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"You're having a really long day, and you've got 1 band that has this immaculately presented spec and the line list all makes sense, and everything is really clearly labelled. They've made the effort for you." - James Boundy

In this episode

  • About the guest, James Boundy

  • From small to huge live shows

  • Getting your instruments ready for gigging

  • Balancing your own instrument levels

  • Stage Plans & Tech riders

  • Soundcheck and good stage sound

  • Tips on mixing your own live sound

  • James' tips for a small, full-featured live sound mixer to mix your own stage sound

  • Gain staging in live sound


About the 


James Boundy is a Byron Bay based live sound engineer with decades of experience in FOH sound for touring acts and festivals. He's worked nationally and internationally for acts such as Tora, DZ Deathrays, Dune Rats and Wharves, just to name a few.


The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music

Boundy Sound (and Yarn/MixArtist) recommend: Soundcraft UI24R

Boundy's quite the opposite: Sound Engineering Declared Grumpiest Profession In The World

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Welcome back to the production talk podcast. Thank you so much for hanging out with me again last week we announced the gear giveaway feature with a little help from my friends at Barbara music and cmi music and audio and sure enough. The responses have been amazing. So please stick around till the end of this episode to find out who the lucky winner is today I'd like to kick off this episode with some good news. The live sound industry is finally picking up again in Australia. Bands are planning tours venues are booking gigs again and as sense a general vibe of excitement to get things rolling again. By the way I just bought tickets for Bluesfest for my wife and I for next year can't wait to get out and we're absolutely stoked to see bands life again. So if you're a live performer. Now is the time to dust off your instruments and get back on stage again and to support you with that I invited a well-known australian livesock engineer today to talk us through all the steps to get your band ready for gigs James Boundy has been my friend for over a decade and a half and he is super knowledgeable in everything related to live sound so without further ado let's get straight into my interview with 1 of australia's leading live sound engineers James Boundy. James, thank you so much for coming in today. James Boundy Um, and it's a pleasure Really really happy to be here. Thanks for having me on. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Look you've you've been a live sound engineer for for how long now for how many years James Boundy Not not too long in fairness like I think out of being an engineer for maybe sort of seventeen eighteen years. It's maybe been the last seven that that the yeah the live sound thing's really kicked off a notch sort of thing I I remember being. James Boundy Like so paranoid about live sound when I first started in studio sound like you know the concept of feedback and everything just completely freaked me out so it it took me a while to get the confidence up to make the step over related. Definitely. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, yeah I can relate to that. Okay, good say and just to get us a bit of an idea of who you are and what you've done say what was the the smallest show you've ever mixed sound for. James Boundy Wow, that's a really good question the smallest ah show man there would have to be a few I think you know I like because there's been a lot of you know, obviously like weird sort of corporatey sort of stuff as well where you really are. James Boundy Not the focus of the attention whatsoever sort of thing and you drag a pa in and set up with a soloist and you feel like you're playing to almost no people because it's it's just that background music kind of effect and things like that. Um specifically naming a single show as the smallest 1 So I think that sort of corporate scenario I definitely remember doing a gig. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Let's image is that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Something that remembered. James Boundy We did with Tora back in the day like it was a promotional thing for ue booms when they first came out and we sort of set up and literally played to pretty much no 1 like it was it was there and they kind of they were filming it so they were going to use it after the fact but it was still that whole thing of you know, literally playing. James Boundy There were a couple of like the execs and the marketing people that were in the room but it just felt weird. You know, but it's yeah, it's interesting. Those gigs that you got to kind of push through for for a greater good theoretically. So yeah, ah the biggest 1 ah like the biggest headline show I think. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, right? yeah. Um, yeah, and what was the biggest show you've ever done. James Boundy Was interesting because it was just before covid actually like it was um, the the front of house run I did with June rats for their hurry up and wait tour ah which would have been yeah in 2020 literally directly. We. We finished the week before everybody got locked down. Um. And that was yeah sort of headline shows up around the sort of 7 ish thousand mark like we've we've played a lot of festivals obviously but you know I guess you have to proportionly take how many of those fans are just there for you sort of thing but that headline run was definitely the the biggest 1 I've done. Yeah, yeah, definitely felt the burst. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Well nice end for the birth whereabad was that. James Boundy Well so that was a national run so it was places like ah we were at the big top in Sydney. Ah, we were in the festival music hall in in Melbourne the fortitude music hall in in Brisba brisbane yeah, that's it. It's e and theaterre in adelaide which was a huge 1 for me because I'm originally from adelaide. Um. So all of my favorite shows that I remember seeing as a kid were at the thebein theateratre and that was actually the first time that we had full production day light leading up to the tour and our first 8 was in adelaide so we got to spend 2 days at the thebeudin theatre and have a full day just to set up get the pa tweak the way that I liked it. Um, run all our lighting stuff because and June rats in particular have a lot of peripheral stuff to just the music we have massive inflatable rigs and pyrotechnics and all that sort of stuff so that all needs to get dialed in but amazing. Yeah, it was a really interesting point of my career I guess to be at that stage where I was at this venue that i. Revered so much as a kid and then to have a full rehearsal day. You know just to to get my show file dialed in for 1 particular band is unbelievably luxurious. That's good. Yeah, it is. