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Bright Past, Brighter Future: 10 Years Of Squeek Lights

Victor Zeiser launched Squeek Lights in 2014, beginning in a compact 5x8 storage unit in Queens. With a rental fleet now exceeding 1,000 fixtures and extensive pre-production and rehearsal areas designed for refining live performances, Squeek Lights has evolved into a cornerstone of the industry while maintaining its local shop feel. This growth wasn't just about scaling up; it was about understanding and fulfilling the specific needs of the live music industry—a sector where every spotlight and every cue counts. 

Squeek Lights has successfully positioned itself as a provider and a partner to those in the throes of tour planning and execution, offering unmatched expertise, professionalism, and support that stands distinct from larger, more impersonal competitors. In an industry where every detail matters, Victor Zeiser's ascent from a single storage unit to a sprawling multi-property operation demonstrates how Squeek Lights and team are masters of the minuita, securing a loyal client base that keeps multiplying and coming back.

Meet Victor Zeiser

With over two decades of experience in event and concert lighting design, Victor has lit stages for a long list of notable bands, such as Beartooth, Grouplove, They Might Be Giants, Silverstein and August Burns Red. His journey across the touring circuit unveiled a critical gap in the market: affordable, high-quality concert lighting. This revelation sparked the birth of Squeek Lights.

The First Chapter: Storage Unit Hustle

Ten years ago, in 2014, armed with hands-on experience and a deep understanding of the industry's gaps, Victor founded Squeek Lights in a small 5'x8' storage unit in Long Island City. "We would use the hallways between units to prep shows, frequently having to stop for someone trying to put a couch in their storage unit or whatever," Victor told us.

Squeek Lights
Prepping in the hallway of the first storage unit

"The first spot was closed at night, so after a local gig, I once had to move all our lights into my apartment for the night. At the time, our inventory was a whole ten R1 Spots," Victor added.

Squeek Lights
The entire early Squeek Lights inventory

Squeek Lights' first big jump was a short move across the street but nearly tripled their space, upscaling to a 10'x15' storage unit. This unit was bigger and allowed 24/7 access for those late-night strikes. 😮‍💨

Squeek Lights
The next warehouse

The team spent about a year in this expanded space, a period with significant growth. During this time, the team honed their logistical and design skills and enjoyed some stunning city views, making the prep work hours more enjoyable. This is also where we first started seeing the iconic Squeek Lights teal roadcases surface. 👀

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Squeek Lights roadcases getting prepped

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Prepping tours

The Warehouse Era

In June 2015, Squeek Lights took a significant leap by moving to a shared warehouse facility in Linden, NJ. The new space was a 400 sq ft locker nestled within an aged industrial building—starkly contrasting their previous spots. The building's primary tenant was a used pallet company, and the environment was far from ideal. Forklift drivers frequently crashed into the walls, adding a layer of chaos to the day-to-day operations.

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The Warehouse era begins

Despite these challenges, the Squeek Lights team was undeterred. They rolled up their sleeves and transformed the space with hard work and determination. "We had scrubbed the floors with acid and painted the walls to make it about as nice as we could," Victor remembers. 

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Squeek Lights continuing to grow

A Proper Shop

By the summer of 2016, Squeek Lights was ready for another transformative chapter. Victor and his team decided to move to their first "proper" shop in Rahway, NJ. The new space was a substantial upgrade, boasting 1,400 sq ft and featuring their own office—a first for the company.

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Squeek Lights upgraded shops once again

Victor fondly recalls the evolution during their tenure there: "It was our first real shop," but Squeek Lights wasn't slowing down anytime soon. "By the end of our three years there, we often had to push cases out into the parking lot to have room to work. I still don't know how we managed to send out our first show at Madison Square Garden from that space."

Squeek Lights
Outgrowing the warehouse once again

The Ruby Stage

As Squeek Lights looked towards the future, strategic planning led to a decision to secure a two-unit shop, with a vision for gradual expansion. "The idea was we'd take the large side and then, in a few years when we grew into it, we would add the smaller side too," Victor explains. The team found the perfect space in Middlesex, though it required more renovation than initially anticipated.

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Early shots of the Middlesex, NJ property

Before v after shots of the new spot ⬇️

The timing of the move coincided with the unexpected challenges of the pandemic. With live events paused and the industry at a standstill, the Squeek Lights team innovatively set up The Ruby Stage within their new space. This temporary setup not only kept the team engaged but also creatively filled the void left by the absence of regular gigs.

The Ruby Stage
The Ruby Stage

Surprisingly, the demand for space accelerated much faster than anticipated. "We needed the entire 5,000 square feet of the building about a year ago," Victor recalls. And true to the unpredictable nature of growth, they quickly outgrew this space as well. "Surprise, surprise, we ran out of space much quicker than we ever thought we would," he adds with a chuckle.

Where We Are Today

"That brings us to where we are today," Victor starts, filled with a mixture of pride and excitement. Squeek Lights has just relocated to a sprawling 10,000 sq ft facility in Sayreville, NJ. This new home is not just larger; it marks a milestone for the company as it includes, for the first time, a loading dock 😎.

Squeek Lights
Squeek Lights New Home

And here is a drone clip flying around the new shop ⬇️

This move isn't just about expanding square footage; it's about enhancing capabilities and setting the stage for future growth. "We are converting the space in Middlesex back into The Ruby Stage, which will be a fantastic NYC area option for bands looking for pre-production space," Victor explains, outlining the dual purpose behind their expansion strategy. Details about The Ruby Stage will be announced soon, promising exciting opportunities for local and touring bands.

As they settle into the new shop, the team is enthusiastic about the potential it brings. "We're happy to get into the new shop , and the new space will help us as we prepare to get more gear and take on larger shows," Victor states confidently. 

More About Squeek Lights

From its inception in a compact Queens storage unit to its recent expansion into a 10,000 sq ft facility in Sayreville, NJ, Squeek Lights has undergone a remarkable evolution over the past decade. This journey is rooted in practical, hands-on production experience, which has enabled the company to adeptly meet the specialized demands of the live music industry.

Squeek Light's industry reputation speaks for itself, "You don’t just go to Squeek for the professionalism and gear. You go for the extra eyes on the work, the input and craftsmanship," says lighting designer Maryam Sweirki. "You can't go wrong with having Squeek Lights as the backbone of your touring production," adds lighting designer Ross Tyler Blitz

Despite the scale of its operations, Squeek Lights has managed to maintain the intimate, neighborhood shop vibe that resonates so well with its clients.

Squeek Lights

As they embark on this new chapter with the expanded facility and the reintroduction of The Ruby Stage, Squeek Lights continues to be a go-to resource for production professionals and bands alike. 

For those interested in keeping up with the latest projects and developments, follow Squeek Lights on their social media platforms and website. Stay tuned for more updates on The Ruby Stage, which promises to enhance the pre-production experiences for performers in the NYC area. Whether you're a seasoned tour manager or a band preparing for your next gig, connect with Squeek Lights to see how their decade of growth and experience can light up your performance.


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