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KORN

Debi Moen • October 2021Wide Focus • October 10, 2021

The show included a diverse number of visual elements. KORN © Steve Jennings

“The Darkness is Revealing”

“The Darkness is Revealing” is not just a song on Korn’s recent album, The Nothing. What the darkness reveals is the nu-metal band’s full-on concert production like the years BC — Before Covid. It also brings to light the first tour for OSA International’s new lighting division.

The Xtylos stand out from other fixtures. KORN © Steve Jennings

OSA’s First Tour

When Mark Fetto left Morpheus as COO in November 2019 to join OSA, his commute didn’t change. He simply drove his car to the other end of the shared building in Las Vegas, where OSA is located.

“OSA owner Mario Educate wanted to expand the lighting division,” Fetto explains. “They had a few lights, basically for corporate clients. So he made me an offer and I came over just before LDI, and we started buying a ton of gear. We got the gear in during February 2020. Then Covid hit and shut it down before we ever got it going. That kicked us in the teeth. Brand new gear was sitting for a year.”

During the events industry’s lockdown, OSA managed some live events, but primarily produced virtual and hybrid events with their Concertata platform. Once the industry started reopening, the touring contacts of OSA’s new vice president of lighting came into play.

Fetto didn’t actively seek out the band. But thanks to that LDI shopping spree, they had a secret weapon: the Claypaky Xtylos. “It was one of the main specified gear we provided that other companies couldn’t,” Fetto explains. “Only one other company had these fixtures.”

Strike 4 blinders capture the tungsten look. KORN © Steve Jennings

“When You’re Not There”

LD Thomas “Church” Christmann started “a good, long and creative relationship” with Korn in 2015. He describes the production design as an active collaboration with the band. “The design is pretty straight, variable and allows strong looks and heavy attacks,” he says. While he likes to incorporate video as part of the design, his overall mantra is to avoid the look of the standard screen in size and format. He prefers pods and horseshoe-shaped trusses using LED video tiles to create a flexible look for a variety of venues. “The overall production is easily expandable for lighting, video, and automation — without creating a whole new rig/design,” he notes.

A main part of the rig is the 36 Claypaky Xtylos. He was excited about using the new Xtylos — a beam effect moving head powered by a laser — for the first time. “They‘re definitely an eye-catcher. I saw them the first time at Prolight+Sound in Frankfurt and have wanted to use them since,” Christmann says. “They impressed me on the spot by their beam, punch and color strength. I arranged them in the design for creating strong, wide and ‘wow’ looks.”

But Covid-19 travel restrictions have kept the designer in his homeland of Germany. Earlier this year, Church enlisted LD Matt Mills to direct his design on a Korn livestream in the U.S. The two had met on previous festival tours when Mills was with Disturbed, and Church liked his style. But over the next six months, immigration rules and restrictions still prevented him from running this current U.S. tour.

“This year was the first time I couldn’t be at any of the shows,” Church laments. “It’s sad and upsetting not to work with your own designs, your friends and tour family.” Mills was available to again serve as director and programmer. “We never worked together, but Matt is well known by the Korn tour management and band. He is a talented designer and operator, and I’m happy that he keeps my seat warm at the Korn camp.”

ROE CB5 tiles are used for the tour’s LED surfaces. KORN © Steve Jennings

“Children of the Korn”

The lighting crew has worked together for at least five years. It not only feels like family, but a few actually are related. Under production manager Paul Binder are crew chief Greg Nunz, lead tech Jason Henry; tech Olu Kiara and tech Chance Alexander. Greg and Jason are brothers, and Chance is Greg’s son, out on his first tour.

Colonel Tom Touring LLC is the video vendor, with account executive Van Jarvis. Manning the video are video crew chief/media server operator Tyler Raphalian and LED technician Kevin Aguirre.

During this touring run from Aug. 4 to Oct. 23, Lighting Director Matt Mills is “keeping the seat warm” for the German LD. Says Mills, “My goal was to act as if Church is still out there. He is very aggressive in his lighting so I turned it up a notch to match his intensity. I tried my best to be Church, basically.”

The LD called for multiple video surfaces. KORN © Steve Jennings

“What We Do”

Christmann, a ChamSys console user, turned over the show programming to Mills, who is a grandMA3 user. “I trust him on his taste and work skills,” Church says. “I prefer to have the operator programming the show if he feels capable of doing it — so he feels more comfortable with the show and lighting board. And Matt doesn’t need me to put out a great show.”

Mills is enjoying the free rein with the band. “I’m a fan of the music, and I got to do my thing.” He further describes Church’s rig: “We have three horseshoe-shaped layers of Tyler Truss with ROE Visual Carbon CB5 video tiles on the face of them, and we hang a four-foot video panel on top of it and stagger the heights. We also have two trusses that are diagonally stage left and stage right that I drop in at an angle, with eight Xtylos on each of them. We have five floor pods, each 8×8 feet. There’s low-resolution video inside the five pods, each with three GLP impression X4 Bar 20 LED battens inside. I’m surprised at how well the XBar20’s blast through that. Church sought out this certain video panel, the Lightlink LX-T, and it worked great, it was very transparent. The outside edges of the pods are lined with Chroma-Q Color Force II, with four Xtylos on top of each one.”

Ayrton Diablo Profile fixtures are atop the three towers stage left and stage right. Chauvet Strike 4-Array LED Blinders are on the face of the downstage truss, with Robe Robin Spiiders for a front wash. Robe Esprites are deployed for all the overhead lights.

“We have 16 GLP JDC1 LED strobes, which are workhorses. They do what they normally do,” he says. The strobes are positioned on the Xtylos trusses, on the vertical towers stage left and stage right, and underneath the drummer to trigger his own strobe effects.

“The drummer, Ray, who is an absolute monster, has MIDI-pads where he triggers some sounds,” notes Mills. “They are prominent in the show. I have JDC1 strobes under him. I have this device that takes a MIDI in and it dumps it down to an Ethernet signal, so then I send it down my FOH snake, where I have another box that converts it back to MIDI, and I bring it back into my lighting console. For each song, the drummer has his own two lighting buttons. Whenever he hits the pad, he has his own lighting effect. Sometimes there is a big boom on the pad he hits and that will be a big burst of strobe, and then other times the hit is a quick clap for a puff of a strobe. It frees me up to hit other cues, which is a job in itself.”

Mills supplements the local I-Mag content on the side screens with creations from a Catalyst v5 Pro media server, a product he says is like “riding a bike.” When the band threw in some unplanned songs, he dug through his 12-year library of royalty free content to match their style.

OSA provided the lighting elements for the tour. KORN © Steve Jennings

The Main Effect

Of all the fixtures, the 36 Xtylos are the main effect in the rig. “They’re stealing the show,” Mills says. He admits to being surprised, adding, “I didn’t think I would enjoy this light as much as I do. But then I started digging into it and the effects I can make are incredible. It has a red, green and blue laser so all those colors are absolutely saturated. Not only do you get the huge beam effect, but I can drop in a gobo and one prism and then a second prism and spin everything opposite each other and it still punches, it reaches outside the amphitheater. I put the fastest strobe on it and it looks like a regular laser. It is really cool.”

As far as safety goes, Mills says the laser precautions are built-in with the software. He just needs to set the “safe zone” for each show. “The FDA has deemed anything beyond 82 feet is perfectly safe to be full power, so on a daily basis, I figure out where 90 feet is to be safe and I figure out the safe zone. The power dips in the safe zone, and when it goes beyond that it goes to full power. It’s pretty neat. Realistically, you can’t tell when it dips. The human eye cannot tell that its power is dropping down.”

He continues, “They are super-fast so I get crazy ballyhoos. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I had time to sit down with George Masek [of Claypaky] to get my head wrapped around it and went into preproduction with that knowledge. There are times between songs when I can do laser effects and crowds like that. I use them quite a bit for interludes rather than just the typical Congo wash to spice it up. Management absolutely fell in love with it.”

“I Will Protect You”

Regarding OSA support, he notes, “Anything we needed, we got. OSA did exactly what Church designed. Because it is OSA’s first lighting tour, they gave us more than a normal lighting shop would. They are very helpful. We are carrying everything.”

There were a few setbacks. While singer Jonathan Deans and guitarist James “Munkey” Shaffer have tested positive for Covid, forcing a rescheduling of shows, Korn marches on, but safely, Mills says. “Before the tour started, we had a good talk about it. It was more a ‘Hey guys, we want to see this go the whole duration. Let’s be smart about it.’ We are tested before we go into the venue every day. We stay away from the band as much as possible. We wear masks backstage. Everyone out here is a professional; we want to see it go the duration.” And the shows are selling well. “We cannot squeeze another person in these houses. It is packed every night.”

With all those protocols in place, Mills expresses a kernel of hope for Korn’s continuing tour. “It feels like we’re back at it. It truly feels like a summer amphitheater run, nice after being locked down and inside,” the lighting director notes. “It’s nice and refreshing to get out. It’s very much like a regular tour — as if Covid never happened.”

KORN 2021 Tour

Crew

  • Lighting Co: OSA International
  • Production Manager: Paul Binder
  • Lighting Designer: Thomas “Church” Christmann
  • Lighting Director/Programmer: Matt Mills
  • Lighting Crew Chief: Greg Nunz
  • Lighting Techs: Jason Henry (Lead Tech), Olu Kiara, Chance Alexander
  • Video Co: Colonel Tom Touring/Van Jarvis
  • Video Crew Chief/Media Server Operator: Tyler Raphalian
  • LED Tech: Kevin Aguirre

 

Gear

Lighting:

  • 1       grandMA3 Full console
  • 1       grandMA3 Light console
  • 36     Claypaky Xtylos
  • 30     Robe Robin Esprite Profiles
  • 10     Robe Robin MegaPointes
  • 10     Robe Robin Spiiders
  • 8       Ayrton Diablo Profiles
  • 24     GLP JDC1 LED Strobes
  • 15     GLP impression X4 Bar 20’s
  • 20     Chauvet Strike Array 4 LED blinders
  • 50     Chroma-Q Color Force II battens (24 x 12’s, 6 x 48’s, 20 x 72’s)
  • 4       LEX Presidential 48ch 120/208 distro
  • 1       OSA Dimmer Barge
  • 16     Tyler 14” x 24” X 10’ GT Plus Black Truss
  • 5       Tyler 14” x 24” X 8’ GT Plus Black Truss
  • 3       Tyler 14” x 24” X 5’ GT Plus Black Truss
  • 6       Tyler 14” x 24” GT 30 Deg Horizontal Truss Gate Black
  • 17     Xtreme 18” x 12” Plated Utility Truss Black
  • 07     Xtreme 18” x 12” 4 Way Corner Block Black
  • 6       Truss Floor Base Black — Rolling
  • 30     Tour Rig 1-ton chain hoists
  • 6       CM Lodestar ½-ton hoists
  • 6       Motion Labs 8-Way rack mount hoist control modules
  • 6       Ultratec Radiance 120V DMX hazers

 

Video:

  • 36     ROE Visual CB5 tiles
  • 2       Brompton M2 processors
  • 40     Lightlink LX-T tiles
  • 2       Novastar 660pro processors
  • 2       Catalyst v5 Pro media servers
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