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Well nice that sounds good. Okay, look. It's now the end of 2021 it looks like in australia the life scene is waking up. It's coming back to life and people want to get out and tour again. James Boundy Hopefully yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths So ah, what advice would you have for a band now who ah dust off their instruments and want to get out again. You know how do you? How do you get yourself ready for playing live shows as a musician. Yeah. James Boundy Yeah, it's a big 1 hey and it's it's a very interesting period in the sort of I guess the history of live music like that as well because um, you know now everyone hasn't been playing for a good couple of years sort of thing you know and that's across the board. So like it's a lot of the. Management groups and things like that that I guess I work with at the moment they're all really focused on making sure that everybody is just hitting the ground running really hard from the first show again because literally nobody has any momentum anymore like it was impossible to keep that running through. So. It's like the entire global music Market I guess is kind of open again for the first time like it's really. Any band could be the 1 theoretically to step up and grab people's attention now because it's a bit of a blank canvas like that. so so I guess then when it comes down to you know how? how should people look to approach that sort of thing like preparation now becomes everything sort of thing because obviously it's impossible to have that level of match fitness at the moment like we like to call it that idea of gigging regularly and all that sort of stuff. But it's um yeah I mean hopefully everybody has just been taking this as a really good opportunity. You know to hone their craft more in general you know to become more familiar with their instruments and you know maybe experiment more with with you know, different ways of processing their sounds or the ways of getting. The sound that they want to have reproduce as close as possible to what it could be before it even gets into the hands of someone like you or me to to mix it beyond their sort of thing. But um, but yeah it it seems like a really good time that hopefully people have had a bit of time to regroup and. You know, especially you know when you're starting to yeah, get back into the touring circuit and things like that you know hopefully everybody is spent a little bit of time on just getting things like their touring spec together and all that sort of stuff you know, like any of the things. That can just help make life easier sort of thing like it's it's been my last couple of weeks is actually redoing the production writers for almost all of the bands all of that. Yeah, totally yeah, so yeah, definitely I mean the the core is obviously the stage plot the input list and yeah, and hopefully. Jan 'Yarn' Muths When you say production writer is that the stage plot and the Inpod list. James Boundy You know it is like it seems like a bit of a weird thing to say but having you know been the system tech at festivals and things like that when you do have to deal with you know 30 odd specs coming in from all the different bands like it. It makes a big difference I think from an engineering point of View. You know to say to musician sort of thing you can tell when people have put a bit of effort and thought. Into that stage Plot. You know, like if you you do both ah to get an app like stage plot pro or something like that that allows you to do it all digitally. So. It's Clean. You know compared to someone that you know maybe just scribble something out on a piece of paper just before set showtime and hands it over like you know it's a shame that it yeah exactly and it's a shame that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Showtime It's a show you've seen that? yeah. James Boundy You know, like obviously you would assume you would hope that every sort of audio tech that's involved with a festival or a bigger show or something like that they so you know spend the same amount of effort and and energy on every single band that's coming up but you know if you're having a really long day and you know you've got 1 band that has this. Immaculately presented Spec and the line list all makes sense and you know everything is really clearly labeled and all that sort of stuff compared to someone. That's just got something scribbled out on a piece of paper. Like unfortunately people would probably tend to you know to put a bit more effort into the 1 That's better presented because you feel like they've made the effort for you in that sort of sense as Well. So. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And so yeah, and yeah, and what type of information is critical and in ah in a stage plan for you? Yeah, what are the core elements that everybody needs to nail. James Boundy Um, yeah, well yeah, definitely well and obviously the first thing is like actually having everything correct you know, like the actual right instruments in the actual right places and just having thoughts about things like monitoring and stuff like that as well. Like how do you prefer to monitor if you are. The kind of person that you know you know maybe is a vocalist that you definitely require a pair of wedges then to to specify that you know it's it's anything that can be organized ahead of time for you because it's so much easier to organize in advance than it is in the heat of the moment sort of thing. So the more accurate you are with all of that sort of stuff and things like you know, power drops and. You know any descriptions of any other like little weird things that you might have you know if maybe the drummer runs in ears or something like that. You know to be really specific about that down to not just that they are going to run in ears. But how are they going to run it like are they wired is like how do how do the monitor detects give you that signal is it on. You know, are you expecting xlrs as the input or canons as the input. You know how does ah how does all of that sort of stuff work. So. Jan 'Yarn' Muths So would it help if let's say the musicians plotted. Let's say the model names onto onto the stage plot rather than saying guitar m to actually see which 1 it is so that you can look up and see what connections they have yeah helpful. Yeah, look it up. James Boundy Definitely helpful haig yeah because 1 of the big things I like to use a lot now with um, a lot of the rock bands that I work for for electric guitars and things like that are reactive load DIs like ah the palmer DIs in particular are what I I like to use and then if I can see on a spec like you said that it's. Someone's brought either like fender combo that allows me to connect you know, disconnect between the head and the cab and stick that di in there or something that has an external or head and cab in general sort of thing if I know that I can use that ahead of time then yeah that that saves me, it's so much quicker for me to patch as a line. You know there's less issues to do with microphones and all that sort of stuff which which is really cool. So I think the more detail you can be without making it unclear sort of thing because obviously you can take that too far and present too much information and it make it difficult to find you know the the core of what's going on. But. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, yes, of course. Yeah. James Boundy But yeah, and and things like power drops I find it's really helpful if you can to actually put the names of all of the players on the stage plot where they're actually staying because because obviously we're not going to Yeah, we're not going to know necessarily the names of you know it's a pretty small Australian music scene. But you know it's hard to know everybody's names. But. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Stage point. Yeah because obviously with the names. Yeah yeah, we're not going to know. You know written everybody's name. James Boundy Is that speed and efficiency of communication then is a big deal like if a if a stage manager or a monitor tech. Can you know refer to the drummer by name then they know they're talking to you instead of like it's so funny watching people try and line check bands that they don't know and when you're calling out hey. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Is all human rhythm. James Boundy Lead guitar please or you know like Rhythm guitar pleases and sometimes even they're a little bit confused because they're like oh well actually you know we swap so which 1 of us do you mean because you know we don't always play the same part but you know if you can just go hey you know Kate or whatever and then that person knows you're speaking to them it just it it it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths What So we you know we don't always play the same. Yeah, you guys just go hey. James Boundy You know improves that level of communication which is obviously so important. