Playing Outside The Box
I’m in the middle of a pretty busy week, but it’s a good kind of busy. In addition to our regular Sunday service, we’re having a Night of Worship this Thursday night. Add to that the fact that half our production staff–including my faithful associate audio director–are out this week, and things really start to get interesting. But I’m really excited and energized about this week.
We spent all day Tuesday rehearsing for Thursday night, and the rehearsal got me fired up as the Night Of Worship this week is a bit of a departure from our typical Sunday approach. Reid from our music staff has called it acoustic, but I’m not sure that’s completely accurate since there are still a bunch of electric instruments on the stage. I would describe it more as stripped down. The word organic gets tossed around a bunch, too.
We’ve got a lot of acoustic guitars with a couple of electrics, a piano, bass, and then a stripped down kit teamed with a percussion setup. We’ve ditched the drum shield and even pulled a guitar amp out on stage. I’m also intentionally using some different mics than usual and fighting a lot of urges to do things in a certain way out of familiarity. I’m trying to keep things more open and looser than the Triple-A thing we do on Sundays. It’s probably more about creating a vibe than an experience if that makes sense. If the attendance in the room overwhelms the band….maybe that’s OK….
I built a lot of snapshots during rehearsal, but I’m not sure how much of it I’m going to use. One of the ideas behind the night is to try and keep it as organic as possible; there is definitely a setlist for the night, but the band has the freedom to get creative based on how things are feeling and playing out. I’ve also mentioned to them on several occasions that if they feel like doing an additional 10 or 20 songs I’ll hang with them.
Right now, the bulk of the mix is built off of 4 core snapshots. Each core snapshot makes some pretty simple pan, bus, and FX routing changes on the vocals based on the worship leader for the song. I did this to have a little bit of flexibility with imaging within the mix soundstage to try and keep things from just being stacked up in the middle all night long. My plan is to program each of the 4 function keys to recall one of these core snapshots so that I can hit things on the fly as needed throughout the night. I’m also going to do some basic rough starting points for the rest of the songs to highlight anything that I know is a key element, but it will be nothing like the detail I might typically go into for most of the stuff I mix so that I’m not relying on those snapshots all night long. The recent addition of tap tempo to the Venue couldn’t have come at a better time.
Right now I still want to spend a little bit of time in virtual soundcheck with the tracks on Wednesday with the main goals of a few vocal and guitar tweaks–because I can–and to just get a little more familiar with all the arrangements they rehearsed. If you’re in the area and have Thursday night free, I believe doors open at 7pm. I’ll try and take some home movies if I get the chance and have a wrap up of the night later this week or next.