I have been moving from city to city for over a year now and also now I moving
the place I return to between travels out and abound, oh boy! Well there are
many joys involved with displacing one's self. The opportunity to place all
your things in boxes. The chance to pay someone way too much money to break
all your stuff while moving it and the exuberant mystery of the scavenger hunt
of searching out items afterwards hidden in boxes afterwards. At least time
was short and workload high mixed in with catching up and preparing to leave.
My overload mode was complete and it is rare that I ask for help but without
it submersion was imminent. I am beyond lucky that magical people will drop
all, for my rescue. Here is a pic of where I decided to move:
After some thought, perhaps a bit of alteration is in order and the blank wall
Ooops daisy, looks like all the wall fell off, oh well, not a big fan of wall
Say "Bye bye low ceiling." Say "hello big mess."
Why would a human voluntarily indulge in the misery of relocation, perhaps
you ponder? Well, hopping to the other side of an infinite redundant traffic
jam that divides my humanly self from my shorties and the world of Rat was an
inspiration. Compounded by the fact that this small path leads to to the sea
PS. that is the shadow on monitor Daniel next to my head and he lives just
two stop lights away now. Plus, this curious contraption feels attractive for
Though whether it's worth it is constantly under scrutiny so I must cling to
my momentum of the original decision despite the obstacles that so cheerfully
leap into my path or more realistically put; the obstacles I chose to create.
**** The Surrounding World ****
Oh, on a separate subject, here is something I found interesting on several
levels. There is this guy Harry
McCracken who is the editor for PC World Magazine who is quite possibly
the most respected editor of computer stuff out there and he resigned early
May. Turns out that he had new boss and in in less than a month he wrote an
article that was censored. His new boss felt that an article he wrote was not
so friendly to advertisers and was told to rewrite it, so he quit. I love that!
Integrity vs. money in its purest form. Since then he has been rehired and his
boss re-assigned. I love that too, integrity wins over greed. I love those things
on a global level. Finally it turns out that the article he wrote was titled
"10 Things We Hate About Apple"and I love that but on a more personal
and opinionated lever. the reason the article was quashed was that Apple phoned
PC World and requested that it not be printed. I don't love that. I believe
that cheating by leveraging power to promote your products is a below the belt
move. I am fine with success but only when earned rather than manipulated.
**** End The Surrounding World ****
Right now I am writing from notes and residing in Japan. Come join me, I wish
you were here! Come soon and very soon I will fast forward blog to now in real
time. Tomorrow in real time is a show at Tokyo Dome and in blog time? Well,
we will find out soon enough.
Day Breathing, eating and sleeping are choices deeply intertwined with the survival of an individual
**** End Ponderings ****
**** A Toast to Us Friends ****
A pause for a moment with a smile and I want to thank all of my bloggery friends from the depths of my heart for bringing me that that smile to my day, everyday. Who would have ever knew that a wandering soundie could be embraced so warmly by so many amazing and unique friends that span the globe. The whole thing is as absurd as it it is heartwarming. Even the thought that a person can have job purpose of controlling sound is an oddity unto itself and it exceeds any dreams I could have imagined my future to be. To be able to share this sensation of motion and feel \ so many interesting and amazing people are joining in, is beyond words I can express. I looked at the web site statistics today and they say that over 5000 unique visitors are viewing the blog daily, mind bending, mysterious multitudes. Yet I have come to know through comments and emails perhaps 100 and I read every one. I apologize for being slow to respond and at times I feel I have I have bitten off more than I can chew. I do plan on catching up on answering question perhaps not for a bit though as just trying to catch up on posts alone is a challenge in itself. So here is to all of you and to us and to never knowing what will happen next and to the curious and to opening each new day like birthday present.
**** End Toast to Us Friends ****
Last night I ovenighted with the band and 9:30 am sees me at the venue a full 36 hours before the show, this is not a normal day.
**** Issue of the Day ****
Everything. Things are amiss. We have been cycling through various stage setups and nothing is stable. Something is not right. The sound on stage is all over the place. Daniel is in spirally hell and no matter what he does he is helpless to get it under stable control. My job is to find and fix the issue. There are several potential culprits I found:
1) The PA is behind the band. Typically this is a bad thing but not the end of the world. IT makes my job tough as everything I do is heard by them and can screw them up so I have to mix with care, but we have done it before and not had an issue.