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And would you suggest that bounce write up input list including you know what signal and maybe even the preferred microphone choices certainly preferred microphone. Yeah voices. Yeah, it's. James Boundy Definitely preferred microphone choices. Yeah, it's really really helpful because obviously you know tonally that's going to affect a lot of what things sound like sort of thing if you know you have a chain that is your preferred tone because obviously that is such a tricky thing to communicate. Yeah. To a front of house engineer that you're not familiar with you know how do you describe? What your tone is like it's it's that idea of hopefully having it presented. You know as close to what you want it to be represented as as possible and if that comes down to a microphone choice and that's really Handy. Um. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, represent it as it. Yeah good. Not every musician knows all the different sounds of all the kick microphones in the world. But if there was a little description that says ok rock kick or reggae kick or something that would give us. James Boundy Um, exactly. James Boundy Absolutely yeah, definitely yeah, and specifically if you know that that's so essential to your sound like you know the theater are elements that you know you know because obviously it's going to be really hard for you to roll up and communicate the entirety of what you expect your mix to sound like but if you know there are elements that need to be key or ah, a tonal reference or something like that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Some medication with microphone to choose Absolutely Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay yeah, and this bit. James Boundy That means that you feel more comfortable that you're being represented the way that you want to be represented then your performance will always improve based on that you know when you know that hopefully the crowd are hearing what what you want them to be hearing sort of things. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yes. Jan 'Yarn' Muths So things? Yeah yeah, say as a sound engineer who works with you know so many musicians how much tolerance have you got for dodji guitar elites. James Boundy Yeah, ah no, it's a really good question. You know to the extent that I carry extras with me at all times because I have no tolerance for it. Yeah, it's It's exactly that thing and like you said hopefully that's been things that people have been able to work on on this break before looking back. Go back to gigs because. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And sorry to bring that up. It's a really good question. You know to the extent I can. James Boundy You know what? what are the minimum things that you can do you can make sure that your instrument works is a big thing. You know that your leads work is also a good thing you know taking a bit of time on pedal boards and things like that and and especially um, you know if we look at the example of heavy rock stuff again as well like people that will move between sort of cleaner tones and heavier tones and a lot of that. Comes with distortions and compressors and all that sort of stuff but it's it's making sure that over the duration of your set that the majority of the signals that are coming out of that pedal board are relatively balanced compared to each other because it's great to kick in your distortion. But you're not looking like sometimes you are but usually it's not. Supposed to be a massive level shift. It's just supposed to be. You know the distortion. The harmonics increase you know all that sort of stuff the tone crushes up together and sounds more raw. But if it's suddenly fifty db louder than your clean tone and you as a front of house engineer are not expecting that then that's going to be like a really not professional sounding. Component of your set and you just you obviously want to be presenting yourself as well and as professionally as you possibly can. Jan 'Yarn' Muths That's perfect so in ah in some ways The band is also responsible to premix themselves. Yeah, and that you know that's four for guitar players who switch channels or effects. Yeah definitely keyboard players who switch programs. Yeah yeah. James Boundy Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, um, absolutely totally. Yeah, whole patches exactly you know and volume can be saved as part of that patch sort of thing and. It's not fun to do. It's not fun to sit and go through all of your patches and resav them all with different volume levels and all that sort of stuff. But hopefully if you do it once and right then you know the knock-on effect that that has for your set is it's It's well worth the time that too. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Exactly and it will also lead to a more consistent ah forback sound than because you hear yourself at a more consistent level rather than sudden changes that the front of house engineer might jump to the faders and react but that doesn't necessarily change the forwardback sound totally unless you have a forwardback engineer who's. James Boundy Totally and exactly yeah and and even then like the massive dynamic shift might be really good for you because that's what you feel is really good. But if other people on the stage are receiving that as well and. Jan 'Yarn' Muths On their toes exactly. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, yes on this 1 James Boundy You know someone's trying to concentrate on a really nuanced picking part on their guitar and suddenly the organ goes up 12 db in in their fallback and they can't hear it anymore like because it's all you know, obviously everyone's broadest intention with getting on stage is to make everyone feel as comfortable as they possibly can because that's. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, yeah, yeah, and if hearing any anymore is it's old. James Boundy When they enjoy themselves more and the crowd will naturally enjoy things more if they can tell that the people on stage are are comfortable and having a good time like that's it's such a palpable thing that comes across so and that was back to what you were saying before with making sure you know things like your leads work. You know if you're running on Nine vault batteries all over the place please have spares you know like and again like Hopefully you have tech and crew that are around you that will also keep an eye on that for you but but you know you're responsible for it first and foremost you know and that's why it's really nice to get people. You know there are so many really beautiful. You know people that will build pedal boards for you or you know the way that the all the pedal trains have. Become so much more prevalent now and you know and then you've got your fuel tank built into it which allows you to connect a single powerpoint and instead of going and pluging in all your individual pedals and all that sort of stuff you know, just these speeds and things that mean that you know that your sound should be a little bit more consistent on stage bring your extra plecrums stick em to you stick em to your mic stand. You know there's nothing worse and. You know carry spare strings you know and it's not cheap. Obviously like we all realize that you know the last little while's been really hard for everybody financially. So it's not. You know it's hard to justify. You know, buying a full set of extra strings for every you know player in the band you know in the off chance that you might need them. But if it's the difference of being able to finish a set or not finish a set. Like it. It pays for itself pretty quickly. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Well said well said let's talk about ah drums for a moment. So um, what should drummers do in order to prepare themselves best for for their live shows is every single kit equally well suited for for live shows. What's what's your take on this. What can drummers do to. James Boundy Um, yeah, well and definitely not obviously is the first answer there like there is absolutely no guarantee that the sonically things are going to be similar between different kits and and again, especially depending on what scale that you're at. Jan 'Yarn' Muths To make your job easier. James Boundy You know and like playing at ah at a festival where there's just a house kit. You know that's been played by everyone all day from you know, like genres potentially that have nothing to do with yours and and all that sort of stuff as well like obviously carrying your own snare drum and your own symbols is the first step and is pretty standard for most drummers sort of thing because I mean snare drum in particular is so. Central to your tone your tonality in general. Ah, you know how how you speak from behind the drums is very relative to tears. Yeah, exactly definitely yeah, all the stuff that can really you know without making it too horrible to lug around because obviously no 1 wants to lug our full drumset around with them. