremost in our training programme as well as our daily operations. To set aside several days to examine best practices and evaluate resources is an investment in our employees, clients and every single audience member at any event around the world.” Commenting before the summit, Adam Davis, Chief Creative Officer at Tait Towers said: “Tait Towers is known for our technology, innovation, and our ability to not only create, design and build such complex stages and architecture, but also to provide our services and products within a safe environment. We are excited to be a part of this collaboration and look forward to hosting the ESA summit.” But before the main event, a select, influential bunch were invited to review the first draft of the next phase in the Event Safety Alliance’s growth – Event Safety Access Training (ESAT), a training course and exam not dissimilar to the Safety Passport that PSA helped to develop over here in the UK and it is hoped that there will be mutual 78
recognition for both schemes. Kudos to David Calderone, the architect of the first draft, who spent the best part of the day on his feet inviting those gathered to scrutinise and criticise. The result of his work is a course that will be piloted early in 2016 and another huge step on the road to creating a positive safety culture for all. In addition, time was taken to consider the ESA’s rapid progress and map out its future, specifically with a view to creating a sharing network. The greatest journey, in both miles travelled to the event and attempts to improve safety at live events was made by Oluwakemi Tenidade Eboda, who travelled from Nigeria to learn how everyone could help her seemingly one person crusade. Needless to say she left enthused and supported by everyone; we hope to hear from Tenidade in future PSA articles. The summit proper saw a growth in audience to around 180 people from all manner of event production backgrounds, ready to share and
learn. And learn they did, through three days of engaging content delivered by knowledgeable presenters sharing real world experiences. Opening the show, ESA President, founder and Chairman, Jim Digby, summed up his motivation in the simplest of terms; to be a part of the chain that saves lives rather than be part of the chain that ends a life. In the spirit of walking the walk, Jim had already put crew under his charge through CPR and first aid training, delivering skills that one of his crew used outside the workplace to save a life. Talking the talk, walking the walk and getting results. ESA Vice President Steve Adelman, a lawyer specialising in venue safety and security, delivered a first session that avoided the legal fire and brimstone, instead sharing a cornucopia of thankfulness, a dozen (baker’s) elements that lawyers are grateful for, from planning to documentation to recording, the law and weather forecasting, Adelman gave good
www.psa.org.uk Opposite: The conference gathers for a group shot at the second ever Event Safety Summit at Rock Lititz Studio, Pennsylvania.
reason for those gathered to listen and learn from subsequent presentations. From Adelman’s ‘what to do’ came sessions that showed how to do it. Real world experience was shared in presentations from Eric Stuart, a former Metropolitan Police officer and crowd safety specialist, giving insight into the maths and psychology behind crowd movements from events such at the two million capacity Notting Hill Carnival and London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks and Scott Dennison, sharing insights into the risk management toolkit deployed at Rock in Rio’s Las Vegas show. With all the talk of risk and its management, insurance was sure to be on the agenda. Not only did the audience receive the gathered wisdom from representatives of Allianz, Take 1 Insurance and Alive Risk, they got a true taste of collaboration as their financial support has helped secure the existence of the ESA and its annual gathering. Behind the drive for safer events for both workers and customers are standards. Representatives from ESTA delivered an insight into how US standards are developed for products and processes as well as a run down on updates relating to our sector. One of the elements that Adelman spoke of in his first presentation, these
standards have already benefitted productions and helped promote backstage safety. They say the British talk about the weather a lot but, when it comes to extremes, the US has seen its fair share. Theories were shared by Kevin Kloesel of the Oklahoma University Office of Emergency Preparedness followed by a review of severe weather plans in action from representatives of the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware, which implemented its evacuation plan in 2015 – the best possible opportunity to share mistakes made and lessons learned, the very essence of the event Safety Summit. Britain provided further academic input from Emma Parkinson from Bucks New University, who entertained and informed the audience with a presentation on the essential part played in near miss and accident reporting as well as a look into safety cultures, leaving people with a fairly clear picture of where the sector stands as a whole and where improvements can be made. More product-specific sessions covered the use of pyrotechnics and lasers; the former being particularly poignant in the light of the tragic fire in Bucharest recently. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and their role in live events brought proceedings up to the minute, discussing how they can be both a benefit and
