It’s a rare occurrence for an act to make the Brixton Academy stage look ten times it’s actual size, but Kygo, achieved just that when his Cloud Nine tour dropped into London on 22nd and 23rd April. The twenty-four year old Norwegian tropical house DJ, songwriter, producer and musician has amassed an enviable following, and performed highly sought-after sets at EDM festivals around the world last summer. Recently he achieved a huge milestone, becoming the fastest artist ever to reach 1 billion streams on Spotify!
For Kygo’s recent outing, production manager Joel Stanley brought together lighting designer Alex Hesse with visual creator and video director Simon Evans and touring video director Luke Hammonds of Visual Artform to tour an ambitious and technologically impressive production, which started off with a handful of arena shows in North America in January, before continuing through mainland Europe and the UK in March and April. PRG XL Video Account Director, Phil Mercer commented: “we’ve worked with Joel on a number of projects over the past couple of years, when he enquired about coming on board with Kygo when they started the tour in January, it was a really exciting opportunity and we were keen to work with Joel, Alex, Simon and Luke to help them realise their creative vision.”
The Kygo show is an immersive experience centred around the angular and symmetric use of video and lighting technology, which sucks the audience in and makes them fully aware that every minute detail is planned and rehearsed to perfection. ROE MC-7 LED video tiles were used to create six diamond shapes around the stage, and produced a geometric space from where Kygo performed the majority of his pulsatingly euphoric set. The ‘X’, formed from the middle space between the four central diamonds was filled with ROE MC-18 Hybrid LED tiles, the different resolutions and engaging content created by Simon Evans resulted in a layered effect which enhanced the consumingly hypnotic atmosphere. Even the opening sequence was carefully choreographed, two Barco HD-20K projectors flickered surreal images of fireballs and seascapes as the anticipation heightened and the kabuki dropped to reveal Kygo at a grand piano playing his remix of Seinabo Sey’s Younger.
Alex Hesse’s lighting complimented the video contribution perfectly, laser-like beams from twenty-four Clay Paky Sharpys sliced through the balmy air of the Brixton auditorium with PRG Best Boy HPs, Clay Paky Mythos and Pixelline LED Battens providing wash and fill-in lighting, Clay Paky Stormy LED strobes added glitter and sparkle to the glamorously impressive set, whilst fourteen 4-lite Moles rigged along the front truss and on the stage illuminated the enamoured audience at carefully planned hiatuses in the show.
Joel Stanley explained the process behind putting the production together, “working with Phil Mercer has always been an absolute pleasure and Kygo was no different. He was instrumental in setting up the US tour and acted as a consultant for me while I used PRG Nocturne for that leg. He flew over to Los Angeles to see me in rehearsals to discuss scaling it down for the European venues and duplicating the elements that worked best aesthetically. Phil’s knowledge and input was crucial to the project and I literally couldn’t have done it without him.” Joel continued, “the European tour was an extension of the larger US shows we had done previously as ‘warm ups’ but playing to rooms holding up to 13,000 people was quite the baptism of fire for everyone. It was the biggest and only tour that Kygo had done and I’m pretty sure that for some of the pre-existing team it was the same for them too. The week of rehearsals really helped that we had done for the US tour which meant we could hit the ground running going into Europe with only one tech day at the Heineken Music Hall. Alex, Simon and Luke’s jobs therefore were a lot easier and by show three we had hit our stride. It was great working with these guys and I barely knew they were there due to the rhythm they got into so early on.”
PRG XL Video Account Director Yvonne Donnelly Smith took care of the lighting requirements for the show; “it’s always an exciting prospect working with a new artist who already has an established following. The creative team are incredible and represent Kygo’s style perfectly, Joel’s an excellent Production Manager who knows exactly what he wants and how to achieve it, his intricate knowledge and attention to detail make any of his projects a dream to work on.”
Kygo’s debut album, Cloud Nine, was released on 13th May and is taking global EDM charts by storm. He is appearing at numerous European festivals including Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter, and Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park in July.