I know, I know... we missed another newsletter in May. Sorry about that. It's just this new album has been taking all our time. And the June issue is now coming in early July... better late than never, right?
It's been a long and time-consuming process with this album, starting in February and still working on the very last bits, before Janne Saksa mixes the whole thing (hopefully) this month. The first rough mixes we've heard from him sound great, so I have no doubt he will do a stellar job yet again with the whole album!
This month our light technician Mikko Skyttä sheds some light (pun intended!) on what his job entails. I hope you enjoy learning about the man that makes us look mighty good on stage!
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The following interview with Mikko Skyttä was conducted by Ben in the tour bus in late 2014.)
Ben: Hi there!
Mikko: Well hello! I'm Mikko Skyttä, Amoral's lighting designer and engineer.
Ben: So how did we end up in the same tour bus, how did we meet?
Mikko: Well, it was your sound guy Liuhu who called me and said you need someone to do the lights at your album release party in early 2014. But us two, we met back in 2007 on the Dimebag Beyond Forever tour...
Ben: ...which was quite a blurry tour, to say the least!
Mikko: yes, those were some cheerful times for sure.
Ben: So you joined the Amoral crew in the beginning of 2014...
Mikko: yes, and I gotta say, it's been fun so far, great bunch of guys and challenging music, I've had to give a lot of thought for the lighting design to make them work with your material.
Ben: How many shows together do we have now, about 10 or so?
Mikko: Yeah, something like that.
Ben: Has things progressed from the first show?
Mikko: Oh yeah, for sure. I'm getting new ideas all the time as we go along.
Ben: Walk us through your job. What the hell is it that you do exactly? If I'm not mistaken, your work begins way before getting in the van on the day of the show?
Mikko: Yep. I usually get some info about what kind of a light rig is waiting for me at the venue, and I pre-program my desk for the show at home beforehand. It makes possible problem solving faster once we're at the venue, and gives me a chance to actually eat something before the show, instead of programming the lights all evening until the show. Also, when doing this in advance, it gives you a chance to really think things over in no hurry. If you start from scratch at the venue, there's a good possibility you'll forget something or program something incorrectly.
Ben: The best case scenario of course would be to have the same lighting rig with us to every show, which would mean that you could program everything in advance to the last detail, and just send whoever to do the job at the show, right?
Mikko: Well yeah, that's not quite possible, as you guys keep changing your setlist from show to show. It would require a strict song order for the whole tour to be able to do that. And besides, with the company being as good as it is, I don't mind coming along to the shows! But yeah, it is a challenge when every noght I have a different set of lamps to work with, but we do our best at every show, and I gotta say, the ones up to now have been pretty good! Your music is just so intricate that it forces you to really focus on the job. And the band also has some good ideas and wishes for it's light show, which is not typical amongst Finnish bands.
Ben: What did you think of our "Christmas tree" backdrop when you fist saw it? (Note: Amoral has a backdrop with a programmable LED light skull logo)
Mikko: It's awesome! Nobody else in Finland has anything like that. The LEDs even seem to be too powerful at some smaller venues. Though it can be dimmed, and also be used as a strobe.
Ben: It's a nice little extra for the stage show, something people don't see at every club gig...
Mikko: Exactly. And for your next backdrop I'd like to have something that has stuff hidden on it that can be brought to life by UV lights!
Ben: So walk us through your typical show day.
Mikko: Well, first I check out what the gear looks like at the venue, and put my control desk in it's place. Then I patch up all the cables and begin pointing the lights at the right directions. As all the venues we play are different from each other, and so is the equipment, I have to think of different ways to make the show happen every night. I also check out the fog machines, how they behave, where the fog goes to and so on.
Ben: And how did you end up as a lighting engineer?
Mikko: Well it all started with me running into the wrong people at the wrong time. A friend asked me to drive a tour bus around 1999 or 2000, which I did for about a year. Then at one festival show I was looking at the lighting desk and wondering if I could try it out. So I did my first live show in from of ten thousand people at a festival. So that's how it all begun!
Ben: Finally, what have been some of the coolest light shows you've seen?
Mikko: Well, Motörhead has a really cool, old school PAR light show. Iron Maiden always has an amazing light show. Rammstein too. And I gotta admit that I also have a Beyoncé live DVD, which looks great, as does Tina Turner's 2009 show. So those are some of my favorites. And of course Pink Floyd's Pulse... Every light guy should study that show.
VIDEOS FROM THE TUSKA AFTERPARTY SHOW
The Tuska afterparty show at Virgin Oil, Helsinki on the 27th of June was a success, with a good turnout and a not-too-shabby performance from us too, considering A) we had not played live since last November B) we have a new lineup C) played a new song. The ever-active Street Team has posted some live videos from the show online, if you want to see what the first six-piece Amoral show looked and sounded like. Check those out here.
WEBSHOP SALE STILL GOING STRONG
We are still selling stuff at crazy-cheap prices on our webshop, to clear out our inventory and make room for new stuff. The new webshop has been doing nice business since opened, so thank you for everyone who've placed orders already! The Amoral Webshop can be found here.
(Picture of Niko and Ari from Virgin Oil taken by the Amoral Street Team)