When you start conceptualizing a set, do you always start the same way? If so, what is your realization process like?
My design process always starts with listening to the music over and over and over again until it is in my head to the point where following songs becomes an almost subconscious task. That way I can concentrate on the dynamics, the feel and the emotion of the music and the lyrics. At the same time I always have a meeting with the artists themselves to discuss how they want to be perceived and to determine if there is any particular aesthetic that they are interested in. I see my primary role as creating an environment for the band's live performance and that is determined by a combination of physical objects (lights, trusses, video screens, risers, complex sets, etc) and soft components such as video content, lighting programming, etc. To envisage that... I keep listening to the music and literally imagine the combination of elements necessary to create that onstage world. I then move on to drawing sketches and finally building models using a 3D design package on my computer. By the time I send out drawings to the band/management for approval the design is usually fairly complete in my head in terms of physical structure. Obviously the system then has to be programmed, content has to be created and the environment brought to life.