I’m Ali. Some people call me A MAC.I’m a Mix Engineer in LA who has worn many hats in this industry.
These are my stories.
LAW AND ORDER NOISE
Honestly at this point I can’t remember the first night that I ever did sound. Except for when I asked the bartender if it was cool if I left and he was all “I don’t give a fuck what you do.” and laughed in my face for asking permission. Yea well you do stupid stuff when you are “green”. So…before I even get into all the dumb ass shit I have seen over my years I will shine the light on my dumb ass.
Let’s face it once we have went through the mistakes we laugh at people for making the exact same ones we did, but, you know, now we are above all that. That’s not true the point remains the only way to be great is to fuck up A LOT. I will start with live sound.
When I first started I had about seven channels that actually worked (channels or inputs…whatever) I would have to run back and forth; to and from the crowd. