LONG ISLAND CITY, NY – With over a million albums sold, Canadian post-hardcore group Silverstein has defied expectations as well as easy categorizations. Moving seamlessly from reflective emo tunes to pop punk power chords, these young artists are bent on keeping their creative options open. This independent streak is enthusiastically shared by the band’s LD Victor Zeiser.
Wanting to expand his creative direction as a lighting designer, Zeiser recently started his own rental company, Squeek Lights, and purchased his own gear so he could pursue his unique design vision. Included in this mix of fixtures are a collection of Rogue R1 Spot moving heads and COLORdash Batten-Quad 6 linear washes from CHAUVET Professional.
Zeiser is using both of these CHAUVET Professional LED products to stunning effect on Silverstein’s current “Discovering the Waterfront” 10th Anniversary Tour. “After getting stuck with limited options on a couple tours, I decided I wanted to invest in getting some modern lighting on my own, so Squeek Lights was born,” said the LD.
On the 2015 Silverstein tour, Zeiser has included ten Rogue R1 Spot and six COLORdash Batten-Quad 6 fixtures. He uses the fixtures to backlight the band and illuminate scenic elements and lend rich theatrical colors to the stage.
“The band has a wall of amps on either side of the drum riser, so I decided the best way to navigate this was by building a pipe and base goal post behind each amp wall so I could have lights peeking over the amps,” he said. “We positioned the fixtures 6 feet high, which allows me to use them as low backlights on the band or shoot beams up into the space, depending on the music.”
In addition to the Rogue R1 Spots on the amp wall, Zeiser positioned four of the moving spot fixtures on the stage floor “to fill things out.” He flips these fixtures around at points during the concert to highlight the front of the amp wall. “The prism in the R1 helps me get a really wide beam, which is great on this tour, because of how close the fixtures are to the amps,” he explained. “A thing that I really like about the Rogue’s 3-faceted prism is that it gives me the versatility to do either tight beam looks, or blow things wide open and fill the stage with light.”
Zeiser uses the COLORdash Batten-Quad 6 for “a mix of eye candy,” as well as for its strobe and blinder capabilities. “I wanted something with great saturated colors and a lot of punch to use as a sidelight,” said the LD. “The amber is deeper on the COLORdashes than it is on some of the other fixtures out there, and that gives me a warm color. I like that because I really like to fake a tungsten look. I decided to go with the bar format of the fixture, because this allows me to use it as eye candy – as I do on this tour – or as a wash.”
Backlighting and front lighting from Rogue R1 Spot, along with the lush colors of the COLORdash Batten-Quads help Zeiser lend a theatrical touch to the Silverstein performances, a quality that highlights the band’s multi-faceted music.
“With post-hardcore bands it’s easy to fall into the pattern of strobe, strobe and strobe some more! However, I try to ease back from that and focus on making big looks, with lots of front light, to keep the show clean,” said the LD. “This band runs around a lot on stage, and I feel it is important to keep the focus on them. To keep it interesting during break downs and bridges we do some fun silhouette looks. One of my favorite moments in the show is when 4 of the R1s silhouette the singer in a big amber beam, and then snap to white and strobe on a drum fill into the chorus.”
For the Silverstein tour, Zeiser is using an Avo Quartz to control his rig. “It’s been treating me well,” he said. “The small size of the console makes it perfect for this size tour, but it has the power of a full desk.”
Silverstein’s musical range is well known and much appreciated by the group’s legion of fans. During their concerts, the Canadian-based musicians can go from a brooding emotional sound to a thunderous runaway freight train riff in the blink of an eye. It’s the job of his lightshow, says Zeiser, to keep up with this musical whirlwind.
“The lightshow is really there to support and enhance the show,” he said. “There are very distinctive moods to many of the songs and I try to create an environment for each of the songs to live in. There is a moment in the show when the stage goes dark except for the six R1s on the goal posts. At this point, the bass player starts egging the crowd on to shout along with him. Then the lights push up into the crowd, creating this really great effect, where it feels like there is no separation between the crowd and the stage. As a designer, you always feel great when lighting engages the audience like that.”