Tour Profile: Fitz & The Tantrums

May 1, 2014 9:00 AM, By Barbara Schultz

Soul Meets Synth Pop on the Summer Circuit


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photo of Grace Royse

Monitor engineer Grace Royse mixes on a Soundcraft CL1 console.

King’s brass forms a big part of Fitz & the Tantrums’ sound. Glas mikes those horns, and King’s occasional flute part, with an SM7. “It gets an especially beefy sound out of the bari,” Glas says. “I also use a CLA 1176 compressor on him."

The baritone sax is rigged in a unique fashion: King had shoulder surgery and, for a while, was unable to suspend the large horn from a neck strap the way the instrument is often worn. “The friendly special FX guys at the Conan O’Brien show actually welded a saxophone stand for him and made it three feet taller, so it was the perfect height for him to just walk up to the bari and play it. We actually mount an SM7 on the stand.”

photo of Fitz

Lead vocalist Michael Fitzpatrick, aka Fitz

When Glas joined Fitz’s production as monitor engineer in early 2013, there were still wedges onstage, but the bandmembers are now all on Shure PSM1000 in-ear systems with Sensaphonics earpieces.

“I’m proud to take credit for moving them from eight wedge mixes onstage to all in-ears,” Glas says. “It makes for a more consistent sound, and more control at front of house, too. I chose Sensaphonics because they make their earpieces out of silicone. So, not only do they sound great, we feel they’re able to isolate much more than the plastic or acrylic pieces, and the band finds them more comfortable to wear for a whole show. Also, we get a great level of support from Sensaphonics, which is a huge factor.” Grace Royse, a nine-year touring veteran who has worked with Pennywise, Cypress Hill, Sublime with Rome and others, has taken over monitor duties from Glas. “When I’m working in the rock and punk world, the singers want a lot of guitar and heavy drums in their mixes,” Royse says. “But in this pop world, they are really focused on their voices, so there isn’t a lot else going on their ears. I make it ambient with a little reverb, but it’s mainly their vocals.

“John, the sax player, is a different story,” Royse continues. “He has a ton of everything. His mix is big and full and sounds like the record.”

Royse uses all onboard effects and processing within her Soundcraft CL1 console. Also a Soundcraft fan, Glas says, “I was recently impressed with the new Soundcraft Realtime rack. I’d love to try touring with a Vi console along with that. It has a whole host of Universal Audio plug-ins that can be controlled with a touchscreen; pretty slick!”

The show Mix attended, however, was, to quote Royse, “big and full and sounded like the record,” and it was mixed on an Avid Profile, through the Fox’s Meyer Sound P.A., which comprises MICA, MSL-4 and M’elodie loudspeakers.

“The Fox is possibly the most amazing remodeled venue in the country,” Glas says. “Mixing in there could be an acoustic nightmare, because it’s so reverberant, but they have the Meyer system tuned so well, it is really a fun place to mix.”

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