Natalia Lafourcade is something of a national treasure. With six studio albums and several Latin Grammys (including Latin Album of the Year in 2016 for Hasta La Raiz) to her credit, she’s earned the title as one of Mexico’s most esteemed musicians. But 2018 raised the ante. She released her seventh studio album, Musas, and performed on the Oscars telecast, in a duet with Miguel on their version of “Remember Me,” from the hit Pixar film Coco. She was wrapping up a world tour when Mix caught up with her and FOH/monitor engineer Dano Martinez in Seattle earlier this summer.
“When I started working with Natalia, we would spend months tweaking the sound on the instruments, changing microphones and listening to shows I recorded,” Martinez says. “Natalia wanted to listen to what I was doing and using to mix the show. She likes the band to sound organic, and she has an amazing ear. She listens to every instrument, every note, every texture, and she is very specific about not only what the band is playing but the way they are sounding. I came to the conclusion that her mix is like listening to music on a pair of Yamaha NS10s, which we all love, right!”
The Latin Grammys, by Kevin Becka, Nov. 4, 2015
Lafourcade is a Sennheiser Artist, so the tour carried all microphones, DI boxes and an in-ears rack, along with guitars, some keyboards and drum hardware.
Maintaining the quality (and the band’s expectation) is always the biggest hurdle on a tour of this nature. Relying on the differences between preamps, inserts and plug-ins from night to night will come with its stumbling blocks. As will thousands of screaming fans.
“It’s an incredibly dynamic show,” Martinez says. “They go from soft, almost whispered bolero songs, to full-sounding arrangement songs. They do get loud some nights, especially when we have enthusiastic crowds, and that changes how I mix. We have such great communication to get through it all, and that is essential between the band/artist and the crew. It’s been fantastic.”