UK – Lighting designer Louisa Smurthwaite has selected Claypaky’s super bright hybrid luminaire the Mythos to break through the saturated LED wash on indie rock outfit Glass Animals’ latest tour, which was given four stars and described by The Independent as a ‘brilliant second album show’.
Hailing from Oxford, England, the four-piece have played such venues as London’s The Roundhouse and Brighton Dome in support of the critically-acclaimed How to be a Human Being. Smurthwaite specified 10 x Mythos from rental operation SES NC to carve out the playfully geometric set and hold their own against the backlight to provide a strong contrast.
“The creative brief was extremely detailed with a strong focus on colour,” explains Smurthwaite. “The goal was to make the band feel like they were within the album cover so I used the same colour palette of sunkissed, pale hues, along with a geometric set which worked really well. To make sure the beams of light cut through I needed something bright that could also work as a hard edge profile with precise optics – the Mythos does this multi-functionality very well.”
Smurthwaite, who has worked with Grace Jones, Goldfrapp and Florence and the Machine, placed the Mythos luminaires across the back of the stage. From this position the 470W beams cut through the saturated onstage LED wash and hit the giant gold mirrorball suspended above the stage, scattering flecks of golden light across the audience.
“The Mythos was the only luminaire that could break though the solid wash colour to make sure the mirrorball had the highest impact possible,” says Smurthwaite.
For this effect the designer used the Mythos in ‘Beam Mode’, one of the two modes the fixture operates in with the other being ‘Spotlight’. In ‘Beam’ mode the Mythos offers a large, very dense, 160mm-diameter light beam with a minimum beam angle of just 2.5° that stays parallel for its entire length. The power and precision of the Mythos was vital when lighting the mirror ball to ensure that light did not ‘spill’ and that the geometry of the aerial lighting effects stayed consistent with the angles of the set.
For Smurthwaite creating such lighting looks was an evolutionary process; the band insist on playing all the musical elements live, including all electronic aspects, and are fastidiously detailed in their music and presentation.
“Lots of how the band played the songs live was still being worked out in our production rehearsals, so as new noises and sounds emerged, so did new lighting states and effects,” Smurthwaite explains.
The Mythos allowed Smurthwaite the artistic freedom to adapt her design without having to bring in new fixtures.
Glass Animals have now embarked on the US leg of their world tour before commencing their 2017 Australia dates and returning to the UK in March.