COPENHAGEN – Theis Wermuth describes the role of his lighting rig on singer/songwriter Alex Vargas’ current Scandinavian tour as being “an extra band member.” And, just like every other member of the band on this tour, Wermuth’s lights are fully onboard for a fast-paced musical adventure filled with rollicking twists and turns, as Vargas gleefully smashes through genres to create his own distinctive sound.
Wermuth’s lightshow keeps pace with Vargas’ performance note for note as the former Danish Music Association Artist of the Year weaves his way through an alluring and eclectic mix of contemplative poetic pieces and head banging electronic music. Helping him in this endeavor are 26 CHAUVET Professional STRIKE 1 fixtures, supplied by Sound & Light Denmark.
“We have been working with Alex since 2016 and have helped to develop a live show identity that reflects his music,” said Wermuth, the owner of Create This, a Danish visual design studio focused on the entertainment industry. “To us, lights are part of the experience, so they must be woven tightly to the music.”
On the current Vargas tour, being in sync with the music means creating a lightshow that conveys a range of moods. “This is a very dynamic show,” said Wermuth. “We have parts where the music is slow and sensitive and parts where it is more electronic. The lighting reflects these changes.”
Wermuth relies on the warm white glow created by the STRIKE 1 fixtures’ light to support the soft reflective moments in Vargas’ show. When things heat up and the music goes into a hard-driving electronic mode, the high-output fixtures go to work as blinders. “Being able to use these fixtures to create the look and feel of tungsten lights, and then turn around and use them for strobing, is a really very valuable.” said Wermuth. “The first time you use the STRIKE 1, you are surprised by its absolute brightness.”
Beyond its range of intensity levels, the STRIKE 1 also contributed to the look of Wermuth’s design by helping him create an architecture of light on stage. He positioned 10 of the fixtures on the stage deck and on risers, creating an undulating line of light. The 16 remaining units were hung on eight vertical truss structures that ran across the width of the stage.
“Spreading the STRIKE fixtures out in different positions gave us greater dimensionality,” said Wermuth. “I wanted to create a wide and high design that would fit our big custom-built logo. The fixtures on the floor gave the design some depth. My tour tech Frederik Østergaard Lisborg from Sound & Light did a very good job in helping to design the technical solution.”
This arrangement did a number of things to add structure to the show’s lighting design. By having different STRIKE 1 units on at different times, Wermuth changed the eye level of the audience, subtly shifting the look and apparent dimension of the stage. Coordinating the fixtures on the deck with those on the vertical truss, he was also able to accent performers with backlighting from different angles.
In doing the latter, Wermuth’s lighting rig made every musician look special…that was the least it could do for its fellow “band members.”