The multi-talented filmmaker, musician, artists and director Zahed Sultan invited me to create the stage set projections for this show at The Albany Theatre, Deptford after I spotted a post on social media looking for my skills. The Haramacy residency program and multi arts festival was held on the 27th April 2019. The program brought together 11 artists from Middle Eastern and South Asian communities in London for a 4-day residency to collaborate and create works that would be performed on the fifth day. I designed and fabricated the triangular screens using a mixture of rear and front projection materials. I worked with the artists to create content for the triangular screens and use the design successfully.
I have freelanced with Transition since 2017. The first job they sent me out on was at Hammersmith Apollo to set-up a pair of projectors and screens for an Erykah Badu concert. They have employed me as VJ for the main stage at Beat Herder Festival in 2017 and 2018, LED technician and Camera Operator for multiple stages at Parklife Festival and Manchester Pride among many other events. Highlights shows with them have been at Wembley Arena and La Seine Musicale in Paris for a Korean boy band. While I was VJ at Beat Herder I had the pleasure to perform alongside many musical greats including one of my all time favourites Lee Scratch Perry.
The lovely Henry Trew whom I had got to know while he was running Dalston Roof Park had a big hand in organising this small but beautifully formed festival which raises vital funds for Jamie’s Farm to host outdoor education trips for inner-city children.
I helped out for a few years and really enjoyed adding some projections to an experimental space with a collection of artists from the studios where I worked the first year. In 2016 I designed the ‘main stage’ in the barn for the first time. I found some materials on site and constructed some organic shaped screens which hung above the stage to be mapped with projections.
In 2015 I was sacked from a job, dumped by my girlfriend and also given notice to leave where I was living, all within a week. Pretty bleak. I decided to turn all of that negativity into something positive, distracting and useful!
I wanted to realise a long held dream of organising an audiovisual festival. Initial plans were conconcted and emails went out to the people whom I wanted to help make it a reality. After a year of hard work and commitment from a small team of directors with huge contributions from the community of artists and volunteers Splice Festival was first staged from the 3rd to the 5th June 2016: http://2016.splicefestival.com/
Zak Norman of Black Box Echo came to me with an interesting challenge… He had built a show using the most impressive and cumbersome Quartz Composer patch I have ever seen and wanted me to understand it enough to be his understudy should the need ever arise.
We spent a couple of days together and I wrote an instruction manual which would hopefully be enough to let me get the show up and running. The system used structured midi data sent to QC from Ableton live which was directly synced to Tom’s laptop on stage. The twisted logic that Zak implemented ensured that every show would be individual. Before each and every performance he would input a set of localised data, such as weather conditions and city population, from these data points the programme would make choices such as allocations of colour or distortion etc. Zak had employed the talents of the best QC programmers in the game, Anton Marini and George Toledo to create some of the generative compositions within his megastructure and it was a pleasure to see how it all combined to produce some impressive results. Thankfully I never needed to be understudy but I did get to do one show alongside Zak at Lovebox and the instructions worked about 90% of the way. It was also nice to put a face to the name Pesh who was projectionist for this show.
Ben Sheppee at Light Rhythm Visuals (now Observatory London) sent me out on a few VJ shows this summer. Two with Shikari Sound System and one with Dizzee Rascal. Ben supplied all the content for both artists regularly and it was a pleasure to go out on the road for him. The Shikari Sound System show was all triggered by the band over a network so easy for me once it was all rehearsed and working. Shows at Leeds and Reading Festivals followed and duly executed in the muddy fields that were.
The Dizzee Rascal show was a different kettle of fish. Soho House Summer party, a bourgeois heaven in the grounds of a mansion on the outskirts of London with lobsters and champagne on tap. Can’t say I didn’t indulge. It was nice to meet De La Soul backstage too. No photos or recordings of that one!
Jim Horsfield of As Described lives in Ipswich, he was contacted by a local promoter who was planning something big. He had a warehouse to use and permission from the local authorities to hold a big music and art event otherwise known as a ‘rave’. It was a huge space and it needed a full treatment with projections and lighting. I worked with Insight Lighting to put together a cost effective package of Solar 250’s, Kodak Carousels using some simple minimal designs. Jim supplied two 10k lumen video projectors with wide angle lenses which I used to projection map the roof and walls of the space. Madmapper line plugin was heavily used as were a lot of my sound reactive Quartz Composer patches.
Yellow Lounge was a popular classical music event which my mate and fellow Quartz Composer programmer Jim Warrier was commissioned to create visuals for, I gladly joined him and provided some sound reactive 3d content a couple of times.
Mr Manuva invited me to create a set of visuals for his new live show with the Banana Klan. It was a pleasure to collate a set of material from new and archive videos and combine those with some sound reactive elements made in Quartz Composer.
The show went off with a boom and a rumbling bass ably deliverd by the live band and DJ Chris P Cuts.
