Ted Fletman – FOH Audio Engineer – Clutch

Ted-Fletman-FOH-Audio-Engineer-Clutch

Ted Fletman is the FOH audio engineer for Clutch, and has worked with other artists such as Corrosion of Conformity, Blind Melon, Baroness and Pallbearer. In this video interview with AudioCP, he shares his experiences learning audio mixing, as well as life on the road and how to approach mixing at festivals.

Video Text:

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guys thanks for joining us for another live sound engineers 101 this week i speak to Ted Fletman over in philadelphia who is the front of house engineer for clutch so ted thanks for joining me this evening just for the viewers who are watching can you just tell them a little bit about yourself um uh well my name’s ted uh i’m a live engineer here in the us i live in philadelphia um i’ve been doing sound uh professionally as a career for 10 plus years um i’ve been involved in sound in different ways for about 15 at this point um i started you know when i was 15 years old kind of

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as a as a kid looking for internships and opportunities and venues around philadelphia um i got really lucky had one person respond to my you know 75 emails um and i went and started interning and said wow this is really cool um and never really looked back um and 15 years later uh i have the best job in the world i work with the coolest people ever i get to do something fun every day yeah um yeah it doesn’t last now what kind of bands is it you’ve been working with who’s your regular bands that you’re doing uh well currently um i’m the front of house engineer for clutch um before that i’ve worked for a number of different bands i spent about three years doing monitors for baroness um i’ve had a couple of other little uh fun things in there i did monitors for blind melon for a couple of tours i did monitors um

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for uh enslaved for a couple of tours help them out drum tech for them a little bit which was way out of my comfort zone um but i kind of found myself living in the like hard rock heavy metal world um the very first band i toured with was a folk band from philadelphia and that was a wonderful experience um but after that i kind of found myself just networking with metal people um it just happened that way and kind of once you get into one little microcosm of our little microcosm you’re in with those folks and the more people you know the more gigs you get um but it just so happened that it was all around kind of heavy metal and hard rock yeah i was going to ask that because a lot of the guys that uh i know are younger engineers would always know want to know how do you get into these tours how did you get into your situations and uh as you said earlier on you know it’s that one person that answers the

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emails and it it’s about bombarding people but it’s been in the right place at the right time um yeah what do you think um it was about you that kind of made these people want to take you on board then um i i i think it was a lot of of uh my drive and ambition if i if i might be so bold um especially when i was starting out as a younger engineer um my first you know a few real tours uh i was always just naturally eager to learn and watch and see how the the headlining acts and the the other support acts above us conducted themselves um and and see what what worked what they did right uh sometimes what didn’t always work sometimes what i could see and go oh i can i can learn from that and i can make my experience better um so i was just kind of naturally curious when i started out

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um and i think that well now that i’m i’m in i’m not just starting out anymore i have younger folks who i see on tour and are naturally curious and that stands out to me as an engineer i go oh well you really want to know about this you don’t just like the flashing lights you want to know why this is happening or how this is happening and that always catches my attention yeah um so looking back i think it was just a lot of you know me being curious about stuff and being willing to not just shy away and sit in a corner and be to myself but like go introduce myself and say hey you know i’m just mixing the first band but you know why did it sound like that or what did you do or you know could i just check your mix out do you mind if i stand in the corner and watch yeah um yeah i stand behind a lot of the engineers who come through the doors um depending on the band and sometimes it’s you know you suddenly hear them i know the sound of certain rooms because i’ve worked on them loads and their bank come

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in and this in the get-go it sounds amazing and you are the kick sounds great you just walk over and go and you try and have a look and see what they’ve done because it’s the same desk as you’re on and you go so what they’ve done there that’s made that sound amazing and i can’t figure out um and i it’s not being shy about it i mean i quite gladly ask anyone yeah no you mentioned earlier on uh you started doing uh internships and stuff like that um was that in venues yeah um so the the very first uh gig i ever got was at as a uh an intern um at a venue that has had a long history here in philadelphia at the time it was called the great street philadelphia um it was a 400 capacity rock club that was also like same building was attached to like a nightclub discotheque and then we had like a little like acoustic space you know off to

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another side um and i started there and i probably spent my first two three weeks standing behind the house engineer taking notes during the show so i wouldn’t be bothersome and then at the end of the night it was okay well the first band i saw you do this let’s talk about that because luckily the person i was interning for um barb uh was very willing to teach me and take me on even though i was an unproven 15 year old working in a nightclub for free um she didn’t have any qualms about it i learned to wrap cables really quickly i learned to uh you know clean mics and make sure everything was taken care of really quickly and it slowly naturally evolved into occasionally i’d mix here there and then they paid me to mix in the acoustic room and then i would start filling in in the big room and i think that all happened over a period of

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two or three years um that i was there were these all um front of house jobs where you’re doing one or some front house or did you have the opportunity to just do monitor shifts and stuff well so i was actually very lucky um this club was one of the few well one of the few 400 cap clubs in philadelphia to begin with but also the few one of the few clubs of that size that had a dedicated monitor desk right um so if i remember correctly it was like monday through wednesday we had some routing to do monitors from front of house because they were kind of our quiet off nights we didn’t want to pay for a second engineer um and then thursday friday saturday we’d open up monitor world and uh you know do that for kind of the weekend um thing and i think my first shifts were sitting back in monitor world figuring it out um and in retrospect that was uh that was a really really

