Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 60

LIVE SOUND Mike Rowland is a British-born, Toronto-based monitor engineer who has worked with artists such as AFI, Marianas Trench, Theory of a Deadman, Black Stone Cherry, and Daniel Caesar.  Cam MacLellan is a musician, live sound engineer, and recording engineer who has worked and performed with prog/metal outfit Protest the Hero for several years. He currently tours as the FOH engineer with Daniel Caesar. Dominating the Danforth with Daniel Caesar A Q&A with Cam MacLellan & Mike Rowland R ising Canadian R&B star Daniel Caesar recently performed a series of five sold-out shows at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. We caught up with his front-of-house engineer, Cam MacLellan, and monitor engineer, Mike Rowland, to chat about this unique and up-scaled production from a live sound perspective. CM: How were these five Danforth shows different from the prior dates you’d been doing with Daniel from an audio standpoint? What were the most significant changes? MacLellan: There was quite a jump up in inputs from the six-week North American run to the Danforth shows. We went from 25 inputs and a [rack console] that was self-controlled by the band for their IEMs to over 40 inputs, with an Avid S6L console at FOH and in monitor world. The production definitely jumped up in quality for those shows, and the microphone selection got an upgrade as well thanks to Mike’s Neu- mann and Telefunken mics. CM: Tell us about the choice of Daniel’s vocal mic. MacLellan: If I’m being honest, I simply rented the same IEM unit and mic pack- age that I had used with Protest the Hero, which meant that Danny’s vocal mic was by default a Sennheiser e935, the exact same microphone Protest’s Rody Walker used for the longest time. Bringing Mike in for the Danforth shows, I had wanted to do a mic shootout for Danny to see what was best 60 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N now that I had the option, but Mike agreed the e935 just simply worked best for his vocal. That microphone demands good singing and mic technique, which both singers can boast, even with their drastically different singing styles. CM: It was pretty cool seeing a choir onstage. How did you decide to mic the 12 choir members? Rowland: The more direct the source, gen- erally, the more control you have; however, after we got our confirmed choir number and stage plot, we decided to use some large diaphragm condensers. CM: How assertive is Daniel in terms of what he wants from both his house and monitor mix? Did he have very specific requests on either side, or was it largely left to you guys? MacLellan: Danny seems to trust me with his mix at FOH. I like a nice, fat, clean drum sound glued with the bass that doesn’t have 100-200 Hz swimming around your head all night, with keys taking up the low mids, guitars with the high mids, carving out any nastiness, and having Danny’s vocal sit right on top of everything. The whole camp seems happy with what I get at every show, minus my kick being too “clicky” at times – force of habit from mixing years of rock and metal. Rowland: DC was very receptive to trying alternate things in his IEM mix, but overall, wanted that clean, direct album feel in his ears. The difference in venues on a daily basis has been the bigger thing we’ve worked around. Working with Cam to not overly excite any empty concrete or wooden rooms with the PA has definitely helped control the situa- tion and keep the performers comfortable. CM: What was the most unique aspect of the audio configuration for these shows? Anything that stood out in relation to your past experiences with Daniel and the other artists you’ve worked with over the years? Rowland: This is a whole new [scale of production] that Danny is quickly coming into, so we’ve discussed a lot about what he wants to achieve and how on both an audio and stage level. I don’t expect to hear an artist tell me that they would like to have more 16 kHz in their vocal, but I do want them to describe what they need as best they can – “I want more air” or “more top-end or highs.” “It’s too purple and I want it to feel yellow.” “More kittens,” whatever that means to them. I would say this is half of the job – getting to know the artist and understanding their needs. MacLellan: There actually isn’t a lot that would’ve changed on my end between mixing Daniel Caesar and say, Protest the Hero. Both acts have extremely talented musicians with good tones and good chem- istry. The formula is the same: slamming drums th ЁɕeЁͥ́͠ѽ)Ёեѡ܁ѽѡȰѥɥ)䁡́͡ѡեх̰ٽ́ͥѥ)ѽ5䁕́ɔɕ䁵Ս)ѡͅݥѠͽѽѥɔ)ѡɔȁɥ́͡ݡ