Eighth Day Sound provided SSL (FOH) and DiGiCo (Mons) consoles, with a d&b audiotechnik KSL PA for Dizzee Rascal’s 20th anniversary tour
UK - British grime MC and rapper Dizzee Rascal performed his Mercury Music Prize-winning album, Boy in Da Corner, to loyal fans with help from Eighth Day Sound. Working with production manager Tommy Sheals-Barrett of Back On Your Heads, the tour hit UK arenas following a major comeback at London’s O2.
Commenting on the importance of choosing the right vendors, Sheals-Barrett says: “This job can be hard enough without worrying about whether you're in safe hands, supplier-wise. You get the best out of the artist (and the artist's crew) when they have confidence in a production supplier.”
Choosing Eighth Day Sound and mixing Dizzee’s hard-hitting yet melodic blend of influential London hip hop, is FOH Engineer Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Sargeant, who has navigated the pioneering artist’s live work on and off the road. He begins: “Over the years, I’ve mastered some of Dizzee’s earlier album live tracks. So, my aim here was to bring consistency to the overall range of tracks spanning the 20th anniversary.
“Creating the right mix comes down to getting the best source, the best pre-amps, control surface and PA. With a DJ set-up, it’s about live mastering and making sure the signal path and source are the best they possibly can be.”
Rabbit has a Solid State Logic Live 100 for the main mix, while the DJ setup is processed through a Solid State Logic Fusion to add some weight and tame the high frequency, allowing the d&b audiotechnik KSL PA system to sound vast at a lower level.
He continues: “Since the introduction of the SSL Live consoles I’ve loved their sound. There’s a great-sounding pre-amp that reminds me of the Midas XL4 but within a digital control. In my mind, it’s the best-sounding live console out there.”
Dizzee’s vocals are processed with an Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor. “They’re so fast and transparent,” says Rabbit. “I also add a very short reverb from a Bricasti M7 to soften and help sit the vocal. The vocals are also sent to a stem, which is used as a side chain into the master bus multi-band compressor. It dips the mid-range pocket for the vocals to sit in the master mix, with the final mix going to the SSL Bus +.
“The compressor keeps the vocals controlled and the dynamic EQ adds low-end punch which softens the high-mids, this gives an immense sound at 98 dB(A) and a wide stereo image with clear vocals,” he explains. “It's about weight and hi-fidelity.”
The team were met with some acoustically challenging venues, and with that in mind, asked Eighth Day Sound to supply a d&b KSL rig. “From tailoring the PA system and making it work for our needs and our budget, Eighth Day provided a truly great service,” says Rabbit. “For the venues we were playing in, the KSL was bang on the money. The subs deliver great-sounding bass and work so well for Dizzee’s music. The KSL itself covers well and has great clarity - I think this set-up is the best result we've ever achieved in these venues!”
Rabbit credits Systems Engineer Eddie O’Brien with developing “the perfect outcome”.
“Working closely on the system design with Eddie was key. d&b’s ArrayProcessing software is second to none and helps combat the room reflections, and Eddie provided a truly great service, from tailoring the system to making it work for our needs and budget.”
Monitor engineer Edd Slaney is charged with both monitor duties and the DJ set-up, inadvertently assuming the role of show caller. He explains: “For that reason, I’ve always asked for great techs to come with my kit. I need a second set of eyes with me while I’ve got my head in one system or another. Liam Halpin looked after me for this run and was awesome as always.”
Dizzee’s monitoring preference is the Shure PSM1000 IEMs with d&b M2 wedges, alongside Sennheiser 6000 Series RF mics, and Slaney’s desk of choice is a DiGiCo SD5 due to its routing flexibility. “This show requires much more than our normal festival set-up in terms of comms and matrix requirements,” he says. “The mixes for the performers on stage aren’t overly complex, so I’m able to use Dizzee’s tours to try out combinations of kit to establish what I do and don’t like.”
Slaney has nothing but praise for his client of six years. “Dizzee is also awesome. He’s so driven, and knows exactly what he wants, but always approaches it positively and professionally; everything we do feels like collaboration.”
Production manager Tommy Sheals-Barrett concludes: “Eighth Day Sound’s crew and kit are always great. I've enjoyed working with everyone in this touring team, so I'm pleased to have been involved.”

Latest Issue. . .