Out in support of their fourth album, folk/rockers Tegan and Sara are criss-crossing the U.S., playing to mid-sized clubs. Mix caught up with their front-of-house engineer/tour manager/production manager, Craig Brittain, at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall in early August. This is the first tour where Brittain is not carrying a small FOH rack; instead, they are traveling with a monitor package comprising a Crest XRM 20 mixer, Sennheiser ew300 in-ears, dbx 1046 compressors and a TC Electronic M-One reverb provided by Rocky Mountain Services (Vancouver).
“Since I am without my FOH rack,” Brittain says, “I make sure the house rack has at least six channels of compression, four channels of gates, two reverb units and the TC Electronic D-Two tap delay. I also make sure that there is some sort of front-fill coverage, even if it is just a monitor mix to throw vocals into. I mix it like a rock show because both Tegan and Sara, as well as the three guys in the band, can rock out. Vocally, I make sure that they're always sitting nicely on top of the mix with the proper balance of ‘Tegan and Sara.’
FOH engineer Craig Brittain. photos Steve Jennings
“I have been consistently running 20 channels at FOH: eight channels of drums, two bass channels, three electric guitar channels, two acoustic lines, two keyboard lines and three vocal channels. For monitors, we take 14 of the 20 lines directly into our Crest XRM desk and then split out to the house snake. This gives me consistency with the in-ear mixes while getting all of our channels to the venue's monitor desk to run five wedge mixes on deck.”
“As an up-and-coming engineer, I was fortunate to land this gig with Tegan and Sara, a hardworking band focused on the music night after night. I would like to thank each house engineer who helped to make our shows so smooth.”