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good move um because i find if uh especially when you’re just learning if you can tackle monitors and you can get past that yeah moving out to front of house is really easy and it’s a lot of fun and it’s freeing and you can let your hair down and have a good time but i would not have wanted to go the other direction i think moving to monitors after learning front of house would have been um scary was someone showing you how to do this or was was it literally you’re doing a mono shift and you sat there and then right how did i do this figured out there was explanation luckily um the the monitor engineer they had at the time uh is still a very good friend of mine and he was very willing to you know let me kind of watch him and give me you know the very basic tips and tricks of all right you’re in this scenario and this happens what do you do um they had me learning frequencies

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from like the second i walked in the door uh and you know he would sometimes step back for a band when i was just watching all right your turn step up do it and he’d be there in case something went awfully wrong yeah because my whole employment there was so under the books and semi-legit that um he had to be there um but after a while it was like all right this kid kind of knows at least how to do it so yeah you know give them a wednesday give them a thursday give them an easy night so how did you get picked up then by like clutch or blame merlin or corrosion conformity i mean it’s it’s my entire career has been word of mouth and and just meeting someone who knows someone who calls someone who can’t do the gig so they say call ted yeah um the the first band i worked with uh was a band called hoots and hellmouth and they were a local folk band from

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philadelphia and actually i was i was in college at the time i did two years of uh university um and at the very beginning of my third year uh the the same woman who gave me my first internship barb called me up one day and said hey there’s this folk band they’re looking for a young engineer who’s ready to go how do you feel about taking a few months off school and going on tour getting some real world experience i said oh that sounds fantastic and uh i didn’t finish school yeah and i’ve been touring ever since yeah i was basically i bet you didn’t even have to think about that one you know do you want to go on tour yes do i want to go do the job that i am in school hoping to do sometime in the future or do i want to jump at the opportunity work real hard and have the job that i want to have yeah it was not a hard decision as with everybody i talked to and a lot of people i know it really is about the opportunities

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that you get but it’s putting yourself out there and you just don’t know what a small thing will lead to you know it’s like sewing the mustard seed yeah and i’ve seen this to i was actually spending my wife about it last night you know it’s you just don’t know what come from anything um and i remember years ago randomly deciding to go into a job in dubai but personally i was away with that led to another job which they led to another job like another job they kept on growing to know where i’m at you know just from something that i normally wouldn’t have went and done you know and i say that to a lot of people when they ask about opportunity something do all everything you can possibly do talk to everybody you know and it’s all about relationship because if you do if you come across in the wrong way then you will not continue to be successful or wanted you know it’s about

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being a nice guy you know um and how you come across others and exactly and that’s what i was gonna i was gonna ask about like you mentioned a bit clutch how long you’ve done clutch for then so i i’ve been with clutch uh since uh february of 2019. um so i’m relatively new with them um obviously we haven’t done a ton this year uh but last year was was pretty full and um and a lot of fun um and it just how does it work in terms of um you’re with them so like last year when you were their engineer would you get the opportunity to still work for some other bands or you’re pretty much committed to them for a period of time um well yes and no um when i got the gig with clutch uh they’re they’re such a a good band a good group of guys and a

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consistently touring band that um for me it was the ability to finally say okay i’m going to tour with one band it’s going to be consistent it’s going to be good and i’m going to be able to be home the rest of the time yeah um i spent a lot of years kind of trying to fill every uh every available moment i had with touring and um it makes home life really hard and it’s nice to not have necessarily a good balance because that is hard to do when you’re gone nine months of the year um but be able to say when i’m not on tour i’m gonna be home i’m not gonna be you know waiting for the next tour like sitting home for a week and then leaving again you know i’ll be home for two weeks three weeks whatever this actual off period is yeah it’s good to have that uh security as well you know it’s very rare um to stay solid

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now out of all the bands you’re doing the and you talked about front house and monitoring what would you class yourself as are you uh a general both of them or your specific monitors are from the house um i i would class myself as both um i think uh while they’re very very different distinct jobs with their own um their own workflow and their own needs and their own ways of thinking um part of how i feel is if if you’re a live sound guy you’re a live sound guy um if you want to do mostly front of house fantastic if you want to do mostly monitors fantastic but you should be able to do both you should be interchangeable are you got preference though if you for what you prefer don’t get or does it depend on the band i i think it partially depends on the band i’d be lying a little bit if i said i didn’t prefer front of house just to touch

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um mainly because that is that’s where i get to be creative um that’s where especially i’m very lucky with clutch uh when i started with them um [Music] you know i did talk to the band about is there anything specific you’re looking for is you know what what do you want from me um and they basically said you know what we sound like make us sound like that okay cool um awesome i i have freedom to do it and it’s it’s worked out really well there’s uh we have a lot of really great communication between me and the band about what they’re looking for you know if we want to try new things we can try them um and i think for front of house it’s just you know i i get to mix what i want to hear which just happens to be what the crowd also wants to hear most

