The whole thing started in the late 1980s as a school project in my art class where we were allowed to do whatever we want and so I started smashing up slide and overhead projectors in search of creating a sort of 1960s style light show. I think I was around 18 or 19 at that time.
Influences were some 60's movies that featured bands playing with Light Shows, Lava Lamps (all sorts of decorative kinetic light gear had a strong influence on my as a child in the 1970s) and record covers.
I think the sleeve of In A Gadda Da Vida had a kind of mystical effect on me since this one was most impressive and one of the earliest psychedelic records I owned as a teenager.
My English teacher and one of my Art teachers who were hippies in the 1960s were the first to tell me about boiling liquids in slide projectors what almost sounded like fairy tales to me but I later found out that they were absolutely right.
Basically our Light Show was meant to go with our band Vibravoid but I made Light Shows for so many bands, by far too many to mention here – but I am proud to say I made lights for the Pretty Things!
I think Fresh Light and Shine A Light we collaborated with for sure, I guess many more but I cannot remember as I always tried to set up a trademark light show different to other ones.
When we started it was out of the question as Light Shows were completely uncommon at rock concerts and we were almost unique.
Later I always tried to avoid having other people doing lights for us because I wanted our own individual lights as a part of our individual show.
Maybe for the last 10 years when Light Shows and psychedelic rock became more popular I set up my own gear among other people´s Light Show stuff and threatened them to do not dare to even touch or turn on their stuff (as their Light Shows really sucked and they had no clue how to make psychedelic lights) – I always tried to best avoid digital projections which I really dislike a lot.
Our name started as “Eye Projection” around 1988, which transformed into the “Lightshow Society Düsseldorf” because I wanted to have Düsseldorf in the name and the abbreviation of LSD, so we could say that we always are under the influence of L.S.D. when we play live.
Of course that was in the days long before the internet and information on the 1960s were pretty rare, so how could I know that there were many others using “LSD” as a name long before us?
We must have been running for like 33 years now, the Light Show came before the band, I started the Vibravoid to have a band to make Light Show to.
There have been some personnel changes as I always put friends on the projectors but I stayed as a core member and many people being forced to do it as well.
As we travel a lot with the band and were always limited in space I started to develop a fully sound animated light show quite early as I surely was not able to operate the lights while playing – a reason why I stopped using overhead projectors early.
Tales from the Road:
I think the most shocking experience was after a show, when one of my friends was (what I thought) covered in blood – so I immediately had a bad conscience as I let him squeeze little plastic bags filled with liquids between sharp edged pieces of broken glass.
Fortunately it was just a broken oil wheel that covered the guy with red dye and not blood – anyway the wheel was broken what actually sucked as well because it was one of the old black label wheels which are much better than the newer ones.
As I said I used everything I could get a hold off, I had absolutely no idea how to create Light Shows – the first better gear were modified slide projectors where I could attach rotating (oil) wheels or prisms (I had my father doing the mechanical parts from old grill motors and stuff.
I remember the first one also had a dimmer so I could control the speed of the rotation what I thought was pretty sophisticated) and overhead projectors from school.
I had no clue how to make an oil wheel, so I used standard 3mm glass plates (and it was hell to attach them with a space between and get them sealed), coloured vegetable oil and water, the wheel was really big, I think like 12 inch and I have to say the effect was really, really good – unfortunately the projector broke when I got home drunk and one of the straps of the bag I used to carry it around broke. A very sad night.
I had good luck as around the corner of my place was a professional company (named Impuls) selling equipment for discos and venues. So I walked in with the 2nd Dukes Of Stratosphear album, opened the gatefold sleeve and said:
"Hello, I want to buy something like this".
After being shocked by the prices I was at least introduced to Optikinetics and Pluto gear and so could start getting deeper into the technical side of the gear. I remember walking out the shop with some catalogues in my hands.
For non-standard items I must have used everything that could create any sort of an effect, like cassette covers placed in front the projector´s lens to create mirror effects, toy prisms – I think a lot of toys in general.
If I can include the projectors I first used in school, I proudly destroyed about 20 slide projectors and a couple of overhead projectors. My first “professional” projector (if I can say so) consisted of a modified slide projector with a self made oil wheel.
I am not really sure how many projectors we ended up with but I think it must be an array of maybe 50 or 60 projectors these days ranging from 150W halogen to 300W Metal Halide bulbs.
Christian - April 2017 (Updated January 2021)