My footage of the show was unusable due to the massive vibrations in the control booth, (let that be a warning to anyone who works there), but I did slavage a few stills:
Anna Boberg of https://bopa.tv/ got in touch with an interesting and unexpected offer. Would I like to VJ at a club in Beirut?!? She and her studio would be supplying all of the content including some backdrops for the stage shows with a dance troupe. I went along for a six week contract and worked alongside a local VJ Moses Magharian (Eye See Experience).
I had a brilliant time working and making friends in Lebanon which gave me an insight into the culture and politics of the region. We were accommodated in a superb out of town apartment complex with a lovely outdoor pool and we were really well looked after.
One morning while relaxing by the pool I received a phone call from a colleague in London, she had one question: ‘Was it possible to projection map a rotating car?’ I said yes but it was difficult and I was busy in the sunshine. More about that later.
I first met the incredible musician and programmer Tim Exile at Hackney Film Festival. He contacted me sometime later to provide some live camera mixing for his new live stream experiment and I jumped at the chance.
We did four CrowdJam shows where the audience uploaded samples to a Soundcloud page, these samples were automagically synced to his music software with which he then improvised the entire show.
The video is Lo-Fi and as crunchy and compressed as you can get but kinda fun when the wireless head mounted camera kicks in and I play with the analogue tuning for extra glitchiness:
Justin at meno.tv had been working with Hospitality Drum and Bass events for a while and he had built them some huge logo lighting and projection mapping features. For this show in Brixton he had created a cylindrical LED stage set for one of the headline artists which was an all consuming task so he asked me to come along and VJ for the rest of the night. I always loved Drum and Bass and to work in Brixton Academy for the first time was a pleasure.
My friend Gary (Deepvisual) had uploaded some projection mapping tutorials to Youtube and someone in Mongolia was watching them. Ulziibayar Nergui an Ulan Bator based DJ, budding projection mapper and dance music promoter soon got in touch with him. He was looking for a Projection Mapping artist to help him create a show. Gary was busy again on another job so he suggested me. Wow, Mongolia I had only dreamed of the chance to visit such a place!
This was the first big 3D projection mapping that I was technically and artistically producing. The pressure was on. I had been closely following and studying the techniques of projection mapping and had created some of my own tools with Quartz Composer to achieve many of the effects which were being used.
We used five projectors to cover three objects with projection, 2 cubist structures and an eye above the DJ booth. It was quite a push for our MacBook Pro’s but it worked smoothly using two Matrox Dual Head to Go devices to feed the outputs.
Mongolia was an amazing experience even though I was only there for 10 days, working with the local crew was fun and challenging due to the language barrier, our interpreter Zolboo was not always around. It turns out Zolboo was also ‘the only drone musician’ in Mongolia’ and some damn fine sounds he does make: https://soundcloud.com/crepusculo
The long term visuals supplier to The Orb, Deepvisual was busy on another job so he asked me to fill in for him on this show out in Hungary. I only stepped out from behind my computer for a few seconds to get a clip of the show:
This was not the first nor would it be the last show with the Orb. In 2009 I VJ’d alongside Michael Coles of Malicious Damage for the Baghdad Batteries album launch show. It was an interesting set-up in an arched venue and the audience all wore white paper suits to become a giant projection screen.
I also accompanied them on a handful of UK tour dates in 2013. It was an honour to be passed the baton and work with the Orb who have always incorporated visuals into their shows and were a huge influence in my musical youth.
Beware the terrible sound quality from the on camera microphone:
Working alongside musical collaborator Ojah we created the Heavy/Light audiovisual performance for Dr Mo‘s event at the Roxy Bar and Screen. The music was a selection of Ojah’s productions and a scattering of new music from other groundbreaking producers.
The visuals were 100% realtime audio reactive patches created with Quartz Composer. I built a standalone composition which switched between 3D scenes with individually controlled textural layers via midi control.
Kabal parties are legendary for those in the Sheffield scene and I was more than happy to return to my home town for this big rave and VJ onto the walls of a gigantic railway arch. I really enjoyed working with the graphic content created by DJ Pipes and recorded this mix shortly after to the booming beat of a great track by my old mate Tomski.
The Big Chill festival had been an important part of the cultural calendar for more than a decade, it was the only festival I had once bought a ticket to attend.
The company in charge of video tech was As Described, Adam and Jim had been providing VJ and video services to the Big Chill for many years. It was the music festival that most supported the VJ and AV performance scene, booking whole rosters of visual artists each year, they even had a stage devoted to AV performance ‘The Media Mix tent’. I was really happy to be invited along as a video technician to help install VJ kits and projections for the stages.