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of the time um but that being said i really enjoy the challenge of monitors um i enjoy having to be critical and be attentive and be thoughtful and i really like problem solving and when you’re when you’re a front of house guy you’re out there you’re detached if there’s a problem yeah i hope someone else is on the other end of the snake but when you’re the monitor guy or even the patch tech you’re there something goes wrong you got to figure it out and you got to keep your cool while you do it because if you start getting frazzled or start just yanking things and looking for the issue with no real direction you’re going to make things worse or you’re not going to solve the problem so you have to be able to take a breath even if everyone’s yelling at you because the whole show’s gone wrong and you just have to jump in and do it and i think there’s a lot of fun with that kind of pressure for me yeah it’s also the test of character and

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how you are because people see that and go well they can work under pressure and something goes wrong that’s the kind of guy they want and in terms of your setup then with clutch when you’re tuning with them do you what what you can a desk you’re on what you’re actually touring you’re touring a full production package or are you one of those tours where no you get to take a desk in mike’s um so uh we’re lucky with clutch they were very early adopters of the midas pro gear um so i mix on a pro two um we have we own one in the states and we hire one abroad for the most part um and that’s just kind of been a standard we also we have two pro twos so we do have a monitor guy as well with us um we share head amps which normally i would be against but given the consistency it saves space it’s easy the monitor guy and i are on the same page about everything um we do mostly tour

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or we’re were touring uh full production um we had an ld we were renting uh full lighting production um and it’s it’s it’s a big rock show but it’s not uh over the top we’re not doing stage props we’re not doing big sets it’s some well-placed lights and consistent audio and good gear and we just kind of let the bands do what they do yeah that must because you’re obviously you’re using your own desk you’ve got that kind of security knowing that you’re fine and pro tools are everywhere so they’re easy to pick up if something goes wrong um now in terms of you touring with that it’s pretty straightforward then in terms from soundcheck perspective and mixing you’ve you’ve pretty much nailed it and in per gig is it just a wee bit fine tweaking soundchecks quite faster then um soundchecks are pretty quick for the most part um

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i mean because i have my own desk it is pretty tweaked every day that being said it’s not at it’s not at all uncommon for us to just throw something new into the mix for fun because we’re curious because uh you know someone wants an ant changed out to try something new um so as much as it is like safe and secure and i can kind of pick it up every day get the room and the pa where i want it and hopefully the mix translates the same um we always throw new challenges at ourselves because it would just get boring if you didn’t yeah i mean that’s always going to ask as well because if you’re mixing the same thing all the time um how it could change it up slightly yeah okay well and and with clutch as well um we never really play the same set list it’s a it’s a new set list every night

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um so i i get the set list before the show i look at it and go oh cool i guess we’re doing that tonight awesome and then i go out and mix a brand new set so even going into the show there’s an era of surprise and fun even for me out front you know it’s not like okay well same set list we’ve been doing for the last 35 days one more time do you use uh scenes at all within the pro 2 or is it just mixed per person yeah i um i use my scenes as basically days um i say one scene per day and then i mix the show as the show happens um especially because the it’s always different so i couldn’t it would be extremely difficult for me to sit there and like actually program scenes for every song because the catalog’s so deep um and they pull from so much of the catalog so often you know i’m i’m the scenes i

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i know how the songs are and what happens and if there’s something new or different and you know we figure it out so ted with in terms of venues and festivals obviously when you’re going to tour it’s a venue tour or arena tour field production you get sound check set up all great what’s the difference when you go to do a festival gig um there are a lot of differences um almost everything is different except the fact that you do a show at the end of it um if you’re lucky uh you’re headlining your stage at that festival um and that means you’ll have the earliest load in in the day you’ll have time to kind of preset stuff run your lines if you’re lucky you’ve got time to go through a quick sound check um usually it’s so early in the day that uh even if the band is around to sound check a lot of the times this is happening at eight in the morning and we’ve gone to sleep at you know 2

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a.m so yeah we’ll do just like a little roadie line check we’ll get all the stage guys out there doing their thing just to get kind of a feel for what’s going on but more often than not it’s just going to be what we call a throw and go um you’ll have whatever changeover period between the band before you on that stage and the band after you on that state or you on that stage and that’s your time to do everything um [Music] now luckily a lot of festivals especially larger stages where you have the square footage you’ll be able to preset some stuff kind of behind the curtain yeah um so generally what we’re able to do is uh even though usually we don’t use any risers for clutch at all not even a drum riser um for festivals a lot of times what we’ll do is preset stuff um on the lowest risers we can get