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And and kick paddles. Yeah, exactly yeah kick pedddles. Definitely all the stuff that can really you know without. James Boundy But yeah, but snares symbols and kick paddle is a really good place to start sort of thing hopefully just have a good idea about drum tuning for yourself like um I mean a lot of the bigger bands that I work for their drummers. Still don't really have a particularly good grasp of tuning for themselves. They know how they'd like it to sound but in terms of physically getting it. They're. They're not as good you know and then obviously a lot of those guys in are a luxurious position enough to have a drum tech for them that will come and have tape measures to make sure all the drums are the exact right height that they were last time and all that sort of stuff like it's really full on. But yeah, understanding what you want the drums to do tonally and just making sure that you can. At least keep a relative you know blend of tonality between what you're given sort of things so just feeling confident enough that you can just walk up to a drum kit a little bit on each element and just go like you know what? those toms are not sitting for me, you know, like okay there. You know, wringing too much or too little but knowing okay I'm going Bottom skin not topskin then and all that sort of stuff you know because they're that ability to if you can walk up to a kit and within five minutes having having it sounding tonally close at least to what you want then that will make such a difference over a 1 hour set to come after that sort of thing but but that speed is important. And really having practiced and trusting yourself enough to know that when you know it's right. It's right sort of thing and not not doubleguessing yourself while you're up. There. Okay. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, yes, okay yeah I guess ah some things to focus on is you know, worn heads and particularly nasty rings on Tom's and I guess another classic is broken symbols and especially if the little plastic felt has come undone and they. James Boundy Absolutely. Jan 'Yarn' Muths You know, create a rattling sound on the stand. Those are the things that are just causing trouble. Yeah, it's really and being a. James Boundy It's causing trouble. Yeah, totally and being able to you know because it's not easy obviously like ah especially if you sing and play drums as well. I don't even understand how people can do that when you're essentially all of your limbs. So four rhythmic things and a melodic thing running simultaneously and then and then the concept that in the meantime you need to be listening to little rattles or you know anything like that. Ah, big thing as well. Like especially if it's a quiet song and you're a more acoustic sort of band as well. I love it when drummers are mindful enough to disengage their snares when when they know that they're not going to be playing snare for half a song and they've got a big bass rig next to them which if that's. Just playing then the snares are going to resonate and rattle a lot with that by default like you know, just being aware of all of the tonality that your drums can provide and that if you don't need the snare just disengage it for just a second because that lack of rattle that just seems to find its way into any microphone that's on the stage will make a massive difference to the actual dynamic feel to what's happening in the crowd which is yeah. Yeah, a random thing but I think kind of cool. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, ok, good. that' that's great. Let's talk about vocalists for a moment so and look in all honesty I sort of finished my lives on career when covid hit and I'm not not trying to get back into it and at that time when I've finished up I always try to. Use the exact same vocal microphone for the entire day if possible so that ah didn't yeah have to reach you in the fallbacks and vocalists who carried their own microphones were making our life harder and it wasn't necessarily better because of it I found at least in some cases but nowadays we know with. The hindsight of covid. It's probably a lot more acceptable to change microphones around is is that so has that changed in your experience. James Boundy It's funny like that. Hey. yeah so I think so yeah and I think it has definitely though we seem to be in a different generation like that now where people are you know like people more broadly are just more savvy with more audio-related things like yeah, which I think is is amazing and and super important too like obviously. You know I think it's amazing that most musicians are capable of engineering to some degree sort of thing because you know that that continual work on you know, like our ear training that never seems to stop. You know it's that idea that you know the better that you can start to localize particular frequencies then you're able to communicate that. Not. Only just accurately but also in a way that a monitor engineer is able to understand if you can hear that something is ringing at 400 hertz and you can say that to a monitor engineer they can pull that out in 2 seconds ah you know whereas otherwise a lot of people are just like you know Ed which isn't a bad thing. It's just it slows the process down where you just. Sort of hey it's really muddy or something like that. But muddy can mean so many things to so many people and and all that sort of stuff. But yeah people I kind of like that people are starting to match focal mics to themselves and then carry them but it makes it really tricky like you said. In the scenario where say you're playing at a festival again with short changeovers and you know like and again hopefully everybody's aware of the fact that theoretically the engineer should have tuned the stage ahead of time you know. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah I guess that's something we should probably explain and not just assume that everybody knows that but a thoughtback engineer usually spends a fair bit of time ringing out the vocal microphone against the forward pack means to apply a cue to avoid feedback and get a clean sound. And when you exchange 1 element like the microphone or the speaker this house crumbles and you need to start from scratch again and that's what happens when we exchange Microphones. So lately? Yeah, yeah, like you said them win that in mind. James Boundy Completely. Yeah, So like you said then with that in mind you know I think you know it's awesome to carry your own vocal mic. But it's It's also realizing that there are opportunities. Maybe that's not as practical to do you know like you know if it's a difference of a little bit of tonality versus yeah like you said you know you throw a mic with a completely different impedance on there and then suddenly you know the the way it all responds the whole system completely changes and for this minor tonal shift that you'll get with the microphone compared to completely ruining. Essentially how that fallback system is working for the singer like I think in that situation. The Singer theoretically would be a lot more comfortable with just using the microphone that's already there because their monitoring will be so much better. Even if the tonality isn't exactly where they want it to be the relative you know, sort of. You. You know the pros and cons of that situation. It's about just picking your battles like that a little bit as well like and you know and but there always has to be a