The illusionist and author, 51, talks about embracing his tech fails, no-screen cameras and CDs.
How techy are you?
I like low tech and hard buttons. I’ve got a home cinema and I said, ‘Can it be big, proper buttons? Like “on” and “off”?’ I don’t need a remote that also does the blinds and the security. I hate all that. I’ve got intercoms at home from the 1970s and I like the phone but I turn notifications off.
What’s the most important tech in your show?
Sound. Acoustics. I could be playing to 3,000 people, but if I only hear the first few rows, it feels like I’m rehearsing to 20. When the sound is just right – and the audience can hear me crisply, and I can hear the audience – it makes such a difference.
What tech do you take on tour?
I’ve been using a Kindle for 15 years. I still read proper books but I’ve embraced the ebook for touring. I don’t have the current Kindle because they’ve gone very big. The joy of a Kindle is sticking it in your pocket, so I still use the Oasis.
And your favourite tech?
My camera. Fifteen years ago I splashed out on a Leica and it was amazing. I’ve since had a book out on street photography [Meet The People With Love]. I’ve had a few Leica cameras because they’re lovely to use. My favourite is the M10-D. It’s a digital camera but there’s no screen, so that stops you from constantly checking.
Have you ever had a tech fail?
Anything that makes a show feel more present and not just a repeat of something that’s happening every night is really helpful. So I like those moments when a mic packs up or the projection goes down.
What’s your key home tech?
My coffee machine. I have a red La Marzocco Linea Mini. Like the Leica, it’s low-tech that does a simple thing well.
Earliest tech memory?
I had a little handheld Space Invader game, and an early video game called Pong. There were two joysticks attached to a plastic hub that you plugged into the TV, and you could play simple games of table tennis.
What tech would you bring back?
I’m developing an attachment to things I’ve had for a long time. I’m rediscovering old CDs. There’s something lovely about the experience of browsing through an index.
Any tech involved in your tricks?
There are clever electronic gadgets that, if you’re a jobbing magician, allow you to do miraculous stuff. I wouldn’t use it because what happens if you’ve got a thousand people staring at you and the batteries have run out?
Derren Brown: Showman opens at the West End’s Apollo Theatre tonight, running until March 2023, derrenbrown.co.uk