Toby Francis is the FOH audio engineer for Red Hot Chili Peppers on the 2022-2023 ‘Unlimited Love Tour’, and has worked with other artists such as Katy Perry, Kanye West, ZZ Top, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. In this video interview with Midas, he talks about his journey in the music touring industry, his main challenges on tour and why he chose the Midas HD96 as a sidecar to his analog set-up.
My name is Toby Francis I’m the front of house sound engineer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers unlimited Love tour I became a sound engineer when I was a teenager I started working for local bands in the area I grew up in one of the Bands had a very sophisticated PA system for that time and I was lucky enough to get the mix on it my first tour was with a band called The Crystal that took me around the United States I saw different size venues different places and I did that for two years and then relocated to the Boston area uh and fairly quickly started working
with Joe Perry the guitar player from Aerosmith who had a solo band at the time I did that for two years and then he went back to Aerosmith and I went with him this show had some unique requirements the band does not like to hear or feel the PA on stage so we ended up using a DMB GSL PA that has cardioid elements that cancels the sound behind the the PA and they wanted as much of the show to be analoged as possible This Record was on analog and tape did you get any more analog than that they have people sit in a lot they’ll add a horn section on a whim we had to be able to accommodate other things so we we ended up with the
Midas as a sidecar to the analog setup to give me extra channels extra capabilities and some uh backups [Music] one of the concerns was the the drums uh the drums do have a digital element we are adding plugins to enhance certain certain characteristics if a server fails I lose the drum completely with the Midas console I have the ability to I have a backup drum section basically I can pull from the the Midas or the same with the guitars or the bass or the entire mix [Music] the Midas was good for us for this size physically it’s small there’s enough onboard features I didn’t have to add servers or any other outboard gear to this where I typically do use outboard
gear when I use digital consoles we put Dante cards in to to take the Dante stream from the stage we split it so it goes into a multi-track rig it goes into the the Midas and the sound the hd96 is very Punchy like when we switch to the drums from the HD 96 versus the analog drums there’s a difference but not as much differences as we had anticipated I think sonically the HD 96 compares to things that cost three times as much so I think the price point is one of its best features and the sound you get and the feature set that you get at that price the biggest difference I notice when you go from digital to analog is the quickness of the transients the dynamic range seems more realistic I added a lot
of parametric eqs in a digital console you have EQ on your inputs EQ on your outputs your subgroups you have digital EQ and Dynamics everywhere in the analog world you don’t [Music] we play in in stadiums that for the most part don’t sound very good so it’s it’s a difficult urally like this is very difficult if I have a good show it’s a great feeling if you have a bad show it’s a horrible feeling you know I I feel responsible if anyone leaves unsatisfied it I take it personally we’ve had a lot of positives from Friends of the band uh this this band’s very social they have lots of musician friends and uh they’ve been very vocal about liking what they’re doing