Leela James

Jun 1, 2006 12:00 PM, Photos and Text by Steve Jennings

Interview with audio engineers and live sound crew on mixing audio for Leela James' 2006 tour. Tips, techniques and equipment applications from front of house (FOH) and monitor mix engineers.


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Mix caught up with Leela James' tour at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium. At FOH was “Commissioner” Gordon Williams, whose studio credits include Damian Marley, Joss Stone and Wyclef Jean. While senior director of A&R at Sony Music, Williams' work on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill earned him two Grammys, followed by another the next year for mixing on Santana's mega-selling Supernatural.

“I have been working with Leela in the studio for a few years and I'll work FOH when I can, depending on my studio schedule,” says Williams. “Leela likes a lot of vocal up front. I really like tube compressors for Leela's vocal. She has an extremely strong voice, and when she hits something like an 1176 or LA-2A, it just sounds natural.”

For live work, Williams prefers Midas consoles, “although last week, when we opened for Lionel Richie, they had Digidesign's Venue digital console. It was incredible! I've been a longtime Pro Tools user, and this desk was probably the most user-friendly console I've used in a long time.”

Front-of-house engineer Gordon Williams

Technology aside, it all comes down to basics. “My main goal is to give the people what they paid for,” Williams explains. “I like to go for an aggressive mix, which comes naturally to me because of all my years in hip hop. With quite a few upbeat numbers in the show, I need the drums and the bass to knock. Everything in the show is live, so it's a little trickier to get the type of low end that I want without using samples. I'm constantly adjusting the dynamics of the show — sort of ‘performing’ right along with the band.

“I really enjoy working with this band. They're a seasoned group of musicians that always give 100 percent every show. Leela's shows are an experience.”

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.