2) The video screens in front of the PA are new. Though they let most of the sound through and do effect the sound, I can compensate for it. More relevant is that there is "splash from the video rags that reflects onto stage kind of like shooting a hose through a screen door.
3) There is a curved roof over the band. Curved surfaces act as sound reflectors and like a curve mirror, reflect the sound to a center point. That point is AK's mic.
4) that stage is resonant. If you jump on the stage it makes a boomy sound, though the issue is mainly described as a high frequency wash that makes it hard to hear each other, it is possible that low end is overloading the in ear units.
So here I sit with Manny the Aussie rigger doing all we can to address the issues and what we did is 5 things. First we had 4 feet removed from the front of the stage which pushed the band back relative to the PA. Next we moved the video screens out from in from of the PA. Third we draped theatrical black cloth on the inside of the curved roof to reduce reflections. Then locating more stage tops, we double layered the stage to increase the sturdiness of the stage. Finally we crossed our fingers because there was nothing else to done, if this does not work, I am at a loss. It must. And tomorrow we hope for a day that is:
**** hopefully End Issue of the Day ****
And off to find an adventurous night out as a group of bloggery friends who have self proclaimed themselves "The Ratketeers" are in town. Cheers and beers and many bottles of wine deep, a most memorable adventure indeed.
Though at times life is stressful, so many things are sweet.
And of all the things we commonly eat, how strange is it that we avoid consuming anything that has anything to do with insects except honey. Our only insect created food.
Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone but I got a bit laid back in my bloggery, like 4 weeks behind, yikes and easily the longest lag yet and during this lag something special has happened. Guess what? We missed the Blog's Birthday! Happy birthday RITM blog! May 24th marks the first day of the second year of us Roadies being in the Midst, or at least the official observation of them in a bloggery form. One whole year since the actual tour started and though the actual tour process, as far as my involvement on an active level, started back in late January 2006, but we don't really count that because those extra months were PB (Pre Blog). So today is the Day 366 since us Pepper's roadies first left home on our world wide food sampling trip that also involved setting up gear for a rock show. Let us raise our glasses and sing in merry rejoice.
**** End Special Alert ****
Oh, and we may as well settle in on a proper calendar dating system. "PB" will mean "Pre Blog" as in Day 89PB was 89 days before the RITM blog began. That way I can now refer to dates via bloggery time. Where as dates occurring after the blog began will be referred to as "PB" which means "Post Blog" so to clarify Day 89PB will mean 89 days after the Blog began and we were in Arizona. Actually it does not matter much anyway because once time has passed it becomes a slippery medium that has less and less relevance with each passing day and all that really matters is the memories.
And while we are catching up on past memories, I guess now is as good a time as any to tidy up the unfinished Coachella adventure so here are few odds and ends. I don't recall mentioning it in past blog posts but here is something for the sound techery humans.
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
One of the issues, in my opinion, that us sound nerdery humans often encounter is the insecure action of ego based self importance that inspires us to loose track of the big picture. One area that often occurs is at mix position. Here we are at a festival ready to rock with 80,000 of our new found best friends whom have all come to join in listening and loving the tunes and low and behold they also like to see the band. Here we are as soundies (and lampies) all ready to rock like no tomorrow so we set up a monolith of techno scaffolding blockage dead center in prime seating so us privileged few who are paid to rock can do our gig. And with our momentum of self importance we barrel through and build our big bummer to stand on while totally disregarding the fact that the reason we are here is so that many of those humans who can't now see, want to view the show. After seeing event after event where there is a big "V" of emptiness behind the sound area because the audience can't see from that area, I decided to make an effort to bring about some change.
Here is an aerial picture from Coachella 2004's main stage with a "normal" festival mix position.
You may notice a slight devoid of humans behind the mix area above. Below is a picture of a low profile riser open back mix area that I came up with and have been fighting to implement for for many years but GoldenVoice and Coachella festival readily embraced it the following year in 2005.