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so that when changeover does come around rather than having to take each you know guitar amplifier out one at a time we’ve got three risers that are all on wheels they can just roll out go right into place um and then the way we carry all our cabling is very straightforward and i can have a lot of stuff kind of pre-cabled or half cabled so that when we get to the actual changeover the 30 minutes we have to get stuff on stage everything plugged in and checked i can just roll my stuff on connect a few last-minute cables say this goes there and i’m ready to go do you ever get a chance to do virtual soundcheck or anything with those guys or any other plans you’ve worked with um yeah so recently i have been doing uh virtual soundchecks with clutch um it’s you know it’s become very easy in this day and age i just have my laptop and uh a couple of uh kt usb devices um at front of house uh to kind of go

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back and do multi-tracking but on a festival changeover you don’t even have that kind of time no no um no no the first time i hear the pa on a festival changeover with my stuff is when i ask the drum tech to hit that kick drum that’s the first time i hear the pa do what i i’m gonna make it do um [Music] i do a lot of prep work throughout the day i tend to spend a lot of time like going out to front of house for different bands before us to to get a feel for generally you know what the pa sounds like through a couple of different acts maybe i listen to the systems tech mix a couple of bands and then some touring guys come in and i listen to that as well just to get like you know a general idea of what i’m starting with um but the first time i hear the full pa kick on for the first song is when the first song happens um there’s

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really no ability to like sit there and fuss with things or line check or sound check the way i would do it a normal venue show so do you find that the first couple of songs is where you’re starting to do your adjustments to to be happy or you get that radication where actually just from the get-go it just sounds great once in a blue moon you get really really lucky and the pa is right the day is right the temperature is right your mix is just right and everything comes together and that first song kicks on and you go ooh that sounds really good i’m really happy about that but more often than not you’re gonna spend the first song two songs tweaking and listening and figuring out and and a lot of that is going to not necessarily be tweaking your mix but tweaking the pa itself and how it’s responding because your mix especially with us because we carry all

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of our production the mix is there i’m worried about the output to the audience and that’s where i spend a lot of my first two songs listening and seeing if pulling this frequency helps maybe maybe a little less bust compression is going to let this pa breathe a little more you know those kind of ideas i guess i mean the festival gig sounds a hell of a lot more work you know there’s a lot more prep and then you’ve got that 30 minute bit of stress of everybody’s on it get it done yeah um and i i wouldn’t change it for the world uh festivals are one of the most fun enjoyable show experiences i think i personally have because it’s so challenging and because it’s a different set of challenges um it’s it’s much harder to do and it’s much more pressure because you don’t have any

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time to fix stuff if it goes wrong if something goes wrong your set time starts at you know 2 30 in the afternoon whether you like it or not whether you’re ready or not your set starts then and you have to have it on track um so it’s high pressure it’s high stress it’s scary but it’s also really rewarding when you do it yeah and you get you know into the the third fourth song and you’re comfortable and you’re going this is really fun this is really cool i guess i mean when you’re working with a band constantly and on tour um it’s pretty much second nature everything you’re doing anyway you know but yeah i can imagine the the pressure even more if you were actually just standing in for somebody you know or that’s when you really go about test the character and i’ve i’ve been in that situation as well like hey can you come fill in for me for one show that happens to be an outdoor festival with a 25 minute changeover and yeah i can it’s even scarier but

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it’s even that much more rewarding when you do accomplish it and you’re able to go that was really hard to do yeah and i gave everything to make it happen and it happened are you very hands-on when you’re doing the actual up in that half an hour or you pretty much you’re either from the house or you’re at monitor world and the the festival techs are doing everything for you no i am i am hands-on no matter what whether it’s at a venue whether it’s at a festival um i’m not a white glover so to speak um i’m happy to give people things to do if you’re there to help i’ll give you work but i’m not gonna sit back and watch my work be done for me um i also am very aware having come from years of doing monitors that the more comfortable everybody is on stage the easier my job is going to be out front and especially at a festival i mean yes there’s a lot of work to do at front of house but the biggest thing to do is just make

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sure you’re interfacing with the pa right so whereas i have kind of one thing to focus on once the set starts everybody on stage has 87 million things to focus on once the set starts and if i can help them get to a better place on stage quicker that’s going to make the show run better for everybody because then i can just more effectively do my work out front yeah in terms of like patching and stuff like that do you rely on the festival text to do the patching because obviously it’s been set in a certain way do you give them just your channel list say this is what i need do it kind of thing um no i’m very hands-on with my patching at festivals uh mainly because the system we have is so tightly locked down everything is as labeled as humanly possible i could very easily and have many times handed my sub snakes and my cables over to whatever festival tech and gone

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can you get a start on this for me and everything’s color coded it’s obvious where it goes it’s obvious what plugs into what and where the other end of the line ends up um so i’ve made it as easy as possible for anyone to really be able to pick it up and just roll with it um our monitor engineer al is also extremely uh involved in that that whole situation you cannot you can go to either one of us ask the same question and we’re gonna give you the same answer um same thing with our our stage right tech dave he’s a he’s a you know jack of all trades and master of them all as well so you could probably go to him ask an audio related question and chances are pretty good he’d know the answer right then and there so we try to make it as easy as possible to get everything done no matter who you are um that being said a lot of the times it’s just faster for me to sit there and plug some cables in while we have you know

