What a thrill! Your band finally gets a call to perform at the hippest bar in town and the sound engineer is included in the deal. This means less stress and only worrying about one thing: Playing. The technician can be the architect of the success of the show or ruin the party for everyone. But this isn’t always the technician’s fault, some bands are really hard to tame to work with the man behind the mixer.
Respect the Technician’s Time
Try to consider the set time to assemble and disassemble the equipment. The technician doesn’t have to wait for 20 minutes behind the mixer while the band is pulling cables because the members don’t make it on time or have been wasting time around the stage.
The Grouchy Sound Engineer is a Cliché
Not all sound technicians marry this role. In fact, they tend to be normal guys who appreciate a little courtesy, this motivates them to do a good job. When arriving at a show, say hello and introduce the band to the technician and talk to him, it may seem redundant and obvious but it’s always good to remember it.
Be Polite, as Your Mom Intended
Technicians are human beings, and politeness is always appreciated. Thank the sound engineer for his work during the presentation of the concert or call him by his name during the sound test instead of with an “Eh you, the one on the mixer”, it will make things more bearable.
Double Check Everything
Your manager has already sent the tech rider to the place of the show with all the necessary specifications. But it’s worth reviewing all the equipment once the band is on the site to check if anything was missed or ask for anything you may need. The technician will have an easier job and the chances of his work going well increases.
A Sound Check is Not a Rehearsal
Choose two songs that are perfect to balance the volumes and do a quick test of each, right at the beginning of the performance. For any special request, ask the technician and collaborate: Nobody wants to listen to you beating the guitar for 3 minutes to equalize the sound of the whole band.
The First Song
It’s a good habit to try the first song that will open the recital. That way allows the technician to know exactly what’s going to go on. If there’s a background intro, also seek to balance this sound according to the other instruments.
Handle the Tracklist
If the technician doesn’t know your songs, you can give him the tracklist for the gig. Some notes with specifications about the songs (such as: “I want that sound effect on the fourth song”) can be useful to help the technician make your band sounds perfect.
Don’t worry, is part of their job to master the non-verbal communication. So, if the communication flows correctly, depending on the gesture he can managed to solve any problem instantly. A gesture with the hand after turning up the volume of the amps is universally understood as “I cannot hear myself”.
Be Thankful with The Sound Crew
At the end of the gig, be polite and help with the cable picking. Surely the technician wishes to have a beer and enjoy the rest of the evening so he could use a little help. Also, thank him for his work, try to keep in touch with him, and talk to him about sound, arrangements, and concerts in general. The advice of anyone who has listened to dozens of musicians is a treasure.