Above you can see the "see through" mix position that I do all in my power to implement whenever possible. The amazing thing is how much resistance I encounter from promoters, production and other band engineers at festivals that really have a hard time straying from the norm. Even if though the "norm" sucks for the crowd and puts the sound engineer on a platform that is too high to hear what the audience hears.
Below, I put together a very high tech labeling of the sound system in the Mojave tent:
Last night I was off to the gig at 11:59 pm took a look around and confirmed that all was under control and immediately headed back to the hotel 20 minutes later.
That was way back on June the 4th. Now that it is deep into the 7 AM hour of June 5th, lets go see what breakfast looks like downstairs.
Ewwww! yuck, look at all that horrible food, bummer! Oh well, don't want it to go to waste so I will have to eat it, I guess, before I start wandering around Tokyo for a bit to take another look. There are so many unusual things everywhere, it is really hard to know which ones to take pics of.
Not so cool of a place to call home but as far as living in a box goes, this is the nicest one I have ever seen.
For some mysterious reason I felt drawn to the crepe shop so I indulged in a carmel cream and ice cream crepe. Yumm!
Speaking of food, there is a restaurant a half block away where you put $ in a machine, press a button for you choice, a little ticket pops out and then you walk inside, hand them the ticket and they make that food for you.
At first it didn't make sense but after thinking about it, eliminating having the chefs take orders and handle the money does streamline things a bit. All good, fast and like $5 for a bowl of noodles.
Great sound is just an opinion. As a sound engineer, it is very important not to forget that. Opinions are fluid and need no basis in fact or logic and with music, technically perfect often equates to boring, as the music world quickly discovered when drum machines were invented. There are humanoids that love and bask in the endless quest of capturing perfect recordings of classical music and connoisseur themselves into frenzy focusing on every detail. I have met and listened to a few of these "oh you have to hear this!" audiofoolery setups and sat there and closed my eyes and not once did I go "Holy shit! for a second there I thought an orchestra snuck in hear and started rocking out while I had my eyes closed." But what I did hear is something that was their opinion of amazing sound. And after all the hype and build up about how great it is, I find my focus riveted to finding the flaws, (but hey, I am a sound engineer, that's what I am supposed to do, right? Then I think, hmmm, what if I happened upon that same sound system in a pawn shop? I may go "Holy shit, it almost sounds as if an orchestra just snuck in here and and started rocking! How much for that stereo system?"
**** End Ponderings ****
So Coachella is has much to see and while in a wander. I found bikes, but nowhere did they go.
While I do enjoy a good bike ride and I am often quite happy to go nowhere, combining those two concepts at a music festival seems a bit less than attractive. These were not normal bikes though, well, actually they were normal bikes but they did something cool. See the little motor to the belt? Ever had your cell phone go dead at a three day festival? Here is a way for you to pedal that power back into the phone, very cool and part of an energy awareness exhibit. So we wander on and in no particular order have look at some of what I see'd and did. Bjork played and had some cool keyboard sequencer thing that he moved little things around and sound came out that no one could figure out what it was.
I mixed Chuck Dukouski's band CD Sextet in the Gobi tent
So I got to mix the largest and smallest stages and is was cool to mix on at a Rat Trap System which I have not done forever. Say hey to Ian who came to visit and Chuck.
I got to meet DJ Shadow
Catering did not suck
We all know the importance of driving a sexy ride and when your cruising such sweet vehicle as my rickety Rat cart clearly was, irresistibility is just one of the perks.
The Peppers crew hotel was far from sucking as well.
Stability is formed by the third point in a triangle. Like on a bicycle, you go to park and trying to balance it on two wheels and poom, over it goes but if you put down the .......
kickstand, it makes it all better, badabing. And finally for today's installment, DJ's use headphones to do their deal and to get a nice clear powerful sound. Well, we also know that bigger is better, check out these headphones!
For you techies out there, that is four 18" speakers, four 15" speakers, four 10" speakers, two 2" horns - per side stereo tri amp with subs on an aux send. Turn that up and I bet it would make your heart tremble. I think we may have a new entrant into the **** Ingenious and Practical Sound System Design Award **** contest.