dialogue with that as Well. You know, like because you know it's on 1 hand you know I completely agree with the engineer to come up and say hey no can you please not change that microphone because it's going to. Cause these problems and at the same time.. It's not unreasonable for the vocalists to say hey no, but please I Really like this tone sort of thing. So I think it's important that in those equations. No 1 is completely staunch in where they are sort of thing you know because that's that's where I think historically you know. Some of the relationships between musicians and Engineers haven't been the greatest sort of thing and ah yeah, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, is yes yeah I think on on that note I think lives on Engineers have been voted to be the crankiestt profession of all in the world have you heard that too I found that somewhere online and and that yeah yeah. James Boundy Ah bad I that we're're we're living that. Yeah, it's um I think it's been 1 of the the really beautiful things of recent history has just been watching I think what I consider ought and almost to be a generational shift in that like it's um, there were a few gigs that I was doing. Really early on in the game where it would just be so rare I remember a woodford folk First of all in particular I was there with parcels. Um, and there was 1 of the stages there I think the tropic stage and the monitor tech the front of house tech and the stage manager were all young people and like we were all everyone was just. Couldn't be nicer like we were all almost like trying to out nice each other sort of thing and we got to the end of the show and and everyone was just like you know we were all thanking each other so profusely for just being so nice and then just going like oh wait a minute. Why isn't this always like this you know like um and so I think that's changed a lot these days and I think 1 of the really beautiful things about that and I think. It's been interesting to watch that through my career of working in front of a house was um I don't have any musical background whatsoever like I got into sound engineering because I wanted to be a sound engineer and a lot of the bands that I worked for for a long time. Couldn't work out why I was so happy doing all the things that I was doing because a lot of the people that they work for in the past were these older rock dog guys that had been around for forever and hadn't quite made it in the band that they were in so became an engineer as an afterthought sort of thing whereas I think there's a lot more people now that really respect and really loved the art form of. Engineering from in an audio sense just to be doing that and I think that makes a lot for people less grumpy to be there because they're like you know like I've had that conversation a lot of time with people where it's just like no I'm completely where I want to be like I I don't have any dreams to. To be playing a guitar on stage or anything like that. So. It makes me really happy to do what I do and I think hopefully we're going to break that stereotype pretty soon I think that idea of not being grumpy anymore because it is it really shouldn't be like that you know like at the end of the day. Everybody's there for the exact same purpose like we all want to pull together as much as we can you know to. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Think that will be great because it is yeah like that. Yeah like it. James Boundy You know to make the best experience for the people in the crowd which is everybody's priority and it's been a really beautiful thing I've found working a lot particularly in the brisbane rock scene. Um, because all of the bands up there even though they're technically all competing for the same airspace. There's a lot of people at the violent sohos and the dieisy deathrays and the du rats and. All those sorts of guys that are all really very similar demographic-wise sort of thing but they're all so amazingly supportive of each other and and you know they will all pay to go to each other's shows. But it's also like the the even that old system of like you know, headline band versus supports and you know like. Headline bands treating the supports like crap because you know like you know they they had their time in the trenches like I think I hope and you know hopefully all the people that are listening to this agree with it I think it's a really beautiful time at the moment for everybody to be really open with their sharing of knowledge and experience and expertise but also just. You know, realizing that we are all in the same boat like that you know and if the support band has an awesome gig, then the headline band has an even more awesome gig and there is so much to be. You know, really appreciated and just helping and working with each other like everyone's had you know, different experiences of theoretically the similar thing and there's so much that can be learned by you know, really interacting with. Your your fellow musicians and peers watching their shows asking them how they did that. How do they get that tone like all that sort of stuff like it's I think it's a really excitingly collaborative time now. Hopefully. Jan 'Yarn' Muths well well sir james I love everything you just said, you know the the spirit of of collaboration that you just described. That's really what the world needs right now and so thank you. That's ah, that's really good to know. Let's talk about Sandchek for a moment. James Boundy Um, yeah, yeah, hopefully. Jan 'Yarn' Muths You know people tended to say that during the show. The sound engineer needs to do everything to make the the band its life easier but during the sound check. It's sort of back to front where the band is really there to listen to the sound engineer and do everything that makes the sound engineer happy is is that still true these days. James Boundy M. James Boundy Yeah, definitely um, obviously like yeah, it's yeah, it's it's ah for my from my perspective on that I guess like the the priority of the sound check has to be getting the the band as comfortable as they can possibly be on stage you know and then yeah and there definitely is a lot of that you know. That needs to be driven by someone sort of thing you know like and and hopefully for the most part like um even when I'm at at front of house I like to if we're in a situation like that where we're building monitors from scratch or something like that I really like the monitor engineer to be the person that drives that because they're in the most direct control of that and things like that and as much as. You know, obviously the front house sound is hugely important because that's the broader perception of the show. But like I said before like if the the musicians on stage aren't comfortable with what's happening on stage then that translates to the performance instantly and it's almost pointless like I've almost sort of joked about how redundant I can be in some cases because you know if people ah you know they're well rehearsed. they they know their instruments you know they've they've worked really hard on their tones and all that sort of stuff. Realistically, you should just be able to push the faders up and as long as they play to the best of their ability. Essentially you know like it helps to put a bit of eq and things like that on their Butt. You know the. Jan 'Yarn' Muths The bad mixes itself. Basically yeah, yeah, yeah. James Boundy Yeah, and the performance carries itself which is such at such a huge point. So So getting the sound on stage is really important but it is. It's realizing that there needs to be the most efficient way to do that is to have a central point of focus like have 1 person call in the shots and you know there's obviously a massive. Toing toing and froing between everybody to get everybody comfortable with that sort of thing. But yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, just give us a couple of do's and don'ts for Soundcheck you know what is it that really grinds your gears during soundcheck. James Boundy Yeah, well first thing is just actually check at the volume that you are going to play in the show like there is no yeah, exactly there is literally yeah because the idea is obviously we're trying to optimize everything for gig volume technically speaking you know and that involves. