Ireland-based Lighting and Production Designer Steven Douglas selected Claypaky Volero Wave fixtures and the Panify solution for Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth” tour, whose North American leg wrapped in November.
The bluesy rocker’s 27-date schedule kicked off in September in support of his new EP “Eat Your Young” and upcoming album “Unreal Unearth.” The tour moves to Europe and the UK for the rest of the year with more dates to follow in 2024.
Douglas took on his current role with Hozier for the artist’s previous album cycle. He was given a lot of creative latitude with the new show although Hozier was “heavily involved in how it looks since he’s quite artistic himself,” says Douglas. The album’s theme is based around Dante’s nine circles of Hell, he notes, which the show references. “We knew we wanted a moment in the show where we invert the entire stage and go underground so we have an automated truss holding inverted trees flying in from the roof and the grass above us in addition to video content”.
Douglas has used Claypaky fixtures for years, especially Sharpys and Super Sharpys. When he was in the US last year George Masek, Claypaky’s Strategic Marketing Manager for North America, demo’d Volero Wave for him in a field test. An LED bar with original and innovative features, Volero Wave is made up of a system of eight independent moving bodies. The eight separate heads are each independently capable of moving on a220º tilt and facilitating three-dimensional and volumetric projections never seen before.
“I saw the range of looks Volero Wave could create,” says Douglas. “On a tour I don’t want to carry a whole range of fixtures for one song, so I need to get a lot of looks from a single fixture – something that Volero Wave is well capable of doing. For Hozier’s last album we created a very intense beamy look for the song ‘Movement,’ and we wanted to give a nod to that look for the new tour without duplicating it. The idea of having multiple individual sources in one unit made that a lot easier to achieve.”
Douglas chose 22 Volero Waves for the tour. Four are on each side truss, eight are mounted in an octagonal truss above Hozier’s head at center stage and six are on the floor behind the band. The 14 floor and octagonal truss fixtures are also fitted with Claypaky Panify, a solution for turning static, non-moving fixtures into dynamic effects. “That allows us to get spin and different angles,” he explains.
The use of the Volero Waves varies by song. “They really come into their own on ‘Movement’ where they are almost the only fixture on for the entire song; they really pop when not in competition with the videowall or anything else. They can create big strong looks and do it well,” says Douglas.
“They’re also used a lot on other songs. For ‘Unknown’ and ‘Cherry Wine’ the fixtures in the octagon point straight down in tight focus and form a cage of beams of light around Hozier,” he reports.
Douglas likes “the Volero Wave’s individual tilt control on each cell, which other LED brands don’t have. When you pair that with Panify you get a whole range of options. I definitely see a lot of new ways to play with and mount Volero Waves and discover possible ways to use them in the future.”
Brian Vaughan and Nick Whitehouse of Live Redesigned provided fixture profiles for Douglas to simplify Volero Wave programming and offered insight on the fixture.
“I’ve known Steven a long time and I’ve always admired his work. He always finds really innovative ways to use fixtures and scenic elements, and I knew he would do something powerful with the Volero Waves and Panify units. This show is breathtaking, and I’m honored that we are a part of it,” concludes George Masek, Claypaky’s Strategic Marketing Manager for North America.