Set list? Check. Big sound system? Check. Trusted audio engineer? Check, check, check.
What good is the music without flawless delivery? This is the chief reason music professionals rely on their sound engineers to help them disseminate their message, whether it’s headed across a sea of thousands of festival goers or straight across the room in a dark, humble club.
For this exact reason, Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George, and James Hunt of RÜFÜS/RÜFÜS DU SOL entrust Front of House engineer and producer Cam Trewin with their mix. Cam has been with RÜFÜS almost since their 2010 beginning, and is an industry pro with over a dozen years of experience under his belt.
Cam took some time out of his busy touring schedule to give team PK Sound a peek under the hood as to what he and the guys at RÜFÜS focus on when creating and mixing music live.
Aussie band members Lindqvist, George, and Hunt come from varying backgrounds and influences; the result is a rich palette of sounds wrapped up in an airy, playful, indie dance package.
“The set is quite dynamic with lots of rise and fall moments, which is a joy to mix. The only challenging aspect is Tyrone (lead vocal) is a quite singer, so it’s always hard rejecting cymbal bleed and other on stage noise, especially when I want that vocal sitting front and centre,” explained Trewin of mixing live for RÜFÜS.
On the topic of bells and whistles, RÜFÜS and Trewin like to keep it simple. Their input count sits at around 45 channels, with playback condensed down to seven channels. The majority of the rest is played live with an array of synths, live drums, and percussion. Trewin has some tricks up his sleeve, but for purposes of mixing live for RÜFÜS, he mainly focuses on vocal, synth, and drum effects, which are mapped into his snapshots.
While RÜFÜS’s band members create and play their music, it is up to Cam to craft the way it sounds.
“Bottom end is key, low extension power but coupled with intelligible mid and highs is what I crave in a PA in order to create their signature sound,” he explained.
Trewin got the opportunity to try out PK Sound’s Trinity line array and supporting PA for RÜFÜS’s late-night set at Lightning in a Bottle’s main stage, and it really hit the mark.
"Great imaging and tons of power,” he remarked of the system. “It translated the sound of our set flawlessly. I was shown over the Kontrol software briefly, and even in that short amount of time its layout and functionality made a lot of sense.”
Cam also took the opportunity to use Kontrol software to steer the top line arrays in just a bit to help throw the sound further to the back of Lightning in a Bottle’s huge outdoor crowd.
At the end of the night, it’s not vocal effects, software, or even his personality that makes Cam such a crucial part of RÜFÜS’s performance – it’s intimacy. Trewin has a deep understanding of the set coupled with a second-nature knowledge of what the band members want to express to their audience. This, along with a lot of teamwork, is what has helped RÜFÜS’s performance develop into the stellar experience it is today.
“Together with the band we have worked tirelessly to refine the set tonally from stage to [front of house]. Also, growing the dynamics of the set is really important to both myself and the band. We endlessly talk about this. Being dance music, it’s so critical to invoke an emotion and get people moving from the front row all the way to the back,” he dished.
It is this commitment to the craft that turns good music into standout acts.
Upon parting, Cam shared some words of wisdom out of his own personal philosophy book.
“Don’t be the selfish mixer. Always consider the entire audience! Even coverage is key. Also, talk with your system engineer get inside their head and work together to make sure every single person is connecting to the art in the same way.”
For more information about RÜFÜS DU SOL including touring, click here.
To read more about PK Trinity, click here.
By: Laura Hulberg