Legendary industrial rock pioneers Nine Inch Nails (NIN), led by the charismatic Trent
Reznor, is back on the touring circuit, with a series of summer and fall festival dates.
Their long serving lighting designer, Paul “Arlo’ Guthrie, has extended his association
with German LED moving head pioneers GLP, and their unique solutions — in
particular, the new JDC1 LED hybrid strobe — dominate a full production inventory,
supplied by Curry Grant at PRG.
In total, the LD has included 24 of these fixtures, which contain 216 white LEDs and
1320 RGB LEDs. These are supported by 15 of the versatile X4 Bar 20 battens and
four X4 S compact moving heads used as a dynamic floor package.
Guthrie has been associated with the band since 2013, joining them for their 2014
European dates, which was based on an original design concept by LeRoy Bennett.
Reznor, along with band colleague, songwriter and producer Atticus Ross, has major
design input. “They are completely involved,’ confirms the LD. “We started talking in
February about these shows and considered a lot of production elements. We went
down a couple of roads investigating different technologies and in the end went with
our original idea of the “anti production’.’
What he meant by this was to conceive a “grungy’ set — “the opposite of what
everyone else was doing … par cans, heat, smoke, dirt, no lights moving and no
And of course, strobes play an integral part in this static presentation. Arlo was
introduced to the JDC1 by GLP’s US president Mark Ravenhill while he was in LA
considering options. “I wanted something that could move, change colour, strobe, be
bright and be low profile. I thought [the JDC1] would fit in perfectly — and so Curry
bought them for us.’
Designed in three sections, the JDC1 contains format-filling LED panels both above
and below the tube itself, while the vast number of RGB and white pixels interplay to
produce stunning effects. All three light sources can be controlled either as
independent sections or as one complete unit, while continuous operation as a blinder
or wash light is possible without any reduction of output. Furthermore, the RGB face
can be divided into 12 separate “pixel’ sections, as can the bright white tube, enabling
the entire array to be fully pixel-mapped.
Although the NIN show is primarily using white blinders, the pixels come into their
own in several songs. “We use the individual pixels in the strobe strip to create a cool
shadow effect in one song in particular,’ Arlo reports.
Meanwhile, the X4 Bar 20s are set in a line along the upstage edge. Explaining the
rationale, Arlo Guthrie states, “This gives us a sheet of light behind the band. As for
the X4S [LED heads], these were originally mounted on camera dollies, but we
repurposed them as low-profile floor lights.
“We managed to get some unique effects out of these GLP lights that I haven’t seen
from other fixtures.’
The LD himself programmed the show on a grandMA2. “The show itself is meant to
look like it’s busked, and I operate it all manually. We have no lights moving
whatsoever during the entire set.’
And he is completely unequivocal when it comes to evaluating the JDC1. “They are a
killer effect,’ he effuses. And he adds that with their compact form factor they are
easy to accommodate discreetly within the stage set.
“In fact, all the GLP fixtures seem to combine unique feature sets in very well
engineered and built packages,’ Arlo Guthrie concludes. “It’s fun to see what everyone
does with them.’