Wet Leg’s first viral hit, Chaise Longue, was the catalyst for a meteoric rise
UK - Wet Leg - founded just three years ago – have seen the kind of global success most young acts could only ever hope for. Their first viral hit, Chaise Longue, was the catalyst for a meteoric rise which has seen their self-titled debut album land at the number one spot in three different countries.
What followed was an unrelenting promo and touring regime, with international audio support from Eighth Day Sound, part of the Clair Global Brand Group. Technical duties were led by production manager and monitor engineer, Karima Kingsley, augmented by the skills of FOH mix 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.
“Initially, we were both just so excited to start working with the band and get back into touring after the world had shut down,” Ellis concedes. “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 so 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, touring with a band in high demand, Kingsley turned to Eighth Day Sound to put together a versatile control package for their autumn / winter dates. Kingsley says: “I went to see Stuart Gilmore, who sat me down and said, ‘what do you need, and what's your budget? I'll make it happen.’ 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 helped to facilitate the introduction of the Yamaha 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 monitor world, 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 in wanting to try this out,” 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. 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,” says Ellis.
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.”
Ellis continues: “With vocalist Rhian Teasdale, we're using an MBHO MBD219 which is a super flat 70s studio style boutique dynamic mic.
“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!”
“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,” adds Kingsley. “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.”

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