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  • Epic Band Lighting on a Budget – Interview with Taz from Risky Business in Ireland

 October 1

by LearnStageLighting.com

Learn Stage Lighting Podcast Episode # 80

This week on the podcast we’re excited to have Taz from the band of Risky Business as a guest on this week’s podcast. Taz has been a member of our Learn Stage Lighting Labs for a while and I’m really excited to have him on the show.

Taz and his band focus on getting the most out of their lights and striving to make a big impact on their stage. In this episode, Taz and I will discuss lighting for bands and ways they get the most out of their lighting.

We have some exciting updates inside of Learn Stage Lighting Labs. Last month, we released an action plan on how to go about choosing the right gear and how to save money doing it.

This month we’re having a giveaway for a FREE NX-DMX (a $300 value) to one lucky Learn Stage Lighting Labs Member! All you have to do is be one of our lab members and comment on the forum topic that is for the giveaway.

Lighting News! (2:45)

A new fixture, Chauvet Freedom Cyc, is a light that is typically a theatrical style light. These lights are typically used as a backlight. What I do like about these lights is that they light a backdrop or a wall very well and these lights do it with an even wash.

I’m very impressed with these lights especially with the even wash so be sure to take a moment to check it out.

Main Segment (5:06)

David – Welcome to the show Taz, I’m excited to have you here. Would you mind sharing a little about yourself and what you do?

Sure, thanks for having me here David. My name is Taz and I am a guitarist and Keys for the band, Risky Business, based in Ireland. We started around the mid to late ’80s as a small band but found some success initially.

After a while, we decided to go our separate ways for a bit as most of us had families and other priorities we wanted to focus us. About 10 years ago we had all regrouped and decided to get the band back together. We’ve grown to be an 8 piece band but we have a team of 10 people now.

Since then we have had some great success and traveled to Spain, Portugal, Canada, and the U.K. We’re actually not considered a huge band and to us, this is more of a hobby as most of us work full time as well.

David – That’s really great and as for it being more of a hobby that’s something I really try to highlight here at Learn Stage Lighting. Not everyone is doing this huge project and does more for fun and as a side project.

So, let’s talk about lighting. If I do recall you are or you were in the past a Learn Stage Lighting Labs member and you came to me and wanted to do better lighting for your band. How was your lighting setup when your band originally started?

When we started lighting was extremely harsh. Everything was very basic and the lights were very heavy. Now, we have our own dedicated lighting and sound person as to when we first began we had to be self-sufficient, turn on the lights, and hope for the best.

When we brought the band back together we noticed how much lights had changed. One of the things that really stood out was as a performer the lights didn’t get as hot and that we have to admit was very nice.

Back in the ’90s, we didn’t have Learn Stage Lighting so one of the first things we did was go to a local store and get our lights from a dealer. We did get 4 basic par cams for starters and absolutely loved them. We did have the lights sound activated which I wasn’t a huge fan of. Eventually, it grew to be 8 lights and it started becoming very time consuming with the set up for each gig.

Our band then eventually began to grow and we started to do more programming and got a footswitch to control our lights with. While it did a good job our band wasn’t fully satisfied with the lights because we always wanted to put on a show.

I am the guitarist and the keys but I also have an interest in technology. We heard a lot about DMX but really had no idea what is what so I began researching it more. After going online I came across DJ Mike and he had some videos about ADJ. There was a lot of information available and different methods but we really had no idea what was the best option for us. That’s when we found Learn Stage Lighting and that’s what helped us approach these different methods and choose the best option for our band.

From there we signed up for Learn Stage Lighting Labs and joined the forums. This was a huge boost for our band and we received a lot of guidance about lighting. You had mentioned ONYX in a lot of your videos and podcasts so we started looking into using ONYX for our lighting.

We decided ONYX was a good fit for what we wanted to do and it was a steep learning curve. But with your videos and guidance inside the Labs I was able to learn how to use the console and we love it.

