production management – lighting/SFX design
Fleshgod Apocalypse is an italian extreme death metal band with a lot of orchestral elements. Their music is a balanced mix of heavy guitars and fast drums together with symphonic sounds and epic sonorities.
Founded in 2007, they became popular worldwide in a few years, signing a contract with NuclearBlast Records, one of the biggest record labels in extreme music.
Their peculiarity lies in the appearance on stage, because all the musicians are dressed like Renaissance zombie with typical tail-coats. Another trademark is the presence of a real up-right piano and an opera singer on every single show, giving all the show a very and authentic classical atmosphere.
Starting a collaboration
I started working with Fleshgod Apocalypse back in 2015 when they came playing in the venue I used to be the local lighting technician. Since I was a huge fan of them, the show went pretty well by my side and after packing all their gear on the van, we had a short chat about working together in the future. The show after, at an italian metal festival in Milan, I already was there taking care of their lighting show.
However, the real beginning of this collaboration happened months later, in November, when they asked me to join them on a North-American tour scheduled in February 2016 as support of their upcoming album “King”.
From that time, we had lots of tours, festivals and gigs together all around the world, like Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and China. Day after day, show after show, I started taking care not only of the lights, but all the SFX as confetti, geysers and later I was managing the whole technical aspects of the stage.
Step by step I became their production manager.
After so many years and so many shows, the highlights are countless but there are some particular shows I really enjoyed because of the place, the way they happened or just because they were a step above the others. I’ll write dedicated blog articles in the future!
Sugar – Metalitalia Festival
(Milan, IT – Jun, 1st 2019)
I’m very proud of this show, because we were co-headlining that evening together with Arch Enemy, from Sweden, and we were in Milan, where i live. There were a lot of friends and colleagues of mine in the audience and since after our set there was another one with a big production, I’m proud of being able to have our full production on stage without exceeding the schedules, delivering an epic show anyway.
Epilogue – Inferno Metal Fest
(Oslo, NO – Mar, 30th 2018)
This was one of the most challenging festivals beause we played the set after the headliners and had just 15min to set everything on stage including the heavy piano, backdrop, flags and props and for the soundcheck and lighting programming. Despite the short time, I think the show went awesome.
Graspop Metal Meeting full show
(Dessel, BE – Jun, 17th 2016)
This festival has a special place in my heart, specially the 2016 edition (we played there also in 2019) because we were scheduled at 2:45pm in a tent under the sun, but still we had an amazing time and the crowd was completely insane. more than 15k people under one single tent melting but enjoying the show from the first to the last song. The picture below is self-explanatory.
My role as Production Manager in Fleshgod Apocalypse is to deal with all the technical aspects of the show (whether it’s a single festival or an entire tour), starting from the audio and lighting requirements of the venues, spaces on stage, rental of equipment such as risers, lights, SFX, etc.
In the pre-production phase, I check the stage specifications received by the festival or the venue, I make sure that they are compatible with the band’s requirements and, if necessary, I discuss any problems or requests with the production of the event in order to find the best solution for everyone.
Before the show, I take care of the logistics of the instruments, making sure that all the necessary equipment for that given show is brought inside the backstage and instructing the local crew on how the instruments, props, etc., should be assembled and positioned. Once the stage is finished, I will take care of the lighting part, which basically consists of 3 steps: configuration, programming, execution.
- configuration: in short, connecting the stage to my lighting desk so that I can operate simultaneously on the system made available by the venue or festival, together with the production brought by the band itself. This allows me to merge the two systems which will make the show look uniform in the eyes of the spectators.
- programming: i.e. the creation and adaptation of colors, positions, movements and effects to the setlist provided by the band, in order to create the right atmosphere for each moment of the performance.
- execution: giving life to the show. As I like to call it, when I “play the lights” while the musicians on stage play their instrument. Starting with the intro to create suspense for the entrance of the band, passing through the songs, the moments of pause, the speeches of the frontman, the solos, up to the “Grand Finale” with lots of confetti shot in the air over the crowd, to close in beauty and leave a beautiful memory to those present.
The key concept of this part, from my point of view, is simply to be able to transmit in the most intense and profound way possible, the atmosphere, the sensations, the adrenaline that each song wants to transmit with its own melody. A complementary part to thrill 360 ° the spectator who is under the stage.
If you are interested in seeing what my job entails in practice, I suggest you take a look at the playlists that you find in the “Highlights” chapter above.