×

Proscenium flash for acts that push electronic envelope

Music for Screens: Spring 2012

There’s no denying that electronic music is having its day in the sun with artists like Skrillex winning three Grammys this year and electronic music festivals drawing hundreds of thousands. But watching live shows where people trigger sounds on their laptops does not exactly qualify as performance art.

This is where V Squared Labs comes in. The L.A.-based visual art studio uses 3D projections, light displays and other visual effects to create elaborate stage shows for everything from Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, which attracted more than 200,000 attendees in March, to “American Idol.”

The lab also created the explosive staging and visual effects for electronic superstar Amon Tobin’s current Isam tour, which stops at Coachella this week. It’s quite a feat, with a multi-dimensional, shape-shifting 3D art installation rising 25 feet into the air. “The idea was to make an entirely different kind of concert experience — not a dance party with pretty lights to look at but a genuine integration of performance, 3D cinema and musical exploration,” Tobin says. “(V Squared Labs) wasn’t scared to try new things and approached the whole project with a level of ingenuity that was vital to the success of the show.”

Vello Virkhaus, founder of V Squared Labs, says the Tobin collaboration pushed boundaries. “We crossed into new territory of 3D mapping,” he says. “We talked about interesting set pieces and sculptures and how it would exist on stage … then we wrote a treatment with some concept images that we turned into a whole show.”

Virkhaus founded the company in 2000 to satisfy his desire to bring art, technology and music under one umbrella. What started off as a risky creative venture has become a highly successful commercial endeavor. Now Black Eyed Peas, Goldenvoice and “Germany’s Next Top Model” are clients, and business is booming.

V Squared also designed the elaborate visual displays for Coachella’s Sahara tent and Heineken Dome this year, where they’re doing live VJ sets and backdrops for electronic artists.

“With the success of dance music entering into the pop music world … it’s becoming more commercially viable,” says Virkhaus. “There’s a lot of competition now, but competition creates innovation and rising to the occasion to do something even better.”

V Squared Labs’ Experience Reel

Return to Music for Screens: Spring 2012 >>
Return to Music for Screens: Archives >>

More Scene

  • Charlize Theron speaks at the GEANCO

    Charlize Theron Talks 'White Privilege,' Growing Up During Apartheid in South Africa

    Charlize Theron, during an onstage discussion with her “Gringo” costar David Oyelowo about philanthropy at Thursday’s annual fundraiser for Nigerian children’s educational and health program GEANCO, said she was a beneficiary of “white privilege” while growing up in Apartheid-torn South Africa. “I obviously am a white person who benefited from my white privilege,” Theron said [...]

  • Lyliana Wray, Sam Ashe Arnold, Miya

    ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark’ Revival Team on Living Up to the Series’ Legacy

    The 2019 revival of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” centers around the Carnival of Doom, a place that star Jeremy Ray Taylor (“It Chapter Two”) describes as “beautiful on the outside, but…in the middle of it, there are definitely dark secrets. Variety caught up with the young star during a carnival-themed celebration at Row DTLA [...]

  • Charlize Theron'The Addams Family' film premiere,

    Charlize Theron Speaks Immigration, Diversity in ‘The Addams Family’

    They’re creepy, they’re kooky, and they’re an allegory for immigration in America.  Charlize Theron discussed the changing face of the nuclear family and her animated film, “The Addams Family,” with Variety at the movie’s recent premiere at the Century City Mall in Los Angeles. “When you think of [the Addams] being around since the sixties, [...]

  • Emma Stone attends the Los Angeles

    Emma Stone Talks 'Cruella' Transformation, New 'Zombieland' Sequel

    Despite inevitable comparisons to Glenn Close’s iconic turn as Cruella de Vil in 1996’s “101 Dalmatians,” Emma Stone teased that her take on the infamous villain in the upcoming “Cruella” movie will be very distinctive. “It comes long before her story,” Stone told Variety at the premiere of “Zombieland: Double Tap” at the Regency Village [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 2019

    Gwyneth Paltrow Honored at amfAR Gala

    Gwyneth Paltrow received one of this year’s courage awards at amfAR’s annual gala on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Paltrow’s longtime friends Dan Bucatinsky and Don Roos presented her with the award. “I didn’t prepare anything because I don’t think I really believe in thank you speeches, but I did want to thank amfAR for this,” [...]

  • Variety’s Power of Women Gift Bag

    Variety’s Power of Women Gift Bag: Sneak Peek

    While there are only so many cover honorees, everyone will go home a star this Power of Women Los Angeles. Each guest will receive a large Shopping Tote provided by The Little Market, and screen-printed by Homeboy Industries. Item inclusion ranges from product in entertainment, beauty, health, fashion, and more. Missed your chance to attend? [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content