Production Designer Demfis Fyssicopulos
Tour: Maroon 5 North American Tour
Tour Dates: Feb. 13-Apr. 6/North America; all dates at maroon5.com
Working with the band has been fantastic. They are as tight as it gets as a band and just a wonderful client to work for. Adam Levine and the band are great, we collaborate very well and bounce ideas off of each other constantly.
And the Maroon 5 tour design?
I can’t discuss specific details right now, but I can tell you that continuing with my tradition of progressive design and forward thinking; this show will be ground-breaking in multiple levels as my most recent projects have been with Prince’s shows and the hologram of Tupac Shakur.
Your overall design philosophy?
Flowing, sexy, elegant and with a purpose and a meaning — Zen comes to mind when I’m drafting. I embrace forward thinking. I don’t like the “institution” and “establishment.” I like to be ground-breaking. When someone tells me “That’s how I’ve been doing this for the past 30 years,” I use it as fuel to do things different. Stagnancy is the enemy.
Attention to detail and obsession with perfection are also some attributes of my design way of thinking. Keep things sexy and with sizzle. Avoid clutter and unpolished things. Every element of the production should complement each other. Set pieces create the tangibles, video content transports us and lighting/special effects complement the environment and provides the jolt. I am peculiar with how I develop the video content and lighting — I shy away from flashing lights and ballyhoos just for the sake of flash and video content that has no connection with the show.
When it comes to show operation, I believe in centralized control. Lighting and video are always triggered from the lighting console. I also like to use interactivity and build custom solutions to realize unconventional ideas. For instance, on Prince, we developed a thermal system that tracks the artist body heat and we are able to triangulate his position real time. That information is then used to project video onto the stage that interacts with his moves. Also, audio responsive video is also a big part of my arsenal.
Years in the industry: About 17 years with focus on production design and artistic direction in the latter years.
Home Base: Los Angeles
Favorite ‘must have’ on the road: The iTHINK. (Kidding!) There is no box or gadget that could possibly replace my favorite tool: “thinking.”
Best advice: Do good work for the sake of doing good work; everything else will follow.
Describe the past year: I was production designer/director for Prince’s Welcome 2 Canada, Welcome 2 Australia Tour and Welcome 2 Chicago tours and a number of one-off dates. In between, I designed the show for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at Coachella where we used the infamous Tupac’s hologram.
Career highlights: It is hard to pick favorites. Some have been incredibly rewarding like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in Coachella, where I created a set based on LA’s river bank that gave us the technical framework for us to do the hologram of Tupac. Also there are some projects where constant learning and pushing the limits are an every minute fact — this is the case with Prince.
Industry heroes: Bruce Rodgers, Mark Fisher and Florian Weider inspire me immensely in the set world. In the lighting field, Marc Brickman and Willie Williams are probably my favorites.
Why do you like doing what you do? It allows me to be creative and help the artist fulfill their vision for the shows. I couldn’t do anything else.
What led you to this career? Believe it or not, film sound — but that’s a whole different interview.