Being out here on the road seeing openers have a hard time with sound made me think about how to avoid somethings from a performers perspective. I have performed in many venues on many different sound systems around the country. From High School PA systems to some of the nicest club systems you can think of and there are a few points that remain consistent no matter what helping to ensure that you will a have good sound for your show.Of course there are things that will be out of your control, but may times when you are at a show that has bad sound it most likely could have been avoided. A lot of it has to do with the rapport that you build with the sound person. That relationship is very important in the 6-8 hr journey of the evening and you want the sound person as an alley not an enemy. The best you can do is make sure that you take care of all that you can control and in most case you will be okay. So here in my opinion are five things that you can do to make sure that you won’t have issues with sound at your show…
1. Show up on time for sound check
Sound check is usually an hour and a hlf to two hours prior to doors. There is nothing a sound man hates more than being rushed, especially if hes dealing with people or a person that has no idea of what goes into a solid sound check. Also, as long as you show up on time you have the time to get everything how you want it to sound.
2. Introduce your self to the sound man
Being nice and personable goes a long way. Don’t give him your rap name either. Show him/her that you are a regular person and you both have the same goal, to make the night go smoothly and sound good in the process.
3. Be prepared
When I go out I have try to have XLR cables, other cables, DI boxes, my own mic and mic stand. As my needs for my stage show increases so will my equipment that I bring. For example, Blueprint carries his own small mixing board just in case and we have had to use it on at least one occasion. Being prepared goes a long way and it makes sound check run smoothly. Keep in mind some performance venues are not as equipped as others so be prepared for all issues that may arise.
4 Have instrumentals mixed and mastered
Mixing boards only have so much juice that they can pump into the volume so make sure you instrumentals are mixed and mastered to avoid distortion or music sounding weak. Also try to have your instrumentals mastered by the same person to level out the sound. Its not absolutely necessary but it helps.
5. Don’t be an a**hole
Remember the sound man has the power to make you sound amazing or like craps with the turn of a knob so it behooves you to be nice to him/her. Don’t be on stage screaming and cursing at the sound man and expect them to make you sound crispy. In many of these cases you will end up sounding worse if you piss them off. Just be cool if a problem arises that you can’t control. If you have followed all of these steps then the person running sound will do all they can to get things right for you because you built a rapport with them to this point.
Of course there are more points that can be made and more details can be given. I’m sure that if I understood more about sound theory and engineering this list could be 20 or more points, but these are the basics in my opinion from a vocal performers perspective. Hope it helps some. Good luck…
Here are the remaining dates on the Better Now Than Never Tour. Hope to see you guys out!!
10/11 – Eugene, OR @ Luckey’s Club
10/12 – Sacramento CA, @ Blue Lamp
10/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room
10/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar
10/15 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
10/16 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
10/17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Shred Shed
10/18 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
10/19 – Colorado Springs, Co @ Speak Easy
10/20 – Omaha, NB @the Hideout
10/21 – Iowa City, IA — Gabes
10/22 – Chicago, IL @ Jerry’s
10/23 – Madison, WI @ The Sett
10/24 – Green Bay, WI @ JD’s Bar
10/25 – Evansville, IN @ PG Gallery
10/26 – Champaign, IL @ The high dive