maanantai 24. elokuuta 2009

They are the real, motherfucking hate crew

A quickie with ... K-Man

In an occasional series of quick-fire questions, the Scythes Of Bodom blog
goes backstage to get the inside track on the well-oiled machine that is
the real Children Of Bodom hatecrew. We start with the band's affable (and
indispensable) monitor engineer, Kal (K-Man) Kaercher.

Live sound mixing involves combining and processing a number of audio
signals to create a "mix" that the audience or performers at a live show hear; having the sound manipulated, or mixed, in real time is necessary, as constant minor adjustments are needed.

The monitor engineer mixes the sound that the performers hear on stage,
from a console typically placed at the side of the stage, enabling them to
hear themselves and any other parts of the performance as needed. Usually, each performer has their own individual mix that is custom tailored by the monitor engineer. Many bands opt to use In Ear Monitor (IEM) systems, which are a pair of headphones custom moulded for each musician's ears, which allows them to hear their individual mix more clearly.

Additionally, the live sound engineer is responsible for the set up and
tear down of the sound system. This will involve unloading the equipment,
moving it all into the venue, setting up the systems and then
sound-checking, when all instruments and mics are line checked to insure a
clean signal to the board. After the show is done, the live sound
engineers and techs must tear down and load out the sound system for the
next show on the tour.

And as if all that wasn't enough, sound engineering is as much an art as a
science, as there are a number of different ways that the mix can be done,
and different ways that the mix can sound ... an understanding of music is
also a requirement.

So, it's not all beer and bus parties on the road with COB, then ...

How did you get started as a sound-man?/what qualifications do you need?
For me, the first concert I went to at age 11, which was the Doobie Brothers in Seattle. While going to the seats with my parents we walked past the FOH mixing board and told my Mom right then "That's what I want to do!" After getting out of school my plan was to go to the Art Institute of Seattle for audio classes. Fortunate for me I got hooked up with a guy named Buddah who told me "Well you can do the school thing and I will still have to re-teach you later the real and right way of doing things, or just come learn from me now and get paid for it". So I went to work with Buddah. As far as qualifications... Hmm. I would say 60% or more of my job is getting along with the band and co-workers, then also really knowing your shit of course, oh and have a liver made of titanium!

How long have you worked with COB?
I have been with the guys since September of 2005. Never missed a show ;)

Do you have technical rehearsals (audio and lighting) with the band before a tour?
Very fucking rarely. In the time I have worked for them we have done that about 5 times, maybe less.

How long does it take to set up for a show (OK, reality check: how long do you actually get?!)
If we do our normal pace, 2 - 2 1/2 hours. Have done it in 45 including full line check.

Analogue or digital mixer - what floats your boat?
Now days, due to how much stuff I have going on with the guys, DIGITAL!!! But I do love the sound of a good analogue desk.

How many different types of digital mixing desk do you have to be familiar with?
In reality all of them but currently about 15.

How much of your own time do you spend in preparation for a show, for example, computer presets?
Depending on the software, anywhere from 5 to 7 hours to have a relatively show ready file. That only needs to be done once per mixing desk. After that everything is stored on USB or other types of cards.

Which of the band members use IEMs and do you mix all of them?
Henkka, Jaska, and Janne all use in-ears. Also two of the backline tech's and myself. Janne has always used them, Henkka and Jaska just started this year on them. Alexi and Roope use only stage wedges and side fills. 8 stage mixes minimum just for those 2 guys. With bigger stages and different stage set layouts it can go up to 10. And yup, I mix it all.

Do they have any problems with latency/propagation delay?
None at all. Well, not to the human ear anyway.

Do the venue acoustics change appreciably after the soundcheck, once it's filled with the audience?
80% of the venues, yes. Standard rule of acoustics... People suck... up the room noise ;)

What's the most challenging problem you've had to sort out during a show?
The biggest ones have always come down to one thing. Power. Goes out, starts buzzes, too low and makes gear freak out, blah blah blah. It can cause more problems then I can count.

How do you spend your time when COB are off-road?
I work with a couple other Finn bands, have done some side work with Megadeth, but mostly try to sit on my couch in my undies. Not a good visual BTW. Well unless you're into lazy, married American dudes.

What makes a great bus party?
What you want to hear - Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the occasional farm animal sex show. Reality - Some drinks, no randoms hanging out, and getting to be our naked idiot selves. Oh and the occasional farm animal sex show ;)

What's your favourite COB cover?
Can't say just yet. It may be that it has never been released. I don't want to get spanked. But of the currently known songs... Hell Is For Children.

Complete this sentence: "if I wasn't a sound tech I'd be ..."
Fucking homeless and half as gay.

Huge thanks to K-Man!

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