Lighting designer Ben Dalgleish is known for his work with Post Malone on the Beerbongs and Bentleys World Tour, where he designed architectural spaces for the rapper in an otherwise stark stage set and he was rewarded with the GLP-German Light Products Arena Knight of Illumination Award (KOI) in 2019 for his work. He also created screen content and effects, as well as lighting, for Janet Jackson’s Las Vegas residency, Metamorphosis. The Los Angeles-based lighting designer has spent much of the pandemic in New Zealand, where he was raised. As lead designer for his company, Human Person, Dalgleish has just designed the latest tour for the band he started his career with more than ten years ago. He talked to Live Design about designing for Six60,now New Zealand's biggest act, while the rest of the world was on lockdown.
Live Design: You have a long history with Six60, as a designer during the pandemic was it helpful to have that shorthand with the artists?
Ben Dalgleish: Incredibly so - we have worked together off and on for over 12 years! Six60 happens to be one of the first groups I worked for, just when I was starting out in the industry. I started as just the “lighting guy” - pushing buttons, and later on doing full production design, visuals and show direction.
One of the best and sometimes most challenging aspects of this band is that there are five equal members, each with their own creative ideas. Learning to deal with different personalities within an organization so early in my career really was such a great experience.
This time around the real highlight has been to work with the band with my company, Human Person, and bring fresh eyes from my team into the fray.
LD: What concessions did you have to make, if any, on this tour because of the pandemic?
BD: When first coming up with ideas for the tour, we were dreaming up a super custom design, an asymmetric, projection mapped kind of thing. When the pandemic hit, it became apparent that doing anything custom would add costs that in the event of a cancellation or postponement would be hard for everyone to stomach. Apart from that, we have been lucky to get a really amazing amount of LED into the country to fill our stage with content. For a New Zealand band, I believe it is the largest amount of LED ever used! Credit goes to Leon Dalton, our production manager with Global Production Partners for working with Stageset our staging company and Big Picture NZ our video vendor to engineer custom rigging to allow that to happen. So we did get some custom gear in the end!
LD: What worked really well on this design?
BD: It’s hard to go past the large LED screen that spills outside of the overhead roof structure all the way to the side PA hangs! In itself it is a simple design choice and on the surface maybe not incredibly creative - but I’m really proud of how we ended up using the screen and the content we made for it.
Ian Valentine, the other designer at Human Person, came up with a heap of different ways to uniquely incorporate IMAG into the show in an artful way. We did a heap of work with UV Mapping and of course Notch (shout out Ryan Sheppard, Notch designer legend).
Another feature was a large LED mountain that ran the length of the performance area. Fabricated by Angus Muir Design, it became the ‘theme’ for the first chapter of the show, with content interacting with it, and the lead singer climbing it for the song ‘Purple’.