Audio Pro International’s focus on the best of the industry’s up-and-coming audio technicians continues this week with the latest addition to our Rising Stars section.
This week we chat to touring engineer Val Gilbert…
Where did you study?
Having grown up in the South of France, I studied music for two years in a school named Pro-Musica, and then a year at the IMCA school in Arles, where I studied ‘Advanced Sound Engineering and Recording Techniques’. Internships were the most influential parts of my training and allowed me to begin working the local venues and with local bands. I was lucky enough to start working with a band that signed with a major label, so we had a nice run of festivals over a few summers.
After that, I went on to more specific training, with DV2/Adamson in France, but also very wealthy short courses at SFL in Reading with Mark Payne, studying line array system design and implementation.
Which band/project are you currently working on?
I've recently been working with Manchester tech-metal band Aliases. This is former Sikth Graham ‘Pin’ Pinney's new project, and although it's a very alternative style of music, it's been great to tour with a very experienced and professional band, giving me my first experience of what UK venues have to offer.
Where are you based/working at the moment?
I have now settled down on the coast in Brighton. I spent a year in London to build up my contacts, having spent most of my life in France, but Brighton has a much more relaxed lifestyle and just as vibrant a music scene, with easy access to London when I work in the Capital.
I'm working for several PA companies, including C3 Productions in Brighton and RNSS in London.
Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?
I've had my hands on pretty much everything these past few months. A lot of M7CLs, but also H3000s and Vi1s and VI6s. Soon I’ll be using a PM1D; I'm just happy it's installed and we don't have to load it in. Channel counts can be anything from two to 54!
What decision process was behind the choice of this console?
I don't choose the console for the shows I'm doing at the moment.
Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?
When I am touring with a band, I do like to have my small rack of outboard I've been able to put together. This contains a pair of DBX 160X compressors, and a two-channel Langevin VTC preamp and compressor. I chose these units because they work straight up; the 160s on anything - even the entire mix - and the Langevin opto-comp just works straight away on vocals. In today's ‘line-check only’ environment it's great to have tools that don't need a lot of tweaking.
What is your console of choice?
I learnt to mix on analogue desks. Nothing quite compares to a Midas Heritage or XL. However, I spent some time on the Midas Pro series, and they are amazing. If I could choose a desk for a tour today, it would definitely be a Midas Pro digital desk. They are really intuitive and sound fantastic.
If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?
If I could choose any band, it would probably be Jamiroquai. I love mixing very dynamic music that allows for a very spacious mix and his mix of pop/funk and folk allows for just that. I don't know if I could do a better job than Rick Pope though...
Val Gilbert can be contacted on Val.firstname.lastname@example.org
To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Pro International editor Daniel Gumble on email@example.com or 01992 535646.