Published Aug 01, 2006Carl Gosine is a veteran Halifax-based musician and sound engineer who has worked and toured with Josh Ritter, Two Hours Traffic, Sarah Harmer, MIR, Carmen Townsend and In-Flight Safety. He was production manager for Mötörheads Halifax show as well as the technical director for JunoFEST 2006. Carl currently provides tour management and front-of-house sound for the Joel Plaskett Emergency, and plays left wing for the Halifax-Dartmouth Ferries in the annual Exclaim! Hockey Summit.
What can bands do in advance to make the best use of a sound check?
Call or email the soundman and get him/her an input list and a stage plot. Work on getting good source sounds. Load in early enough to allow the proper time for a sound check. Dont load in and set up when youre scheduled to sound check.
How do you like to run a sound check, and what should the band be doing to make it productive?
Once the band is loaded in and the backline is set up, leave the stage so the soundman/house tech can get the stage wired and the monitors EQd for you. Theres nothing worse than putting microphones on a drum kit and getting full blast cymbal crashes in your ears.
In terms of behaviour and attitude, what are some of the things a band can do to make you want to make them sound good?
Introduce yourselves and be courteous. The house sound guy can help you or hurt you. If you have a respectful attitude towards him or her, then that will be reciprocated. Be open, discuss your guitar/drum sounds, etc. and ask, "Can I do anything to make it better? Its a sound check, not a rehearsal or time to practice your licks and poses on stage. Use your time to get comfortable on stage. Some artists take one song and some take ten, but be conscious of how much time you are given and use it wisely. Also, make time for yourselves and your soundman to have some sort of break in between soundcheck and the show. Its worth it.
What are some of the dumb things bands do that antagonise you and make you want to push up the "suck slider?
As a professional, the soundman shouldnt let anything compromise the work hes doing. That being said, disrespecting the gear that belongs to the venue will not sit well. If your "show includes dumping water or shaving cream or fake blood everywhere, then let the staff know and keep that stuff off the venues equipment.
Whats your best advice to a young band just starting out, in terms of winning over the soundman and the audience?
A lot of young bands have spent hours in the basement or garage with their amps cranked. Take guidance from the soundman: if your stage volume is too loud, turn it down. If I run into that problem I will ask if there is any way to turn down a bit [on stage] so that I have more to work with out front. You still have to be comfortable, so if there is a happy medium, compromise so you both can have a good show.