His name is Vello Virkhaus, and his company, V Squared Labs, has had a hand in some of the most epic visual displays in live entertainment over the years. For more than a decade, Virkhaus, or VJ V2, his handle in the industry, has pioneered the evolution of the visual display, integrating visual remixing and 3-D digital animation and directing visuals for live shows for some of the biggest names in music: Korn, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyoncé and Amon Tobin are but a few of his past clients. (Remember Tobin’s visually masterful ISAM tour last year?)
With an unmatched library of visual loops and effects in his arsenal and a flair for dazzling yet seamless integration, it makes sense that Virkhaus has been at the helm of visuals for Ultra Music Festival for 10 years, having started out with 16mm film projections in UMF’s infancy and now integrating state-of-the-art LED displays.
And so MTV News readily accepted Virkhaus’ invitation to join him in his studio in North Hollywood, California, for a sneak peek at what he’s been cooking up for Ultra this year.
“We’ve come a long way since last year,” VJ V2 said. “We are looking at what Ultra is going to look like, and this is a preliminary drawing,” he continued as his new designer software, Epic, animated a mock-up of the main stages over 20 LED panels bouncing to music.
“We have this crazy high-definition output system taking it to the next level at Ultra this year,” Virkhaus beamed.
Of course, possibly the most exciting one-up from last year’s undertaking is the presence of, wait for it, an “LED roof” over the stage that is going to be an added visual element for each set.
“This is the overhead grid that’s going to be over viewers,” Virkhaus explained. “You’ve got artists like Tiësto , Afrojack, Skrillex, Avicii — people coming who are going to make a fantastic show for the audience — and we are going to do some amazing visuals. I know [the fans] are going to be blown away with the experience we are bringing.”
VJ V2 will be joining UMF founders Russell Faibisch and Adam Russakoff and team Ultra on the ground at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami this week to help pull off a series of EDM performances that will shape dance music culture for the year.
In addition to Tiësto, Afrojack, Skrillex and Avicii, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, Kraftwerk and Carl Cox are among this weekend’s headlining acts.
Miami Music Week, MTV News is on the way! Check back all week as we report from EDM’s biggest parties, bringing the latest news from your favorite electronic dance music stars!