Working with Solotech US, UK-based Production and Lighting Designer Will Smith designed the lighting, video and set for the North American, Australia and Asia legs of American singer-songwriter Conan Gray’s Superache Tour. Smith chose Claypaky Scenius Spots and Mythos 2 fixtures for the sold-out North American leg of the tour, which is in support of Gray’s second studio album of the same name. Superache was released in June 2022, debuted at number nine on the US Billboard 200 and spent 12 weeks on the chart.
Smith, who also worked with Gray on his previous tour, designed Superache “to befit the new album with its very romantic and rose-based aesthetic,” which includes “a big entrance and incorporating a heart in the video design,” he explains.
“I was inspired by the great romantic music videos of the ’80s and early ’90s that Conan is a fan of,” says Smith. “We used a lot of white billowy drapes with a traveler system to create a flat projection wall and entrance while also giving a different tier to the performance space. When sketching this up I incorporated a lot of big looks with hard-edged spots to contrast with the softer looks.
“The focal point is obviously the heart-shaped videowall that was custom fabricated by ELS in Nashville. The videowall together with primarily hard-edged fixtures really gave us a very stylized and unique design that fans immediately associated with the dramatic Superache album.”
In choosing fixtures Smith was looking for “a powerful, hard-edged spot with good color mixing and a smaller fixture that was high output but had a good form factor that we could stack two-high on H frames to keep metal work to a minimum,” he explains.
Smith had already used Claypaky Scenius Spots on previous tours and knew they would perform as desired on Superache. He selected 15 Scenius Spots for the overhead rig spreading them over two head trusses with color strobes. He added one more Scenius Spot at the top of the entrance ramp to back light Gray during his big entrance reveal. Smith also opted for 24 Mythos 2 fixtures mounted in banks of two on H frames at the side of the stage with six more along the back.
“For me, the output of both the Mythos and Scenius Spots was unreal and color mixing was a joy to work with,” Smith declares. “The form factor of the Mythos in particular not only allowed us to stack them in H frames but also saved us a lot of truck space without compromising on output.”
He points out that, “we used a lot of different pinks/whites/CTO/CTBs so being able to get these different looks with ease was wonderful. The tour dates varied between large venues and arenas ending with two nights at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, so we needed to make sure that the fixtures weren’t going to get lost in the larger spaces. There were a few moments where it was just Conan and a single spot, so being able to get the right beam shape and hue really aided us in bringing this show together.
“I’ve had nothing but good experiences using Claypaky lighting,” Smith says. “I’ve been really fortunate to be able to get this same rig in Japan as well as for part of the Asia leg while some upcoming shows in Taipei and Bangkok will use Scenius Unico Spots.”
For the tour Austin Luna is the Production Manager, Marc Stevenson the Solotech Account Manager, Leo Benoit the Lighting Crew Chief, Adam Farinacci the Video Crew Chief, and Aaron Eisenberg of SVCO the video content provider.