Alex Curson and I met in person for the first time at Electric Daisy Carnival 2016 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I had helped to curate the first ever vendor row at EDC, of which Alex played a part in shooting for Glow Threads at the event. We didn’t realize that either of us were going to be there. Having only loosely connected over the phone a few times in the past months, and out of 130,000 people, he was surprised to have been recognized.
Well Alex, if you knew that I kept you as a “see first” on my Facebook feed, you’d realize that recognizing your face after seeing it for 5x/day, for the past three months, was no difficult feat.
Alex is the Chief Creative Officer at EDMTV where he works on creating the visualizations (available here on their app) as well as producing top notch video content from his background shooting thousands of nightclubs and running a variety of very alluring publications, including my favorite BABEMETHOD. Lyle and I, The 2Courtiers, first came across his Ethos on the 45th floor of the Wynn Hotel for a CES afterparty.
I walked into the typical party favors and beautiful dresses but was set into the Virtual World by a helmet placed on me from behind. I hadn’t quite experienced VR before, so having to rotate my whole body to consume the sense the entire experience immediately excited me to go about our courting and to listen to the Tech and Music Wizards and Philosophers sipping gold champagne and laughing about money. Among talks of concert tours along the silk road, 600 million person marketing networks, Top 40 interviews, sponsored booze, bathroom nose parties and world creation, Keith Anderson was in attendance (see his world-work below; will likely interview him soon) explaining to me the functionality of EDMTV and what sort of content is going on in the music platform of the future.
Alex Curson was brought up.
We had initially attended that party to pitch the Festival Fashion Show (which may still happen) on EDMTV and had approached Alex in doing so. Nothing happened from those first few conversations, but I noticed what a fascinating life he led and decided to keep digging over a few months…..and holy shit is this guy interesting.
Maxim Hot 100 parties, PlayBoy Halloweens, Paradise Challenges, EDC Production work, VJing for the likes of Skrllex, Deadmau5 and Avicii, orchestrating light shows at clubs all over the world, serial entrepreneur, viral marketer, magazine publisher, videographer, underground rapper - don’t be surprised to see Alex topping the charts sometime soon. He’s been spitting game since he was 13 and is crafting an empire around his breakout success.
His father had owned a computer store in the 80s, so he always grew up with technology. Alex first got his inspiration for big audiences when he posted videos of himself playing QUAKE - reaching 4.5 million downloads without streaming and pigeons carrying USBs faster than Dial-Up, it’s quite impressive for a young boy.
Maybe not too hard to imagine Alex curating a 6,000 person dome show 20 years later.
On October 24th 2010, Alex Curson had a seizure. VJ SPAZZ (fitting his stage moniker) would never be the same, but divinely for the better. “We’re putting together the most consciously enlightening show the world has ever seen.” He says now 7 years later.
October 24th is an important date for you non-phemeprotypologithanatologists - October 24th is the day the man who most famously studied the repeating patterns of patterns displayed at every scale. Benoit Mandelbrot was the father of fractal visualizations and he died on the same night that Alex received his caesura from the Universe and downloaded his mission to spread the birth of the world from the eyes of the Aliens who created us - in the most entertaining and mind-fucking way possible. He didn’t actually know this until a few months later and traced it back to that exact date.
Here at Phestiv, we hope to inspire you to live a heroic and Phestiv lifestyle, and are always curious about the adoption of story (read: hero’s journey) elements in the creation process. Alex admits that at first, his works were very organic and technical, as opposed to vividly thematic. He was very good, he mentions how he worked with a master colorist to balance the Visual harmonies between LED Screen and Stage lights, but “It was the natural progression,” Alex remarks after his 500 some odd sets at the likes of Our:House New Zealand, EDC in Vegas and the Billboard Nightclub in Melbourne. “My imagery started connecting more to the human spirit and seeing the fractals all around us.”
When Alex dropped into his seizure, fractals floated all around him, not just in front on a 2nd screen behind a DJ, but as an entire world that one could code, paint, and walk inside of. What a dream that must have been…
A series of Divine Interventions like this had been slowly leading him to spiritual enlightenment “They’re hard for people who haven’t had them to really understand what that’s like,” but he says it inspired a huge shift in focus for his life. He wants to thank Keith Lostracco whom he created a music video with Pretty Lights using an algorithm (he tells me as he plays Fur Elise on the piano in a house museum with an Angel in every room):
Clynton Blacklaws: the guy who plucked Alex out of his shitty corporate job and threw a camera in his hand
Seeby Woodhouse: for being an overall friend, business partner and mentor
Vello Virkhaus → the head VJ for V Squared Labs, who produce the stage design and visuals for Insomniac Events and is Alex’s main inspiration for the next 15 years
At this point, for inspiration, we trade knowledge of amazing spaces across the world. From Lyle, MeowWolf - a fully immersive and interactive world built by George RR Martin based in New Mexico. From Alex, DreamHack - a Comicon esque tech convention with hot DJs and hotter girls (it’s Sweden). It’s dope to check out, if you’re interested.
We talk of the Groove Cruise and Paradise Challenge, of Maxim Hot 100 parties, and rooftop tables at Drai’s. We both acknowledge the ups and downs of financial security in the entertainment industry, but damn if life isn’t full of majesty in the pursuit of dreams. “There’s a world of opportunity. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries,” he says. Check out his favorite work below
In 2012, Alex recalls working on a behind the scenes documentary for EDC with V Squared Labs labs, when asked about the coolest project he’d ever worked on… working with the masters of your craft is more fulfilling than hanging out with the hottest models in the world, it seems, but what is life if you can’t have both? ;)
A few tips for producers:
1 Don’t cut costs on equipment and insurance
2 The best profit and ROI is changing lives.
3 It is valuable to your sponsors when you integrate their products and messages into the performance, as opposed to bombarding them with blatant advertisements.
5 Your team should be filled with people who are filled with passion and enthusiasm for what you’re doing.
6 You should be able to party with your professional party team.
7 When hiring Videographers, always ask for a demo.
8 Build relationships. Do awesome work for free for a long time, and eventually your name will get passed around and you’ll have more work than you know what to do with.
9 When you first get a big client, they’ll micro-manage you. Grit your teeth and do everything they say. In the case of Maxim, Alex had to re-do a 2 minute video nearly 25 times, but now has to make minor changes to hit the nail on the head.
A few tips for nightclub videographers:
1- Use good equipment and get good content. Garbage in, garbage out. This cannot be fixed in post.
2- Use good, up-tempo music. If it’s slow and boring, your video will be slow and boring.
3- Have a call to action. Like our page? Share this video? Always have an action. Ask all your friends to share!