Based on your videos and suggestions we were able to find some second-hand equipment that was in good shape such as ENTTEC’s D-PRO, ADJ lights, etc.

Once we had everything we downloaded ONYX and we had a volunteer come in and run the lights for us. It was great because everyone was on board with the same goal of creating a really good show and that, of course, includes having great lighting.

David – Isn’t that amazing? I was just thinking about how far technology has come along in just 10 years. For you, you have seen that first hand so that’s amazing.

Yes absolutely. Now you have these great lights that are good quality and fit our band’s needs, we love it.

We have some ADJ lights, gobos, and some spot beams. With these, we can do so many different looks with lighting and it really helps create a great show. It is amazing how far lighting has come compared to when we had first started.

David – That is so cool. Now, you actually have someone that is dedicated to running your lights and I’m just curious does he run lights on the fly or does have some songs pre-programmed?

So, it’s actually a blended approach with Mark. He will ask for a playlist a week before and listen to the music on his Spotify so that he can create a color theme.

Then, he creates a cheat sheet for each song and then during the show he does the lighting on the fly but he has an idea of what to expect from the songs. He will have an idea of what he wants to do but he doesn’t create a cue list and instead works on the fly.

We had played a huge festival and Mark wanted to do something different for the audience. He had picked out an old antique looking box and set up a haze machine inside of it. So when we reached a point in the song our lead vocalist walked over and opened up the chest. It was very creative and the audience loved it.

David – I really like that! It’s a very creative approach. Do you have any video on that?

Yes, we do! I’m sure someone has it and I’ll be sure to send it over. As you know and I’m sure others can relate money is very tight when working in the music industry. So, because of that, you have to be resourceful and creative.

David – Approaching the lighting the way your band has is really great to hear. You do have to be resourceful and creative with the lighting but doing it on a budget as well.

Do you notice that your band gets hired or more attention for having a more creative approach to your shows?

Yes, we definitely get a lot of feedback from venues that we’ve played at. They definitely notice the difference between us and other bands that may not have as good of a creative approach.

We’re still learning and have a lot to learn about lighting and different ways to do it. It’s certainly a huge help with your podcast videos, and posts that have saved us so much money and mistakes so thank you for that.

David – Awesome thank you very much for that. That’s something I just released inside of the Labs is an action plan that helps members approach purchasing equipment. This is definitely a topic I have been touching base on more lately. It’s very helpful because I have more cases other than myself to work with and review.

Absolutely, we’re always looking to bring our show to the next level so we appreciate all of the help we can get.

David – That just makes me very happy to hear that to see people in the community come together and help each other out. One thing we haven’t touched based on yet is your rig, what does that look like now?

It’s still a very basic set up but we have about 12 par cans, 2 Eurolite T Bars, 2 ADJ moving lights, a couple of fixtures we have made ourselves. We don’t have a big rig but we choose to keep it that way because we’re always loading and unloading.

Eliminator Stand Light
ADJ Inno Spot Pro
Eurolite LED Lighting Stands

One of the things we are looking into is what is the next step, what should we invest in next? But we consider what type of stages do we play in, should we change our lighting show, or should we just upgrade our current lights? What would be your thoughts on the next step in our lighting setup?

David – From what you said, I like your approach to using every piece to do the most that it can do. I do like blinders but I don’t believe that would be a good fit for your show.

What I would recommend is looking into some moving head wash pars. A lot of those units have a zoom feature on it. I recommend these types of lights because you can use it as a backlight and even have it spin and use it as a blinder so it has a couple of different modes.

So that’s my recommendation especially when you guys are setting up and tearing down after each show. You can do a lot with those types of lights.

I really appreciate it and we will have to check into those lights. As always we appreciate it and you’ve been very helpful with everything we do.

Closing (39:14)

Thank you so much for tuning in today and I hope you learned a lot from the interview with Taz today.

Don’t forget to check out the giveaway we’re having inside if our Learn Stage Lighting Labs. If you’re not a member yet, this would be a great time to get started and check it out.

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