It’s the sort of creativity that fans have come to expect from They Might Be Giants, the Grammy Award-winning band whose past projects include recording to wax cylinders in the Edison Museum, and tracking and releasing music via answering machine. This year, TMBG are set to release 52 new songs—one every week in 2015—through Slate’s “The Gist” podcast, as well as on YouTube, iTunes, a dedicated Website and their “dial-a-song” phone number (844-387-6962). The band will also be on the road all year, combining an international tour with a yearlong, one-day-per-month residency at the Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn.
“Every year, the Giants try to do some type of residency, but it all depends on their writing and touring schedule,” says their front-of-house engineer and tour manager, Scott Bozack. “The last one we did was at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, but this is the first time we’ve done a full year.
“These residency shows are always specialty shows,” the engineer continues. “And by that, I mean they will go back and do their earlier records, and play them all the way through entirely front to back or back to front, for example. They might play all of the songs on Flood in alphabetical order or showcase new material—something special where they showcase certain material and add a lot of surprises.”
The group—comprising bandleaders and songwriters John Flansburgh (guitar, vocals) and John Linnell (accordion, vocals), guitarist Dan Miller, bass player Danny Weinkauf and drummer Marty Beller—will appear at the 650-seat venue on the last Sunday of every month, beginning January 25. As their tour will take them to major markets all over the U.S., UK and Europe, they’ll have to fly back to New York City for many of the Brooklyn dates.
Wherever they play, they will bring the same audio package, provided by sound company SK Systems of Brooklyn. Their touring rig includes Bozack’s DiGiCo SD10 FOH console, which is fitted with all of the processing Bozack needs to mix more than 30 years of TMBG material.
“I have a TC Electronic Fireworx processor for all the old vocal effects we reproduce, and a Waves DiGiGrid plug-in package,” Bozack says. “I really love the C6 multiband compressor. It helps deliver a solid, transparent vocal. The SD10 has a multiband dynamic EQ built in, so I will use it in series with the C6 to control problem frequencies. It’s a great combo.
“With the SD10, I’m also able to build macro presets; with the push of a button, I can make 10 different things happen at once, and flip back and forth between effects and vocal sounds.”
The band has an endorsement deal with Sennheiser, so they carry mainly Sennheiser mics; Flansburgh sings through a wireless EW 100/145 G-3 wireless system, while Linnell uses an E945. Bandmembers and crew all use Sennheiser G-3 or Ultimate Ears in-ear monitoring systems. TMBG also brings out a Yamaha M7CL monitor console, which they own. Their monitor engineer is John Carter.
“We don’t carry any racks and stacks,” says Bozack, who also co-owns the Precision Event Management company with business partner Sam Walton. “We will use what’s in-house in Brooklyn and at the various venues, or we’ll order what’s needed if the house can’t meet our P.A. specs. The Williamsburg Music Hall has a d&b P.A. rig, and it sounds really good. There are a lot of hard surfaces in there, which can be a challenge with the stage volume that these guys put out, but it is a really nice-sounding room.
“What’s cool about the Giants is they have such a huge library of songs to pull from, so every night is different. The setlist is always changing, making for a different show every night. It makes it fun for me in terms of effects—going back and reproducing some of the synthesized sounds that they had on their early records in the ’80s and early ’90s. I’ve been with this band since 2008. They’re a fun bunch of guys to hang with, and they always make