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Like ah that's a big 1 Yeah. James Boundy You know, like if you're playing a patch on your guitar that you don't even use in your set then that's pointless sort of thing like and so I think that's worth being really mindful of even you know, just even having in your minds as a band going. Okay well this is the loudest song that we play you know and maybe specifically checking 16 bars of that or something like that so that we know because you know that's because we. Especially at the front still need to work with things like noise restrictions and things like that. So Then if you know that you've got as loud as it's going to get the monitor tech knows that too. That's the most amount of sound that's going to be on Stage. You know that is the most potential for feedback or room resonances or any of those sorts of things that that's what. Kind of sound check is therefore you know we're trying to clean everything up as best as it can sort of thing so having things like that. Um, yeah, it's being mindful of things like if you are a vocalist that's going to take the microphone off the stand and walk around the stage. You know and lean down or get on the ground in front of the wedges and things like that maybe just make sure that we can do that during the sound check and all that sort of stuff. Um. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Have you ever experienced a drummers practicing their blast beats where you try to to soundcheck the flute or like while attack out. James Boundy Completely. Yeah, totally or like while a tech is out there adjusting a microphone on the snare drum or something like that and suddenly they did it? Yeah totally. Yeah, yeah, it's crazy like that hey so it is yeah ah it is unfortunately waiting for your turn like that as well. But it's um. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Ah, and hitting it really large. Yeah I hate that it's crazy like so it is yeah and so it is on foot. James Boundy And a big thing is obviously just trying to be really clear about what your priorities are with your own personal monitoring sort of thing you know the the better that you can describe that I think kind of like we were saying before like the the more efficient that that all becomes and all that sort of stuff and just. Yeah, definitely prioritizing the things that are a priority like I always like to do vocals first because vocals are going to pick up so much more of what's happening on the stage anyway because again obviously the less that you can have in your fallback technically the less potential there are for things to go wrong. So it's as try and have as little as you can to get you to where you need to be comfortably sort of thing. But. You know we see it so many times with people that you know they ask for this to be really loud like they'll build off the kick drum or something like that. But then because the kick drum's super loud now the vocal has to be really loud and you know and then it's just this cumulative process and you end up making it less clear by adding more sort of thing. It's a. Yeah, so again, the more that you can be really clear about what your priorities are and what you need it to sound like you know and again, that's where we said it comes back to if you can have even a basic knowledge of frequencies. Even if you can just call bands like it's a lower midthing or an upper midthing or something like that anything that a allows you to communicate. Yeah accurately what you want but also. Communicated in a way that is going to be easily to interpret from someone that's working with you as well like it. It is like learning a foreign language. Sometimes you know like the ways that we you know when we say punchiness or you know you know it needs more slap or what like that you know like from a frequency or a specific audio point of view. What does that actually mean like we all get the broader. Idea of it. But again the more accurately you can communicate the experience that you're having directly in front of your wedges or your ears or anything like that to someone else then it just means we're all going to get to a good place quicker. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Fantastic. That's that's really good say and what would a band need to know about playing shows between small venues and large venues. How could how would a pup gig be different to to a stadium. What? what does a band need to change in their way of performing of tuning their instruments. James Boundy Yeah, completely hey it's a big 1 Yeah no, ah yeah, yes, and no like yeah totally it's it's interesting and obviously like you said you know when you're working in a smaller space inside a pub. You know all of your volumes become super important. You know. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Can you approach a pub Gig just like you would do a stadium as a musician. James Boundy The more enclosed everything is yeah you know exactly you know there's no point in like belting your snare drum at you know at a level higher than what the Pa you know that you're working with can even produce sort of things so it is it's it's willing to be able to scale your sound to some extent like that is is hugely important. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And and you saying that the bands need to scare their sound down in smaller venues and play louder and and in bigger venues is is that the generality. James Boundy Yeah, cool because I guess it's trying to and again you have an engineer that should hopefully be doing elements of that for you obviously. But if you're in a smaller room where you're already. You know the physical sound that you're creating on stage is actually competing essentially with what you're putting in the pa you know when you have the pa there. If you're getting all the sound acoustically off the stage. It's great. But then the engineer has no balance control over that whatsoever sort of things tonality-wise and things like that. It just is what it is. You know? and so there is a massive advantage even if it makes you less comfortable at the time you know to pull those volumes down maybe have more of your guitar in your fold back than you would usually just have a. Cab screaming behind you or something like that but to be able to to yeah, just be mindful of the fact that you know to be able to get the best sound Possible. You need the pas in those environments to do the work for you. You know to an extent and you know if it ends up just being a vocal pa because you you need all of the pa just to get the vocal over the top of the acoustic sounds that are getting made. Then that's not going to be the best representation of your show in that sort of sense you know and it's it's weird to chuck shirts or teatails over your drums sometimes and things like that. But you know if it if it serves a broader purpose then yeah, it's just being mindful of that and then hopefully yet and then once you get to the stadium you should be able to do whatever you want? yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, the beattle said it. Yeah, they had tea tows on their drums at times. Yeah. James Boundy But that's the thing you know and again you know like such an amazing example of tonality with all of those guys you know they all had such amazing knowledge of what they were capable of producing from all of their you know individual instruments and then how they all combined together to make a collective tone and it is. It's just trying to. Keep that in mind you know sometimes it does feel amazing to have your marshalll on 11 because you you know you get all this beautiful odd Harmonic. You know it's It's all right there but you know if that then is just making everyone in the front rows ears bleed and no 1 can hear anything else on the top of it. It doesn't matter that it's tonally Perfect. It's. Yeah, there is a broader experience that's going on which is a bit hard to keep perspective on sometimes when you're rightfully very concerned with what you're doing. