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Tour Profile: Missy Higgins

Making Adjustments

Missy Higgins

Photo: Lisa Higginbotham

Alt-rock singer/songwriter Missy Higgins and band are touring the U.S., spreading the word about her latest album, The ‘Ol Razzle Dazzle (Eleven). The Australian-born artist is playing her own dates and frequently opening for Gotye. This means the musicians and four-man audio crew—monitor mixer Nathan Davis, backline tech/production manager Casey Hilliard, audio tech Gordon Droitcour, and front-of-house mixer Gavin Tempany—must adjust to different P.A.s nightly, and to venues that range in size from 750-capacity clubs to 10,000-seat sheds.

“Nightly, we’re incorporating what we’re traveling with, with whatever the venue or headliner provides,” Tempany says. “This would have been difficult for bands to get used to in the old days when everyone was on wedges, as this band were until Nathan Davis joined the tour recently. There would be different slapback from the back wall, different sounding boxes. But now with people on in-ears [Higgins’ monitors are Future Sonics IEs], it’s easier to keep things consistent for the musicians.

“For myself out front, being a support act on Gotye’s tour means that I don’t really get to tune the P.A. each day,” Tempany continues. “I just get what I’m given, but luckily it’s always good. For the club shows, it’s just a matter of going in and making sure all the bits and pieces are there as far as stacks and racks, but we are carrying our own monitor desk and a front-of-house desk.”

Photo: Lisa Higginbotham

Davis mixes on an Avid SC48. Tempany handles the house sound via a Midas Pro2. “It’s quite a nifty little machine,” he says. “I think it’s the best-sounding digital board I’ve heard; it’s a clever system and the preamps and converters all sound really good. Like all things, if you keep things pure the whole way through the signal chain, you end up doing less to it at the end of it.”

Higgins’ tour is also carrying a microphone package of mostly Sennheiser and Neumann models. Her vocal mic is a Neumann KMS105. “In general, I’ve found that with female singers, especially when they back off the microphone, the proximity effect is accentuated, so they get thinner and also shriller,” Tempany says. “Having said that, the KMS105 is far better than the mic I was previously using at dealing with that. It’s far more consistent left to right as well as front to back, which is strange but definitely true of this mic.”