The M’era Luna Festival takes place annually in Hildesheim, Germany at Flugplatz Hildesheim-Drispenstedt — a former British Army airbase. Featuring two stages, and historically specialising in goth, metal and industrial music, it also presents DJ sets on Friday and Saturday evening.
Here we interview lighting designer, Stephan Aue, and operator, Rico Münzer, who were working with Swedish electronic dance band, Covenant:
Stephan: The great thing about Covenant is that they are always looking for something extreme — and that provides a very good opportunity to try something new out. During their very drum and bass oriented shows, the use of front light is almost not permitted and the stage is dominated by fog. I have been doing shows with them for almost 15 years and admire their courage and willingness to try out new things. I remember a show in Australia where singer Eskil Simonsson yelled into the microphone at the height of one of their hit singles: "Aue, strobe them to death!!!" And what can I say … I'm on it!
The idea for the festival show emerged at this year's Prolight & Sound [in Frankfurt], as Rico and I were in charge of the live stage for SGM. From Covenant, the question came about doing "something spectacular" at exactly the time I was thinking about a matrix of 72 [SGM LED] strobes — and I thought that would be "spectacular" enough!
I have ‘sold’ the concept to the band in soundbites, such as "a benchmark in brightness for the next few years" and "some people are going to hate it while others will definitely be amazed.”
Rico: I have been working with this band regularly since 2011, turning the ideas of Aue into reality, and it was always somehow special, new and exciting. The band was always full of praise but added the comment: “Can it be a bit brighter?” And that was now the plan that Aue and I had at Prolight — specifically to play with the SGM Q-7 strobes on stage. They had already been tested and approved on the Sunrise Avenue tour in February.
Stephan: Of course, as is so often the case, there is not an infinite amount of power you can draw on to light a festival; this is where the very low current consumption of all SGM fixtures is a huge benefit and in the end 40 SGM Q-7 W and eight SGM P-5 arrived on the scene. For the Q-7 W what can I say … but HELL! And as for the P-5 in the quieter moments, it made for a beautiful backlight and looked really great.
Rico: It also took a while to get the structure really clear. We drove the strobe once conventionally with the DMX values as well as with video signals, using a Catalyst to map it. These values were then simply merged with a LAN node. Since then we also spent a bit of time to check what content worked well on the type of matrix tower we wanted to use with Covenant. For the matrix we also played around with the dimmer curves of the strobes.
I'm now curious as to how the landscape will change and the brightness increases even more on the next Covenant tour. The cry of: “Rico … maximum lights” will probably be reserved for the final song, no matter how bright it is!
Photo Credits: Dani Vorndran