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Well said well said ok what advice would you have for musicians who play smaller shows and often find themselves in a position where they need to mix themselves from a small mixer maybe onstage. Even. What can can musicians do to optimize their setup and get the most out of it. Soundwise. James Boundy Yeah, yeah, well and obviously the first thing is you know you need to obviously have at least a basic understanding of gain structure in particular I think is such an important 1 Um, you know, definitely. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yep, do we've got a podcast episode on gain staging. So maybe just rewind to to that episode please and then listen. James Boundy Please do and then listen to it again. Once you're done because the the importance of that in a particularly alive context cannot be overstated in any sense. Um it you know because it affects the way your fold back responds you know everything like that. So. it's um yeah it's it's a huge thing and. And you know just unity mixing and all that sort of stuff you know getting as much work as you can done with pres and things like that. But even that might be a little bit too far down the line sort of thing. But if it is if you do find yourself in an environment or environments where that's happening a lot you know, then then. It also becomes a thing of whether you start going? Ok well we do we need to have some level of redundancy plan to be able to cover this for ourselves like ah so many people are buying ah you know systems like a ui 24 for example, a soundcraft sort of thing you know a lot of. A lot of the bands that I to always still use those as as monitor packages and things. But that's a really good point now I'm just listing off stats like it makes sense. But yeah, it's it's essentially just I think it's a 3 unit four unit. Maybe four you? yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Just just explain quickly what that is because not everybody may know that are you. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um, it's a oh that's a good question I think it's 3 rack units high. Oh well, somebody who knows pleases please leave a comment on this podcast and tell us what size it is but it's it's a rack unit wreck unit. Yeah, and then. James Boundy Like to it's somewhere along those lines. That's it definitely pull us up. Yeah, but it's a wreck. It's a rack unit. Yeah, and then essentially you know it's the entirety of a brain of a console without having the physical faders in front of you So It's a box that we can. You can then. Patch all of your lines into and it is essentially a full mixing system. You know you know, but then we'll just be controlled via wi-fi and you know and therefore you know can be I mean what's beautiful about it is you can then run it as a master from an ipad in the crowd or something like that as well. But if you do get to the stage where you're actually using this a lot you can connect to it with things like your phones. Jan 'Yarn' Muths And mix your own foot back from the stage exists Mostly you know so. James Boundy And so yeah, exactly and totally you know so in that sort of sense. You know there is a huge advantage to even being able to carry a system like that because again, it's only I mean only but a couple of thousand dollars which sounds like a lot. But if it then gives you the option to have you know your monitors. You know controllable. Especially once people start moving into inears because then you don't even have to worry about tunings of wedges and things like that and if you start getting to the stage where you or your engineer carries four microphone packages so you always have the same instruments mike with the same things. It just means that you know you've got that consistency of sound straight away and if you do get to a system. Yeah, a stage where you know there's not a lot of functionality there available for you. A lot of the time. It's all amazing because obviously you can have digital files saved inside this console and then you know potentially have like a frontal house patch. That's already there you know a basic mix and then if you have someone that is capable of being able to then. Just quickly you know use a graphic eq or another eq over the master to tune for the room that you're in you should be able to go okay, cool. Well, we have ah a pretty good you know out-of-the Box. You know, not the greatest mix ever. But definitely enough to be able to get us through a situation where maybe the rest of the gear is an optimum or something like that or they've only got. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, yeah, that's a really good piece of advice I can vouch for this unit I am a proud owner of 1 and I love it for many reasons and it's like a swiss army now if it can do a lot of things including recording and yeah, it's really good. James Boundy Six channels for you and you need 13 or something like that. Ah. James Boundy Um, yeah, Absolutely I Love it. Um, absolutely, It's a big point like that though as well because a lot of people will then because you can. It's a single USB connection between that console and your computer and if you have the Ui 24 you literally have 24 inputs to a recording system. So You know you can. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Little unit big point line. James Boundy You can track Demos you can I mean it's a fully functioning console. You can track actual recorded mixed versions of everything you can, but you can track your you know your rehearsals you know, like if you want to listen back to all of that sort of stuff the flexibility and what you can do with what is you know, a relatively simple package is amazing. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Oh, That's a really good point so we spoke a lot about you know learning and controlling your own tone and why you play that you know your focus might be on other things. But if you are able to track it and actually listen at home to what the microphone heard in front of your cabinet or in front of your drum or in front of your woke microphone. That can really help to understand what's actually going on so Torne wise takes it the whole number level. Yes, Yes, you know it's 1. James Boundy It takes it a whole another level from there like you said because you know it's 1 thing to connect control. You know your pedal levels and all that sort of stuff or you got your head settings and things like that. But it is then a microphone is going to respond to that differently than your ear is in the room so you can really know it is. It's amazing. You know it's. So many people are using those digital consoles now. Um, again with the example of Tora we toured with a um and alan and heath a q u 24 for maybe 2 or 3 of their original sort of Australian tours. But the amazing thing about it was for me at front of house I could then also just stick a flash drive in it record my front of house Mix. You know over the course of the night you know by the time I finished it I would hand it to another guy in the band who would stick it into his software really quick and master it and then we would jump into the van after we packed up and driving to the hotel or wherever we were driving to and he via BlueTooth could play that to the sound system inside the van and we could as we left the gig to listen to the entirety of the gig back again. And all take notes on okay like that was coming in too loud in the backing track there or this was that all that sort of stuff. Get back to the hotel make the changes do the same thing the next day and repeat you know so because I always say it's 1 and it's 1 of the biggest ironies I think about playing in a band is the only person that will never be able to watch your show. Is you. