Cirque du Soleil has staged its acrobatic spectacles to the music of the Beatles, Elvis and other rock legends. Now the famed performance troupe is entering the electronic dance music world with LIGHT, a new club that will open at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas on April 26th.
As is typical with the Vegas scene, the club has signed residency deals with several big-name DJs, the biggest of whom is Skrillex. The dubstep star tells Rolling Stone that he is hoping to create a unique environment in the new dance spot (which has yet to announce start dates for each artist residency).
"The LIGHT Skrillex show is gonna be only in Vegas," he says. "I want it be distinct to the LIGHT club because the configuration is so customizable, it's fucking crazy. That's the thing about the club, too: they can do anything, so it's how you maximize the dynamic of a great show with all their fucking bells and whistles and all of their budgets and resources to do anything."
Because of the flexibility of the space and the resident DJs' partnerships with Cirque and Moment Factory, the production company behind the venue, each residency is intended to integrate different visuals and project separate atmospheres. Skrillex is cautious about incorporating Cirque's famed contortionists. "It's not about having acrobats for my set," he says. "For me, personally, the objective is to have something based around your music and something you want to dance to, not something you want to stare at the whole time. But how do you make the environment completely immersive? I think that's the goal for my show, at least."
"The cool thing is, Zedd's show is gonna be different than mine; Alesso's show is gonna be different than Baauer's," Skrillex adds. "I'm getting in with these guys on a personal level; we're designing something that fits the club – and that's what's cool about LIGHT, too. Every show is gonna feel like a whole different experience."
Zedd was also attracted by the offer to design his own show. "I've worked with Amy Thompson, who is part of the LIGHT team, before," the EDM up-and-comer tells Rolling Stone. "I met with Amy and we went through the whole concept: how we could design the whole production, the whole stage." While his show is still in the planning stages, as all of the performances are, he has great ambitions for it. "I don't think it's going to be like a normal electronic music dance show. Those guys have experience with shows that are far away from a normal EDM show."
Zedd references Lady Gaga's current stage setup as an inspiration for his LIGHT show – a comparison that hits close to home, as he is working with her on her upcoming album, Artpop. "Gaga's a really great example. We've seen all sorts of production in dance music, but when I personally watched her production for the first time, I was reminded of how much there is we did not think of yet, and one big part of it is maybe the human touch," he says. "We can have the brightest lights and everything we want to have, but what I liked about Gaga's show was [that] there's a lot of humanity; there are a lot of dancers and it's almost like a theater play with music. I could see parts of that in the whole LIGHT concept."
After the vastness of Swedish House Mafia's headlining productions, member and solo artist Sebastian Ingrosso is looking forward to returning to a club vibe at LIGHT. "Production on dance shows has been escalating for a long time now. Swedish House Mafia shows have been something we build for months before a tour," he says. "But this is putting the production layers back where this all began: the club dance floor. This isn't a huge arena, this is a club, and the vibe in a club is very different and special. This isn't escalating up, this is it taking it back to the dance floor and we'll all see where it takes us and enjoy it."
Skrillex also appreciates the distinct club vibe and is anxious to see how the shows unfold. "We're just as curious; this is exciting and we're meeting with the Moment Factory already and vibing out what the music could look like," he says. "The great thing is all three – Cirque, Moment Factory and Skrillex –[are] three different things that when we get our heads together and come up with the perfect plan, we'll have something great."