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10 minutes before our changeover and everything’s on the skids already doesn’t take me very long do you have um any of the festivals um not just with those guys that you you have to use the equipment that they’ve got on stage there isn’t an opportunity for you to bring in your desk and your equipment what happens in that scenario um you roll with it you you figure it out uh hopefully uh the the festival texts are good enough that there’s at least something to start from with you know basic labeling and maybe a little bit of eq and compression here and there but um i’ve i remember years ago i did a festival um with a stoner rock band where i didn’t it was my first time on an sd5 um i didn’t have a file uh the housetech didn’t have like some sort of house patch file so i just kind of picked up whoever was

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mixing before me looked at their file said all right plug them into those holes i don’t have eight toms i have three so we’ll use the first three channels and as the first song kicked on just went through and started changing everything and it was stressful and it was really hard and it probably took me longer than it should have um but you don’t have a choice you can’t sit there and argue about it you just have to say all right what is the easiest and quickest route to get all of us to the show yeah and you have to take that do you if you’re if you’re going to a venue or a festival then that has you have to use their desk you know what it’s going to be will you will you most likely have a show file already done for that or something you do in an offline editor to prep um yes now nowadays yes if i were showing up to a festival um using house production i would absolutely ask for their spec sheet

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build a file to my desires and my specifications and also make sure that that file will be able to be loaded on site um being a digico guy you know how specific some of that process can be and it would not be the first time i’d showed up to a show gone hey i’ve got an sd10 file and the house tech goes ooh yeah we’re not loading anyone else’s file today which because i’ve been lucky here in the states i’ve gotten to work on a lot of digico i kind of go oh come on dude you just have to do a couple of things it’s not that hard but if you don’t know exactly how to do it it could be show ending and you don’t want to do it and i can understand that perspective um so you always make sure hey i’m going to bring a show file you’re going to be able to load this for me right or you have an offline desk somewhere at front of

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house that you can configure files on before we load them onto the actual desk so you always need to make sure everyone’s on the same page and never take anything for granted yeah i’ve had many an instance where people have turned up my show file and yeah it’s not worked especially the digico um and then you’ve got that pressure off you’ve got half an hour change over you go over it you you just tell the engineers you sit at the desk you sort it all out we’ll sort out everything else for you and you always get it done but you just see that sweat about to pour down them yeah and i mean especially with digico you know you start the conversation well what software version are you on i oh man that came out yesterday and you already upgraded oh i don’t and it just becomes a mess yeah that exact thing happened to me your festival last year guy turned up with a brand new show file from a five-day release just nothing you can do yeah won’t load sorry yeah um

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now in terms of the band and are they quite comfortable just kind of walking on stage and going for it they’re quite happy because they they trust you and know that it’s all good yes um luckily uh with these guys uh there’s a massive amount of trust within the crew the band everyone involved they know that we’re gonna do our job to the best that we can every day to get them the best result every day um more often than not at festivals the first time they get on stage is when they walk out for that first song uh and they know things are gonna be right um and they are right we have a lot of consistency built in we have a consistent mic package consistent cabling consistent engineers consistent consoles the whole band is on in-ears so that’s even another level of consistency um so we’ve gotten very good to the

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point where everything just kind of falls into place and if there’s a problem we can isolate it very quickly and solve that problem and be ready to move forward in a timely manner and the band trusts that by the time they’re there and ready to go we’re ready to go and we are yeah now for any engineers who uh are used to doing venues or just gigging are a bit about touring and they’ve got the first time they’re actually going to go and do the festival circuit what kind of advice would you give them um don’t don’t think too hard but don’t not think um if you show up if you’ve got three festivals in a row that are all you know is all going to be you know k2 over uh ks28 um that second show might not sound the same as that first show that pa might be set up slightly different the weather conditions might be slightly different so don’t just look at it and assume oh well it’s the

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same gear it’s all going to do exactly the same thing because that’s all in theory and theory’s fantastic but the reality of the situation is always very different um so don’t have any expectations going into something the specs could look awful and then you hear the pa and it sounds great or the specs could look fantastic and then you hear the pa and it sounds like garbage um [Music] make sure that everything that you’re carrying with you is very well labeled um not only with your name and and the artist’s name but also just what it is if you’re carrying a cable package and you might know how it all goes together in your head that cable package needs to be labeled in such a way that you can hand it to somebody else with no explanation and it will make sense um color coding is very helpful um and the the one question i actually had going into my first like

0:38:02.1 –>
big festival season season i asked a friend like how do you eq the pa because i’m used to you know having 10 minutes to listen to my test tracks and get an idea it’s like first time i’m hearing this thing is when the band comes out and does their thing how do you eq the pa and he kind of looked at me and he said well what frequencies do you always pull out kind of thought about it for a second i was like yeah all right i always end up with more or less something little here something little here he’s like use that as your starting point that’s what you do most of the time start there if you have to put them back put them back if you have to take more stuff out take more stuff out but at least that gives you a starting point rather than just going in completely flat every day because i like to also ask some of the engineers who have just been on go anything anything you want to pass on

