Billed as’pop-rock, 90s-inspired synth and avant-garde bass’, The Preatures are known for their explosive live shows and on-stage chemistry. The Sydney five-piece band did not fail to deliver when they played the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House as part of Vivid LIVE.
Clinton Stagoll wears many hats for the band including production manager, tour manager, FOH engineer and bus driver. “It’s that Australian thing doing multiple roles to keep the costs down but my stress levels up,” he laughed. “I work with their management company doing the day to day routine stuff such as sorting out accommodation and travel, but my heart is really with production, particularly live sound for the band.”
For the Vivid LIVE show Clinton used the Opera House’s d&b V-Series PA system which is fortunately his favourite PA.
“It was definitely interesting mixing in a room which is designed for acoustic instruments to be amplified naturally – so taking a rock band into that environment was challenging,” he commented. “Despite that, I believe it turned out pretty good. At one point I found myself trying to mix at a low volume around the inherent nature of the room but I got sick of that and thought ‘bugger it, I’ll turn it up louder’! It was better.”
Front of house Clinton had a Midas PRO 9 for mixing, a console he really likes although he admits he has been changing his mind a bit recently.
“My console of choice by default nowadays is an AVID Profile mainly because I use Waves plug-ins and it’s very easy to use that format,” he added. “However I’ll probably switch to DiGiCo for my next tour as they sound great and I have spent a fair bit of time on one recently in preparation for Alpine’s next tour. I’ll be using a DiGiCo SD11 running all six sends of ears from the front of house console while I mix FOH as well. We’ll be running it split so I can have my monitors split from my FOH for greater control. It’s just a little power house compact rig that I can fly with me everywhere we go.”
For The Preatures show on the Midas PRO9 console, Clinton used a Hall reverb on the drums, a Hall and a Plate reverb for vocals, which he fluctuates between, a Slap delay for the vocals and also a Tap delay. Occasionally he adds a pitch shift to the vocals just to double them up.
“We want Isabella’s voice to be rich and full and not too strained,” said Clinton. “We work to try get it rocking and thumping with enough room left for her voice to breathe. It doesn’t matter who you are mixing for, the vocals are always the most important element and you have to build your mix around that.”
The band are tentatively stepping towards using in-ear monitors and Clinton is sure they will all be using them in the near future. At the Vivid LIVE show Nicholas Brunney was mixing monitors on a Yamaha PM5D.
“Nicholas is a beautiful Italian man who is a great monitor guy but unfortunately he has just moved to the UK so we’ve lost him,” lamented Clinton.
Clinton also works with The Rubens, Spookyland, Cloud Control and Alpine, with whom he is about to embark on a national tour.
“I’ve always said that mixing for rock’n’roll is like controlling an explosion,” remarked Clinton. “Everything changes from night to night, from room to room, and you never really know what you’re going to get. My role as front of house engineer is to take what the artist gives me and reinforce that in the room. Ideally, you just put a microphone in front of the source, lift a fader and there’s your job done but we all know it doesn’t work like that!”
(Photo credits: Daniel Boud)