British Electronic Dance Music (EDM) pioneers, Orbital, reunited last year to the delight of music fans worldwide after five years apart following separate projects. Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll are currently touring their mind-bending reunion show across Europe. Lit and stage designed by the band’s long-term lighting designer Jonny Gaskell, the show features an array of lighting effects from the Claypaky A.leda B-EYE K20 and Claypaky Stormy CC.
Known and loved for their moments of on-the-spot improvisation during live shows, Orbital can be a challenging act to light for even a seasoned designer. However, Gaskell has worked with the brothers for over 25 years and is confident in optimising the lighting for their performance style, as well as realising their creative input.
“We know each other well and can bounce ideas off one another to develop the show,” says Gaskell. For the reunion tour, Gaskell and the band designed a video-heavy set featuring solar eclipse-inspired digital content created by Orbital’s long-standing content creator, Giles Thacker.
“I wanted to place the boys within the video content itself – surrounding them in an immersive video and light environment,” says Gaskell. “I raised the central riser to allow for a substantial amount of screen below their performance platform, and I designed a further two screens to go behind and above them.”
Discussing his lighting fixture selection, Gaskell says, “We are using a lot of video content on stage, so for the lighting, we need fixtures that are bright enough to compete with the video and that have a dynamic colour range.”
Gaskell selected Claypaky’s hybrid wash, beam and effects light, the A.leda B-EYE K20, to deliver the production’s front and back lighting and effects, as well as side light from onstage towers and effects lighting from the floor. He explains, “I love the B-EYE K20s. I’m a fan of the beam shape effects, its bright output and its colour range.”
To ramp up the crowd’s energy, Gaskell also selected Claypaky’s colour changing strobe, the Stormy CC, to place at the base of the show’s central, video-mapped DJ riser. The Stormy CC uses the latest in RGBW LED technology while retaining the same classic hardware design as a traditional strobe – complete with a parabolic reflector. The fixture’s powerful output ensures audience blinding moments even against the background of the onstage video screens.
“The Stormy CCs are very bright, and the colours you get out of them are amazing,” says Gaskell. “What I enjoy about show and lighting design for EDM is that the energy at the gigs is second to none, which allows for really bold programming and looks.”
Reflecting on his fixture choice, Gaskell says, “The Claypaky fixtures are performing really well. They are bright enough to compete with the video, and they have the key ability to follow the video palettes with their lighting colour ranges.”