Jay Rigby, FOH Audio Engineer, Queens of the Stone Age

Jay-RIgby-QOTSA foh

Jay Rigby chose the SSL L500 console for Front of House duties on the 2018 Queens of the Stone Age world tour. In this video, at the Eden Sessions UK, he tells us about his creative approach to the QOTSA signature sound, dealing with mid-range frequencies, and working with an ever changing set-list.


0:00:10. –>
my name is jay rigby front for Queens of the Stone Age so this tour the whole cycle started about a year ago the last June myself and the monitor engineer Francois we jumped on in April of this year the other two engineers stepped away so we came on so we kind of inherited a lot of the stuff that was on stage we’ve made a couple changes to microphones and stuff to kind of suit us a bit better the engineer before me was using the SSL as well and I decided to keep it I had I’d used it on a tour previously with a band the war on drugs and a very close friend of mine Bob sprinkles on that so and I jumped in to cover him I was my first time on the desk really enjoyed using it and my other very close friend Kenny Kaiser is out of the killers has been beating me up to start using this

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thing for a while and to get him to stop yelled at me all the time yeah I decided to take it out onto this and have it look back I absolutely loved it so Queens of the Stone Age pretty straightforward rock n roll band drums bass two guitar players for the guys sing a couple keyboards on stage as well drums pretty straightforward four-piece drum kit he has some triggers as well for some specific samples for songs bass take that di and two microphones he’s got two amplifiers on stage one’s a Fender it’s kind of his main tone really broken up but distorted and a guild as well which is just a really really broken up kind of crazy sounding amp that ends up getting mixed it a bit three guitar players Josh Troy and Dean Dean and Josh of stereo rigs and there’s Palmer D eyes and mics on both of those and Troy over on stage right he’s got

0:02:02. –>
three guitar amps so he’s got a mane a boost and kind of like an effect same thing D and D I am Mike and each one of those and then some some keyboard lines and some vocals so all pretty straightforward those are coming from stage into my SSL stage racks there’s two of them and then out of that it comes out of the this analog split output over to Francois stage cage so we’re not utilizing a normal analog splitter which is really nice kind of cleans up the whole thing down there I came from carrying an analog console about the past five years and so I still mix in a very analog kind of way you know just really keep it simple and especially for a band like this where it’s just a straightforward rock-and-roll band you know there’s no playback there’s no click anything like that so kind of mixing to suit that you

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know stuff changes every single day you know this we get the setlist five minutes before the show you know starts so it’s kind of a very thrilling go style thing Josh our lead singer and main man hula-hula randomly call out song changes you know so you never know what’s gonna happen you never know what’s gonna you know so you can’t really get yourself too bogged down in any type of automation or anything like that because it just changes so quickly so from here for mixing the show this always stays on the vocals and keyboards this always stays on my VCAs and then from here I’m really to switch it between two or three banks really I’ve got a drum Bank bass guitar Bank and samples and a electric guitar Bank so pretty much only had to press three buttons throughout the whole show to get to anything I want to want to say

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I am using stems on this console for all my effects instead of the traditional way of an aux send into effect return which is great because it really frees up a lot of processing power in the console not that I’m anywhere near maxing this thing out at all but there’s a very interesting way of doing it so I enjoy that I’ve got all the instruments running through stems acting almost like a traditional group kind of way so a drum bus there’s a bass bus there’s a guitar bus and then also what that allows me to do is for broadcast situations I could send the broadcast truck just six stereo stems instead of giving the whole 48 channel fan out so that’s really helpful as well I personally I started completely from scratch I had some multitrack recordings so I was able to go in to the eighth day

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sound warehouse and set up the console and build a file interestingly enough my first show I did with these guys was and the first time I met them was at a headlining festival for about 50,000 people in Monterrey Mexico haha back in April and the first time I ever heard the band play through the console actually playing was the first song of the set headlining this festival so definitely a kind of throne in the in the deep end but it turned out great and it’s it’s been a it’s been a really crazy and wild ride ever since um yeah me with with these guys the the real challenge there’s three guitar players they all when you listen to a guitar part by itself might sound odd but when you put all three of those guitar parts together it makes the sound all the guitar parts are really in this mid-range area you know the band really

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embraces the this mid-range II kind of gnarly guitar sound a lot of people you know including myself would the first thing you do start pulling that out and try to smooth it out but the first thing Josh said to me was embrace the mid-range and just and just you know really get that out there and it’s really the feel like it’s the Queen’s its own each kind of signature sound so trying to have all three of those guitars sit together and not just be peeling it face off is a challenge and then we have Jon Theodore on drums who’s just an absolute monster of a drummer so that makes my job really easy you know he just he’s like a freight train yeah as the show goes on he just starts hitting harder and harder so between him and Mikey shoes the bass player it’s a really solid rhythm section so kind of just push that up and just let that sit behind it and drives the whole thing forward which is nice and then finally

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Josh as a vocalist pushes so much air after that vocal mic that you know not to that’s a you know put any to make my job salad easy but I mean the band really does make it easy by being such great players and giving myself and Francois so much to work with well the guitar is kind of just finding out really who’s playing what and it’s it’s a lot of mixing the whole time you know there’s other other bands that I’ve mixed for where you can kind of sit back and just let it happen these guys were and you were literally pushing and pulling stuff the entire time to get it to sit you know before it really just takes off and becomes just a crazy wall sound coming at you and the guys are really good about their tones they really really put a lot of time and effort into each specific sound to really get it sound like the record live

