The 1975 will play in Australia, New Zealand and Asia before their UK and European return. (Photo: Jordan Curtis Hughes)
World - Touring in support of fifth studio album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language, The 1975 turned to Eighth Day Sound.
“We’re collectively trying to make this the best-sounding show in any room that we go into, regardless of whether it's an acoustically or architecturally challenging one,” says FOH engineer, Lee McMahon.
Ready to react within the 112 input mix on his DiGiCo Quantum SD7, the nuances of the band’s live sound are driven by each band member - and can change at any moment.
“It's certainly the most complex show I've ever worked on, and I want that attention to detail to come across. It’s part sound reinforcement, part sound design, all audience/band interaction. When you have a two-hour long show, you have to manage everything down to the precise SPL exposure, so I really want to push and pull on the audience’s reactions and what they're experiencing,” he adds.
To help achieve this career-defining production, the tour turned to Eighth Day Sound, part of the Clair Global Brand Group.
Production manager Josh Barnes comments on the vendor service: “The Eighth Day Sound team has continued to keep up with the dynamic scheduling and variety of show sizes that come from working with The 1975. They prove on a regular basis that their strength is as a global audio provider; from extra live additions with short notice and TV performances on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as far-reaching tours, they’ve covered any requirements this touring cycle has called for.”
McMahon agrees: “The band wants to reach fans all over the world with the same standard of show, so having a global provider that can support us wherever we tour is absolutely critical. The pooling of all of these amazing people from Clair Global and Eighth Day Sound is brilliant, especially our account executive, Meegan Holmes.
“For inventory access and movement, logistically as a worldwide company, the capabilities are pretty incredible. Eighth Day has been absolutely amazing in supporting us on this tour,” he adds.
A long-time DiGiCo user, McMahon needed something that “sounds really good, is super flexible and fast”, making the Quantum SD7 his preference to really help hone-in on the micro details.
“The concept of the show is that it's more theatre-meets-gig at times, and I think that's been a huge thing for me to embrace, but it’s been so fun to put together” continues McMahon. “When the band is playing quietly there's a lot of connective tissue that grabs you. We're spanning songs from five-plus releases over a 10-year period, and trying to tick all of the sonic qualities they’ve meticulously put into the making of their albums. Wherever possible, I reverse engineer the studio recordings and try to recreate as much as I can live.”
McMahon’s plethora of outboard comprises Solid State Logic Bus+, Kush Clariphonic, Rupert Neve Designs 5045 Primary Source Enhancer, Shelford Channel, API Audio 2500+ Compressor, Kush Audio Fatso (with sidechain gain attenuator), Overstayer M-A-S, Eventide Eclipse V4, Lake LM44 for master and vocal EQ inserts, supported by two fully-mirrored Waves Extreme-C Server X10s.
Empirical Labs EL8X Distressors are a chosen “Swiss Army Knife” for vocals.
Healy switches between singing into the Telefunken M80 wireless and wired microphone models, often using both within the same song. The remaining band members - completed by lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel - and the multiple touring musicians utilise more Telefunken, Sennheiser, Shure, Earthworks, Audix and beyerdynamic mics.
In monitor world, Engineer Steve Donovan mixes on his chosen artillery: an SSL L500. It’s Jerry Harvey JH Audio Roxannes across the board for the band, with a Shure PSM1000 system. The monitor system comprises L-Acoustics KS28 Subs for sidefills and X15s for back-up wedges.
Donovan also undertook the tour’s RF needs, specifying Shure’s Axient Digital system for an accurate transient response.
Eighth Day Sound’s Meegan Holmes comments: “This is such a wonderfully theatrical show. The scenic elements presented some RF challenges, but Steve Donovan and his tech Tom Boothby have done a solid job of working with it and getting the artist monitors dialled with precision.”
Dealing with the aforementioned reflective stage, the FOH mix translated exceptionally well with d&b audiotechnik at the helm.
Grant Cropley, Eighth Day Sound Systems Engineer, states: “We wanted something that was flexible and scalable for the varied shows in the US. The band draws very loud crowds whether they’re in clubs, sheds or theatres, so we wanted the performance of a big PA that could be scaled down for intimate gigs and handle every show with ease.”
Cropley designed a modular d&b system that boasted three packages in one, each deriving from GSL on the mains, KSL for side hangs, flown SL subs, a 270 degree hang using V series cabinets for the arena dates touring the house stage design, and SL floor subs via a combination of AL60 and V12 loudspeakers for front-fill.
Next, The 1975 will play in Australia, New Zealand and Asia before their UK and European return for festival season, including what is set to be the band’s biggest ever show at London’s Finsbury Park.

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