Connecting Creatives: ELS LASERS
The Six Degrees Creative brand is all about connection. With the Connecting Creatives segment the goal is to highlight creatives and entrepreneurs in our communities and share their journey. No matter the outlet or industry, it is important we support each other’s growth both professionally and personally. Together we can make being a creative or running a small business sustainable and successful.
This week we highlight multi-talented laser tech and vibe curator Alex Richardson of ELS Lasers. When it comes to the dance floor, Alex is no stranger to boosting the vibe. From equipping festivals like Day Zero with an incredible laser display to spinning high-energy warehouse sets, any environment that gets the ESLASERS treatment is about to upgrade. Dive deeper into Alex's creative journey below!
Read more about ELS LASERS and support his business by giving him a follow on Instagram, reaching out about a collaboration, or by simply telling a friend!
Hi! Thank you for taking the time to be part of Connecting Creatives. Can you tell us more about your background and how you got started on your creative journey?
Hey how’s it going Zach, thanks for the feature! Excited to chat with you guys about ELS!
The journey that has been the formation, the progression, and the expansion of ELS (Elite Lighting Source, LLC) is a pretty epic one to say the least. First and foremost, ELS is a collective of the most talented laser artists and engineers currently operating in the industry. Our team has programmed shows in over 20 different countries and on some of the biggest stages and for some of the biggest artists in the world.
I first realized that I wanted to pursue starting my own company programming and engineering laser shows after several years of being a freelance laser programmer and realizing that audiences and clients deserved a far superior viewing experience. In my early days as a freelance laser programmer, I collaborated with some of the biggest artists in music and conceptualized some of the most intricate and complex stage designs in the festival world. From personally touring with the Australian band Empire Of The Sun, to designing stages at EDC in Mexico and Ultra in Miami and South Korea, I was making a name for myself as both a laser artist and an up and coming name in the industry.
As I progressed, the events I was programming did too. Events such as Day Zero in Tulum and Israel, Get Lost in Miami, and Desert Hearts at Los Coyotes had now placed me in a grander arena of serious contenders. Although I was moving at an exponential rate in my field, I was seeing one recurring theme amongst the companies I was contracted by that sparked some concern: lack of quality. All the companies I was being contracted by had let their lasers and gear, (for lack of a better term) go to complete shit.
Now one might think “How does that affect you, the gear isn’t yours, that’s on the company?” Well, it affected me in a pretty major way. Even though I was an independent contractor for these firms and not an actual employee, I was still using their degraded equipment to run multimillion dollar shows in front of hundreds of thousands of paying audience members. So when a laser would fail during a show or not even fire up in the first place, I was now the point of contact for this crap gear and furthermore, inadvertently the face of the company who actually owned it.
This unfortunately led to the clients getting really pissed off. Imagine how upset you’d be if you paid tens of thousands of dollars for a show for your beloved fans and the gear and show were absolute garbage? You’d be furious! This inevitably is what transpired.
Despite the clients being frustrated, let down, and upset, I had one saving grace with all of them: myself. Although I was freelancing for companies that failed to provide me with acceptable tools to do my job, my honest character that I continued to uphold with the clients remained solid. As time went on I began to realize that associating my name with the companies I was contracted by, would ultimately hurt my career. So, I took a huge leap…
I decided to take out a business loan, commissioned a company to manufacture lasers to my personal specifications by some seriously badass engineers, and pooled all my clients together and made a go at the laser game on my own. My mission: to provide my clients and audience with a product far superior and epic to what they had ever seen or expected. Over the past year and half (amidst a global pandemic noless) that is precisely what I have done.
What keeps you engaged and passionate about your small business and creative endeavors?
Aside from being able to collaborate with some of the most talented minds in the industry, work on the biggest stages in world, and travel to every corner of the Earth, I’d say the one thing that keeps me passionate about my business is bringing infinite joy via laser beams to audiences across the globe :) !!!
If you could give advice to your younger business self what would it be?
If I could give advice to my younger business self it would most definitely be to follow your heart, fuck alllllll the haters, and constantly be willing to learn from your predecessors, colleagues, and your environment.
What is a challenge you have faced as a creative/small business and how have you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced as a small business that was founded 2 months before a global pandemic, is keeping hope and staying positive. For a while it looked as though our industry was doomed. But live music and events are some of the few things that can bring people from all walks of life together no matter what. ELS has faced some of the biggest challenges a business could possibly face in their infancy and persevered through all of it.
What do you want people to take away from your small business?
What I’d like people to take away from our company and ethos is never ever give up on your vision. If you will it, IT IS NO DREAM...Trust me.
What is the next milestone for you?
The next milestone for ELS is solidifying our company as the main powerhouse in laser design and programming in North America.
How can we support you and is there anything else you would like to share about your business?
You can support ELS by following our socials or reaching out directly for all of your laser needs! We range from major festivals, to small parties, to corporate events and beyond. Hit us up!!!
Want to be featured on Connecting Creatives? We want to support you and your small business! Send an e-mail and lets can get started.
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