Along with the monumental rise in dance music’s popularity, so too has the emphasis on proper stage design. After all, thousands of people cramming themselves to see a guy manipulate a digital interface can only be so fun until the light show starts.
These unsung heroes of electronic dance music and their festival counterparts have quite literally changed the way fans experience live performances. To better understand this changing landscape, Billboard’s Joe Lynch took a moment to interview Vita Motus founder Heather Shaw and executive producer Elliott Dunwody, two minds behind Coachella 2016’s biggest acts.
Shaw and Dunwody are some of the most accomplished individuals in their field, and here’s what they had to say about dance music’s influence on production design.
“EDM has been a launch pad for a lot of things. It was an underground thing for years, and happening where things weren’t permitted or legal, so people had to do new things. That core value of doing new things has continued, even though we’re not underground anymore.” – Heather Shaw
“It’s about art to complement music. You’re going to start seeing the art being more highlighted… As festival culture grows out of itself, designers and digital artists will become more recognized and a bigger part of it. It’s like movies — on top of stars, people see movies because of directors and cinematographers and production companies. I can see that happening a little more.” – Elliot Dunwody
And when asked about the involvement of artists in their set design, here’s what Shaw had to say about working with The Chainsmokers.
“The Chainsmokers had a concept of what they wanted and we basically pimped out their concept. A lot of what we try to work on is making something sculptural. The rental world is a lot of truss and LED and everything fits inside of these grids — it’s not necessarily sculptural. We like to use that stuff in ways that are less expected — we’ll make a sculpture out of LED that the Chainsmokers are on top of, or make something fabricated and add media to it. We try to change that grid.” – Heather Shaw
The future of festivals are looking pretty great as well, with a return to smaller, more intimate experiences with even more emphasis on art installations.
“There’s a pendulum swing. Right now we’re at 100,000 person festivals. I think it will swing into smaller, more intimate experiences that will be ramped up to 11. They will be immersive events. You already see that with one-off experiences and brands, like Red Bull, who want those experiences. That’s where I see it heading. Smaller, more tailored and more collaborative. Teaming up with artists and starting with more of a blank slate. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens after EDM. And how do these companies express themselves [after that]? I see pretty green pastures in that world.” – Elliot Dunwody
For the full interview, click here.