All Access: Scissor Sisters

Apr 1, 2005 12:00 PM, Text and Photos by Steve Jennings

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Photos by Steve Jennings

Genre- and gender-defying five-piece Scissor Sisters — whose music brings in a mix of rock, pop and dance inspired by burlesque shows, drag queens and glam rock — played to an exuberant crowd in late January at San Francisco's Warfield Theater.

“The Yamaha PM5D RH has digital gains so I can pick a board up anywhere in the world and load my show in with all the gains,” says monitor engineer Ben Booker. “The RH also has a clearer top end than the standard PM5D as it uses the PM5000 preamp. With the board's recall, I can have a different EQ for each song. I like mixing on faders — it's like doing six FOH mixes for the ears.

Monitor engineer Ben Booker

“Everybody is on Shure E5 in-ears, except Jake. He likes to be free, so I have wedges around the stage to cover him and I ride him on the faders,” Booker continues. “We use Sennheiser G2 IEMs. They are self-scanning, sound good and are well put together.”

“In the U.S., we are not yet touring with much production,” says FOH engineer Dave Kay. “We do carry small things to make our lives easy and to keep a certain level of consistency. The only processing I carry is a dbx 120 to warm up some of the acoustic songs and an XTA SIDD — my ‘get out of jail’ unit. We're carrying our monitor desk and IEM systems, so the stage sound is very minimal and always consistent.”

FOH engineer Dave Kay

Each night's rig is supplied by an outside vendor. (Hayward, Calif.-based Sound on Stage supplied P.A. for the Warfield show.) On the tour's UK leg, Adlib Audio provided a VerTec 4889 system. “We were using the BSS 366 T crossovers with the new Thiele filters and we had some fantastic results, even in some of the notoriously bad-sounding venues,” Kay explains.

“I have 26 channels coming from stage and I prefer to run zones of the P.A. system from matrices so that the system can be fine-tuned, but the whole system is still controlled from the L/R mix,” Kay continues. “I also route the vocals through a subgroup so I can dial in more to the front-fills and other zones that need lift.

Drummer Paddy Boom’s mic setup includes Sennheiser’s new 901 (“the fattest-sounding mic ever!”), 902 (kick), 903 (snare top), 604s (snare bottom, toms), 614 (hi-hat) and 844s (overhead, ride).

“My desk of choice is a Soundcraft Series Five complemented with a rack of BSS DPR-402 compressors — as many as I can get my hands on — some dbx 160s for the vocals and four channels of Drawmer DS201 gates. I use a TC Electronic D2 or 2290 for a tape delay, an M3000 for vocal reverb, a Yamaha 990 for some chorusing and a PCM70 for the drum reverb. I am a big fan of BSS VariCurves because of their great interface. We've recently been using the BSS SB2 platform for total system control with a tablet PC.

“They are a great, fun band to work with,” he concludes. “It isn't possible to categorize our typical audience because we have people from all walks of life and all ages — dressing up and definitely letting their hair down in a serious way.”

Bass/keyboardist Babydaddy uses a wired mic for backing vocals.

Vocalists Ana Matronic and Jake Shears Drummer Paddy Boom’s mic setup includes Sennheiser’s new 901 (“the fattest-sounding mic ever!”), 902 (kick), 903 (snare top), 604s (snare bottom, toms), 614 (hi-hat) and 844s (overhead, ride).use Sennheiser MD845s and Evolution G2 handhelds.

Keyboardist JJ Garden uses two Korg MS2000s and a Korg SP200 piano through a Line 6 POD XT Live for his delay and flanging effects, and the odd wah-wah.

Bass/keyboardist Babydaddy uses a wired mic for backing vocals.

Guitarist Del Marquis’ foot pedal system is built around a Line 6 POD XT Live. “I can edit sounds on-the-fly and save it to my PC for backup,” explains monitor engineer Ben Booker. “We don’t mike the onstage amp—just take a DI straight from the POD.”






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