On Monday I (ES) put on my most alternative outfit and makeup and met my friend to go to the gig of one of our favourite bands, IAMX. The musical project, designed by its creative mastermind, Chris Corner, originated in Britain, but have been based everywhere around the world, from LA to Berlin. And there is a reason why I chose the verb “to design” for describing the band: the IAMX concept is single-mindedly the vision of Chris, encompassing sound, music, visuals, film, philosophy, social aspects and psychology.
So you might think, what does a rock/electro gig have to do with architecture? Well, the show I attended confirmed why I, as a freelance architectural designer, have so much to learn from someone like Chris: he is a musician who has shunned major production companies and funding in order to keep his aesthetic vision completely uncompromised. His music might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to admire the way he creates the image of the band by designing the artwork, shooting and editing the music videos and promotional clips for the songs and planning the costume and set design for the live performances.
This leads me to the show on Monday, part of the Metanoia tour, with its industrial stage design and atmospheric lighting. My passion for theatrics and drama was satisfied by the visually expressed symbolism that is found in the songs. The small stage – shared by Chris, Janine and Sammi at synthesisers and Jon at drums – was designed with 4 large screens on which spirals, sinister flowers, human eyes and spirals emerged. These experiments with visual art complemented the lyrics, enhancing the psychological experience with themes of voyeurism, rebirth or vertigo.
After the show ended, we had a chance to speak to Jon Siren, the drummer of the band. The casual chat was so heartening and pleasant, after what I imagine to be a very exhausting concert and trip to Bucharest. Jon spoke about his involvement in the band and the professionalism of all the collaborators, and confirmed that Chris envisioned the stage art and props, speaking highly of his creative talent and the strong visual content of the music.
Sweaty, tired, full of black paint from the encore smudging session in the first row and with autographs in hand, I walked home inspired to produce art and determined to pursue my creative goals.