0:39:00.8 –>
or you also find that the system tech who’s been there and designed the system and set up it’s done a pretty good job most of the time it’s very rare whether you you have to do much yes and and it’s actually it’s it’s interesting when i started doing festivals in europe as opposed to the states that’s where i started seeing more consistency between um festival pas even if they were different manufacturers or whatever uh here in the states there’s a lot of different opinions a lot of different places about what your pa should sound like and so i’ve done festivals on you know like i was saying like i’ve got a k2 rig at two festivals in a row and they’re wildly different why i don’t know they shouldn’t be but they are um but going over to europe it was like wow yeah i don’t really have to worry about this too much anymore i mean i still have to deal with it a little bit but it’s consistent from day to day and that

0:40:00.6 –>
dude actually knows what this pa does need now obviously you’ve been working proto4 when you were starting out um the venues and stuff what was it you were learning on back then um so the very first consoles i ever mixed on were an allen and heath ml4000 and gl 4000 um and they were a whole lot of fun um especially at you know 15 16 years old it was like whoa there are a lot of knobs here and i can push this and this flashes this is all really awesome so that was a very cool experience um but i mean man i i worked at a club with a you know 16 channel yamaha rack mounted thing um when you’re wearing yes when you were learning monitors then were you doing an analog desk oh yeah oh wow i i i learned uh all about audio on analog

0:41:00.2 –>
i i came to digital uh probably probably about the time i started touring uh 2021 in there um so yeah i spent a lot of time on analog because that’s what was in little rock clubs because it had been forever um that was very awesome what’s it like um at the moment over there in terms of there’s no gigs happening no nothing like that no same as over here yeah um a lot a lot of bands have uh as i’m as i’m sure is the same for you have gone to doing various sort of streaming things whether it’s live streaming or or pre-recorded like you know shows for no crowd um but no we can’t do any shows at the moment i don’t think we will be anytime soon but i’m not a medical professional yeah it’s hard because

0:42:00. –>
obviously venues like the garage and the car house swc that i’m i’m involved in um heavily rely on touring acts and a hell of a lot of them are from america and so we just don’t know because how long it’s going to take to get things started and then they start planning tours to then sell tickets for tours to then get over here when we can actually get back to doing anything i guess it’ll be more local tours for yourselves than everything before um i think that that has to be the way it kind of starts out because you know before you start talking about crossing international borders you have to be okay within your own borders and you know start with some regional shows maybe get a little bigger and then move back to international touring at some point but it’s not quick have they got anything but any of the bands or if you get anything but then coming up at all not really no

0:43:03. –>
um i’ve i’ve been lucky enough to be involved with some of the live streaming that clutch is doing but um there’s there’s really aside from a few drive-in concerts that i’ve been like on house crew right for um it’s it’s pretty sparse has there been much of the drive-in concerts over there they’re a good bit yeah yeah they’ve been successful they worked do you think some have um some haven’t uh the the drive-in we had here um it’s not it happened for maybe a few weeks during the summer i think they made a really smart decision and they decided to do the whole broadcast over fm transmission exclusively so there was no pa there were no subs but i feel like it also tied everyone to their car so everyone could still enjoy but

0:44:01.4 –>
you know be responsible because there were some some videos circulating around of other drive-in shows with full pa where social distancing just went to as soon as the subs kicked in which i understand you’re back in a show you want to be with your friends and feel the music but i’m sorry you can’t right now it’s funny because it was uh another nervous talk team mackie a few weeks ago and he’d mentioned that um it was interesting he said what’s going to be really strange is people experience the feeling of sub because we’ve probably went for so long not feeling sub that when you start mixing again or people like gigs they might go oh that’s too much because they’re not used to the fact of feeling the feeling of it um so i wonder if that will change you know or we suddenly go i just want more i

0:45:00.4 –>
want to actually feel the music for once i that is i was actually talking to a friend about it the other day i haven’t heard subs since march and i miss it i miss hearing 50 and 40 hertz it just you know even if i crank my car up here responsibly it just doesn’t do the same thing i think tonight after this interview i’ll go into the warehouse and set up some sb28s i’ll just just sub i’m just going setting this up yeah 40 hertz oscillator just for an hour you’ll be good for a while you’ve also mentioned the the handful of bands you’re oh you do a lot is there any specific gig or artist that you’ve mixed that is a standout that you always remember of that moment of this is why i do it i i remember just being amazed at

0:46:01.2 –>
um i remember the the very first night i mixed monitors for blind melon um i mean everyone knows the song no rain it’s you know even if you don’t know the title of it go listen to you yes everyone knows that so whether you know it or not you know that song even my kids know that song exactly it’s it generations don’t matter it’s everyone knows that song what blew me away was how much of their catalog i knew without knowing it and kind of being able to sit there at monitors that first night and go oh this is fun i like this song too oh yeah this one i remember this oh that’s oh this is cool and it was just one of those rare first night gigs where it just worked and it went smoothly and everyone was happy and everyone was comfortable and it was a good time and i got to hear

