PRETTY LIGHTS AT RED ROCKS
Derek Vincent Smith, aka Pretty Lights, walks out to his DJ equipment atop a riser to a huge roar from the sold-out crowd at Red Rocks in early August. He has already played two sets at this ﬁrst of two sold-out shows, one as solo DJ and one with his backing group, the Analog Future Band, which includes drummer Adam Deitch, keyboardist Bri-an Coogan, keyboardist Borahm Lee, trombonist Scott Flynn, trumpeter Eric Bloom, guitarist Eric Krasno, and turntablist Chris Karns.For these two shows at Red Rocks, Smith, a Colorado native who has continuously pushed the boundaries of electronic dance music, has something special planned: a third set with both his band and a string section from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The addition of the orchestra changed things a bit for front-of-house engineer/production manager Phil Salvaggio, though he says that the staging at Red Rocks was relative-ly painless. “Maybe we were more on top of it this time,” he notes. “Last year was the band’s ﬁrst time playing, and they went into the shows maybe not having a full understanding of what a Pretty Lights show was, and now everybody knows. They’ve had a year under their belt, the rehearsals are a lot smoother, and they go into it knowing what they need to get done. ”Salvaggio met Smith years ago while the two were playing in diﬀerent bands in the Fort Col-lins area, not far from his hometown of Den-ver; he started working with the DJ in 2008. For these shows, because of the strings, he switched from his normal DiGiCo SD8 board to an SD7. “You can do whatever you want with it; it’s awesome,” he says of the desk. “You can lay it out however you want, group it however you want, do all kinds of overlays and cool stuﬀ. It’s super-user-friendly once you ﬁgure it out, and you can customize it to your own settings.” Salvaggio mixes almost entirely with onboard eﬀects, though he does use one piece of outboard gear: a Tube-Tech SMC 2B multiband compressor, which he puts on the overall DJ producer tracks to warm them up.
(Article in MIX Magazine November 2014 )