When it comes to lighting design for EDM clubs, there’s no room for amateurs. With over 20 years of experience, Stephen Lieberman and his company SJ Lighting, Inc. have dominated the industry. His résumé includes more than 20 Las Vegas nightclubs (such as Marquee, Drai’s and the former Utopia) and festivals such as Ultra Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival. We caught up with Lieberman fresh off the heels of a massive $10 million production redesign at XS.
How did you end up specializing in lighting for EDM events and clubs? I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. This whole community wasn’t as popular as it is now ... it was very much a subculture. Other people in production industries who had similar careers as I did weren’t necessarily interested in these projects. I’ve always had a love for this community.
What was the XS renovation process like? One of the things that we always try to convey through our designs is we don’t want our stuff to look like an afterthought. There’s so many intricate details of architecture in there that we wanted to really highlight those details when they’re on and really be very discrete and low-profile when they’re off.
Which of your updates has the biggest wow factor? There’s so many features that we put in this club, but I’d say the most overwhelming feature we did is an LED pixel detail that pretty much encompasses the entire venue inside and outside. ... When the [people are] really moving and you activate those pixels, the club is really energized.