CueStack Pushes Boundaries With ChamSys

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – Lighting designers feel the music of their clients when they work a show, expressing the passion that drives every song by working their consoles and reflecting each guitar riff, melody and drumbeat in light. During the course of his 16-year career, Austrian LD Martin Kames and his crew at Martinkames.com have done this for a number of prominent musicians, including Hatebreed, Kreator, Machine Head, Parkway Drive, Heaven Shall Burn and David Hasselhoff.

In 2017, Kames took his passion for blending music and light a step further, when he teamed up with guitarist Bernth Brodträger to form CueStack, a band that intrepidly bridges the gap between sight and sound. With Brodträger on the guitar, Kames on synths and both sharing vocals, CueStack serves up a techno-driven blend of metal and electronic music that’s tightly woven around light and video. 

“We fuse visuals with the music to challenge conventional boundaries,” said Kames. Helping CueStack in this endeavor are two ChamSys MQ100 Pro consoles with one extra Wing and one Mini Wing. 

“I have been using ChamSys since 2005, when I encountered the company’s consoles during a tour in England,” said Kames. “Frankly, I would not use anything else, so ChamSys was an obvious choice for CueStack. Even our very name CueStack comes from the ChamSys function. We are dedicated to making lighting and video one with the music. Even the name of our band itself shows our commitment to using technology to achieve this fusion.” 

Recording from Gasometer, a 3,500-seat venue in Vienna, CueStack released three music videos to date, the most recent of which, “Beyond The Veil,” came out in November. “This is our favorite song,” said Kames. “It is a dystopian song about the new digital age, a network of addiction that is drawing us deeper into a fake world every day, a world in which we spend more time on our phones than we do with our friends and families? The video supporting this song is our most lighting-themed video. I am quite proud finally to be able to design lights and effects 100 percent way I want to for my own music.” 

CueStack is utilizing 411 lighting fixtures and 44 atmospherics in the 16-universe show for its video series.  A number of features in the ChamSys consoles are making it easier for Kames and his lighting technician, Niklas Fuchs, to run this rig.

“We love the ‘Wait Times’ and Follow On Cue features in the ChamSys Cue List,” said Fuchs.  “We wanted each take to be timed absolutely identical, without any chance of me missing a cue during the take. So, we programmed one Cue List for every song that was auto-stepped by the console. Every cue had its own particular Wait Time. The Quick Editing Cues in the Cue List are also very important when we have some major changes and additions to specific cues that have to be done once I got the actual rig -- the whole thing was preprogrammed using WYSIWYG. Using this function was super useful for that particular task.”

The Pixel-Mapper feature in the ChamSys console is also very useful for CueStack.  “We really love the Pixel-Mapper, and we use it in a lot of situations,” said Kames. “The last time I used it was for the David Hasselhoff Tour 2018.”

When all is said and done, however, Kames especially appreciates the flexibility his ChamSys console affords him. “Designers flourish when allowed the most flexibility and freedom,” he explains. Anyone who’s seen (and heard) CueStack would readily agree with that statement.

Watch the 'Beyond the Veil' video here