There are two scenarios – either you bring your own hired pro, or you work with the house technician. In both cases, there are ways to prep for the gig and make life a lot easier for everyone involved. Obviously, you want the best possible FOH (Front of House) sound – like everyone else. But be aware that you’re just as much part of the process as the guy or girl behind the console. In order to make them happy we’ve put together 5 points that will win the heart of every live technician.
The following points will not guarantee a smooth and easy live experience – there are too many factors than can intervene – yet they will set a solid foundation, so you can build strong relationships and gather respect from the technicians you work with.
1. Gig before the gig
Make sure the pre-gig communication runs smoothly. If you’re handling the live business, it means it’s up to you to set up the technician-to-technician conversation while making sure ahead of time, that the current tech-specs from the band-side AND venue-side are exchanged.
Keeping the technical rider fresh and up to date is incredibly important. Even minor changes in the set-up have to be communicated and worked into the rider. You don’t want to spend time on stage working around missing DIs.
2. Prepare detailed set-lists with short track info
Even though the complete set might be absolutely clear to you and your musicians, there are vital aspects of the show that need to be communicated to the technician.
By creating a detailed setlist with important infos on all tracks, like solo parts, mood, backingtracks etc. you lay out a detailed map on how to mix the show.
Mixing a great live-show is still very much up to the technician, that’s why you booked him or her. Yet, offering a comprehensible blueprint for the musical content is a great way of getting everyone on to the same page, establishing an overview and orientation.
3. Try to keep the stage noise down
A vital aspect of working WITH a technician and not against, is being aware of and keeping the stage noise down as much as possible. Even if your music tends to act out on the loud side, be aware that your on-stage dynamics have a great influence on the way the technician gets the job done.
Sometimes you have have 1-2 people in the band that are known for fighting around with their dynamic levels. Take them aside prior to working with a new technician and explain the situation and why – with a new person on the job – it might be a great idea of keeping a special eye or ear for that matter on the dynamics. That will ensure less stress on stage, and elevate the chances of a smooth workflow.
4. Communicate what you want without being pushy
Hiring a professional for a certain job always requires being diplomatic when communicating your opinion and views on sound and the overall job at hand.
Make sure the technician knows what the gut of your show should feel like, and if you have certain ideas or preferences that have proven themselves over the last shows. If you’re really into low-end, work out a plan how to establish just that, without loosing a sense for harmony. It’s like with production – playing a song and interpreting it by means of mixing are two completely different challenges. In the ideal scenario, what happens on stage is elevated in quality and intensity by a great live mix.
5. Post-gig roundup
Even if your technician heads out shortly after finishing the show, make sure to set some time aside to engage in a post-gig roundup. That means a short talk, asking how the gig felt on the technicians side, being considerate and thankful for the shared experience.
You can learn some incredibly valuable lessons by asking a technician for a straight opinion on the prep-work and stage performance, collecting insights that can really help you out in future gigs and overall live situations.
Be aware, that many technicians, even though they handle a very technical and brainy side of the production, are immensely creative people who have aesthetic opinions just like the musicians on stage. The clearer you lay out your case and the direction the show should go, the better they can infuse the technical side with creative decisions, creating colors and an exceptional live sound.
If you feel like digging deeper into insights and ideas on live musicianship, check out our ForTunes blog and leave a comment. We’ll get back to you asap!0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!