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All Access: Wolfmother

Mix magazine interview with audio engineers and live sound crew on mixing audio for Wolfmother 2010 tour. Tips, techniques and equipment applications from Wolfmother's front of house (FOH) and monitor mix engineers. Mix magazine February 2010

Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale sings through a Shure Beta 58A.

On the heels of their stint as main support for The Killers’ latest tour, Wolfmother have taken a headlining spot, out promoting their latest album, Cosmic Egg. Bringing a little “green” to the tour, the Australian rockin’ foursome partnered with Musictoday and Trees for the Future; a tree will be planted in a third-world country for every pre-sale ticket sold. In addition, the tour is saving resources by carrying very limited gear. Mix caught the show at Oakland, Calif.’s Fox Theater.

Hagler mans a Yamaha PM5D, a board he has used since an Aly & AJ tour in 2005. “It’s really fast and I like the SPX-2000 effects,” he says. “I haven’t seen too much that has impressed me in the dynamics world, so I would rather just bring my little rack out front with me and tie it in.” Outboard gear includes a Drawmer 1960 tube pre/comp that he uses to take some of the transparency out of the vocals and a Line 6 Echo Pro that he puts on vocals; all other effects are onboard.

As the tour is not carrying full production (except mics, claws and Z-bars), Hagler will spec a 5D or contact Clair Global for a D-Show.

Interestingly, the tour does not have a monitor engineer, something Hagler is nonplussed about, “but between myself and the stage crew, we are able to make it work in a timely manner. So, my question: ‘When is someone going to invent the rackmounted coffee maker?’”

Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Stockdale sings through a Shure Beta 58A. “Nothing is going to sound better on his vocal,” says front-of-house engineer/tour manager John Hagler, “especially to lift him above the guitars. I’ve tried to get away from using it, but every time I ended up just EQ’ing the thing to sound like a 58A, so I always go back to it.” His amps (below right) take two SM57s: one on the Marshall and one on the Vox.

Front-of-house engineer/tour manager John Hagler at the Yamaha PM5D

Keyboardist/bassist Ian Peres is miked with a Beyer M88, “an all-around amazing mic with great low-end response, and it smooths out the grating high end from the Rhodes,” Hagler says.

According to drum/bass/keyboard tech Judd Kalish, Peres plays a Fender 1962 reissue bass through an Ampeg SVT VR head and an 8×10. Keyboards are a Korg CX-3 and Rhodes piano. “For bass guitar, I use a Korg Pitchblack chromatic tuner, a Dimebag Darell wah pedal, a Way Huge Swollen Pickle distortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix English Muff’n pedal,” Kalish says. The CX-3 sees an original Electro Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe delay pedal. “For the Rhodes, I use a Crowther Audio Hotcake distortion pedal and an Electro Harmonix reissue Memory Man pedal.”

Dave Atkins’ kit is miked with a Beta 52 (kick), SM57 (snare top and bottom), SM81 (hi-hat), Sennheiser e 604s (toms) and KSM32 (overheads).

Guitarist Aidan Nemeth’s Vox AC30 combo takes Hagler’s “secret weapon”: an Audio-Technica dual-element AE2500. “It quickly became my favorite mic after I picked it up in 2004,” Hagler recalls. “I used a 57/98 combo for a while and really liked that, but the AE2500 has elements that are just that much better.” Ampeg amps take D112s (bass cab).

According to guitar tech S. Dwayne Bruner, guitarist Andrew Stockdale plays through a 220V Marshall Plexi 100-watt head and a 110V Vox AC30 head, “meaning that we have to be running a transformer of some sort no matter where we are.” Stockdale’s pedalboard comprises a Boss TU-2, Radial Tonebone, Fulltone Clyde wah and Supa-Trem, an Electro Harmonix Microsynth and Small Stone phaser, AC Booster and DigiTech Whammy. All are patched into a true bypass looper/switcher array and powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+. “A guitar tech’s best tools are a combo of intuition and inventiveness,” he says. “As a friend once said, ‘Repairing gear onstage is triage, not surgery.’”