What happens when you take Megatron (aka Calvin Johnson), the DJ Deadmau5, the movie TRON and the skills of a lifelong electrician and put them together?
You get KRYO, Detroit’s current and reigning champion of hometown spirit. You may have seen him covering the crowd in a cryogenic cloud outside of a nightclub or stomping around outside of a sporting event or simply walking around in all his blinking glory while throngs of EDM enthusiasts rock back and forth to the beats at Movement.
Who is Kryo? What exactly is this superhero/party favor that walks around Detroit at night like a 9-foot beacon of hope and spirit?
Operating the creative contraption is Kevin Niezurawski, a lifelong Metro Detroiter and Union Electrician for Local 58 (skills that probably come in handy), who loves the Motor City and is excited to be part of the new Detroit going forward.
“Presently the city is buzzing with new work and new faces every day,” Nierzurawski said. “Movies are being made. New businesses are popping up. We get a bad rap from crime and a certain mayor, not to mention bankruptcy. But the only way to move is to move forward. The city has a great history and amazing architecture, I have never had a bad time downtown.”
If you have seen Kryo you have certainly pondered what exactly makes the 9-foot operation go, and where did it all start?
After attending a few Deadmau5 shows, the trained electrician made a replica Deadmau5 head using LED lights, and it was a huge hit. Those pictures are available on Deadmau5’s Facebook page if you are curious. After those shows, he wanted to make something a bit more personal and somehow related to Detroit.
“You need to have an understanding of three-way switches, and even more importantly, you need to be able to calculate voltage and ampacity for 2400+ LED lights in order to not overload the circuit boards,” he added as we discussed the suit.
Not everyone can hop into something like Detroit Kryo and make it go. It takes the skills and talent of a professional electrician. So for all of you at home looking to create your own mascot, let this be your warning.
“The base material was all hand-sewn by me,” Niezurawski said. “There is a water jet cut Detroit D, and there is some hockey equipment in there, too. The backpack is a firefighter’s oxygen tank harness replaced with CO2, and to make me super tall I wear some stilts.”
Curious about Kryo’s future and where we might see more of him I asked Niezurawski about his recent successes and where he’d like to take Kryo in the future.
His first gig was at Grasshopper Underground in Ferndale over the recent holidays. A bit unsteady on his feet he began working on his craft and finally landed a paying job at ELEKTRICITY in Pontiac.
“The suit goes well with electronic music and that crowd, but I wanted more exposure,” he said. “I was a big hit at Tiger’s Opening Day, I was swarmed everywhere I went in the suit.”
This is a complicated piece of machinery and is not cheap to operate. It takes a lot of power and the CO2 is not cheap. To run the suit for an hour can cost upwards of $75.
Detroit Kryo costs about $150 to $200 dollars an hour, but that is simply a rough estimate. Each venue is different and has different crowd concerns and areas of performance.
“I would love to get paid to attend different functions. The sky is the limit. If you could see the look of children’s faces when they see me and all the hype it brings, I think it would be awesome to be inside Joe Louis Arena or Comerica Park. I would love to throw out the first pitch at a Tiger’s game… I have already been practicing,” Niezurawski said.
I mentioned before this sort of endeavor is not easy, so do your homework. Detroit, like Kryo, is in need of support. Going forward we are all in this together and with a little bit of support, faith and a belief in the impossible, Detroit will be once again home to thousands of blinking lights.
Let’s hope we see more of Detroit Kryo and those like him.