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Live Sound

Monitoring The War on Drugs

Indie rockers The War on Drugs hit the road with SSLs from LMG.

New York, NY (September 25, 2018)—The War on Drugs is going worldwide—which is to say, the six-piece indie rock band is deep in the middle of a global tour with control gear provided by Orlando, FL-based LMG.

Monitor engineer Laurence Eaves and front of house engineer Bob Strakele find themselves looking after 80-plus channels a night from the multi-instrumentalists, and both opted for Solid State Logic L500 Plus consoles to tackle the challenge. “It has enabled me to do live what I loved doing in the studio, which is to craft something that is technically great, sounds amazing, and has lots of energy,” said Eaves.

Eaves creates a dozen in-ear mixes for each show—six for the band plus another four tech mixes. There are also some side fills and wedges on hand to provide some moving air for the band, and likewise to energize VIPs watching from the wings: “If Adam [Granduciel, frontman] is jamming away on stage, and looks around, he wants to see people who are into it, and they can feel like they’re at a real gig, rather than just watching some really loud drums and amps.

Eaves makes use of the SSL Live console’s stem groups to build mixes with plenty of parallel compression options and to create hierarchical structures to the mix. Stems are full processing paths that can be mixed to like an aux, but which can be routed anywhere, including to another stem group. “For example, for each person, I basically have two drum mixes,” he explains. “There’s a completely clean one and a completely smashed one. You can then blend those … depending on what’s happening on stage.”

Console Choices Multiply for Festivals, by Strother Bullins, Aug. 16, 2017

One of the more complicated areas on stage is the keyboard space. “Robbie Bennett, the keyboard player, is using one of those Dave Smith Prophets, a Nord, and a couple of other vintage synths,” said Eaves. “I think if I was using any other console some of those outputs would just collapse a mix, but again by using multibands, and a bus with all Robbie’s keyboards going into it, I can parallel compress the whole of keyboard world as one.

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“It’s all about having the best tools to gather those amazing sounds and wrangle them together so they are the most musical they can be, so the guys on stage can play with each other rather than against each other.”

Solid State Logic •

LMG Touring •