Their first viral hit, ‘Chaise Longue’, proved to be the catalyst for a meteoric rise for British indie rock band Wet Leg, with their self-titled debut album taking at the number one spot in three different countries. The unrelenting promo and touring regime that followed relied on international audio support from Eighth Day Sound, part of the Clair Global Brand Group, with technical duties led by Production Manager/monitor engineer, Karima Kingsley supported by FOH engineer, Ben Ellis.

‘We got the opportunity to work with the band, who were fairly new to touring, and as a result we’ve been able to reconnect with our jobs in a way that we hadn’t before, as we’d been mainly working with people who are so seasoned,’ says Kingsley.

Karima Kingsley and FOH engineer, Ben Ellis‘Initially, we were both excited to get back into touring after the world had shut down,’ Ellis offers. ‘We loved the songs and the vibe, but we never realised we’d end up on a tour that’s absolutely blown up the way it has. It’s not like anything either of us have ever experienced before, and having the chance to stop for a second and look at what gear we could have, was important.’

As a Production Manager in two roles, Kingsley turned to Eighth Day Sound to put together a versatile control package for their autumn/winter dates. ‘I went to see [Eighth Day Sound Account Handler] Stuart Gilmore, who sat me down and asked, “what do you need, and what’s your budget? I’ll make it happen”,’ Kingsley says. ‘He’s been so supportive, and as a mix engineer himself, it’s really easy to trust his ideas and suggestions when you’re this busy.’

Gilmore introduced Yamaha’s Rivage PM Series after the audio duo had a taste of the consoles during a festival bill. ‘We worked on a couple of festivals in Europe with in-house Yamaha PMs at each end and thought they were pretty cool sounding,’ says Ellis. ‘They sound more like an analogue console than any other digital board I’ve found, which for a guitar band, is excellent.’

Opting for a PM5 CS-R5 for FOH and a PM3 CS-R3 for monitors, the pair also benefitted from additional technical support from Yamaha’s Tom Rundle, who showed them around the system. Ultimately, it was the PM Series’ versatility and sound quality that sealed the deal.

‘Stuart understood where we were coming from,’ adds Kingsley. ‘We were jet-lagged and exhausted – with just one day before the band arrived for production rehearsals – so we had very little time to create a show out of an entirely new system. We had to develop a new way of working, which could have been pretty overwhelming.’

Once the new system was set up, it was back to Wet Leg’s energetic stage performance as the key driver for Ellis’s approach to mixing. ‘This band’s energy transfers into the crowd in such an organic way,’ he says. ‘It’s so infectious and good-natured. At FOH it’s about trying to translate that energy in a way that’s slightly controlled but still lets everything breathe kind of naturally.

‘I carry some old school analogue bus compressors which give each of the instrument groups their own flavour, and I try to avoid compressing individual inputs to keep the transients intact, which are the exciting bit. There are three guitars, a short-scale bass, synth and five vocals all sitting in the midrange area, so it can get quite crowded there, sonically. Compressing instruments in groups gives everything its own movement and colour which is cool, but equally having a bit of control over dynamic range in those dBA weighted midrange frequencies is essential when you’re working on festival shows or as support on a bigger tour where the noise limits can be strict.’

‘With vocalist Rhian Teasdale, we’re using an MBHO MBD219 which is a super flat 70s studio style boutique dynamic mic,’ Ellis continues. ‘For fellow frontwoman Hester Chambers, I dug out my old Crown CM310 from the 1990s. It’s the “Kurt Cobain mic” – we have a pretty loud drummer and some fairly delicate voices, so this weird old condenser mic captures her lovely, breathy vocal really nicely and has great rejection. It’s pretty niche, but it works.

‘Wet Leg has a lot of wonky charm, and we want to capture and add to that detail with the mic choices while still making something that sounds big and works in the context of an arena show,’ he adds.

Sharing an RPio622 and using just one rack and analogue splitter between them, the engineers don’t share gain in order to retain authenticity in their individual mixing styles. ‘For in-ears, we’ve got a combination of Cosmic Ears and Shure 215s, with Shure PSM transmitters, and we carry a couple of spot wedges on stage for some added thump,’ Kingsley says. ‘That’s another reason why Eighth Day Sound’s global support has been so great; it ensures that everything runs smoothly, because we know they can get kit to us anywhere, which is pretty vital when you’ve not stopped gigging for 18 months.

‘We even have support in Australia if we need it, which is amazing. Touring with a global company is great, but if you’re having to talk to different people all the time, it would become really difficult. We know that by touring Eighth Day Sound we get that one central person who knows us, knows our gear, our preferences, and can hold everyone accountable and provide them with the information they need. That’s been invaluable.

‘Stuart also really cares about diversity, emotional welfare and the people he works with. We don’t look like a lot of touring bands out there, and so to get these values through an audio service provider is brilliant. I don’t think we see it enough,’ she concludes.

‘It has been a pleasure developing such a collaborative relationship with Karima and Ben on such an exciting project,’ Gilmore says. ‘The tour’s needs have evolved throughout the year and being able to offer the shared resources in the Eighth Day Sound and Clair Global network have really played a part in this being such a success.’

Wet Leg will continue their live commitments through 2023, including support slots for Harry Styles.


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