The sultry Marie can solder,
rewire and fix any gear in a micro mini skirt.
Sound tech is
If ever there were to be a Club Systems’ covergirl
Marissa Flagiello, aka Ten15 Tech Director Marie, would be
it. When the 28-year-old bends over a console at the San Francisco
superclub, DJs gawk at what’s under her mini skirt almost
– almost – as much as how smoothly she
switches out the mixer.
Though she still finds time to do side work as a fetish model,
Flagiello’s 80-hour weeks at Ten15 are fueled by a local
24-hour Starbucks, and her know-how from careers she’s
left behind: auto shop owner, DJ, sound board engineer, speaker
cabinet designer/builder. Mostly though, she’s a self-made
woman with a skill set born from technical aptitude, and a
passion for how things work.
With a set designer mother, Flagiello grew up around theater
prop shops, and was fascinated with power tools before she
could ride a bike. She’ll boast that her mother taught
her to use a power saw, but by the time she was a teenager
Flagiello was on her own, dismantling any gear she could find.
Eclectic to say the least, Flagiello had a hand in designing
the Electro Voice S-118 enclosure; was certified in welding
after practicing in a helmet and hot pants; and brought her
self-described DJ style of “Timo Maas meets DJ Irene”
all the way to Thailand. Needless to say, she made quite an
impression on Ten15 owner Ira Sandler when she installed a
stereo system into his Ford Think – “one of those
little electric glorified golf cart cars” – to
drive around the Burning Man festival. So when Sandler needed
a last-minute light tech at Ten15, he called on Flagiello.
She’s been a staple at the club ever since.
The Main Room’s
waterfall features Marie’s plumbing and LED install
When we heard about you we knew
we’d need an entire story. I’m pretty
intense. There are pictures of me from the Fetish Ball –
wearing six-inch heels with two-inch platforms, these black
patent knee-high boots, and an all latex outfit – soldering
RCA heads. I’ve welded a lot of the rigs around here,
some custom tables for a VIP room, a track for the [High End
Systems] x.Spots. That’s what I do: If it’s broken,
I fix it.
Explain what else you do at Ten15.
Are there regular problems? It’s a typical
nightclub. You fix stuff that breaks over the weekend, whether
it be through vomitus maximus or it just wore out; bulbs that
burned out. Also disassembling from the previous weekend.
A lot of our weekends are fairly technically involved. We
do live bands, usually one or two, but this weekend we have
five in one night, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Is there a separate space for live
acts? Our Main Room has a full stage. We have a snake
that runs to our sound and lighting booth. We’re using
a 24-channel Mackie Pro Series mixer, and Bag End Crystal
Series monitors for the stage.
I got very efficient at shuttling bands around. I set up patch
bays for each of the instruments. I get all the drummers together
beforehand, come up with a general consensus, and rent a set
of drums for the night. So it’s just re-patching the
keyboards and guitar guys, and I leave SLR snakes at their
stage positions, even label them with color. We get bands
on and off in under four minutes.
Sounds a lot better than a diva
DJ rider. What about that side of the club? We have
some pretty high-end equipment. Our [Main Room] mixer is an
Allen & Heath Xone:92, and we have a secondary Pioneer
DJM-600 mixer. The mixers in the other rooms are Rane MP44’s,
they all have Formula Sound AVC2 limiters attached. We have
six pair of Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables, four pair of Pioneer
CDJ-1000 digital turntables, two Stanton Final Scratches and
one Serato Scratch Live. All [four] booths are time aligned.
I installed direct input patch bays into the side of the DJ
consoles, so if [DJs] have an effects box, instead of a major
surgical procedure it takes me 30 seconds to plug it into
the system. I set it up so it’s ultra ultra modular.
Give us a typical fix-it you’ll
do at Ten15. Last week we had a DJ spill a beer in
a CDJ-1000MK2. That’s pretty typical, right? I brought
it up to my office. I already knew which parts were going
to burn out: It’s always the power supply that takes
the dive, as well as the pitch control slider. Usually the
motor controls are fine, they just need to get cleaned out;
[same for] the laser lenses.
So I open the sucker up, replaced the power supply, replaced
the pitch control and had the CDJ back to him in half an hour.
He’s looking at me like, “damn, what the hell
did you..?” And I’m like, “Enjoy, no drinks
around my CDJs anymore.”
Where’d you learn how to do
those things? When I started DJ-ing I didn’t
have enough money to pay for the equipment so I decided to
design and build my own. I had two Walkmen and a Y adapter.
I figured out how the volume controls worked, how the faders
worked, how crossfaders worked, and then actually built my
own mixer. I was like 14.
That’s where my mom’s carpentry skills came in,
and me just being the person that I am – I love technical
stuff. It’s fun to play with. Seriously, what other
job in the world lets you play with multi-million dollar sound
and lighting systems and get paid for it?
How about video? I recently
installed two night vision cameras in our DJ booth: One looking
from the back of the DJ out into the crowd, and another looking
from the crowd’s perspective up at the DJ. We can video
mix those in on the four video screens in the Main Room and
another video screen that projects it into the Front Room,
and Blue Room.
We use an Edirol V4 mixer as well as an Edirol DV7 video hard
drive, on top of the two cameras, and a Phillips Pro Video
DVD player. The cool thing about the DV7 is you can set it
up for a time strobe, or a time change-over, so you can have
it flip-flop between programs on a timed set-up. It also has
[a feature that works like] pitch control.
You said that you’ve made
the systems “idiot proof.” How? You’d
be amazed. Formula Sound AVC2 limiters are blessings in disguise:
They stop people from clipping the system. We have a jellyfish
in the Main Room, which hooks into BSS Soundweb so I can control
the bass, mids, treble and volume of every room in the facility
from the lighting booth. I have safeties built into all the
MP44 mixers where they can’t overdrive the through the
gains into the trim knobs.
I got custom-built power supplies for the Technics, which
are a higher torque and have a much lower failure rate: They’re
pretty much bulletproof now. I also designed and built receptacles
in all them for white LEDs, so I don’t worry about light
bulbs burning out.
For the guys who integrate Serato, I tell them to let me know
before the night. I plug in their Serato and just leave them
the USB cord for their mixer. I found that you give the DJ
as much control as they need to be creative, but not enough
control to do something stupid.
Also I can tell when any of the DJs are clipping the system
because the amp rack for the rest of the building is right
next to the lighting booth. At a glance and I can look at
all of our Crest Audio amplifiers and know if [the DJs are]
screwing with my system. But the majority of our resident
DJs, and even our guest DJs, have enough respect for me that
they don’t usually fool around too much.
I’m imagining you doing all
this at once. It’s actually not as chaotic
as you’d think, and I tell ya it is so much darn fun.
It almost seems like you’re
doing the job of three or four guys. You fall into
a rhythm. For me it’s a little easier because being
a DJ, I know where the music’s going to go. And I research;
I find out who’s spinning and listen to their music
so I understand how they react, how they play, what they do.
You listen to it as you’re
welding? I listen to it as I’m doing my daily
chores: hanging lights, hanging balloons, hanging inflatables,
sometimes setting up the Kryogenifex.
It sounds like you’re involved
in every single technical aspect. Just about.
Except for plumbing. Actually
I do plumbing as well. This lady flushed her cell phone down
the toilet and I ended up having to fix that.
Oh man. I meant that as a joke.
Like I said, I love technical stuff. The 20' x 60' waterfall
in the Main Room, I did all the plumbing for that. We had
a certified plumber come in and some of the piping leaked,
so I cut all of that out and redid all of the plumbing. When
our regular plumber came in he asked if I wanted a job.
Ha! And you’re not even wearing
overalls. When the club is open I wear ultra femme-y
stuff, the typical hoochie attire for a club: the little mini
skirts, the tank tops, little Kangol hats, I even have gigantic
pink fuzzy leg warmers that I got when I was in the AVN [Adult
Video News convention].
You’re just as efficient in
thigh-high boots. I wore a micro miniskirt from the
AVN when Paul van Dyk was here. PVD uses these two titanium
laptops, and he has this little module that plugs in between
one and the mixer. I crawled up under the DJ rig, which is
entirely glass, and all these people are staring at my ass
as I’m plugging in wires in a miniskirt and high heels.
And Paul’s like, man, this is great.
Marie’s Gear at Ten15
4 - Klipsch MCM1900 subwoofer cabinets
2 - Crest Audio CA 12 amplifiers
2 - Crest Audio Pro 8001 amplifiers
2 - EAW DCT2 supertweeter arrays
2 - EAW FR155 HR full-range monitors
2 - Klipsch MCM1900 midrange cabinets
2 - Klipsch MCM1900 high cabinets
2 - PAS TOC 212 cabinets
2 - Pioneer CDJ-1000 digital vinyl turntables
2 - Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables
1 - Crest Audio CA 9 amplifier
1 - Crest Audio Pro 8002 amplifier
1 - Formula Sound AVC2 limiter
1 - Rane MP 44 mixer
12 - Bag End ELF M2 sub enclosures
6 - EAW BV535 mid-bass enclosures
4 - EAW DCT2 supertweeter arrays
4 - EAW MH692iE midrange enclosures
3 - Technics SL-1200MK2 turntables
3 - Crest Audio Pro 8002 amplifiers
3 - Crest Audio Pro 7001 amplifiers
2 - Bag End Crystal mid/high monitors
2 - Crest Audio Pro 3301 amplifiers
2 - Crest Audio Pro 6001 amplifiers
2 - Crest Audio Pro 10001 amplifiers
2 - EAW FR155 HR full-range cabinets
2 - Pioneer CDJ-1000MK2 digital vinyl turntables
1 - Allen & Heath Xone:92 mixer
1 - Bag End ELF M2 module
1 - Crest Audio Pro 4601 amplifier
1 - EAW SB250 sub enclosure (DJ monitor)
1 - Mackie 244PRO mixing desk
1 - Pioneer DJM-600 mixer (optional)
1 - Rane MP 2016a rotary mixer with EQ (optional)
1 - Rane Serato Scratch LIVE (optional)
1 - Stanton Final Scratch (optional)
4 - BSS Audio Soundweb 9088iis processors
1 - BSS Audio Soundweb 9008iis output expander
1 - BSS Audio sw9010 “jellyfish” remote
1 - Aphex 720/722 Dominator II limiter
*Conditioners and output drivers by Furman Sound
LIGHTING AND EFFECTS
13 - High End Systems DataFlash AF1000 fixtures
8 - High End Systems Color Pro luminaires
8 - High End Systems Emulator fixtures
8 - High End Systems TrackSpot fixtures
6 - High End Systems Intellabeam 700 HX fixtures
6 - High End Systems x.Spot moving heads
4 - Clay Paky Golden Scan HP fixtures
4 - custom nitrogen injectors
1 - Clay Paky Astroscan fixture
1 - Coemar Venus 1200 fixture
1 - Flying Pig Systems Wholehog PC II controller
1 - High End Systems Color Pro controller
1 - Martin Atomic 3000 fixture
1 - Martin Magnum Pro 2000 fogger
1 - MDG Atmosphere hazer
1 - custom 3-watt full-color laser
*LED lighting fixtures by Color Kinetics
4 - Sharp XR20X LCD projectors
3 - Elo TouchSystems [model?] touch panel monitors
2 - Accele low-light wide-angle cameras
1 - Ben Q PB7220 LCD video projector
1 - Ben Q PB7220 LCD video projector
1 - Edirol V4 video mixer
1 - Edirol DV7 Video Canvas
1 - Phillips DVD player
Old Club, New Chicks
Marie recaps some of the changes at 1015 since
it was featured on the cover of CSI in January 2002.
Aside from the additions to the equipment list [see page
26], the Front Room was demolished and rebuilt. The lighting
system was newly interfaced, and the formerly isolated
Blue Room was opened up into a VIP balcony over the Main
But Flagiello’s hands were mostly wet in the Main
Room’s new 20' x 60' waterfall, including its plumbing
and the programming of its Color Kinetics LED fixtures.
Though not waterproof, they’re installed to stay
mostly dry. “The LEDs that can be submerged are
totally awesome,” she says. “The major problem,
though, is that the electrics that drive them and what
they clip into can’t be submerged.” So she
encased them in waterproofing and switched from chlorinated
water to water treated with bromine.
Flagiello is currently absorbed in remodeling the club’s
basement, with JK Sound and interior designer Scott Peterson.
“These major I-beams run down the center of the
room,” she says. “And some of the previous
electricians, to put it nicely, were on crack when they
did this.” Their faux pas was routing the power
and electric above the I-beams so electrical conduits
hung just eight feet above the ground.
In typical Marie style, Flagiello is gutting and rebuilding
the whole thing. “I pulled a good 3,000 yards of
cable out,” she says. “We’re talking
snakes that haven’t been used in five years, power
cables that have been cut, BX, Romex, DMX, phone lines,
DSL lines. You name it, I pulled it out of there.”
She blames the substandard work on the electrician’s
lack of knowledge of club operations, and vows the new
system will be enduring, and possibly worthy of another
article in CSI.