Lake Street Dive Lighting Director Dan Grabus

by Debi Moen • in
  • On the Road
  • September 2018
• Created: September 14, 2018

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THE DESIGN: “LD Mikey Cummings came up with this design, but we always bounce ideas off each other during final touches. I prep and program the show. For this band, I find cue stacks deliver consistency and punctuality that complements the music and design. This year, the band has set pieces. We built four aluminum grids each with clusters of 17 fixtures containing three different types, giving me tons of options. That provides the basis for many unique looks.”


HOME BASE: “Three years ago, I became a Nashville transplant after moving from just outside of Boston, where I grew up.”


CAREER SPARK: “After college, I was attending concerts and festivals and it made sense to get involved in music. I emailed five production companies in New England asking if anyone needed help. One of them got back to me and I interned with them learning the ropes. I worked at that company for three years and became lead lighting designer/programmer/tech.”

FIRST INDUSTRY GIG: “Load in/out for Pink Floyd cover band at a local theater.”

FIRST TOUR AS AN LD: “With a band called Particle, on their winter tour. That following summer I worked for Lake Street Dive. I was hired through Pulse Lighting, where I work full time now.”

HEROES/MENTORS: “I’ve learned a lot working under Mikey Cummings the past three years. He and Paul and Preston Hoffman are all people I can go to. This is our third design with Lake Street Dive, and I was pulled out of my comfort zone many times pertaining to techniques and styles, which ultimately has made me a better LD.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? “I like how I never knew what I wanted to do as a career but at the same time I was learning skills in college that became applicable to what I do now. I always knew I wanted to travel/work outside, and this line of work has suited my lifestyle.”

BEST ADVICE TO A NEWBIE: “Persistence, emails, phone calls. Rreaching out and working for a production company is a great way to cut your teeth. Sweep the shop, fix cables, clean lights, do whatever. Don’t let jaded/negative people stop you from trying to do your best. Being passionate and having kindness are incredibly valuable traits.”

Lake Street Dive performs. Photo by Scott Harris

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