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Wow I Always say that's fantastic I Love that. Yeah, guess. James Boundy You will never be able to have the user experience in the crowd. So any tools that you can have I used to like doing it with pilots actually was another big 1 where I'd have a zoom recorder a four-chan zoom recorder at front a house with you know, just the x y mic recording the sound out of the pa and then the desk mix patch to the other 2 channels so that then. Jan 'Yarn' Muths That's right to be able to have that's right is your experience in the crowd. James Boundy Afterwards, they could listen to either the desk mix you know which will never sound brilliant because it's allowing for you know what? The Pa sounds like and what the room sounds like but then flick over to what the sound was actually like in the room and just going like yeah you know what man I don't think that that vocal part was cutting through. That section. You know, could you just make sure that that's a bit better up and you know and it gives us something to really be able to dive into yeah and like I said without them ever being able to sit in the crowd and experience their and show that's right. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Yeah, that's fantastic. So it's basically it shortens the feedback cycle and so you get an idea of what you actually did very quickly and therefore you can improve much better. Yeah, oh that's fantastic. Yes, so what? a fantastic world. We live in with you know these technical abilities these days. It's that's really good, really good and I bring lugging around. James Boundy Um, absolutely I do yeah totally and these technical abilities. Yeah, it is. It's mind blowing it really has you know considering lugging around analog consoles and huge racks and things like that. We've come a long way. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Consoles in huge reacts and things. Yes, come a long way. It's lightweight. It's powerful. It's cleaner I find that most p s nowadays are cleaner or less distorted or less less harsh in tone absolutely and another the sound of life shows has improved so much so that's really amazing. James Boundy Um, massively Yeah, so. Jan 'Yarn' Muths James. Ah, thank you so much for sharing all of this with us say just before we finish the last question what's the furthest you've traveled for for life zone from from home. James Boundy Or okay, um, well so I guess it would have to be somewhere in Europe. Yeah I don't know what the furthest country from us here in Europe is but I've done the majority of that now I would have thought um, you've been to Europe more than once. Yeah, definitely yeah, and a what a teacher with. Jan 'Yarn' Muths You've been to Europe more than once haven't you Yeah, definitely yeah, who who did he chew with there. So. James Boundy So Been really lucky with that I've done I think 2 runs with June rats over there and 2 runs with dz death rayys over there. We haven't done the last dynos yet. We've done southeast asia with them and things like that as well. But yeah, been. Yeah I've been hugely fortunate to be involved in stuff like that as well and it's um. It's such an amazing part of the experience for people to build up too like yeah yeah and it is like it's always crazy like you know it is. It's different is different for us here in australia because we just have no concept of how you know how close everything is in europe you know and how amazing you know like that. Hospitality in germany is like nothing I've experienced anywhere else in the world. You know you just get so looked after but the idea that within a few hours you can potentially ah change countries. You know be in another venue. You know the size of which we can only really pull out of capital cities you know and they're also geographically isolated from each other like the. The world of touring and the experience of touring over there is is just it's something you know that hopefully everybody gets to experience and hopefully the world opens back up again. So that we can do all of that sort of stuff but b a it's it's such an amazing thing to aspire to and we're all I think so lucky to be able to be involved in an industry that that affords us to be able to potentially. Travel the world while doing something that we absolutely love I think it's important never to take that for granted. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Fantastic, Well and the very last question this time I Promise say if if a listener now wants to get out on tour and is looking for a sound engineer and might be interested in in contacting you. Ah, how would somebody find you and contact you have you got a website or a yeah where where would people find you yeah know what. James Boundy Definitely do? Yeah um yeah, no word wwwww dot boundy sound. All is 1 word. Dot com is me that that that's they not yeah now that's it yet. It's funny. Um I actually my broader business is called sonic artistry and um. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Dot Com Not yeah dot com that you but bounty sound dot com. James Boundy That was always the moniker I ran after but having a name that Rams with Soundy Literallyly I've had had everyone that I've worked with kind of created this other name for me which just stuck and yeah it was with a good lesson in marketing for me because it's just like. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Leov had. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Um. James Boundy And that got stuck and people said anyway see a boundy sound is me and that sort of applies across all social media and things like that as well. That's Facebook and Instagram but all of my contact details are on there. Um, yeah, and it is all my email addresses and things there as I'll so check it out. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Goodings there. Fantastic and I put the website and your social media contacts in the show notes if that's okay with you? Yeah please. Thanks! Fantastic! Well james thank you so much for sharing all of this with us today that the ree means a lot to me and there was some fantastic stuff in there. So yeah, thank you so much. James Boundy Yeah, please the end. Not thank you? No yeah, super happy. James Boundy Yeah, no thank you? No, it's been lovely to sit in Chatman. It's really great to be a part of so yeah, well and thanks for building these resources for people I think it's it's yeah, it's something you don't necessarily get access to so it's yeah, it's ah it's a really beautiful service that you're doing as well which is great. Thank you, it's not easy. Jan 'Yarn' Muths It's che. So thanks for that. Thanks yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Thank you chisney. Wow how good was that? Thank you so much james it's a pleasure working with you. You shared so much valuable information and I'm sure that a lot of you listeners will be able to perform better on stage. Thanks to. The information you just shared with us james this is phenomenal. So thank you so much for that good. Okay, so this brings us to the moment that some of you have been waiting for let's ah, reveal the winner of the gear giveaway an akag microphone and headphone. Ah, currently donated by Cmi audio and music with the support of byron music. So the lucky winner is. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Facebook user and lulu bell Thank you so much for participating. Thank you so much for sharing on lulu bell you won a Brand -new microphone and a headphone from akg congratulations on behalf of the entire production talk podcast community. You deserved it so it will be in the mail soon congratulations I hope it's useful to you and I hope that you make some amazing music with your new akg gear. Jan 'Yarn' Muths Ok, this brings us to the end of this episode I hope you got something valuable out for yourself today and if you did please pass the love on and share this episode with your friends your fellow musicians your band members all the musicians you know. Because free resources are best when they're shared I would also really appreciate if you could please head over to your podcast player and rate this podcast. Maybe even write a little review that would make my day there is additional information in the show notes. Thank you so much for being with me today. See you next week thanks and bye-bye.
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