John Shepherd is Band on the Wall’s fantastic Production Manager. He looks after all technical elements of the shows, both in the venue and the external promotions. John’s been working in live music for nearly 15 years and was Senior Sound technician at the Bridgewater Hall before coming to Band on the Wall two years ago. All musicians will need to work with a sound engineer ahead of any live show, and with his huge amount of experience, John has kindly shared his top tips to make sure you get the best possible sound for your performance.
1) Plan. Send the venue a list of the people performing, the instruments they may be playing and, if you know, the microphones they would normally use. If you’re performing as a band or group a stage plan is useful too.
2) Arrive on time. Allow plenty of time to get properly set up – it takes longer than you think.
3) Know your instrument. If you play an instrument make sure you know how it works from the sound engineer’s perspective. Do you play an instrument the engineer is unlikely to have seen before? If so where does a microphone need to be placed to get the best sound? Does your acoustic guitar need a battery before the pick up works? Have you got all the leads you need? Most importantly are you in tune?!
4) Listen to the engineer. They want your performance to sound good, they might ask you to turn down your guitar amp or slightly adjust something. This is for the benefit of the sound of the performance not because they’re being picky!
5) Know what you need to hear. On small stages monitor speakers can really affect how things sound to the audience. Try to limit what you ask the engineer to put in your mix so that both you and the audience have a good experience!