American band Mutemath has been plying their unique brand of alternative rock for over 15 years, and creative production design company 44 Designs has shaped the group’s live visual look for most of that time. For the band’s “Play Dead” U.S. tour last fall, the first leg of a larger worldwide tour in support of a September album release, 44 Designs complemented the band’s eclectic sounds using colour and effects from Elation Professional’s Artiste DaVinci™ LED moving spot luminaire.
44 Designs’ Chief Operations Officer, Clayton Thornton, explains that earlier last year the company was looking for a quality LED spot luminaire and brought the Artiste DaVinci into their shop in Nashville, Tennessee, to see how it would perform up against other fixtures in a side by side comparison. “We were blown away by it. The brightness was excellent, and the beam out of it was really amazing,” he said. “The colour rendering and saturation of colour were also impressive. It has true CMY colour mixing, we love that, and it also has a nice gobo package.” Thornton praised the award-winning luminaire for its details as well, features like powerCON TRUE1 In/Out connections that make for easier and safer power connections without having to run separate cables.
Mutemath plays an artistically expressive form of music that can range from despairing and heavy-themed to more optimistic, themes that often intersect with spirituality. It’s a creative brand of music that matches well with the creative possibilities inherent in a theatrical grade luminaire like the Artiste DaVinci. “Mutemath is a creative group who open up for creativity in design,” says Jeff Lavallee, owner and lead designer at 44 Designs, who has been working with Mutemath for over a decade. “The design features in the DaVinci gave us a number of options to reflect the moods and complexities of the music, whether it was a solemn number or a more upbeat tempo song.” Lavallee had at his disposal a full CMY colour mixing system (plus seven additional colours) plus a range of graphical effects from two gobo wheels and a 360° bi-directional animation effect wheel. The effects could then be multiplied using either of two rotating prisms.
Twelve of the zoomable DaVinci fixtures were used on the show, four placed on either side of the stage on custom brackets and used as side light with four located upstage for mid-air beam looks. Capable of powering out over 13,000 lumens, the fixtures had the power to cut through the show’s large background projection and did it while maintaining a low power draw compared to equivalent discharge-based lights. Thornton confirms that the DaVinci’s low power consumption was another important factor in their choice, a quality, he says, that has opened up for use in a wider variety of venues. “We can use them on a theatre or club tour and just plug them into the wall socket if need be,” he says. “Our smaller clients like that and of course our larger clients love the brightness.”
44 Designs have stocked the Artiste DaVinci fixtures since last summer and have kept them busy ever since. Before the Mutemath shows they were used on a Good Charlotte tour, as well as shows with American ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.
For “Nothing But Christmas” shows in December at The Creek Church in London, Kentucky, the DaVinci’s worked alongside other Elation lighting gear, including Platinum Beam 5R Pro™ moving heads and Sniper 2R™ multi-effect lights. Although the DaVinci fixtures performed admirably on the holiday shows, Thornton will likely remember the event for another reason as he took the opportunity to propose to his future wife on stage! The Artiste DaVinci fixtures are currently out with indie pop band Coin as well as Matt Maher.