API caught up with Pro Sound Awards finalist Ben Hammond this week to talk about his nomination.
Hammond (pictured), a front-of-house engineer who has established himself as a specialist in the rock genre, and a regular Audio Pro International columnist, is up against Antony King, Jim Warren and Ben Findlay in the Live Sound/Touring Engineer of the Year category.
The engineer, who has toured recently with the likes of Dragonforce, Duff McKagan, Skid Row, Drowning Pool, Deaf Havana, The Blackout, Skindred and now Fozzy, was pleased about being picked alongside the other contenders, who have all been working with some seriously high-profile bands in the last 12 months.
"It’s nice to be recognised against those guys. Obviously the others are out there mixing incredible bands and it’s nice to know that just because you’re not doing Radiohead, it doesn’t mean you’re any worse at your job," Hammond said. "There are so many of us doing 250 shows a year in the rock world and we’re still travelling the world, but without the glamour that you’d have if you were mixing Madonna or someone like that.
"It’s nice to know that we’re recognised, and that people appreciate what’s happening in the less showbiz side of things because we’re all very hard working and good at what we do, and it’s a lovely scene to be in."
As for the Awards themselves, Hammond was full of praise for the idea, saying that any opportunity to reward those responsible for the quality of sound at live events, rather than just the musicians/artists, should be embraced.
"I think it’s fantastic. Anything that recognises the people behind the scenes and brings what we do to the forefront is great," Hammond added. "It’s also an honour for me as I haven’t been touring particularly long. In the last five years I haven’t really been home and it’s a difficult business to make headway in for the most part, so to be recognised at this level, against those people, is absolutely amazing."
Another big contender for the Engineer of the Year Award is Depeche Mode FOH engineer Antony King. Now midway through an extensive stadium tour with the band, King has been praised by Britannia Row Productions MD (and Audio Pro International Advisory Board member) Bryan Grant, who said: "Antony King has proven himself to be one of the world’s most talented engineers on the road today. Over the past decade he has consistently delivered top quality audio for acts such as Beck, Depeche Mode, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds."
The third finalist in the category is Radiohead sound man Jim Warren, a key player in the group’s "mesmerising" live shows, according to Phil Kielty of Adlib Audio. "Without an amazing front-of-house engineer to replicate the band’s sound production to the minutest detail with exquisite skill for the captive audience in their live arenas, the band would only be half of the icon it is," Kielty commented. "Jim’s amazing digital knowledge and fantastic ears make their live show what it is today."
Completing the line-up is Ben Findlay, who recently mixed front-of-house for Peter Gabriel’s ‘Back to Front’ tour. Referred to as a "veteran FOH engineer" by Mix magazine, Findlay has made a successful career out of delivering live mixes which have been described as "thoughtful, giving attention to detail that the artist(s) deserve."
For more details on the event, including information on how to book tickets, click here.
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