All Access: Snow PatrolThe past year has seen numerous emo/punk/rock bands enter the limelight. The latest, Snow Patrol, is garnering critical acclaim for the album Eyes Open. 4/01/2007 8:00 AM Eastern
The past year has seen numerous emo/punk/rock bands enter the limelight. The latest, Snow Patrol, is garnering critical acclaim for the album Eyes Open. Vocalist/chief songwriter Gary Lightbody lays down a smooth and melodic base from which his bandmates — drummer Jonny Quinn; guitarist/backing singer Nathan Connolly; bassist/backing vocalist Paul Wilson; and Tom Simpson (samples/keys) — ramp up the energy. And that energy abounded when the group hit the stage following openers OK Go and Silversun Pickups at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in early March; go to mixonline.com to watch a video interview.
FRONT-OF-HOUSE ENGINEER SNAKE NEWTON
The last time Mix caught up with Snake Newton, he was handling FOH for The Sugababes; after that tour's last stop, Newton jumped over to Snow Patrol in October '06. Newton is manning a Yamaha PM1DV2, relying mostly on onboard effects while still carrying some outboard: two TC Electronic DBMax broadcast maximizers and a Focusrite Liquid Channel on Lightbody's vocals; the rest is all done through the desk.
“To be honest, I use very little reverb in this situation because the room does a lot of that for you,” Newton explains. “I gradually phased out the outboard and would just get things that the desk can't do for me.” Newton has been requesting this particular Yamaha board since it came out in 2001. As for his mixing technique, Newton notes the band is looking for a cross between a rock 'n' roll mix and that of a more melodic album — it's all about finding a happy medium. “The music balance tends to be taken care of through the automation onboard and then we refine it as the show goes on,” he says. “A major part of my gig is balancing the vocals with the rest of the band. That's where my head's at: Keep the vocals on top while maintaining the power of the band.”
MONITOR ENGINEER LEON DALTON
Monitor engineer Leon Dalton first met Snake Newton when the duo were working on a Duran Duran tour. For the Snow Patrol gigs, Dalton is also working a Yamaha board — a PM5D because “you can get them everywhere,” Dalton says with a laugh. Similar to Newton, Dalton is running most effects onboard, though he is carrying a Focusrite Producer Pack on Lightbody's vocal because of its ability to quickly de-ess, EQ and compress. As the tour is flip-flopping each night with a new drummer, Dalton is relying heavily on the ability to save scenes for each drummer on the desk.
The stage is clean, save for a few guitar cabs onstage, “just to add ambient noise,” Dalton says. Other than that, all bandmembers are on in-ears. Dalton has about six or seven stereo mixes going on for the band.
WATCH: Snow Patrol Video