Backstage with Crew Nation: Silent House Productions

Curtain drops, video walls, runways, dazzling lights, dancers—are just some of the larger than life elements that make up a high production tour. Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Tyler the Creator, Selena Gomez—just a few of the names synonymous with high production. How do the big ideas manifest into real life, live music memories? Meet the designers, producers, directors and choreographers who make up Silent House Productions, a full-service production company that redefines the visual experience. In this episode of Backstage with Crew Nation, we hear from the creative minds who make tour dreams a reality. Watch:
Backstage with Crew Nation: Silent House Episode 1
Alex Reardon, Design Partner and Creative Producer: In live music it's not so much about a story, it's more about emotional responses. Video creates scenery and lighting creates emotion. If you're in a pitch dark room and you play video content of a candle, you're just looking at a candle. If you're in the same pitch dark room and you light one candle, you have a mood. So it's the quality of light to create emotion that is what makes lighting so important.
Baz Halpin: My name is Baz Halpin and I am the President and CEO of Silent House. It's a design production company. I have a group of people that really enjoy what they do, love working hard, everybody's got a creative brain that you can work with, rely on, have an unspoken language of understanding and inspiration as well. It's what makes the whole thing tick.
Melissa Garcia, Creative Director & Choreographer: As a creative director, we are working closely with the artists, making sure that their vision comes to life.
Tamlyn Wright, Design Partner and Creative Producer: We create environments for our artists to exist within that create a poetic dialogue between their music and the audience.
Melissa: We are working in tandem with the artist to design costumes, dancers' costumes, the visuals that you see on the content screens, props, anywhere to the tedious element of the microphone color that they're wearing, fingernail polish, what is the band wearing? How many and, where are they placed? So I like to call us the captains of the ship next to the artists.
Baz: So I set up Silent House with the idea of a center, a hub, of people who were really skilled at specific areas within this, but also shared knowledge that we would all be able to learn from each other. What had worked, what hadn't worked, what difficulty we had in trying to put touring systems together. But it grew into this co-op of shared resources and ideas and knowledge and family, but it's all about collaboration. You know, that's kind of what we do, there's no egos. Cory and Alex did J.Lo together. I know that Melissa and Cory did Marshmello together. Melissa and I do Taylor Swift together, and so there's lots of, sort of interconnectivity.
Tamlyn: For Selena Gomez. I was the production designer and Baz was lighting designer as well as creative producer and director across that. And then Melissa Garcia, who was creative director and choreographer as well.
Melissa: I will talk about Gwen, just because that was a full circle situation for me in my career. I started off with No Doubt as a dancer, performing in the Superbowl with them. Then as I started to work with Baz and Silent House, the first client that I had was No Doubt. So then I got to work with them on the production side. So even with her, she was like, "Wow, this is so crazy. I can't believe you started off as a dancer, and now you're on this side of the fence with me,” and that was awesome.
Cory FitzGerald, Senior Design Partner and Creative Producer: I've worked with J.Lo and Nappytabs and her team for a long time, since the residency in Vegas a few years ago and several other performances, Superbowl. Most recently, there was a literal video screen lift birthday cake that lifted from the stage three tiers and they had dancers could be on it and move around, and then the outside edges were all video.
Alex: We'd been bouncing some ideas back and forth, and I got a call from Tyler. He gave me the kind of the kernel of it all and some elements he wanted, he doesn't actually need any production. He is the thing that everyone's watching.  You could put him on an empty stage with the house lights, give him a microphone, and it would be a stellar performance. And I was watching him on stage as Igor, this character that he created for this album cycle, he wears this white wig. And I remember just watching him dancing and the way the hair went around, and I thought, "Oh, okay, we'll design a stage set made of hair and project on it.” I mean, that was all it took.
Baz: It was great with Khalid. I think it all started, literally, I was in Alex's office, I came up with this idea of a bi-parting curtain that we could have Khalid inside.
Alex: Some credit to Tamlyn as well, because we had this thought of the concept and Tamlyn walked past and we said, "Well, what do you know about the string we could use for a curtain?"
Tamlyn: It was something that I had just used as a projection surface on Radio Disney Music Awards. What can we have that we'll deploy quickly, look great, can be projectable?
Alex: It was an immersive experience for Khalid, but he could also exit the box because the box was just string. And having his interaction with that was just so simple.
Tamlyn: They scaled it up and it just turned out fantastic.
Alex: Which is another reason that we’re so lucky to have everyone at Silent House. And there are the, what we might call the "Oo Moment”. There's an audible reaction to a visual experience. They're so rewarding when an idea becomes reality, becomes reaction. It's a wonderful part of the process.
Baz: It's great to know that we play a role in the fan's lives, but they probably play a greater role in ours.
Cory: Looking around during the middle of the show and you see 15 people to 50,000 people all really excited and enjoying the thing that you contributed in some way, whether you're the cable runner or the camera guy or the lighting designer or show designer, you've helped build this event and people are enjoying it. And that's kind of a really unique reward that most people don't get to experience. And I look forward to going and getting to share that with the public.
Tamlyn: And that through line of the creative development of the tour, it's really like a lovely creative process       to come up with like the visual vocabulary of what that is for an album of work. And I think that's for me, one of the wonderful parts of working in the music industry.

Stay tuned for episode two of Backstage with Crew Nation: Silent House

Karma Police - Please Share: