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Lorde’s Coachella performance, in front of a glass box set
Lorde’s Coachella performance, in front of the glass box set design made with Es Devlinvia Es Devlin (esdevlin.com)

Lorde accuses Kanye West and Kid Cudi of copying her stage set-up

‘Don’t steal – not in 2018 or ever’

Kanye West and Kid Cudi debuted their Kids See Ghosts show at Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw at the weekend. Lorde has since come out to accuse the rappers of copying her stage design from her Melodrama tour. 

West and Cudi’s new set up features a floating glass box stage. In an Instagram story, Lorde compared an image of herself performing at Coachella in 2017 to the Kids See Ghosts show.

“I’m proud of the work I do and it's flattering when other artists feel inspired by it, to the extent that they choose to try it on themselves,” she wrote. “But don’t steal – not from women or anyone else – not in 2018 or ever. 

The floating stage used in Lorde’s set-up was designed collaboratively with Es Devlin. West has previously worked with Devlin, a well known artist and designer, on his Yeezus tour and Watch the Throne show with Jay-Z.

“I built the show with Es Devlin, who I have admired for a really long time. And from the jump, we were just wanting to head towards something that we felt like we hadn’t seen,” she told Spinoff in 2017. “It’s hard to come up with stuff that feels new, and with the tank it felt weird and interesting and quite specific to me… The two of us just built it from the ground up, bouncing ideas back and forth. I decided that I wanted the show to follow the arc of an evening in my life and I loved the idea of the show having a narrative – have a peak and having falls and slowly building in the same way that an evening does.”

Despite Lorde’s claims, glass boxes and installations have been present in several other musician’s live shows, from Justin Bieber’s Purpose tour in 2016 to Kendrick Lamar’s BRIT Awards performance earlier this year. 

Taylor Swift previously made a jibe at Ye over his stage show in her song “Look What You Made Me Do”. “I don’t like your little games / Don’t like your titled stage,” she sings, in reference to his Saint Pablo tour. More recently, Kanye has been met with other assertions of creative theft and copying over his album artwork for upcoming YANDHI.

Edit: John McGuire, owner of Trask House (the company behind the Kids See Ghosts stage design, as well as Kanye West's Saint Pablo Tour), recently told the New York Times: “(Lorde) wasn’t the first person to use a floating glass box, she won’t be the last. She doesn’t own it, her designer didn’t invent it.”

Lorde's stage designer Es Devlin, has also since commented on the matter, saying statement to the New York Times “The idea of a floating glass box, of course, is not in any way new and the geometry precedes all of us. The form finds another layer of resonance in each new context."

So there we have it, the floating glass box was, in reality, no ones original idea.