Singer Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour, the live iteration of her eponymously named LP, recently kicked off in Boston on 29 September with a pair of DiGiCo SD10 consoles supplied by tour sound reinforcement provider Eighth Day Sound.
It’s a complex production, one that compels the FOH mix position to take cover under a tarp for two songs. “It’s a pretty intense moment,” said FOH engineer Vincent Casamatta of the point in the show where Halsey and her dancers perform on a B stage filled with about 20 gallons of sprayed water. “There’s no way I could stay at the console and not get me and the console soaked.”
Instead, Casamatta and FOH systems tech Dan Bluhm turn to the DiGiCo SD SC2 app, which allows remote, wireless control of any DiGiCo SD mixing console from an iPad. For those two songs, they discreetly pull a tarp over the desk and move to another part of the venue to seamlessly continue the show mix. “The only other way to do that would have been to mix from under the tarp, and you wouldn’t want to have to do that,” he said. “I have full access to the console through the app and we never miss a beat.”
Monitor engineer Scott Wasilk also used the SD SC2 app, bridging the gap between monitor world and the stage and overcoming the complex nature of the production. “I’m onstage quite a bit, checking how they hear it there,” said Wasilk. “It’s so much easier than relaying information from the stage back to the console.”
The band is on IEMs, as is Halsey, sort of. “She likes to keep one ear open, so we basically have set up a mini PA on stage for her, with a small cluster of flown d&b J8 speakers aimed at her,” he added. “It’s unconventional, but the SD10 handles it great.”
Something else the SD10 handles well are Halsey’s vocals. Casamatta says there’s not as much in the way of effects processing on the vocals or the band as might be expected. “I look at compression as a vocal effect, particularly in modern pop music, and I’m using super-aggressive compression with a quick release, using the Waves CLA-76 ‘Blue Stripe’ 1176 emulator through the console and it just sounds great,” he explained. “It’s tactile, really sticky-sounding effect that’s great on punchy vocals.”
Both Wasilk and Casamatta are big fans of the SD10’s feature sets, including snapshot automation—Wasilk will sometimes set up multiple snapshots within a song, something the SD10 handles with ease—and rack sharing between the consoles and the two SD-Racks and one SD Mini-Rack.
For details on Halsey’s upcoming tour stops, visit www.hfktour.com
(Pictured L-R: FOH engineer Vincent Casamatta and monitor engineer Scott Wasilk)