Michael Althaus: Ayrton

How did you first become involved in the industry? Were you immediately drawn to lighting?

“While most of the industry fellows seem to have a background as musicians, mine was a passion for music – shows, lights & entertainment in general. So when seeing the job offer to become a sales apprentice with one of the German lighting distribution companies, I had to go for it.”

How did this lead to Ayrton and your position at present?

“After being in this industry for 20 years it was finally time for a change. Spending most of my time with the lighting control market, looking after the gear on the other side of the cable felt exciting. The opportunity to start something from scratch and to grow brands to become industry- leading manufacturers was appealing to me, as was the passion and drive of the people at Ayrton around its CTO, Yvan Peard.

“It meant I could focus on the domestic market with my own distribution company, VISIONSTAGE, which represents brands alongside to Ayrton such as Coemar, with their unique ReLite and LedKos, Desisti and GDS.

“There was also a mid-term plan to continue my successful work in an global distribution context for Ayrton. Essentially, it was just the right moment to start, with LED-based moving lights still at the grassroots level, and Ayrton starting to regain strong international recognition back in 2014.”

How do you feel to be part of the most commonly used brands in concert touring?

“It is exciting to work with the most creative, crazy, interesting and successful people in this industry. To share the passion of light, sell on quality and to show how Ayrton can change this industry and lead the way.”

How does the R&D department at Ayrton remain competitive in such a busy market? Is it a high- pressure job?

“Oh yes, the pressure is up. And talking about LED vs discharge lamps feels similar to talking about network vs DMX some years ago. Both do the job, but with the latest LED technology you can do so much more. We have a clear roadmap for the next couple of years at Ayrton. The launch of the first 3 LED-based moving lights – Merak, Ghibli and Mistral-TC – was shaking the market already and the response has justified our mission. Over the next few years, I predict there will be a huge demand for cutting-edge lighting tools that also deliver a good return on investment. Having focus and experience of LED- technology, while still being a super flexible company with a short time to market, is important, but having reliable products is our most important asset.”

Ayrton has been involved in some very high profile shows, particularly in a record-breaking capacity at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. How does it feel to be a part of these kinds of events?

“It’s amazing to be recognised for the great and hard work the entire Ayrton team puts in every single day. It proves what we are able to deliver on the biggest stage. To be a strong player on 2 sides – with the more effect-oriented products and our industry changing spot and wash lights – is a great achievement. And although I have done it a couple of times already, I’d like to thank the entire team around Ola, Jerry, Florian and the crews from Ampco Flashlight and Pixel Light for specifically choosing Ayrton.”

When you have time to escape the industry, what can we find you doing?

“You have to make sure you take the time to do this, right? Having a great family and especially our adorable twins helps – this is my perfect hideaway.”