Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part 4

The final installment of the interview with Chris Kuroda, the LD for the band Phish.  Chris talks about Candace Brightman as an influence, Patrick Dierson as a teacher, and the business.  I hope you enjoy the final part!

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part Three

The third installment of four parts of my interview with Chris Kuroda – Chris talks about the use of video in the future, the gear in his current rig, getting used to new gear, making less look like more, and just being a guy in FOH who’s designing a light show.

One of my favorite parts of the interview was Chris’ belief in shedding the mentality that he’s the fifth member of the band.  “I just want to be a guy who’s out there doing my job; I take a lot of pride in my work.  I’m trying to do the best I can.  I’m trying to become a bit more low-key – I don’t believe in the whole “CK5,” I believe in the four members of Phish and they are Phish.  I’m just trying to do my best to complement what they’re doing.”

Part Three:

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part Two

The second installment of my interview with Chris Kuroda, lighting designer for the band Phish.  The interview took place on the afternoon of the second night of the Hampton Coliseum run early in March 2009.

I think there are going to be 4 or 5 clips in total; I wanted people to be able to watch these in pieces, as I know everyone is busy.  Chris talk about using the ShowPix in his Hampton rig and how bright they are, redrawing the show, upcoming changes, complex cue stacks, visualization software, perfection, and environmental consciousness during touring and festivals.

I hope you enjoy it!  A few more parts to go!

Interview with Chris Kuroda, Lighting Designer for Phish – Part One

Here is part one of my interview with Chris Kuroda, lighting designer for Phish – I broke the interview up into four or five parts for easy watching when you get time.  Chris was extremely friendly, and talked for nearly 30 minutes.  I interviewed him during the afternoon of the second show day at the Hampton Coliseum run in early March 2009.

Chris talks about the Elation Impressions he used in the Hampton rig, setting up LED fixtures to act like PARs, using the Mac IIIs, and a few other subjects.  More videos coming!


Free – Phish, Hampton Coliseum 2009

You know, I love Phish.  These Hampton shows were great – this video is for the song Free, and even if you don’t like Phish, the video of Chris Kuroda’s lighting is worth the watch.

The Elation Impression LED Fixture


I’ve obviously mentioned about eleventy times already that I was at the three nights of the band Phish’s reunion concerts at Hampton Coliseum; I also mentioned that I was able to interview the lighting designer for Phish, Chris Kuroda!  That interview transcript and video is coming soon – but one of the things I wanted to talk about specifically were some of the LED sources that have made their way into the Phish lighting rig.

For the Hampton shows, Chris was using 32 Mac III‘s, 14 Mac 2000 XB Wash fixtures, 8 High End ShowPix, 14 Martin Atomic 3K Strobes with scrollers, and 38 Elation Impression LED fixtures.  Chris talked in detail about how he handles the difference between designing with the LED Impression fixtures versus the PAR64 sources he was using with a curve on the fader, and how much he likes the quickness of the LED sources.  He also had great praise for the ShowPix fixtures, which were used throughout very tastefully.

The Elation Impression fixtures were placed throughout the rig and used primarily for a toplight-esque system – but on several occasions they were used in a fan-delay tilt effect, and the brightness of the Impression fixture is amazing!  High output and low energy consumption at 60 lumens per watt through Luxeon K2 LEDs (90 of them) gives the Impression superiority over the 575W sources out there on the market.  Impression comes with a lens carrier and a choice between 10° and 25° – and it’s FAST!  660° pan moves in 2 seconds, 300° tilt in 1 second! Impression is DMX-512 controlled, taking a 3-pin XLR.  If you have a chance to spec some of the Impression LED lumainaires, I highly recommend checking them out!

25c2b0-lens-kit impression-six-pack

Also Sprach Zarathustra – Phish, Hampton Coliseum, 3-7-2009

I have a ton of posts in the works for the long weekend I just spent seeing the Phish Reunion shows at Hampton Coliseum over the 6, 7, and 8 of March – I interviewed their lighting director, Chris Kuroda, I saw some amazing lighting, and I got to dance my butt off.  It was a great weekend.

The video below is of the Phish rendition of Also Sprach Zarathustra during the second night of shows – it’s one of my favorite tunes, and Kuroda’s lighting is fantastic!  I hope you enjoy it!

Phish, Hampton Coliseum, 3-6-2009

I just got back to the hotel after four hours of great music from Phish!  Hampton Coliseum was packed to the gills, and everyone seemed to have a great time, especially the band.  I’m pretty exhausted, so I’ll just mention that Chris Kuroda provided an outstanding lighting design for the welcome back for Phish.  I’m trying to hook up with Chris some time tomorrow (call me, Chris!) and ask him about the rig, the show, getting back together, and what he’s been up to in the last few years.  I saw him light The Black Crowes at Riverwind Casino last Spring, so we know he’s been busy rocking and rolling and such.

A side note – Chris’ new rig is pretty fantastic.  ShowPix, (I think) some Martin Atomic Strobes, a bunch of LED wash fixtures, and Vari*Lite VL3000’s.  I’m going to try to confirm all this soon.  I also took a ton of crappy iPhone pics – I’ve posted some below, but they’re crappy – I promise!

What a great show!  Two more nights to go!

















The Black Crowes, Riverwind Casino, Norman, OK

I saw the Black Crowes this last May at the Riverwind Casino in Norman, OK – as you know, Phish is reuniting for both a summer tour, and a run of shows at Hampton Coliseum, to which I have tickets, and will be attending!  I was running through footage of lighting designer Chris Kuroda’s work tonight, and realized I had taken some video of a few of the moments in the show. Chris has been lighting the Crowes, and doing a beautiful job.

If you’re Chris Kuroda and you’re reading – I have been trying to get through to you for an interview – would you be interested?

Phish, April 4, 1998: Also Sprach Zarathustra

If you’re a lighting designer, and a Phish “head,” or maybe a lighting designer AND a Phish “head,” then you are going to appreciate this. Chris Kuroda, the lighting designer for now-defunct-but-we-can-all-dream band Phish is now out with The Black Crowes.

Yours truly was able to meet Chris Kuroda back in May at the Crowes show in Oklahoma City. I wish I would have had the chance to ask him a few questions.

2001 (Also Sprach Zarathustra), part 1

Part 2