Behind The Screen – An Ode To Visual Artists In The Music Industry

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Behind The Screen – An Ode To Visual Artists In The Music Industry

Back in 2019, I had the opportunity to be a part of the iconic Magnetic Fields Festival at Alsisar Palace in Rajasthan. As crew, I arrived on-site a whole day early, giving me a glimpse into what goes into putting a festival together.

As I walked past the BUDx South stage, I was treated to an all too familiar site – a production team frantically zoned into setting up. In the ocean of sound & light engineers moving equipment around, one man stood out – Yash Chandak.

Better known by his stage name – Cursorama, Yash is easily one of the most reputed visual artists working in the country’s thriving music scene. Yash was standing by himself at the console (No, not the one on stage, but the one all the way at the back, tucked completely out of sight), overseeing the progress on set-up for his show the next day.

Considering the festival was due to kick-off only the next day, most other artists were just checking-in or hadn’t even made it to the festival yet. Yash, though, was already on the clock. Something that every visual artist has experienced.

Often the first to arrive and the last to leave, visual artists spend long hours working on putting together an incredible show. While a DJ might play a 1 or 2hr set and call it a night, the guys running the lights, LED screens or projections are usually behind their console programming content for each artist on the line-up. Unfortunately, for all the work they put in, they’re often left with little to no recognition.

Think about it.
Have you heard of Dave Wexler (Strangeloop) ? Or Vello Virkhaus (V Squared Labs)? No. But you’ve obviously heard of Skrillex & Ultra Music Festival right? Well, Wexler the creative mastermind whose visuals light up the love shows of Skrillex, Flying Lotus & Erykah Badu! Vello is the visual director of the iconic Ultra Music Festival!

You see my point?
Wexler put it best – “It’s like being a rockstar without being a rockstar at all,”. An unfortunate and inconvenient truth.

So in this blog, I want to finally page homage to the unsung heroes of the music industry – the visual artists working tirelessly behind the screen. More specifically, homegrown talent.

But wait.
Why does my opinion even count? On what authority am I creating a fuss about visual artists not getting their dues?

Well, in 2019, I co-founded Mantis Shrimp Creative – a creative technology company focused on delivering cutting edge lighting and visual solutions for music videos and concerts. Since then I’ve had the privilege of working with artists like Hanumankind, Audio Units, Blot! and even international heavyweights like Julian Jeweil, Joyhauser and others.

Screenshot 2021 11 10 at 9.27.02 PM
FUTURA – Rohan Kapoor x Mantis Shrimp Creative
Picture from : www.mantisshrimpcreative.com

I’ve seen first hand the challenges our community faces. While I don’t believe any of these talented artists are chasing fame or superstardom, I do believe they deserve a lot more recognition than they currently receive.

The 4 Best Indian Visual Artists Working Behind The Screen

Cursorama

Cursorama is the stage name of Yash Chandak. The co-founder of Ocupus Studio – an immersive media & motion design studio based in Goa. Starting with collaborations, Cursorama was experimenting with bringing the latest technology into alternative music festivals.

APEX
APEX – The brainchild of Spryk, Cursorama & Naveen Deshpande. Commissioned by Wild City For Magentic Fields.
Picture from : www.thewildcity.com

His work is quite popular within the country’s growing music scene. ‘APEX’ – his collaboration with Spryk & Naveen Deshpande is probably his most iconic work yet. So much so, that the show earned itself a spot in Boiler Rooms Live Stream Festival – Streaming From Isolation With Wild City.

Easily one of the biggest names to watch out for as we get back to a world with music festivals and concerts.

Studio Moebius

Studio Moebius is the brainchild of Nikunj Patel. Nikunj burst onto the Indian creative scene after his collaboration with Sandunes, where he created a frame-by-frame music video for “Exit Strategy”.

Terminal 1
Terminal-1 at antiSOCIAL Mumbai with Milkman.
Picture from : www.studiomoebius.com

Since then, Nikunj has surrounded himself with like-minded artists, putting together some truly inspiring work as a studio. He’s worked with Milkman to put together the second edition of Terminal-1, worked on the launch calendar of antiSOCIAL and has a long standing partnership with one of India’s finest music curators – Krunk.

Studio Moebius are sure to continue turning heads with their work. I’d be sure to keep an eye out for their next collaboration.

Wolves Visuals

Easily the most successful collective of visual artists in the country. Founded by Jash & Joshua, Wolves is a visual agency that works closely with artists, live events, media groups, brands & entertainment companies around the world.

EDCLV
The bassPOD at EDC Las Vegas.
Picture from : www.wolvesvisuals.com

Coming from humble beginnings the folks at Wolves Visuals have truly stamped their mark on the world of live visuals; collaborating with artists like Shakira & Mariah Carey. Constantly pushing the boundaries, they’re notorious for their edgy designs and use of new technology.

VJ Zombie

Zombie is Nishant Chandrasekar. A Boston based visual artist, stage designer and content creator. He’s worked on live visuals for alternative festivals like Magentic Fields & NH7 Weekender to more commercial properties like VH1 Supersonic & Sunburn.

Audio Units
Visuals at Sugar Factory with Audio Units
Picture from : www.vjzombie.com

Zombie was also selected by Berlin-based design collective Pfadfinderei to be a part of the Border Movement Video Lab in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He’s crossed borders with his work and is easily one of the most recognised names in the music community.


So there you have it!
You’ve successfully been introduced to some of the finest visual artists and collectives in the country. There’s no dearth of talent and the community is growing by the second.

I look forward to seeing more artists contribute to the scene and can’t wait to see them get the recognition I believe they truly deserve. Until then though, maybe you can make a small difference. The next time you’re at a festival and enjoy the content on the large LED walls behind the DJ or band, maybe make the effort to find out who’s worked behind the scenes to put the show together.

Have I missed out an artist that deserves to be on this list?
Drop their names in the comment below and I’ll be sure to run through their work & maybe even feature them on the next blog!

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to perform visual live at a festival or at the local club, then you might want to check out the exclusive VJ course at TheMusic’scool. I’ll take you through Resolume Arena – the most popular VJ software available today and teach you how to create a compelling visual narrative for concert.

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