The Performing Arts Series brings high voltage excitement to Socorro with ArcAttack, March 30 in Macey Center. This high power performance is unique in its elements and energy, being at the same time mesmerizing and energetically thrilling.
Creators of the original Singing Tesla Coils, the crew of ArcAttack uses their high tech wizardry to generate a truly ‘electrifying’ performance. Two custom engineered hand built Tesla Coils throw out electrical arcs up to twelve feet long, each one acting as an instrument with a sound reminiscent of the early days of the synthesizer.
A robotic drum set accompanies the spectacle, it’s high power LED’s flashing bright colors with the stroke of each mechanically actuated stick, while ArcAttack’s six members churn out rhythmic instrumental melodies. Live instruments meet drum loops and samples to produce rock, electronica and indie with a splash of punk and a dash of metal served with a side of pop.
During the show, the MC engages both the crowd and the Tesla Coils by walking through one-half million volt sparks wearing the relatively thin layer of his chain mail Faraday suit.
ArcAttack began their journey to develop the Singing Tesla Coil in late 2005, with the help of Steve Ward, a veteran Tesla Coiler from Illinois. The product developed quickly, and after several iterations the instrument reached its present form.
In 2007, Craig Newswanger of Resonant Studios joined in to provide the fledgling performance with another high tech spectacle, a robotic drum kit, contributing to the sound and the spectacle.
All the while, friends around the country were helping generate musical content for the new technology to play.
John DiPrima, the main contributor of original Tesla Coil music, moved down from Chicago to help the process evolve further.
DiPrima is both the chief engineer and leader of the group. His passion for electronics and music were kindled at a young age, and continue to the present. With some help from some friends, he has designed the majority of the Tesla Coils and written the software that controls them. He plays guitar on stage, and handles the majority of the booking and correspondence. On a more personal note, he likes picking up heavy things.
DiPrima is a student at Columbia College Chicago working towards a degree in acoustical engineering and live sound reinforcement. He has composed the majority of ArcAttack’s music, and plays drums during performances. When necessary, he is also the group’s sound man, having worked for such acts as the Rick Reicht Band, One Eyed Doll and Monte Montgomery. John’s favorite drink is Diet Twist.
In January of 2008, ArcAttack was finally named. Tony Smith, an old friend of the DiPrimas and a guitarist who had been assisting the group since mid 2006 began helping to write some tunes. Smith plays bass guitar and baritone guitar for ArcAttack. Like John, Joe and Andrew, he is originally from Michigan where he has played in several bands since a young age. He also writes some of the group’s music, and is an energetic performer. On a personal note, he does not like his personal information to be known by just anyone. But he’s actually very nice.
Later, the group would meet Patric ‘Parsec’ Brown, their MC and Faraday Suit stunt man. Brown was adopted into the group in Austin. He has a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Texas, as well as a streak of carnival worker and a solid background in public speaking. He is a regional representative for Burners Without Borders as well as a certified volunteer project leader with the United Way and has been leading community projects in the Central Texas region for over two years. Of all of the members of ArcAttack, Parsec has the longest goatee.
Another songwriter and old friend Andrew Mansberger then moved down from Seattle to contribute on the guitar and keyboards, completing the ArcAttack crew. Mansberger comes from Seattle where he worked in a corner store and read a lot of books. Previous to that, he was the lead man of the incredible band Berwer, and has played guitar for countless other bands. On stage with ArcAttack, he often plays the Moog keyboard or other analog synthesizers, sometimes trading them out for the guitar or bass guitar. Andrew is also responsible for writing and co-writing several of the groups songs.
First and foremost, ArcAttack is all about putting on a show that is not just a concert, but an otherworldly experience.
In doing so with the technology that they’ve created, they hope to inspire minds, the young and the old, to take up an interest in science, the arts, and their applications, to examine where they intersect, where they are going, and to re-examine the works of past researchers and performers such as Nikola Tesla and Delia Derbyshire in light of the ever evolving face of this amazing world.
The ArcAttack performance begins at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Mar. 30 in Macey Center’s auditorium.
Tickets are $16 for general admission, $14 for seniors, and $8 for youth.
Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Series Office, New Mexico Tech Cashier,
Brownbilt Shoes & Western Wear, Burrito Tyme/Sofia’s Kitchen, and New Mexico Tech Bookstore. Credit card purchases are only available through the PAS office