Assistant Technical Manager (Negotiable circa £30k + benefits) The successful candidate will report to the Technical manager and is responsible for delivering safely and efficiently the technical services, facilities and equipment to clients within the SECC Exhibition Halls and SSE Hydro. This will include supervising a small team of operatives to deliver safely and efficiently the clients requirements in relation to all of the technical requirements of Events in the SECC Exhibitions Halls and Hydro. In addition the successful candidate will be able to provide technical support and advice on relevant matters to Event Managers and others within the Operations Department and the Company. Please note that technical services include, but are not limited to: stages, seating, furniture, drapes, access and mechanical handling equipment and storage. Candidates must be able to demonstrate previous managerial experience in staff, projects and budget management. A practical and technical understanding of the requirements in relation to setting up Events is desirable. A willingness to learn new skills is essential to this role. Responsibilities
a burden for our sector. Lower down the tech spectrum but high on the list of products where knowledge gaps may still exist was with tents. Tim Roberts of The Event Safety Shop and Richard Nix of entertainment Structures Group discussed technicalities, roles and responsibilities in the use of these omnipresent features on the special event landscape. In conclusion, this was for the usual bunch of safety professionals nodding in violent agreement. The Event Safety Summit provided an ideal forum for the exchange of information, the formulation of new ideas and the growth of a positive safety culture that is being woven into the fabric of the global live events scene. The last word of thanks to the venue sponsors goes to the man whose vision really did make it all possible, President and Chairman of the Board of The Event Safety Alliance, Jim Digby: “The ESA is beyond grateful to have the trusted Clair Global team and Tait Towers as our host sponsors. To have the support of such great industry leaders and innovators showcases that what we strive for is much needed, as well as appreciated by our community.” See you next year. TPi www.psa.org.uk www.eventsafetyalliance.org
To schedule permanent and temporary staff as required to meet the needs of events;
To supervise relevant contractors and contractors’ staff when on site;
To ensure equipment is installed, maintained and operated safely;
To ensure the efficient, safe and secure storage of all relevant equipment;
To hire in equipment as required to satisfy event requirements;
To ensure that all responsibilities are carried out in compliance with current legislation, licenses, standards and codes of practice;
To liaise with the Licensing authority and other external agencies as necessary;
To ensure that Risk Assessments are undertaken for all relevant technical operations;
To undertake technical functions within other areas of the SECC when required by business demands;
To undertake other relevant duties as may be required by the Company from time to time.
To manage the efficient and safe supply and operation of technical services, facilities and equipment to the highest possible standards;
To plan and develop effective technical solutions and layouts for individual client requirements;
To attend client meetings as required to provide specialist advice and support as necessary;
To ensure appropriate technical liaison with clients during the planning, build up, open and breakdown periods of events;
To apply for this position please send your CV along with a covering letter stating why you are a suitable candidate for the role and current salary details to Human Resources, SECC, Glasgow G3 8YW by post or email to personnel@ secc.co.uk. Only those applicants who can demonstrate the experience and qualifications we have outlined above will be considered for this role.
To liaise with other sections within the Operations Department as necessary to ensure the efficient running of all events and activities at the SECC;
Closing Date: 18th January 2016
The nature of work demands excellent fitness and health levels, strong team working skills and able to work within flexible working patterns.
