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  • Writer's pictureGareth James

One-two, one-two, testing, testing

One of the most important parts of any gig for us is the soundcheck. Before the audience arrives it is our chance to make sure that all of our instruments and all of the sounds and technology we use are working properly and that they are balanced properly for each particular venue.

We arrive at a venue between about 3:00pm and 4:00pm, usually to find Steady already putting together his drum kit. Loading in all of the speakers, amplifiers, instruments, mixing desk, lights, screen... takes about half an hour and setting it all up can take up to an hour as well.

Then we get to the soundcheck itself. As we have been setting up our engineer has normally been tweaking sound levels to make things sound good "in the room" since different venues have different acoustics. A venue might have a very boomy sounding room, so the bass guitar might need to be set up different to how we would set it for an outside venue. Once all of the sounds are close we will run through a couple of songs to check that everything sounds how it should through the p.a. system. We usually check with one where Robin plays electric guitar and one where he plays acoustic guitar.

You might have heard people saying "one-two, one-two" into microphones, and, yes, we do the same. The reason for saying "one-two" is that phrase has all the sounds an engineer wants to hear. The 'wha' sound at the start of one is quite bassy and the 't' at the start of two is a very tinny sound - it helps to balance the two.

Once that is done we also have to check our in-ear monitor mixes. We all use in-ear monitors, which are like wireless headphones so that we can hear ourselves play. Each of us hears a different mix in our ears, and it takes some time to set up each of our mixes. For example, Steady mostly wants to hear our click track (that keeps us all in time) and the vocals, whereas I want to hear a bit of everything, but I want my guitar to be a bit louder than it sounds to the audience.

Usually the whole thing takes about half an hour and so by 5:30 or 6:00 we are all set and ready to perform. Below you can see Kev having last play before our gig at Crookes Club in Shefflied back in April.

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