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Q. How and why has Beyond the Darkside gone so far in creating such a show with such attention to detail which must have cost so much time and money?

A. It all began when front man Kevin Hunt was young … about 13 years old. Says Kevin - "I frequently used to go to a friends house to play as you do at that age, and it was there through constant repetition of his friend playing his favorite albums that I was first introduced to the album "Wish You Were Here".

The album Wish You Were Here grew on me really quickly as I have always been more into the musical side of things rather than just lyrics, and Pink Floyd really do place a lot of emphasis on the music between its verses and choruses. It wasn't long before I purchased the album myself with my pocket monies and earnings from doing a milk round. I played the album constantly at home and found my father too really enjoyed the music, it was something he related to himself as he had heard the music many times in programs he watched from the news to documentaries but never knew who actually played the music. Before long I started to buy all the other albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, Meddle and later as they were released Animals, The Wall up to the Division Bell - I bought them all. I actually remember wearing out Dark Side of the Moon and had to replace it a few times as it was constantly played over and over again. Even when I went to sleep I would place the album on my record player and lift the record select arm so it would play all night.

I went to see the band play whenever I had the chance, and when they played at Earl's Court and did the original The Wall concert I was totally sold - and I realized that was the way I wanted to play shows as a musician. Their show was not like any other concert I had ever experienced as it was so theatrical, and the Quadraphonic sound and the visual production was mind-blowing for its time. Since that concert I have always strived to create some sort of show around what ever act I was in, buying production and building props and putting on the best production I possibly could. I never actually dreamed then that I would be doing an actual Pink Floyd show myself later in life, particularly with the size production we now do, but I guess that is what becomes of having such a passion for Pink Floyd music, and looking at the creative geniuses they were with their foresight in using the most innovative technology available, and for staging such phenomenal stage shows like they always have.

After many years myself playing around Europe in original acts, supporting many big acts and even gaining experience playing bass guitar for such people as Robert Plant (formerly of Led Zeppelin) I finally ended up marrying an Australian girl and moved to this wonderful country. We even used Pink Floyd music at our wedding - playing the album Wish You Were Here while we said our vows.

When I came here I found myself at a bit of a loss at first as the music culture here in Brisbane was so different to what I was used to - there was not much choice back in the early eighties in Brisbane for original acts and I found myself playing covers. It was not really what I liked doing at all, playing such a diverse range of music - it was not really working for me and I started to think about other musical options that would enable me to make some kind of living.

After playing covers for 4 years - it was around the time (1989) that acts started to spring up such as Bjorn Again, The Australian Doors show etc and from that point in time I started to wonder what I could do along those lines. It took a lot of thought over at least 6 months before I finally decided I would do a Pink Floyd show and shortly after that decision MTV announced that they (Pink Floyd) were about to tour and MTV was to show their new production "A Delicate Sound of Thunder" on TV. Again they totally blew me away. I just sat there watching it in awe and started to wonder how the hell I was going to copy this act.

It seemed at the time it was going to be an impossible act to reproduce as it was not just a case of just putting on costumes and dressing up like them, as that is not their style - the band themselves have always been very low-key, not the rock star types - instead, they always performed mind blowing theatrical productions to let their music speak for them. It was after many months of looking around at production companies I finally came across a local company in Brisbane called Acoustic Technologies and formed a relationship with the owner Harry Lloyd-Williams. From the very beginning he listened to my ideas and decided he would help me set up my first show called Floyd the Concept. Acoustic Technologies supplied me with a brand new 20'000 watt quadraphonic sound system, and a light show that at that time consisted of 18 digital fixtures, a circular screen and the equipment to produce the videos that were needed for the visual backdrop. It was, for its time, the largest show of its kind to be presented in the RSL and clubs, and soon gained momentum through word of mouth. I decided back in 1992 I had to buy our own system and since then it is has become something of an obsession with me. It has now grown to such a size it can now only be presented in its entirety in major City theatre's /
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Entertainment Centres and has played venues such as Sydney's Opera House concert hall, Melbourne's Crown Casino's Palms room, Adelaide's Festival Theatre, Perth's Burswood theatre and Brisbane Lyric Theatre just to name a few.

There are quite a lot of Pink Floyd tribute shows in the world, and I have already strived to make this show totally unique to all the rest. Pink Floyd means different things to different people - some fans prefer the music to be presented in a very simple manner without the benefit of modern technology - but Pink Floyd themselves have always been innovators in technology, so that is the way I decided I would go. Floyd were one of the first bands to really use synthesisers - and used them quite extensively to add a new dimension to their music. In fact many of their sounds couldn't really be reproduced without the benefit of synths, so we incorporate that aspect of their music into our shows as well - because that is how Floyd have developed over the years - using as much technology as they can to produce something really special and unique. We try to make our show look and sound as authentic as possible - but we aren't trying to recreate the 60's-style Pink Floyd. We want Beyond the Darkside to look and sound as much like Pink Floyd looked and sounded the last time they toured - which was very different to how they looked and sounded in the sixties, and often their live renditions of songs is much more complex than the original recordings.

This show is custom built and wholly owned by Beyond the Darkside to deliver what we truly understand is a Pink Floyd Experience everywhere it performs. Many other bands are claiming to give a true Pink Floyd experience but fail to deliver what really is a Pink Floyd experience as much of what makes the band a totally different to every other band has been overlooked.