The day before heading to the site at Eastnor Castle I also read a post on the VJ Forums (which was the central site for the international VJ and AV community). It was a message from a DJ’s manager looking for someone to help out with a show at the Big Chill, the artist in question was Sampology, he was coming all the way from Australia and needed someone to help mix live cameras into his Turntablist Audiovisual performance and supply a laptop to run some sound reactive Quartz Composer patches. Just to add a little extra twist the show was in a dome with 360º projections. I swiftly got in touch and happily helped out on this show and then one other in Bristol with DJ Cheeba while Sam was still in the UK.
Sadly 2010 was the year when the ownership of the festival changed hands and the new team had overlooked the booking of VJ’s. A few artists brought their own visual content but most did not. I knew a couple of the musicians and DJ’s on the line-up so plugged in and gave them my visuals but mostly the Roland V8 video mixers sat idle.
I must have done something right at the first show because they invited me back to work on the finale of the Emerging Artists in Residence project at the Royal Festival Hall on the 27th February 2009.
It was a huge show with hundreds of individual participants and 16 live acts in one night. I worked with the musicians to create content to fit with each set and mixed live feed cameras onto a massive projection filling the back of the stage.
I used hired the Vixid video mixer from Deepvisual for the first time which gave me unrivalled layering modes for the live camera feeds. I directed 3 camera operators for the duration of the show while simultaneously cuing and VJing graphic and video content.
As an added little extra I brought in the superb Prickimage to supply his Walkabout projection kit and roam around during the interval projecting onto the surroundings while transmitting a wireless camera feed to the screen in the auditorium.
Dan Fenton the VJ whom accompanied me at the E.A.R show had been invited to discuss creating a show for the Tate Gallery, gratefully he called me in for the meeting with them.
The theme for the event was ‘behind the scenes’. This set us up with a nice task: to film all around the gallery for a couple of days with access to all areas in order to create content for the show. The vaults were a particular treat, where I got to film Henry Moore sketchbooks and one-off art books by William Ruskin. DJ’s and musicians for the night were drawn from the staff of the gallery.
Just before one of the Jammin Crew events a headline musician dropped out and a replacement had to be found. The replacement artist we contacted was part of a new project at the Southbank Centre, Emerging Artists in Residence (EAR). They agreed to play and brought with them a big group of young musicians who performed various sets for us that evening, it was amazing.
Soon after I was contacted by one of them Aruba Red to see if I’d be interested in performing at the first big group show for the EAR project. The performance was at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in The Southbank Centre.
I worked alongside another VJ, Dan Fenton as suggested by project leader Neil Quinton. He was great to have as my co-pilot on such a big show. It was filmed for me by Sam Daniel and Kyla Simone Bruce.
One of the greatest friends I met at university is Sam Daniel, once upon a time Sam had an idea….
Sam’s birthday falls between Christmas and New Years eve so for once he wanted to have a big party. 27th Dec 2005 and the idea comes together, a crew of us head down from Sheffield to meet up with Sam and his friends at a basement venue close to the end of Oxford st.
What followed is legendary amongst the friends who were there…and became a labour of love for a small group of us for the next few years. We created events at a huge range of pubs, clubs and venues around London and in Sheffield. We really should have a standalone website and archive!
There was a bit of buzz about town for this new nightclub and live venue and I was happy to be invited alongside my studio mate Anthony Ashton to provide visuals for them on a regular basis. We made VJ mix DVDs for the screens around the venue and had an arrangement for monthly live VJ performances on the headline nights.
Plug had employed the great design team of Peter Donohoe (DJ Pipes) and Paul Reardon (peterandpaul.co.uk) to create the identity, publicity materials and branding for the business. This gave us a great starting point and some luscious content to start playing with.
The biggest show to date with Jamie Wilkins of Scuba at the helm. We filled the three rooms of the ballroom with music and visuals for two very special events. I pulled in studio mate Anthony for main room VJ duties while I supplied visuals with Justin Randell for live performances by The Lovers, Jody Wildgoose and Mu in room 2.
The footage was shot by my friend and collaborator Mark Cohen who had invested in a Canon XL1s DV camera upon my advice. He gave me ready access to use it in many of my productions at the time and I will be forever grateful for his generosity.
Another housemate at this point was Chris Smith whom I’d met while studying for my art foundation course in Chesterfield. He was a budding DJ and had landed his first club residency at an event called Scuba. It was organised by Jamie Wilkins and Chris passed the word that Jamie was looking for someone to provide some visuals…. So it began, every Saturday night for nearly five years in the small venue of the Fez Club. Sheffield’s best DJ’s were on a monthly roster and we hosted many touring and international guests.
For the visuals I started with a pair of Eumig Super 8 film projectors and a Kodak carousel with a lunchbox full of home made loops and slides. The venue had a few moving mirror lights and I enjoyed flashing them along with the music.
I was given a budget to create content which varied from 8mm film loops and 35mm slides, some digital animations and an occasional VJ set using my first Apple G4 computer. At some point we bought a set of old Black and White TV’s which we sometimes hung precariously from the ceiling with chains.