South African rental and production specialist Sound Stylists opened their Durban branch in 2010 to service the growing events, music and entertainment markets in the busy, buzzing cosmopolitan KwaZulu Natal port city, and it's expanded from a satellite operation for the Johannesburg HQ with two staff to a major branch with 11 full time employees, working across all industry sectors.
MD Kevin Glover’s intention has been to kick some ass and proactively grow the company’s work portfolio on all fronts, providing innovative and imaginative audio, lighting, and staging and AV solutions.
A steady investment in Robe moving lights has featured in the success of the Durban facility as the lighting division has increased its capacity and pushed the proverbial envelope of excellence.
Initially Durban started with 24 of Robe's classic workhorse 575 E AT ColorSpot and ColorWash series products, but as the business grew, particularly in the last two years, they started purchasing the latest Robe technologies in the form of LEDWash 300s, LEDBeam 100s and miniPointes.
All the premium brand options were considered before making the decision.
"We needed a very flexible range of lights for the sheer variety of work we are covering in and around Durban," stated Kevin. "They needed to deal with a tough lifestyle ... and the price had to be very good! Robe emerged as the best choice.”
Apart from the products themselves, service and backup were also major factors in the decision, and once again, Robe’s SA distributor DWR hit the spot - "Excellent" confirms Kevin.
The first of the new lights were 12 x LEDWash 300s, to the delight of head of lighting Mphilisi Miya (AKA Tarzan) who designs many lightshows himself and works closely with project manager Jacques Marais on others.
Tarzan - the name came from an impressively acrobatic ‘get-out-of-jail’ move involving multiple trusses at a gig early in his industry career - has worked at Sound Stylists for two years.
Initially when he arrived, the 575s were the only Robe product, so the LEDWash 300s really boosted his scope as an LD. Being so small, lightweight, low power and dynamic meant they could be used almost anywhere and on all shows.
Kevin kept a close eye on how Tarzan looked over the LEDWash 300s - which are in pristine condition - and then suggested they get some LEDBeam 100s, another tiny yet powerful fixture ideal for Durban. Twelve of these joined the inventory, and these were followed last year by the 12 x miniPointes.
Tarzan has used them in numerous designs including a DVD shoot for SA Gospel artist Sgwili at the Winston Churchill Theatre in Pietermaritzburg, a fast paced, stirring performance lit with 12 x miniPointes, 12 x LEDBeam 100s and a bunch of PARs for general stage washes.
Tarzan started his lighting career around 5 years ago and immediately became aware of Robe products - in SA Robe are currently the most popular choice of moving light. He could hardly believe his luck after joining Sound Stylists … when the Robe investments started!
"They are so small, well designed and enable you to work wonders on a show." The size also means he can rig a show on his own, “It’s absolutely great to be able to rock-up to the gig in a small van with lots of little lights, needing minimal power … and produce a show that absolutely WOWs the crowds,” he concluded with a big smile!