Tasked with directing the stage visuals for J. Cole’s Forest Hills Drive Tour I worked with the production company Sila Sveta to create a tailored immersive backdrop to the unique stage design. The production went on to be featured in an HBO mini-doc series and concert film J. Cole: Road to Homecoming and won the Live Design Magazine Technical Excellent Award.
2014 Forest Hills Drive, Cole’s third studio album, was released on December 9, 2014.
It was a momentous achievement in his career. With almost no promotion the album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 353,000 copies in its first week. The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in May 2019.
The album name, cover art, and stage design were based on Cole’s childhood home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The LED video wall would serve as a backdrop to the stage design. The massive screen, provided by LMG Touring was comprised of two parts totaling a resolution of 1920 x 1280 pixels. The videos would be cued through a Catalyst media server connected to the lighting console.
The first step for myself was to brainstorm ideas for each track of the album that would work as a backdrop to the set and preserve the unique perspective.
I worked with Cole’s Creative Director, Adam Rodney, sharing inspiration and references to nail down a narrative arc for the visuals over the course of the concert.
We came up with the overarching concept of the visuals following the course of a single day. Starting with sunrise and ending in the twilight.
I generated a color guide and timestamps for transitions between the scenes.
The talented VFX artists we partnered with in Moscow at the interactive media, production, and conceptual design company Sila Sveta did an incredible job of bringing the concepts to life.
After weeks of revisions, Moscow Time meetings, and rehearsals, it was showtime.
The production was a great success and went on to be featured in an HBO mini-doc series and concert film J. Cole: Road to Homecoming and won the Live Design Magazine Technical Excellent Award.