APRIL ARTIST OF THE MONTH: THE CLOUDS BELOW
The Clouds Below is a Los Angeles based two-piece live electronic performance group that’s a hybrid between a DJ and a band. The act is on the cutting edge of performance art and music melding music and lighting in amazing ways that are always of interest to CHAUVET DJ. They perform as a band would with live drums, guitar, bass, synths and vocals but sound like a DJ spinning, cutting in and out of tracks in one continuous set without breaks between songs, keeping the energy up and the dance floor moving. Meet Malcolm Guess and Benjamin Jones – The Clouds Below.
CHAUVET DJ: How would you describe The Clouds Below?
The Clouds Below is a live electronic/EDM duo that infuses the high energy live performance of a band with the sonic impact of a DJ, blasting the dance floor with non-stop music, seamlessly cutting in and out of tracks. We have a full light show integrated into our stage setup with LEDs built into our drum kit and DJ table along with a host of intelligent lighting, lasers and smoke machines.
CDJ: How did The Clouds Below project start?
The music of The Clouds Below came from doing an electronic remix project for the rock band, Kaura, that the drummer and I both play in. We had created a collection of songs that came out of those producing sessions that felt like they deserved to be a project all on their own. We were then faced with the unique challenge of figuring out how to perform these electronic dance tracks in a live setting with real drums, instruments and vocals. It took the better part of a year to build out the technology platform that would allow us to recreate our produced tracks live. As we were developing the architecture for handling the audio reproduction, we paid equal attention to how we would be represent the music visually. We were constantly evolving our light show to deliver an experience that would be equally as engaging visually as it was musically.
CDJ: How do you think lighting effects your performances?
There’s no question that the lights are just as integral to our performance and the show as the music is. When you go to see live music you’re doing just that…SEEING music performed live. When we dial in the lighting to convey the mood of the song and they sync up at just the right time at impacting moments, I swear the music somehow just sounds better! The sonics are definitely amped up by lights! We want to pull people into the experience and take them along for a ride with us. Having an amazing light show paired with our music is absolutely essential for fully engaging our audience.
CDJ: What CHAUVET DJ gear do you use?
The show, although constantly being upgraded, currently utilizes Chauvet DJ Swarm 5’s, COLORstrips, Intimidator Spot LED 150’s, Hurricane Fog Machines and various CHAUVET DJ strobes and washes.
CDJ: What advice would you give other performers who are new to lighting but want to incorporate it into their acts?
Start with just a few fixtures and build from there. There’s a lot you can do with only a few lights and learning how to get the most out of a few lights will inspire your creativity so when you expand your lighting setup, you’ll be able expand on the lighting skills you’ve honed with minimal fixtures. It’ll also help to minimize the overwhelm of setting up, running and managing a more elaborate light show. Once you learn how to use one fixture you figure out that they’re all pretty similar and you can expand on your knowledge very easily by adapting what you’ve learned. Tackling too much all at once can be unnecessarily overwhelming.