For my professional practice, I interviewed my good friend Ian Alvarez, who is the touring Video DJ and Visual Content Creator for Seven Lions (International Electronic Recording Artist/DJ). Currently, he is on a 64 stop tour across 23 countries, so he has been on a very opposite schedule than most of us here in the U.S.
Basically, his job is to projection map the stages before the show starts, and then he DJ’s video content live during the performance. Although it seems pretty simple, his job is actually quite complex and takes a lot of skill within a wide variety of programs and user interfaces. He designs all of his own video in Cinema 4D and Resolume, while also using After Effects and Premiere Pro to put the clips together and organize them, because each clip is specific to an individual song to help tell the story of each song during the performance. His creative process consists of a lot of planning and budgeting with both Seven Lions and his tour management.
The goal with the current tour was to tell a story during the whole performance using fantasy art themed content, but the hard part was taking the cinematic approach. Ian didn’t want to do the usual “trippy” visuals that every other artist in the festival circuit does, but rather he wants to truly depict a story that progresses as the set progresses.
Ian’s favorite part of his job is seeing peoples reactions during the show, and hearing feedback from the show attendees afterwords. As someone who has attended hundreds of music festivals and events, Ian believes that he has a very solid understanding of what types of content will engage and connect with people, and make it a memorable experience.
I asked Ian what skills and qualities he believes a good designer and content creator must have when taking that leap into the professional media world. His response to me was “Be proficient within a wide variety of software. It’s also good to be consuming other art as much as possible, it helps keep brain fresh and constantly keeps you working toward bettering yourself and growing as a visual artist.”
Most importantly, I asked Ian what his favorite part of his job is, and he said “During the one or two hour set, nothing else matters. It’s just me and the massive production stage to have fun with and express myself to thousands. None of my problems matter, nothing else matters except right here and right now.”
This is exactly the type of response I would expect from someone who gets to do what they are truly passionate about. Throughout the interview, he kept telling me his job hardly ever feels like a job. He loves it, every aspect of it. From the Creative Planning process, all the way to the live performance, He truly loves what he does, and his passionate attitude has a lot to do with why he has made it to the top of the live video DJ and content creator totem pole. His dream is to someday be a CGI creator for massive budget hollywood style films.
All in all it was a great interview, and was awesome to hear from a longtime friend who got his start right here in Eugene, mapping visuals at the cuthbert theatre for our very first Life In Color set!