Today I’d like to discuss with you some invaluable information about working as a sound engineer. Whether it is in the studio or as a live engineer you are always providing a service for a client/customer and you must do your best to accommodate their needs.
This rant is brought on by my music ventures of Friday. I went to watch some amazing musicians perform for a University event and the musical content was completely butchered by a tech team who seemed to be a bit in the dark of their job role. Then later on during the day I watched Evermore and Maroon 5 perform at Rod Laver where I saw some people who obviously are very much into their job and were in complete control of the situations.
(I understand I am making a comparison between paid professionals and students but if you want to leave a positive impression treat your work like you are a top paid profesional).
Most sound engineers who work in the field posses the basic skills, to record, produce and mix both in live and studio scenarios but there is something that that most people overlook when working in their field. The thing that is overlooked is whilst providing a service is accommodating their clients needs.
The following list are a few things that are part of the service us engineers provide that aren’t necessarily part of our technical responsibilities.
-Stage Positioning (Are the musicians comfortable where they are? Can you accommodate quick re-organisations in stage equipment?) -[Plan Prior to show night]-
Instrument Changes and when they happen.(Have someone from the tech team sitting on the side ready to swoop through with the Instrument ready to go and tuned corresponding with the set list swaps)
-Set List (Ask if their are any extra mixing requirements they may need throughout the set)-Establishing Communication throughout the performance. (read sign language)
-Is the vocalist happy with their vocal levels?
Establishing fluent communication between performer and engineer is very important as the performer must have 100% confidence with their tech team any miscommunications or uncomfortable levels on stage may transfer over into the performance.
-The very first thing I request when beginning a studio venture with an artist is always a little playlist of the artists previous songs and some artists whose recording qualities and music has influenced theirs.
-Research, Research, Research!!!
-Track list, How many songs they will be recording, and what parts are being recorded in each track.
This is the perfect opportunity to get your teeth sinking into some sessions early set up the sessions in your DAW with all the tracks and patching to your Audio Interface. This will save a lot of valuable studio time. Pair these sessions with your research you should have done on their playlist, accommodating extra mic tracks, overdubs, midi tracks, etc etc.
-How do they feel most comfortable recording their tracks?
-As a group
-Paired up? Bass & Drums, Vocals & Guitar etc. etc.
Whilst accommodating this make sure all your headphone sends can be adjusted separately to one another on your DAW.
Thanks for listening to my rant fellow Amplagee’s!