0:47:00.3 –>
songs that i hadn’t heard for a long time and there’s you know there’s a little something fun about having worked for blind melon you know they they haven’t been around for a long time and they had this uh this kind of resurgence that was a a real pleasure to be part of a part of the singers at shannon cahoon isn’t it um well it was so that was that’s part of the reason they weren’t around for a while yeah um so yeah shannon hoon died um embarrassingly i don’t know um but uh they have a gentleman named travis singing for them now and he is he’s very different he’s his own performer but that doesn’t take away from how wonderful the show is and how good the performance is and how good they all are as musicians life on the road um obviously it’s got a lot of its good

0:48:01.4 –>
points what’s kind of the bad points from your perspective the things that you really get on your work um not being able to to have the same level of uh home life that a lot of your peers do gets can be difficult um i’ve been personally very lucky uh my fiance has always been extremely supportive of what i do and understanding of what i do and also um understanding of the fact that we’re not living in the 70s and 80s anymore and it it isn’t sex drugs and rock and roll every night you know this is we have fun and we have a good time but it’s a job and it’s professional um but it is hard to maintain relationships when you’re gone

0:49:00.2 –>
for long periods of time there’s a lot of kind of extra work and effort you have to make sure you’re putting in because if you don’t you know it’s very easy for communication to break down and oh sorry we haven’t talked for five six seven days all of a sudden because i’ve been on tour having fun with my buddies but she’s at home taking care of our two dogs you know it’s good to talk it’s good to communicate and it’s good to remind yourself that you need to communicate whether it’s with parents whether it’s with a loved one whether it’s with siblings it doesn’t matter but maintaining those ties at home is really important and can be difficult sometimes yeah out of the shows i mean you’re talking most of the uh the music involved it’s kind of a heavy rock and so on um and a lot of those shows are very similar if you had any um shows which have been uh a challenge

0:50:00.2 –>
from a sound engineer’s perspective something that you’ve suddenly went this is going to be your comfort zone and you’ve really had to think at it um i mean plenty of times uh as as a house engineer especially as as you know too you know you’re not always sure what the day is gonna throw at you and sometimes you show up and maybe you were expecting like a a nice duo acoustic knight but they’ve decided to bring along a horn section and a cello player and a backup singer and all of a sudden you’ve got an 11-piece band on stage um i think the the moments that i can think of being most challenging are having having a lot thrown at you and having especially as a monitor engineer having a lot of eyes on you and having to deliver that second and do it right the first time because

0:51:01. –>
you’ve got 12 people to worry about on stage no i’m sorry i don’t have time to come back to you for that little bit of extra kick drum you want right now we got to get through 12 people here yeah um and i can’t really pick out a specific show but like those are the moments i remember especially being young being kind of a deer in the headlights like oh where do i even start i don’t even know it’s when the band all jump in and it’s like or you get the bass player saying oh can the drummer get more kick and you’re like what and you’re wondering why he’s asking for his you know and i remember that early days of doing monitors where you just you did you get every single band member looking at you the exact same moment but i think it also depends on the band because the there’s the bands who know the best way to approach sound checks you know the ones that do the yeah you know are and you just know oh

0:52:00.8 –>
sweet it’s going to be one of those gigs you know or you get the cheat sheet of the monitor cheat sheet that’s probably way off and way wrong but at least it’s a start it’s it’s funny you mentioned like even with the cheat sheet when i’ve gotten them as monitor engineers i mean when i was when i was younger i would definitely look at them and go okay that’s what that person wants in that mix i’m gonna do that exactly but at this point when i’ve gotten the cheat sheet i always try to form if i’m actually doing monitors for you if you don’t have your own engineer i always try to form some sort of working relationship with the musician even if it’s just going to be for one night um i don’t subscribe to this this thinking that you know as as a crew guy you kind of need to lay back and just wait for wait for you to be called upon um if i’m working for you i’m gonna come out and introduce myself i’m going to let you know who i am

0:53:00.8 –>
if you need anything from me i’m going to be right over there as we go through this sound check i’ll make sure everyone’s happy but i’m not shy about it because i want you to know that i’m going to be involved with your sound check and i want you to be happy i’m not just going to sit back there grumpily and wait for things to happen or wait for you to say hey can i get some kick drum in my wedge i want to be proactive because i want this to go quickly and easily and i want everyone to be comfortable yeah i think sometimes the way i look at it is the monitoring engineer really does become another member of the band on stage you know and it’s that way of being to communicate between them being able to read them because obviously bands who have been working together for a long period of time they just know where they’re going and they can feel themselves staged but if you’ve got that relationship with them you know straight away as well so you become a wee bit tighter that’s one of the reason i really like how to do monitors because you feel like you’re involved in the gig

0:54:01.1 –>
you know or even if you’re a festival and you’re doing it and you just look you look out and you have that moment where you’ve got thousands of people out there everything’s going well the mix is great nobody’s complaining and you’re just like this is why you do it yeah and then the power goes down and you go you go oh cool time to try to fix something great what’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you a gig oh man um or is that a list you know what i i was kind of trying to think about this a little bit um i’ve been extremely lucky i haven’t had too many really awful situations there’s there’s one specific moment i can think of that was just amazingly embarrassing um i was doing a gig at the masonic temple in detroit which is a rather

