Mixing Papa Roach – Brendan Brown, FOH engineer – Brief Article

Mixing Papa Roach – Brendan Brown, FOH engineer – Brief Article – Interview

Mike Levine

Byline: Mike Levine

Brendon Brown is Papa Roach’s FOH engineer. He spoke to Onstage before the band started the tour for lovehatetragedy.

What difficulties do you run into mixing Papa Roach?

These guys are actually really easy to mix, except for the fact that Tobin, the bass player, plays his bass really hard, and he doesn’t like a lot of that attack or that click through the system. I have to fuss with a lot of compression on his direct line.

To soften the attack?

Yeah. A lot of times his strings will hit the pickup and get that really thick attack, and we don’t like that [in the mains].

You have three lines coming from the bass: two DI’s and a mic. Which one gets used the most in the FOH mix?

I use mostly his direct signal – the one right out of the bass.

There are four mics used to capture Jerry Horton’s guitar sound. (Two Shure SM57s on the cabinets driven by the Marshall EL34 100/100, and two Shure KSM32s on the cabinets driven by the Marshall Valvestate 120.) How do you use them in the mix?

I hard-pan the KSM32s hard left and right, and I take the 57s and move them up toward the middle and it gives you a real wide sound – ’cause he’s been using a lot of big phase effects and flanges – and it gives you a really big stereo sweep.

Do you encounter any sound problems with the vocals?

Coby has a tendency to get off-axis with the mic a lot, and he puts the mic through its trials. But that’s what makes Papa Roach a great live band.

So you have to stay on top of things when he’s singing?

Yes. I’m all over the place with him. I watch him like a hawk – wherever the mic goes. He’ll throw the mic at the drum kit, throw it up in the air and miss it, smash it against his head – which is great, that’s part of the live show. I just gotta be on my toes and make sure everything still works.

Have his mic antics caused any feedback problems?

We might get a squeak through the monitor system, but I’ve been able to avoid feedback in the mains if he wanders in front of the P.A. or anything like that. I’ve been able to, [for example] hard-pan it the opposite direction of where he’s at, or something like that.

What effects do you use on the vocals?

I use a BSS DPR-901 for compression. It’s a dynamic equalizing compressor. It lets you select four different frequencies and then boost or cut those frequencies exactly. So I use that, usually with a dbx 160, ’cause that’s fast enough to catch everything. For vocals I use a Harmonizer, the Eventide H3000. I use it as a vocal doubler; they used a lot of that in the studio on this new record. And then I use a Yamaha SPX900 or 990, depending on which one is in the rack for a little bit of reverb, and a TC Electronic 2290 for the delays.

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