Professional Sound - August 2017 - Page 29

ference. On the Midas, I really use it for the EQs, which are great, and the preamp. My primary effects are outboard, a couple of them are onboard ones, and then all the rest of the compression and I use gating on the console.” As Blakely says nonchalantly, Billy Tal- ent is a four-piece rock band and “there’s no reinventing of the wheel.” As for his out- board pieces, he loves the classic Lexicon 480L signal processor. “I use the two reverb engines, one for drums and one for vocals. With Ben [Kowalewicz, lead singer], it’s all delays and they are done onboard. I use the one that’s just stock on there, so I have a long and short delay and don’t really use a lot of reverb on Ben. I’ll put a little splash on there depending on the song, like maybe for ‘Surrender’ or one of the more ballad-type styles.” Blakely continues: “I have six distress- ors in there, all with British Mode, and an Avalon [VT-747SP compressor and EQ] on stereo image. I have a pair on the drums, which is my double buss on the drums with lots of gain just smacking the crap out of it, and then I have one on the bass. Ian [D’Sa, guitarist]’s vocal, Jon [Gallant, bass- ist]’s vocal, and Ben are on distressors at various points, but it’s the speed of it that I love because the band is really dynamic and they’re really fast. So that speed is really integral and I’ve said to any console manufacturer or anyone who’s doing it that, ‘As soon as you make something that sounds like a distressor, I’m in. If you can build a comp that sounds like that thing and it sounds just like it, I am totally in.’ So until that happens, I am still using my out- board stuff.” Over at monitors on this show was Eamon de Freitas. He’s not the band’s full- time monitor engineer, but has a lot of experience with Billy Talent having done a tour with the band in 2013-14 and regu- larly filling in for festivals and other one-off shows. “They’re one of those bands where you can be doing 300 people in Niagara Falls on the American side and then a Ger- man festival for 80,000 people,” says de Freitas. Though the band keeps wedges onstage – in this case Outline SM115s, Doppias, a T9 SF amp, and a DVS118 drum sub, which were used by the support acts – they’re only there for backup as the band prefers in-ears. Their in-ears of choice are JH16s from JH Audio with Sennheiser SR 2050 IEM transmitters and EK 2000 IEM receivers. The band made the switch to in-ears a couple of years ago, prompted by a time Kowalewicz got sick, which af- fected his ability to hear himself on stage. “He tried it out and then he never went back. Aaron [Solowoniuk], their drummer, was already there and I want to say their bassist may have been there already, but then everybody came across to the idea. I mean, the stage volume was so obliterat- ingly loud,” recalls de Freitas. “At one point, Ben had six wedges. He had four in front and then two more pushing up his ass behind, and these side fills of death. The stage volume was just getting out of hand. Obviously, you know how that affects the front of house sound. I mean, the ears are still ripping loud, but at least it’s a lot more controllable.” From the Avid Venue Profile console, de Freitas says Billy Talent, like many rock bands, like a pretty standard mix with their own instrument and voice quite loud and the other instruments in the background. He doesn’t use any outboard gear or plug- ins and not even any EQ on D’Sa’s guitar. “He has razor sharp ears, and I mean razor sharp,” says de Freitas of the lead guitarist. “He will ask for like a change of .2 or .3 dB of his guitar or whatever and if it goes to .5 dB, he’ll be like, ‘too loud, too loud!’ He has fantastic ears. He’s also a producer and so he spends a lot of time in studios.” The only bit of EQing de Freitas does is on Kowalewicz, who, as anyone who’s heard the band knows, has an unusually high and nasally voice for a rock singer. “He does have that kind of nasally thing, which you have to cut out, but also that’s where a lot of his power comes from. Like there is quite a bit taken out in the mid and the upper-mid range,” de Freitas says. “He does have a very peculiar voice for sure. Also, he switches up how he holds the mic a lot, so obviously that makes a huge difference. When he cups the mic, it kind of gets de- stroyed a little bit, it comes apart, but he hears it. Having in-ears has forced him to change the way he sings a little bit, which is good.” Catching back up with Blakely by phone a couple weeks after the show, he first laments: “That night the weather was a real bastard. I’ll be 100 per cent honest with you, I didn’t have a great time mixing myself, and it was nothing to do with the PA system I had, but we had about 50 or 60 km crosswinds, so I never really got a chance to really hear it to its full potential.” That said, he notes more positively, “Be- cause it was such a windy night, there were a couple of things that stuck out. It held its intelligibility, I would say up to at least 4 kHz, maybe five, pretty consistently, even in the crosswind. The PA was still staying static that at least we got a mix together, something intelligible. We could get all the vocals out and stuff like that. The high stuff obviously blew away, but it kept together and stayed together at a pretty hefty SPL and I was probably running an average of, I’d say, 103dBA and peaked out at 104 or 105, but 102 or 103 was the average and it held that all day and all night.” Outline GTO array Because of the short and wide config- uration, not having a long throw distance was a big help under the windy conditions. “Mike and the guys said they had pretty good coverage and we didn’t have lots of boos or anything from the audience, so that was good. People were really recep- tive and you can always tell if people are walking away, but people were loving it,” Blakely adds. “I would definitely use the PA again and would love to try it again under some better conditions and in a few differ- ent deployments.” Under those conditions, that is a pretty good review from someone like Blakely. Ultimately, though, what matters is how the show went for the band and their fans. On that front, things were perfect, and probably no one is happier about that than Brian Bates. “We’re Hamilton-based, we’re community-based, and I want to do everything that I can do to support the arts in Hamilton,” he says. “People say Hamilton is starting to turn a corner; well they just haven’t been involved, because we’ve more than turned a corner… and I’m glad to be doing this in Hamilton and building up Hamilton. It’s not about me and it’s not about anyone else; it’s building community.” Michael Raine is the Senior Editor of Professional Sound PROFESSIONAL SOUND 29