Photo: CJ Foeckler
Photo: Brady Lemos
When Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam put together a big band for their current tour, he needed someone to mix the new arrangements. As front-of-house engineer Jeremy Lemos knew most everyone in the band, bringing him onboard was a no-brainer. With 11 bandmembers onstage, it was imperative to bring along their own monitor package as most of their stops—ranging from Chicago’s Millennium Park for 15,000 people to a beat-up rock club—couldn’t accommodate that many monitor mixes; monitor engineer Tim Iseler is manning an Avid SC48. The tour also has a full Shure mic package, with Lemos saying it’s the only way he can tame so many variables in different club P.A.s and mixers every night.
“I’m using really simple reverb and compression, just to keep everyone in check,” Lemos says. “The keyboard player has a dozen different keyboard sounds and I don’t always have my hand on his faders. I’ve fallen in love with DCAs after mixing Iron & Wine. Sam’s singing can switch from chest to throat in the same line, so a little hard limiting to catch the low end from popping out can really help. It also really helps in reverberant venues to keep all the explosive ‘p’s and ‘s’s from saturating the room with energy and then having them decay over your mix.
“If Sam shows up with an acoustic guitar out of the trunk of a cab or his huge band with two buses, it’s still an Iron & Wine show,” he continues. “People come to the show to hear him sing his songs, so I have to keep that in mind all the time. My mixes are relatively quiet to keep the vocals out front, [though] you can still hear what everyone is doing, with a real strong rhythm driving everything.”