0:55:02. –>
large and impressive space and it was my first time there and uh on the midas on the pro 2c as you know the automation buttons are right next to the tap tempo button and i’m a fairly vigorous tap tempo guy and i was kind of getting into it having my fun and i hit one of the scene buttons and recalled the muted scene from last night and that was really weird um but after an initial moment of i just broke everything everything’s done um you kind of go oh all right screwed that up cool unmute everything again all right i guess i guess that eq change didn’t save all right we’re gonna tweak some stuff again real quick all right we’re back you know yeah it was embarrassing yeah some people turned around yeah i think someone on stage was kind of like looking out going let’s something’s different yeah you’re not the first person to tell me that story no no and i won’t be the last it’s it’s

0:56:02.4 –>
the same in the sd series or argan sd9 and you’ve got the next snapshot button which is very much near your master screen and yeah i’ve been there yep it’s not a nice feeling no but i it’s more embarrassing than anything else because nothing’s truly gone wrong um i you know i’ve been lucky enough to never have like actually blown up someone’s pa by accident um i have i’ve heard some stories um but i’ve never had that happen to me um because that would probably be on on a list of things of like oh i that up bad and luckily i’ve only done or i was involved in one gig where the touring engineer blew a couple of the subs and this is a quite a big turing engineer known and uh in a smaller venue

0:57:02.3 –>
spent yeah literally 45 minutes with smart trying to make it trying to make a pa sound the way it couldn’t possibly it was a small place and yeah blue 2 18-inch subs and i was mixing the support so that happened during the sound check so then from there it just not fun not fun whatsoever and i’ve only and another gig where i was uh it was actually a festival and they were using uh my cara sword carahans for the main stage but i was actually looking after another stage and i just happened to pop back to the main stage because there was an sd9 there and i needed to update a file and i just happened to be on the side of the stage updating my file and this was in between the bands and suddenly there was a horrendous noise went through the whole system a really horrendous digital noise and andy front house luckily

0:58:01.6 –>
managed to just switch the desk off it was a pro two don’t know what happened something just went wrong with the pro 2 and it was luckily one of those moments i was there at stage nearly all the power amps switch but my heart sank a because you’re talking 5000 people standing in front of you and it’s my pa system and you have yeah you’re thinking of all the work you’re gonna have to do to fix that later on yeah and i’m like please please don’t this is when halfway through the saturday of a festival weekend oh luckily it all went fine but it was just a loose board in the pro 2 and my heart sank you always have that moment of oh no yeah and then you can recover and fix the problem but there’s always that moment i was doing a another festival date and i was looking after the stage i was looking after was my pa system and had an outboard

0:59:03.1 –>
crossover rack which wasn’t in iraq it was just they were all loose loose cables sitting in front of the house and uh one of those ones if you went near it and touched it the power would go off on the other good yeah really handy um but the thing is when it reset it would lose the presets for the crossovers that was hammed a handful of times over a weekend like show it would just go down come back up no crossovers no processing luckily the only times that happened was in between bands luckily but it was one of those moments of we need that sorted we need there was eventually was sorted but yeah again it was one of those you you can’t relax because you’re just waiting please don’t and you’re you’re talking to it and engineers coming in and it just happens to have these re-racks so yeah it’s uh

1:00:02 –>
squeaky bum time really good oh that’s terrifying to sum things up i mean you’ve said a lot of uh things about being um your personality and just come across well and somehow don’t be a dick as how many of the other guys have said it what what’s your advice for the younger engineers who want to get into the industry or want to get to your position out with touring bands um don’t be shy ask questions ask questions ask questions just ask them if you want to know about something find someone who knows about it and ask questions and when you’re not asking questions try to figure it out on your own because there’s no there’s no replacement for teaching yourself because you can make 99 mistakes in a

1:01:00.6 –>
row and then you do it right the hundredth time and you have that moment that light bulb moment that goes i get it now i know why that happens and i know how that happens and that is not only a wonderful feeling but something that is going to propel you to want to get better every day um because the last thing you should be doing in our industry is not learning there’s always something new to learn always a new technique a new piece of software a new way of thinking you know there’s always something to talk about and figure out and experiment with um so just ask questions tap the engineer on the shoulder and ask why that is that way maybe don’t interrupt them in the middle of a song but like you know when they have a moment hey hey can i come take a peek i i always i share my mix i’m not one of those folks

1:02:02 –>
that’s like oh no these are my tricks and my secrets no if you want to see what i’m doing come see what i’m doing i’m i’m all about that because maybe you’ll figure out how to do it a better way and i’ll learn something from you down the road brian well ted thank you very much for your time sir thank you for sharing your guys absolute pleasure thank you so much for having me it’s great and um hopefully see you on the road and coming through glasgow at some point over the next couple years mate yeah let’s let’s do a show at garage excellent cheers man talk to you soon all right thank you so much guys thanks for watching another episode please remember to subscribe like and comment and we’ll see you next week

1:03:02.5 –>
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