IF you are missing being at concerts and music events, I feel you. I attended my last concert almost 2 years ago and I am absolutely missing that feeling of freedom and excitement you only have when at concerts. Shows, concerts and music events are essential once in a while, especially in such a tough period. However, the total enthusiasm you develop before, during and after a concert is given by the amazing service that the performer, his/her equipe and the managers provide. However, we still miss a bit.
Can you think of an element that completely makes a concert stand out? Have you ever think how much crucial lights are in a concert? Have you ever consider the idea that without lights effects a show may not be the same? Well, I did not reflect on the relevance of lights until I met an insanely talented lighting designer and programmer who is absolutely a master in the field.
Now, you may wonder “Wait, what? What is a lighting designer? What does he/ she do?”
Well, reading this post will open up opportunities for you to finally understand who is a lightening designer and acknowledge why lights effects can make you enthusiastic and in a total good mood after your favourite singer concert.
Therefore, who better than Jacopo Ricci, THE lighting programmer and designer, can guide us through the unknown world of concert lights?
Well, it is such an honour interviewing Jacopo, an incredible, young guy who made of his passion a profession. Thanks to his talent and strong commitment, he had the opportunity to travel all around the world, collaborating with major actors of the both the American and European scene.
IF I had to tell few names, I believe that A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Post Malone, Skrillex would be worth mentioning. Indeed, Jacopo also worked for major European singers and DJs such as Fedez, Gemitaiz, Madman, Alesso, Martin Garrix and counting…
BUT, Let’s now jump into the actual interview and let’s directly ask to him how he got there, how he made it. IF you are interested, keep reading and make Jacopo drive you through this totally new world!
How can you become a lighting designer? How did you develop this passion?
My journey has been quite weird and perhaps, unusual. I started by organizing events in a club in Rome (my hometown). Chance would have it that one of the partners of this club worked in TV: after meeting, this guy proposed me to work with him. It is then that I became more and more passionate about light programming and design.
In 2017, I received a CV request from an English company that produces the shows at Ushuaia and Hi night clubs in Ibiza: therefore, from May to October of the same year, I did a season in Ibiza. I was able to meet many artists and managers who then contacted me for additional works.
Since you are an expert in the field, can you explain what a lighting designer is?
The lighting designer is one of those figures who works behind the scenes to build a show. Specifically, he deals with the “design of the lights”, then he makes the project to define the position of each lighting fixture and its related function during the show.
In addition, the lighting designer chooses the looks for each song or part of the show. Sometimes, as in my case, this work can also be affected by a more “directorial” attitude, beginning to see and design the show in its entirety. From lights to videos, costumes, special effects, automations, we have to coordinate all these figures plus the technologies that we have at our disposal for a show.
What are the main skills needed for this job?
There are no particular skills. I would say first of all you should have a very strong passion, without which you could not go anywhere.
You need to be able to stand at unthinkable times and with unparalleled rhythms and then, of course you need to develop a certain artistic taste, which can pass through different streets. As of me, I have always been a music and audiovisual products supporter and therefore, I already had a sort of a “trained” eye, being conscious of what I liked and didn’t like.
You worked also in international concepts such as the Late show by James Corden, including concerts of the major players of the American scene such as Travis Scott and A$ap Rocky. Indeed, you worked also for Fedez, Martin Garrix and Gemitaiz in Italy. Which was your biggest achievement?
I think the task that has given me the most satisfaction has been designing the tour for Fedez. As far as the creative direction of the whole show was concerned, Federico left everything in our hands and together with my colleague Lorenzo, we were able to build an international level show in less than three weeks (which should not be taken for granted). Moreover, it was my very first concert as lighting designer in my hometown, Rome.
You mainly work in the entertainment/events world, how much this global pandemic is affecting your job?
This year was definitely a dark year for all workers in the entertainment industry. Some of my colleagues had to completely change job or adapt consequently. I personally did not go through an happy moment and it wasn’t easy to make it until the present day, maintaining a semi mental integrity.
On the bright side, I should be honest saying that (at the time) after two years of non-stop tours around the world, it was nice to rest a little. However, after understanding the long-term effects of this situation, I realized that it would turn to be more serious than expected. Just think that there are people who have not been working for 8 months. And I am not kidding when I say zero work as any form of concert has been put in hold since February. It will still be difficult for a while but I’m sure the recovery will be beautiful. People will certainly need some light-heartedness after this hard time.
How do you see the future: with worry and fear or with creativity and commitment aimed at generating something new that can change the entertainment world?
I’m always on the edge. I think that having a bit of fear can also be healthy. However, it is important not letting these feelings prevail over the rest. I certainly have a lot of desire to do: I was no longer used to resting and somehow I need to vent this energy!
Who are your inspirations?
I do not have a precise source of inspiration. Sometimes ideas just come to my mind and it’s a bit difficult to trace where they come from.
Architecture is certainly a great inspiration because it works with volumes, shapes and geometries, which are all things that can be found on a stage of a show.
I like contemporary art and music too: the latter is what often triggers my emotions and make me generate certain ideas. For many people the drawing comes before the music, in my case it is the opposite. I imagine a lighting design that works in line with the song I am listening.
In addition, I learned to manage shows in their entirety by intuition. I never had any notions of directing but I always knew what I like and what I don’t, always perceiving the “rhythm” of things. This intuitive approach makes the process coming out naturally.
We saw you recently created a photo book, can you better explain?
The idea of the photo book was born during lockdown. Having a lot of time at my disposal led me to make a collection of all my works. This photo book was gifted to my clients BUT was also aimed at attracting new clients.
It is a kind of “heavier and bigger business card”. My dad has been a printer for over thirty years and that is why I have always believed in the strength and elegance of printed papers. Thanks to the result, I must say that the new clients were pleasantly surprised by the way I firstly introduced myself. Indeed, a guy asked me if he could buy the book and from there, I had the idea to integrate it with photos taken by me throughout the two years of tours, making the whole project more complete and interesting. Right now, the photo book is currently available in pre-order as a very limited edition photo book.
IF you are willing to purchase Jacopo’s work, here you are:
IF you get interested about Jacopo and want to discover more about his career, I will leave you some contacts to reach him out:
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