Grammy-award winning musician, music producer and DJ Zedd (Anton Zaslavski) is playing out the later stages of his acclaimed ‘True Colors’ world tour, part of the campaign to promote his awesome second studio album of the same name.
Lighting designer Stevie Hernandez examined how 64 Robe Pointes are integral to the design.
Zedd’s incredible and much talked-about live show visuals are a collaboration between himself, Stevie as production designer, VJ Gabe Damast and tour manager Ken Floyd who also runs lasers and SFX for the performance. They have all worked with Zedd for three years and are his first production team.
The team enjoys a coherent and fluid visual chemistry and Zedd considers them his ‘visual musicians’, all bringing their own specific imaginative disciplines into the show.
While Zedd knows exactly the visual vibe he wants for each song, he encourages everyone’s input. Different ideas add synergy and help craft this very collaborative show. “We all see, hear and think in similar ways,” explained Stevie, “Which also makes it such a satisfying and interesting process. It is a real pleasure to work with an artist who has this insight.”
A massive 7mm pitch LED screen over 80 ft. (25 metres) wide and 22 ft. (7 metres) tall dominates the stage set, filled with custom-made content for the tour produced by Beeple, Scott Pagano and Gabe.
The Pointes are deployed all around the screen and also, within it. They are rigged in two trussing towers that break up the center 16:9 section of screen from the two left and right wing pieces. The front of the DJ booth is clad in the same video surface, so with the visuals full tilt, Zedd looks like he is floating in the air!
Stevie loves the Pointe. This ‘technical romance’ started in 2013 when Robe launched the fixture and he’s been using them constantly ever since.
For True Colors, Pointes are really prominent and are the workhorse lights of the rig. They are on the touring rider and for the recently completed US leg of the tour, they were supplied for all dates by lighting and video contractor PRG Nocturne out of Las Vegas.
Stevie likes the speed of the Pointes, the prisms, the focus, the way you can reduce the beam size right down or zoom it right out and the sheer variation and dynamics you can achieve in terms of looks. All these attributes are essential for lighting EDM style acts where lighting is fast and furious from start to finish and many looks are only seen for a split second. It’s important not to run out of options!
These and other lights are run by Stevie’s grandMA2 console … His desk of choice.
Zedd’s show is intensely musical and the operating team – Stevie, Gabe and Ken – all follow his style of delivery in their operation which is executed with perfect timing. So much so, that there have been plenty of comments in reviews, blogs and social media suggesting it must be time-coded … but it’s run completely live!
Stevie initially encountered Robe fixtures via various club installations, specifically in LA where he is based, as well as in Las Vegas, plus on the occasional festival, but it was the LEDWash 600 launch in 2010 that first got him looking at the brand more seriously.
The launch of the Pointe in 2013 converted this initial interest to enthusiastic embracing of Robe products, which he also thinks are super-reliable and tough enough for the rigors of the EDM environment.
Zedd knows what a Pointe is and what they can do. When Stevie first looked at the fixture as having potential for the show, he shared the demo video with Zedd who thought it was a great looking light, so Stevie went ahead and designed them into his scheme. Zedd also notices if they are somewhere in the world where they have to make a local vendor substitution for another fixture rather than their Pointes!
“The Pointe is absolutely my favorite beam light!” declares Stevie wrapping up the interview.
Photos by Drew Ressler