Going Along By Getting Along

Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP) and Danish metal band Volbeat wrapped up a co-headlining fall tour at the end of October in Las Vegas. With Hellyeah and Nothing More as the openers, this hypersonic heavy metal tour required some serious sound engineering. SPL’s Rev Bill had the chance to sit down with the sound crews and get the inside scoop on cooperation between two crews normally backed by two different competing sound companies.

The masters behind the mix:
Bruce Reiter (5FDP) – front of house/production manager
Tony Luna (5FDP) – monitor engineer
Cameron Whaley (5FDP) – sound manager/system tech
Tarik Kahn (5FDP) – system tech
Kristoffer Hinnrichsen (Volbeat) – monitor engineer
Mads Mikkelsen (Volbeat) – front of house
Rick Roman (Clair) – monitor tech
Will Hoffman (Nothing More) – front of house
Goody (Hellyeah) – front of house

Collaboration was key throughout the tour because there was actually two different sound companies providing the sound: CLAIR and Sound Image. Reiter said that 5FDP typically uses a d&b P.A. but for this tour, an Adamson P.A. presented itself and they decided to use it. So they got the best of both worlds with a CLAIR monitor package (CM-22 and M-2) and an Adamson front of house package. (At Vegas, a d&b P.A. was actually used because that’s what the The Joint @ Hard Rock had hanging already.)

On the front end, Five Finger Death Punch and Hellyeah used a Midas PRO2C digital console and Volbeat used a DiGiCo SD8. Nothing More handled their monitor mix with a PreSonus 16.4.2 AI. As far as plugins go, Hinnrichsen (Volbeat) said that they have the Waves Mecury Bundle and that the C6 Multiband Compressor is their go-to tool. Reiter, on the other hand, considers himself a minimalist when it comes to plugins and prefers to just use what’s available on the Midas console.

Hinnrichsen explained that Volbeat has two out of four band members that use in-ear monitors but Mike Poulsen (guitar/vocals) is on purely wedges and sidefills. 5FDP has four band members with in-ear monitors and their singer, Ivan Moody, also is on wedges and sidefills. Luna says that Ivan has no problems with the wedges, “He’s been happy, the CM-22s are great.”

Usually with two sound companies on a tour, politics and unfriendly competition can make it a miserable experience as part of a crew. But apparently, these two crews worked really well together and made it a point to throw out the politics and do what they could to help each other out. “It’s all about karma, you know?” Hinnrichsen claimed. Commenting on the two sound companies, Reiter said, “It feels like it’s just been one company, because of the way (the) guys work together.” He added, “Having other great mixing engineers is awesome because it makes you step up your game… Like a friendly soccer match or something.” The attitude of the crews really came down to wanting the best gear to present their band’s vision for each concert and weren’t as concerned about which crew it came from.

When asked about what advice they could give to up and coming techs, the response was pretty much unanimous: “Treat people around you with respect.” You never know what the future holds. The band that opens up for you this year might be the band that you’re opening up for next year. Best stated in Mikkelsen’s wise admonition: “Remember, everybody that you meet on your way up, you’re gonna meet on your way down.”

In conclusion, as with almost everything, but especially on tour, collaboration and cooperation are crucial. The 5FDP and Volbeat sound crew on this tour are great examples to learn from. Treat everyone with respect and it will come back to you. Treat those who are on tour with disrespect and it will also come back to you. It’s all about karma, or the golden rule, or whatever you want to call it.