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Zedd “Orbit” Tour

Steve Jennings (Photos and Text) • Designer InsightsNovember 2019 • November 10, 2019

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Record producer, DJ and songwriter Anton Zaslavski, better known as Zedd, has been performing to sold-out crowds across the U.S. this fall with his mix of progressive/electro house musical styles on his “Orbit” tour. The U.S. shows in September and October will be followed by performances in the U.K. and Europe this month. Zaslavski, who won a Grammy for “Best Dance Recording,” has collaborated with such notables as Hayley Williams, Selena Gomez, Alessia Cara, Maren Morris and Ariana Grande. We spoke with lighting designer and director Stevie Hernandez about the latest tour design.

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Stevie Hernandez
Lighting Designer & Director

Stevie Hernandez says the design of the Zedd tour started with the concept for the automated Ring DJ booth. From there, the team and Hernandez wanted a circular truss overhead to complement the booth. Stevie notes that designer Sooner Routhier came onboard for a short California tour in between Coachella weekends, adding that she came up with the truss layout with the curved towers and curved floor fixture layout.

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

“Leading up to the fall tour, I made some slight modifications to the layout and with the help of production manager Chris Kerr and SGPS, we designed a custom pre rigged circular truss, which made a world of difference on load in and out,” he says.

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Hernandez has been working with Anton Zaslavski (Zedd) for the past seven years and notes that Anton is heavily involved in the process from start to finish, helping make the show what it is. “We as a team are very collaborative. Anton; Gabe Damast, our video director; Ken Floyd, tour manager/SFX director; Richard Gonsalves, our laser programmer; and I are the core Zedd team. We’re all there during the programming process. We all come up with ideas for the overall look of each song. We wanted the overall look to flow together. First, we had the circular spinning booth; from there, the circle overhead and curved trusses really tied everything together.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

The Orbit was the first step of the production design, presented to Anton, (who loved it), by creative designer Willo Peron. Then the team began the design process around the Orbit. Hernandez was not involved with the build for that, production manager Chris Kerr and Ken Floyd took the lead with SGPS to build it in a way that would be easy to transport and assemble.

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

“It’s a very cue-heavy show,” Hernandez says. “This is also the first tour we used timecode. The past tours and all other shows and festivals were all manually operated in all departments. We took pride in our shows since most thought it was all done by timecode. For this tour we took our base on how we run the show manually and time-coded with all the extra elements in the songs that were not humanly possible to hit manually. PJ Carruth and Lee Duck came onboard to help me with the timecode and programming. It was an amazing process working with them, it gave me the chance to focus on what looks I wanted to translate with the musical elements. PJ is a super talented and knowledgeable programmer; he would take my weird ideas and bring them to life very quickly — which would have taken me hours.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

The video content for the tour is from Mike “Beeple” Winkelmann. Video director Gabe Damast worked with Beeple on creating the concepts and worlds for the tour. “As far as playback during a show, Gabe and I have been working together for the past seven years and kind of instinctively know what the other is going to do when it comes to a new song,” Hernandez says. “Certain sound elements have a look that best represents them, whether it be a mellow moment going through a video world or a heavy drop with lighting taking the lead and video doing the hits and vice versa.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

For Anton’s music, Hernandez notes he knows what lighting elements are needed to best represent the music. “I went with 88 Robe Pointe fixtures, which have been my favorite beam fixture since its release. I needed a fixture that was bright and quick enough to create some of the looks in the show. The GLP X4 Bar 20 is also a fixture that I loved when I first saw it. For this tour, they doubled as my strobe element and pixel effects fixture — a really cool fixture. I went with [Martin MAC] Auras for my wash. I’ve been using them since their release as well, a really great, dependable fixture. For crowd lights, I went with ETC’s Source Four Pars because I wanted something round with a traditional bulb to keep in the circular theme. For this tour, I knew what fixtures I wanted, and I’m normally pretty firm on that unless we’re doing a show in a country that doesn’t have certain fixtures available. I’m always open to using others, but I need to try them out on a few ‘one-offs’ before putting them on a tour.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Hernandez says lasers and pyro are a big element to the show, and they use them everywhere they are permitted, adding that Pyrotecnico really stepped up to the plate with both. “We knew from the start that we would want to use both. Laser tech Richard Gonsalves is amazing to work with and has been a part of the core team for a while now. Richard and Ken [Floyd’ work together to create the lasers looks, and Ken also worked on the pyro.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

“As always, it’s great to work with Anton and the team,” Hernandez continues. “Having an artist be there for the programming process giving input makes for an amazing show. Up to the last show of the tour he was out there with us making edits and making the show better each day. Solotech, Pyrotecnico, and SGPS all provided amazing talented techs that made this tour easy and smooth.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Solotech looked after the video and lighting elements, with Todd LePere serving as the account rep. “It’s always a pleasure to deal with an act that delivers such a visual spectacle,” LePere says. “Zedd has always brought everyone’s senses to the peak of overload, and this show is no exception. Solotech are proud to have been considered as the right vendor to serve this production.”

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Zedd “Orbit” Tour 2019

Crew

  • Lighting Designers: Stevie Hernandez/Sooner Routhier
  • Lighting Programmers: PJ Carruth & Lee Duck
  • Lighting Director: Stevie Hernandez
  • Lighting Co: Solotech/Todd LePere
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Alexandre Lévesque
  • Lighting Techs: Maximilian Kinsella, Melissa Smith, James Mitchell
  • Video Content Creator: Mike Winkelmann
  • Video Director: Gabe Damast
  • Video Co: Solotech/Todd LePere
  • Video Crew Chief: Steven Tomanek
  • Video Tech: Abraham Carrillo
  • Tour Managers: Paul Rose, Ken Floyd
  • Production Managers: Chris Kerr, Ken Floyd
  • Production Assistant: Matt Bevis
  • Stage Manager: Justin Ksionzek
  • Pyro Tech: Christine Bernat, Joe Bessner
  • Laser Tech: Richard Gonsalves
  • Automation Tech: Marc Siuba, Anthony Padilla
  • Rigger: Mike Mitani
  • Custom “Orbit” DJ Booth: SGPS
  • Special Effects, Pyro & Lasers: Pyrotecnico/Rocco Vitale
  • Trucking: Roadshow Services

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Gear
Lighting:

  • 88     Robe Pointe
  • 64     GLP X4 Bar 20
  • 12     Mythos2
  • 42     Mac Aura XB
  • 23     ETC Source 4 Par
  • 2       Grand MA 2 Full Lighting console
  • 3       MDG The One Hazers
  • 2       Base Hazers

ZEDD © Steve Jennings

Video:

  • 150  ROE CB8 panels (for 60’ x 20’ upstage wall; 2160 x 720 pixels)
  • 55     ROE CB8 LED Panels (for inside/outside of ring)

Set/Staging:

  • 1       Custom “Orbit” DJ Booth (SGPS)

 

More Zedd “Orbit” tour photos by Steve Jennings:

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