Q&A with Nasty Byte, producer/director of Delerium’s “Epiphany” DVD

Late last year, Delerium released “Epiphany,” a live DVD shot on their 2008 North American tour (predominantly at Washington D.C.’s 9:30 club.) Featuring vocalists Kristy Thirsk (Rose Chronicles) and Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer), the disc contains a good cross-section of material from Deleriums’s Nettwerk years (as opposed the earlier, more ambient work.) “Epiphany” alse features interviews with Delerium founder Bill Leeb as well as the touring band members. The DVD was produced/directed by Nasty Byte, who gave us some more details in the following email interview:

Delerium was an entirely studio-based project for many years, and even now isn’t necessarily thought of as a ‘live’ band. Did you find any particular challenges in capturing their performance in an interesting/exciting way for the DVD? If so, can you describe your approach to overcoming them?

Other than the fact that we didn’t have different vocalists for each song as one has come to expect with Delerium, their live concert is not any different from the other bands that use electronic sounds and samples. More challenges come for me in the editing. One of the biggest challenges with this particular concert was deciding the colors on the video for “Silence”. On most videos I usually go with the original colors, or close to that, but with “Silence” I didn’t feel that the original colors fit the mood of the song. I’m not making a documentary, I’m creating video art, so for me I can take license to make such alterations if I feel it enhances the song. In the concert there were alien green lights projected on everyone during “Silence”, which were really disturbing to me. Then one day I was watching the film “Vatel” which shows Louis XIV, The “Sun King”, and his entourage partying at a French chateau. The colors of the interiors were predominantly gold, peach, burgundy and the greens were a pale celadon. By altering the colors in “Silence” to these tones, the mood shifted toward the sublime. Then I added more texture – an embossing effect at the intro, and adding more white to imply a heavenly ascent. I usually don’t look outside the material for answers, but sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places. Once the color palette felt right, I could cut the track. I think “Silence” will be special for me in that I probably won’t use the embossing effect again – just this one time, because the song is like receiving a special invitation from this world to the next. The end result is a kind of visual poetry that is meant as an interpretation on multiple levels. On a side note, “Silence” was voted #1 Trance Song of all time! So I hereby declare Bill Leeb the official Trance King. You can also watch “Silence” here online so you can see how my edit decisions played out.

Delerium “Silence” from Epiphany dvd from Nasty Byte on Vimeo.

Is it a complete performance that we are seeing, and if not what factors went into determining which songs were used/cut?

The full concert was 15 songs. MVD agreed to release 10 and I pushed it to 12, but I couldn’t go beyond that. As for which songs to cut, it was more about which songs to use rather than which ones not to use. Most concert dvds cut the encores down to 1, because they are also limited as far as content, so I did the same, keeping “Incantation”, and leaving out “Orbit of Me” and “Heaven’s Earth”. I moved one track – “Forgotten Worlds” – from the middle of the concert to the end, to use for the credit roll track, and left out “Run For It” which was also in the middle of the concert. However deciding what to use and what not to use was about assembling the songs in a way that made sense aesthetically. It’s the same when a writer takes a novel and adapts it for a film script. You usually can’t include everything that was in the book in a 2-hour movie. You keep whatever you feel is the most dynamic material.

Obviously a project like this needs to be done on a lower budget than a concert DVD for, say, a major label artist. Yet buyers/viewers might not make the distinction and expect the same level of quality. Were you conscious of this? Where there particular tricks/techniques employed to get the most out of the resources you had to work with?

I didn’t make any concessions as far as quality. The only thing you might see with a major label artist dvd is that more content is permitted. To produce this dvd I basically got people who usually get paid a lot more and were willing to work for a lot less on this for one reason or another. I wanted the best audio engineer, and the one I got, Jake Mossman, has worked with Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Springsteen etc. I spent about a week editing each track, so that’s 3 months to edit the 12 tracks from the concert, plus another month on the bonus film and another month on the menus and trailer. It’s just how I work, so that’s what I’d do whether it’s Delerium or Lady Gaga. But also because of the low budget, out of necessity I had to fit the work in around other work, so it’s taken a while to get done.

How did your involvement with this project come about?

Bill Leeb asked me if I would produce a concert dvd for Delerium, and I agreed to after negotiating a deal with MVD.

How did it come to be released through MVD as opposed to the Delerium’s label, Nettwerk?

Nettwerk was not interested in financing a concert dvd for Delerium. MVD is in the business of releasing music dvds, and they have a huge worldwide distribution, so I am pleased to be working with them.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on some new video special fx, working on a video for Dead Voices on Air, having my website redesigned, doing research to write a sci-fi film script, and I’ve got a few surprises that I’ll keep secret for now…

For more info on Nasty Byte, visit: www.NastyByte.net

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