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TPi_Magazine__February_2018

This month we speak to

This month we speak to TPi Breakthrough Talent Award winners Matt Didon and James Walton about their blossoming company, ON LX, and what the future has in store… Before enrolling at the University of South Wales, Matt Didon and James Walton already had business nous. But after being paired together for High End Systems’ Hog Factor in 2014, the duo thought they would apply their skills to the live events industry. Three years later and ON LX provides bespoke lighting, video and technical services for events, installations and everything in between. TPi spoke to the crack team about what the future holds for their fledgling venture and the challenges of juggling a new business and university work. “Both Matt and I worked in the live events industry when we met,” began Walton, who worked for Shock Solutions, which was acquired by White Light about 4 years ago, while Matt started his own rental mobile DJ package company. With several years’ experience under their belts, Didon and Walton enrolled at the University of South Wales for a Bachelor’s Degree in Lighting Design and Technology. In their first year, both continued to work on extracurricular ventures. Walton explained: “Matt was already building the foundation of what would become ON LX while I was working on my own business called Spektrum Systems where I would build custom media server packages. After our successful collaboration on the 2014 Hog Factor, we decided to join forces, effectively merging Spektrum Systems with ON LX.” Since the dawn of the partnership, Didon and Walton have been walking the line between live events specialists and startup tech company. From providing the visual package to The Giant Tree at Glastonbury 2017 to producing a custom control systems for gym studios, the brains behind ON LX have certainly proved themselves in several fields. “We are really focussed on keeping both sides of the business going,” commented Didon. “It’s been really great working on the app side of the business and we have certainly got people’s attention.” The goal of their app venture is to provide an “incredibly simple interface that can control some fairly complex operations”, with features including the ability to “analyse audio in a live scenario and simultaneously sync and operate lighting automatically.” But Didon and Walton are both determined to keep in touch with what’s going on in the field rather than pigeonhole their skills into an exclusively software company. “Glastonbury was certainly one of last year’s highlights for us,” recalled Walton. ON LX supplied a bespoke lighting solution with 40 universes of WS2811 pixels with which festivalgoers could interact. “I had worked in the Greenpeace part of the site for the last few years and have known Ben Bailes, who oversees the project, for some time. This year Matt oversaw the all the programming of the show and I handled all the servers and networking of the event. It was certainly an intensive few days but it looked fantastic.” Having graduated last year, Didon is now working full time for the company while Walton finishes his final year of university following a placement year in Australia with Enttec. “To say it’s been tough is an understatement,” laughed Walton, as he described the balancing act of holding down a new business as well as a full time degree. But he credits the University of South Wales’ course as being “incredibly helpful” in developing their business. “As well as having experienced lighting professionals as lectures, we also have guest lectures from industry professionals who come in throughout the year. We have both been able to learn a great deal from these individuals on the business side.” Looking to the future, the dynamic duo already have some interesting projects on the horizon. Didon and Walton both recently completed their Notch training and are hoping to provide even more options for clients, both in the install world and in live touring. “I think because of how specialised our skill sets are, there is no limit to how big ON LX will grow and it being our own company means we have the freedom to pursue a myriad of different projects!” As winners of this year’s TPi Breakthrough Talent award, both Didon and Walton will next attend this year’s TPi Awards in February. TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk www.onlx.co.uk 64

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