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so between that with some really great backline guys you know gives me a lot to work with out here which is nice but yeah it’s you know as I said earlier it’s really just riding by the seat of your pants you know you never know what’s gonna be coming at you so you really just got to be paying attention the entire time which again lends itself so much to this console having everything at your fingertips you know you can’t you can’t be going around looking for something you’re digging through banks of stuff to find we’re looking forward some time you get to where you’re going and you know the moments already past so that’s what I’ve liked so much about this that having everything right in front of me all the time and the other part of it is just how good the console sounds you know it’s the for me it’s the first console I found a digital console that sounds as good as an xl-4 and that’s always what I kind of tended to go back to with the with the XL for just how good it sounded you push a fader up and it sounds like a kick drum you know so that’s great and everything sums to the master bus really well on this especially the low mid stuff where a lot of their their tone is

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especially like the meat of the guitar the drums and bass it all kind of sits down there and a lot of times you find like it just doesn’t doesn’t really sound like it’s a rhythm section of a band playing you know all kind of sounds separated this stuff just has really comes together really nice in that low mid so that’s why I just felt it was so suited towards this band there’s there’s no trickery happening here I mean there are no waves no plugins none of that stuff I mean it’s a console you know I got a couple bits and bobs an outboard over here but that’s just from my time on the XO for it you have uses you have so used to having something and just being able to go over and you know touch it so we really don’t need any of that stuff you really could just have this console and it would sound amazing the preamps as well you know one of the recording I was using when I was building the show file was from a different branded digital console and when I finally got into this and

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even the line check with the back line guys that first show in Mexico just like it was night and day different going through the SSL preamps compared to the other manufacturers so it’s it’s really the whole package start you know starting from stage coming out to hear that it’s uh yeah it’s really second to none so one interesting thing I’m doing signal flow wise and I’ve done this on the on the Excel for as well and I brought it over to this and utilizing a stem by doing it is uh for the kick drum of the snare so I have to kick Mike’s kicking kick out coming into the console and then I am combining those in a stem and I’m calling that a kick group and I’m then compressing and doing my EQ on that group and in on analog console I would have to take that group and literally the XLR cable come out of the

0:11:02. –>
group back into another channel and and do it there and the reason I was doing that so I could still send the kick group and the snare group to the drum buss if you were just sending it to a group and not bringing it back into the console you wouldn’t be able to get in the drum buss so wouldn’t get to the broadcast truck or anything like that but in the SSL I’m doing that with a stem since you can send a stem anything and you can send that stem anywhere it’s just eliminating another processing path so both kick mikes into a stem and then that kick stem goes into the drum buss or drum stem and then from there to the master buss and I’m doing the same thing on the snare as well so snare top snare bottom into a snare stem and that snare stem into the drum boss so true choice Guitar Rig stage right he’s got three amplifiers one is always on it’s his main sound and he’s got the

0:12:00.9 –>
second amplifier they’re fair game before I kind of switch back and forth scan which one is on I’m using obviously all three of this channels but I am using the all pass filter in here to line those channels up when if you’re not using without the all pass filter they sound a bit phase II and it just a bit uncorrelated but by instead of trying to do a delay or you know a polarity versus anything like that that all pass filter really lets you dig in and get this get that guitar to sound really wide and and really like it’s just one one amplifier even though it’s two different amplifiers so that’s something that’s great I’m doing that on all three guitar players as well all pass to get get both those channels lined up so that’s that really helps a lot I think what’s so different about this band credit other bands I’ve done it’s just the hanging on by the seat of your

0:13:01.6 –>
pants you never know what’s gonna happen getting the setlist so late it makes it you know you kind of really look forward to the show because it could go any direction and the really cool thing about Josh is that if there’s ever like we had a situation where there was like a Golden Circle kind of thing and like a super VIP in the front and Josh will not stop until every person is into the show he will make it his mission to make sure everyone is really enjoying it and really good stout music and whether that’s a song change you know to get something like really heavy going it’s it’s an it’s an interaction between the band and the audience and it’s a given a take and it’s really you know audience interaction plays a lot part of it and that can kind of really almost decide whether the show goes you know like you know all the depending if the audience really good also might be going over here you know you but you just never know what’s gonna what’s gonna happen which makes it so exciting every night is special every night it’s different every

0:14:01.6 –>
night I mean they they wanted they for the best show that they ever that they could and and they want the audience to walk away feeling they saw something really special and it’s so nice to be a part of that ABB’s absolutely the the after that show Mexico we went in and did a production day in Austin because it was the first day our monitor engineer Francois came in as well and he did the same thing on his end he started from scratch and you know he had some playback as well but he wanted to do his own thing and put his own touch on it and Josh called me in the dressing room and we sat down and talked for about 45 minutes just about sound and the mid-range conversation about how important they all feels a band with their relationship with their for a NASA engineer that almost it’s a you know a another member of the band so it is also nice working for someone who

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cares so much about it and and that respect as well of you know what I’m doing out here and and what they’re doing on stage and how related it is so it’s really nice.

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