Q. So what does Kevin (Beyond the Darkside) regard as a Pink Floyd Experience?

A. The fact is that since the early seventies the band have always taken to technology using synthesizers and studio effects in their music and most people have grasped that that is how the music was produced but what most people / bands have failed to see is that the band also have spent a lot of its time and money on developing both it's sound and visuals to match the conceptual aspects of their music. Since the release of Dark Side of the Moon the band has worked extremely hard on developing what we all take for granted in today's high tech audio presentations - Surround Sound. The album Dark Side of the Moon was recorded back in 1972 in Quadraphonic (in today's terms that would be 4.1 surround sound) - it was totally innovative and unheard of for its time and every show Pink Floyd have played since that album has always been presented live in a surround sound mode. Apart from seeing Pink Floyd and Roger Waters no one else is doing surround sound live - which is why Beyond the Darkside uses Surround Sound.

It is entirely different to sit in a live venue and have that huge HI-Fi sound you are accustomed to hearing when you sit back in your arm chair with your headphones on, actually happening around you in 5.1 surround sound live at a concert. You can hear such things as the wind effects and helicopter sounds etc move around the venue - the explosions actually make you feel you are in the thick of it, my guitar sound in songs such as Sorrow actually rotate around you, and the effect is very dynamic. What Pink Floyd do is really a totally different experience musically and visually to any other band? That is why Rolling Stone magazine gave Pink Floyd the title of 'the greatest rock and roll act in the world' - out staging all other acts including the Rolling Stones.

Lighting, lasers and visuals also feature very heavily in Pink Floyd as again; they were one of the first bands to ever use a light show and projection as a visual interpretation of their music. They used to call the circular screen they project the visuals onto their "eye to the 3rd dimension", the circular screen they actually nicknamed "Mr Screen", and it has always been a very important aspect of their show. They also heavily invested in the world's top moving lighting company Varilite who were the innovators of all the moving lights used by most major acts in arenas today. You can see very clearly if watch any Pink Floyd video footage of their concerts, that they only use the very latest lighting production, and they use it in vast quantity that is unrivaled by any other acts.

Their whole concept on lighting from Pulse and the Delicate Sound of Thunder tour has been to use only the latest technology in lighting (being digital lighting) leaving the old incandescent lighting (Par Cans) that most bands use far behind. This is a concept we also have adopted - we only use digital lighting fixtures in huge numbers - currently 150 digital fixtures, and also a 10-watt copper vapor lasers and 4 RGB lasers.

I understand that when Pink Floyd toured in 1994 for 2 years, most of the Varilite fixtures around the world were being used by them, which caused the Rolling Stones to have to sit and wait for their tour to finish before they could go ahead and do the Voodoo Lounge tour which was also built and run by the same people Pink Floyd use.

Q. What other things in your production do you use that are different to any other Pink Floyd shows?

A. We have spent a great deal of money - a ridiculous amount actually - and many hours designing and building our our laser systems and light show. Props such as the "Hey Teacher" array on the floor at the front of our stage had to be designed and built (by ourselves) especially to suit our own stage size, and to purchase it outright, ready-made, was totally prohibitive. We also designed our own opening mirror ball effect to reproduce Floyd's original concept for Comfortably Numb, again, the cost of buying it elsewhere was completely out of our league. You must remember that we are entirely self-funded - we have no financial backing from anyone - so we have had to be very innovative and creative ourselves, to reproduce the Floyd concepts we use in the show. All the of effects have basically been designed, developed and built by myself, our Lighting Director Athol Sargood who after joining the show moved us to a new level with his lighting skills, and another key partner and Bass player, Michael Kitching. The laser was specially imported from Europe, but we had to design the build the laser effects we use in our show. We have purchased two inflatable "Pulse" pigs from the UK that belong solely to our show, and I don't know of any other Floyd show that uses them (apart from the real thing of course!). They alone cost in the vicinity of $38'000 dollars, but they are a very special effect, unique to Floyd in their concept, and we felt it was essential that we have them to create that authentic "Floyd" look and feel for the show.

The show itself has enormous logistics to deal with - we currently use 2 x 40 foot high-cube shipping containers filled to the brim with equipment. Moving 40 tons of equipment around Australia from city to city obviously involves huge costs, and the venues we present the show in also have many associated costs.

The show takes 2 days (usually the day before and show day) to set up, all-up usually involving 19 people just behind the scenes as well as the 9 artists on stage.

When we played Europe we presented the show in the same way as the Cirque de Soleil show using a 6 mast tent that seated 2,500 people. We had 11 semi trailers, 100 people, consisting of band, crewing staff, tent staff, security, management, catering etc. It was a very huge undertaking playing 4 nights in 33 cities selling around 7500 tickets in every city. Being part of such a big logistical event was a huge experience for us.

Q. What do you see as being different with the Beyond the Darkside show to other tribute shows?

A. We regard Beyond the Darkside as a theatrical production rather than just "a tribute band". It is a very personal project to us as we have spent well over 20 years of our lives and millions of dollars developing this show to what it is today. We have studied all the aspects of Pink Floyd from the band themselves to the people behind the scenes copying every detail we can and spending every last cent we have ever earned to perfect this show to what it now is. I have had some artists with the show since its conception but like most shows we use only top professional musicians and have a pool of people to choose from as it depends on their availability. We have had many renowned top musicians from such bands as Australian Crawl, Leo Sayer, Renée Geyer, Icehouse, Choir Boys, Noise works, Dragon, Mondo Rock, Tina Arena, Richard Clapton just to name a few.

Basically I have 9 other artists that play in the show along with myself being 3 x backing singers, 1 x drummer/backing singer, 2 x Keyboard player/singers, second guitaris/singer, Bass player, sax player and myself on main vocals and guitars.
 
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