The TPi Production Guide
THE PRODUCTION GUIDE The TPi Production Guide is kindly sponsored by PRG XL Video – Tel: + 44 (0)1442 849 400 / +44 (0) 845 470 6400. Web: www.prg.com 2 Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 7DU / The Cofton Centre, Groveley Lane, Longbridge, Birmingham, B31 4PT
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80 & 81 BC 63, 80 & 82 29 46 77 79 80 & 81 49 77 53
VITAL STATS 178 IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Chris ‘Squib’ Swain Profession: Lighting Designer Date & Place of birth: 28 October 1987, Leytonstone, London, UK What was the catalyst for you joining the industry? I wasn’t very academic, and I didn’t do sports. So that left me with drama. I had a really good teacher and one day I stayed behind to help out with the lighting and set design. I realised that I was really interested in lighting, so for my practical modules I chose lighting and set design. I then went on to study Lighting Design at Central School of Speech & Drama. What was your big break? In my third year, I got a placement with Lighting Designer, Brian Leach. I’d been going to gigs and noticing how cool the lighting was, and I started to really consider music instead of just theatrical lighting. Brian asked If I wanted to go on a tour. I said yes straight away and the tour just happened to be with The Streets. I turned up on my first day and it suddenly dawned on me that I was the only person looking after the lighting - I was the operator / tech and programmer. That was my first big break. My first pro gig was at Glasgow Barrowlands and a drink went on the desk! I thought I was going to get fired but I stayed with them for almost three years! What have you learnt from touring and how has your role adapted over the years? When you’re young and still studying and someone offers you a tour, you think it’s great. And it is, don’t get me wrong, but no one tells you about what happens when you get older and touring isn’t something that you want to do for nine or 10 months of the year. A big learning curve I went through is what I’m developing now; learning how to adapt how I work as a designer by touring less. For example, with Everything Everything, I designed their recent show but I’m not touring it. Now I tend to design for a portfolio of clients, do production rehearsals, help get it up and running and then hand over its operation to other people. I also designed Jungle’s last tour, and I didn’t go on the road for that. What’s your current desk of choice, and does that alter if you’re handing your designs over? High End Systems Hog 4. I really like it because all my cues go on cue stack and with the Hog I can see it all really clearly. It’s a great desk for tracking and cue-based shows so it works well for me at this point in my career. Ben Houghton, does a lot of operation for me - including Jungle - already knew the Hog when I was brought in to design their show, and we ended up programming it together. He’s great, he’d been with the band since their very early days, their second ever gig in fact, when he was just 18! Sounds like you’ve encouraged his progress... have you had a mentor yourself? In the early days, Brian Leach really helped me out and I’m really thankful 82
“Dan Hill and I have decided to form a company together which will combine portfolios. This will launch in 2016...” to him for that. I always wanted to do my own designing and he supported that by giving me the chance to tour. Indirectly, I would say that Rob Sinclair is someone that I look up to professionally. He has an amazing eye for design. I have quite a lot of friends who are LDs too, some of us are in a WhatsApp group where we support and guide each other. Dan Hill is someone I have always bounced ideas off and have a lot in common with design-wise, we’ve actually decided to form a company together and combine portfolios. This will launch in 2016. How do you continue to win new clientele in such a competitive industry? I got the contract with Years and Years because they’d seen my Jungle show and they wanted to work with whoever did that. Their album artwork wasn’t finished at the time but when I saw it, I knew it needed to become the lighting set for the set design. I met with Light Initiative to help create this set piece, and they did such a good job. It’s an exciting, fun place to visit. It’s sort of like a mad yet brilliant LED lab! I also brought Adam Young on board who I’d worked in the past on Bombay Bicycle Club’s tour. We came up with all the concepts stemming from the artwork imagery. Years and Years is the ‘poppiest’ thing I’ve ever done and I finally got to put a rainbow into a design! It came together very organically and it’s going into arenas next year so I’m sure Light Initiative will run away with it in the best way possible. You’ve worked with Neg Earth a lot. What keeps you going back? Neg are brilliant. Julian Lavender and Amanda Liu are a massive support and they were even amazing after they encountered their warehouse fire. I can’t speak highly enough of them. What key skills do you think LDs need to see success right now? Being realistic with space and budgets. If you design something that someone can’t afford, it’s a waste of time. Budgets are getting tighter and in a way that forces me to become more creative. Every design I’ve worked on has had a custom set piece and I think that can give a unique edge.
16 D 7 0 N 2 E STA S I S TIC US
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Get ready for blast oďŹ€: 22 February 2016
Published on Dec 18, 2015
TPi, the definitive magazine for live entertainment design and technology. This month’s Production Profiles include, Bring Me The Horizon, T...