Forget 3D movies or videogames – electronic musician and visual artist Flying Lotus’ whole fall tour is in 3D, with support and vision from Los Angeles-based visual arts and engineering specialists 3D Live. The company’s COO/founder and chief strategy officer spoke to Pollstar about the Flying Lotus tour, the company’s roots and current 3D technology. 

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Flying Lotus 3D - debuting his 3D show at the FYF Festival in Los Angeles in July

“If I had to use one word to describe it, I’d use the word ‘indescribable,’” 3D Live COO and co-founder Ryan Pardeiro told Pollstar of the tour, laughing. “That’s the thing about it. It’s such a unique technology that you have to be there in person to see it. It’s a holographic-type of 3D, and the type of imagery is so present, with the space around the artist, that it feels like it’s in the same space there with him.”

The tour kicks off with the Red Bull Music Academy Festival Oct. 14 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, featuring bassist/labelmate and frequent collaborator Thundercat. Other venues and markets on tap (no Thundercat) include the Tabernacle in Atlanta, Emo’s in Austin and The Truman in Kansas City before ending back on the West Coast at the Warfield in San Francisco Nov. 24.   Flying Lotus (real name Steven Ellison) demonstrated his 3D show at FYF Fest in July.

“It’s a little like virtual reality / augmented reality but without the cumbersome display system,” 3D Live chief strategy officer Christian Dieckmann added. “You’re just wearing free standard 3D glasses but you’re still getting that immersive experience similar to virtual reality.”

While 3D Live is big on the artistry and innovation involved, the company is also focused on making the technology accessible for clients, and even has technicians on the road to set up their part of the show.

“It’s our own patented design,” Pardeiro said. “And we’ve built a company that can manufacture panels, rent the panels, provide tour support and help with content creation. We want a whole turnkey solution so they don’t have to really feel frightened by a new technology and how to operate it.”

Pardeiro said 3D Live can provide as much or as little support needed for each project, and that the company has worked hard to be cost-competitive even when compared to regular 2D, standard LED production. 


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FYF - Fans don the 3D glasses for Flying Lotus' 3D set at FYF Fest.

“One of the advantages to our approach, which really applies quite well to the concert industry, is that we can work directly with creative teams of the artists or consult on the side,” Dieckmann added.

“We love getting hands on with the LD and building a light show that’s crafted to work with the 3D,” Pardeiro said, adding that lasers are planned for the Red Bull Academy Festival in Los Angeles. “And it works directly with any of your standard lighting setups.

“The main thing that is so cool about the tech that we do is that any other approach to try to create 3D visuals is going to be done with projection systems, and projection systems are, as you know, going to wash out immediately if you have too much stage lighting,” Pardeiro said.

The Flying Lotus 3D visuals were produced in collaboration with Strangeloop Studios, which has produced visual content for artists including , and  among others.

“With LED, the brightness level is so high in comparison that we can use a whole stage lighting setup without having that fear of dealing with shadows being cast by the projector or washing the screen out, or those kinds of things," Pardeiro added. 

“We can have full interaction with the performer as well, which is another advantage of using the LED over projection.  The performer can stand right in front of the screen and those 3D visuals can literally just immerse and surround them, which is just something you can’t do with projection,” Pardeiro added.

3D Live has worked with artists and entities such as Primus, Disney, Deadmau5 and Willie Nelson on previous projects and was hoping to roll out its tech with the ill-fated “This Is It” Michael Jackson residency of The O2 arena in London in 2007 before Jackson unexpectedly passed. The show was to include 3D LED elements mostly during Jackson’s costume changes.

A lot has changed with technology since then, including Pardeiro gaining hands-on experience working on the innovative James Cameron film “Avatar.”

“I do think what we’re doing with Flying Lotus is unique, and different from anything else we’ve ever done,” Pardeiro said. “It’s a next-level production because of how intricately involved we were with Steve’s creative team as well as Steve himself in creating something ultra-custom to his unique and experimental sound,” Pardeiro added. “He is so visually oriented, with the way he creates his music it’s almost like it’s designed as the soundtrack to a great visual show,” Pardeiro said, adding that he and his team have been FlyLo fans for years.

“And with the scale of how many venues we’re doing, this is really going to introduce this technology all across North America,” Dieckmann added.

Paradigm’s Sam Hunt, who books Flying Lotus, told Pollstar, “It’s hard to make a teaser video or explain how cool the 3D element is,” hence the interview with 3D Live. “I’m excited for people to go to the shows and experience it for themselves.”

Flying Lotus’s most recent LP, You’re Dead, dropped in 2014 to critical acclaim and with features from Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and other heavy-hitters.

FlyLo also made his film directing debut with the horror flick “Kuso,” featuring George Clinton, Hannibal Buress, Tim Heidecker and music from Aphex Twin among others. The film saw a wide streaming release and hit select theatres in New York and other major markets this summer.

Pollstar historically has lots of festival box office reports for Flying Lotus, such as the Brainfeeder festival at Oakland’s Fox Theater in California, which also featured George Clinton, Thundercat, The Gaslamp Killer and others, selling out 5,600 tickets over two dates Sept. 15-16 of last year. Brainfeeder is the name of the independent record label founded by Flying Lotus.

Pollstar headline reports include a sold-out January show of last year at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and multiple sellouts in 2014 including The Neptune in Seattle, Roseland Theater in Portland, The Marquee in Tempe, Ariz, First Avenue in Minneapolis, and others.