NEW YORK – “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso advised those looking to unleash their creative spirit. Myles Mangino has subscribed to a similar philosophy when creating evocative looks for the Pixies, on the iconic alternative rockers’ current tour of Europe.
Looking at the three evenly spaced rows and columns of four different fixtures types on his touring rig, Mangino observed “I’ve found the best way to achieve the extreme asymmetrical looks I use with Pixies is to start with a symmetrical design.”
Prominent in this neatly arranged matrix of lights are 24 CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 1 fixtures, flown eight units apiece on the three rows of truss. True to Mangino’s vision, the 230W single source warm white pod fixtures create a beguiling variety of asymmetrical looks, continuously lighting up in different configurations and chasing patterns, strobing, glowing softly at different levels for scenic effects, and then bumping up to an intense output.
“The Pixies sound is the original ‘Loud Quiet Loud,'” said Mangino. “So, I often bring up the full bank of STRIKE 1s for the big, loud parts, but they are focused down at the stage, like upstage par cans, not as blinders.”
Beyond the asymmetrical patterns they create, the STRIKE 1 fixtures also add another element to Mangino’s show, one that is especially important to reflecting what the Pixies are all about musically: they bring the warm glow of tungsten to the stage.
This aura is especially pronounced when the STRIKE 1 units are dimmed, fading out so smoothly that they emulate old school tungsten fixtures. “The STRIKE 1s have the best dimmer curve I have ever seen on a LED fixture,” said Mangino. “You can bump them up, and then fade them down to 0.1 percent, and they glow so smoothly that they feel just like tungsten.”
Creating the feeling of tungsten has long been an integral part of Mangino’s design for his client. “Tungsten has been a key to the Pixies look since I first started designing for them in 1986,” he said. “Our overall look can be defined as tungsten, CTO and smoky, with deep angles, extreme saturations, and dynamics.”
“This is a 22-point show at the larger venues on the tour,” continue Mangino. “My tech Chris Pedersen and I rig and put it all up every day on our own in under three hours. Our success in achieving this is due to his meticulous prep, organizational skills, and drive to have the rig perfect every time. I am very lucky to have him travel with me around the world.”
The 80 fixtures in Mangino’s rig, including the STRIKE 1 units were supplied by Lite Alternative, and will be traveling with the tour on its entire European run. In 2020 the same rig, this time supplied by See Factor, will be used on the US leg of the tour. After that the rig will be lighting Pixies in Australia and Asia. Built as a symmetrical structure and taking off into flights of asymmetrical creativity in the hands of this talented designer, the rig can produce fresh, original looks anywhere, and in any setting.