Stage designer Luis James invited the audience to peek inside the subconscious of British rapper Slowthai by creating a home that represents his heart for the recent gig set design in London.
Slowthai, real name Tyron Kaymone Frampton, performed a show of 19 songs on a simple strip backset created by London-based designer Lewis James for the Slowthai show at Brixton’s O2 Academy.
He performed most of the gigs on the roof of a house pitched at a 17 degree angle. This is a very steep and difficult angle to carry out.
A series of videos played in the background with dazzling red and white lights and fireworks, such as fire cannons and smoke machines, created the effect of eddy behind the scenes.
“We wanted to create a show that really felt like a stage with a nightmare that really blunted the idea that’hell is at home’,” James told Desine.
“We used the house as a subconscious house. There are all thoughts that are trapped in our heads, feeling anxious and angry, and feeling extreme happiness.”
The set was designed to reflect Northampton’s hedonistic self-titled second album, Tyrone, exploring mental health, classes, relationships, and party themes.
The designer wanted to understand the stage as a “constrained environment” while at the same time capturing the bohemian excitement of climbing the rooftop.
“I felt like there were more contrasting moments by switching between lighting and video altogether. Hopefully there seemed to be different chapters in the show,” James explained.
“The idea is that it’s a kind of protected environment he created for himself, but it can also be considered a constrained environment,” he added.
James, who previously designed a show for musicians, including Post Malone, began working with Slowthai on the show three months ago.
To create the set, he worked with curtain rental company Blackout to create a secluded box around the stage. Its sides and entrance are covered with a black cloth to prevent light from passing through.
The designer then created a roof with a chimney behind the stage.
“We covered the entire deck with a cloth, which had to be perfect in millimeters with perfectly tight seams so that there was no lead of light,” James said. “It was a very delicate design.”
“The side is this white block cloth, which shines very nicely from the other side and has been shining from behind.”
The accompanying video played behind the rapper when he played was shot like a music video in Northampton’s studio. This movie depicts the scene of an ultrasound scan. I agree with the birth of the singer’s son. Slowthai is angry with his head hitting a glass screen, alongside a more subdued image of floating clouds.
James wanted the visuals to remind the audience that the stage would act as a metaphor for Slowthai’s mind.
“What he created for himself was the space in Tyrone’s mind, and the visuals were hidden behind the door, so it looks like Tyrone’s larger self is looking at it,” he said. I added.
Slowthai has been touring the 13-day Hellis Home show in cities in the UK and Ireland since March this year. At the final show, the artist performed in Brixton on Thursday.
Other creative set designs for musicians include a set for a psychodrama tour of London-based Tawbox studio British rapper Dave. This was greatly influenced by how the audience illuminated the stage and recorded the gig on their mobile phones.
In Glastonbury, Stormzy performed on a Tawbox set that celebrated the roots of rapper South London with visuals inspired by Croydon’s Brutalist architecture.
Unless otherwise stated, the photos are by George Muncie.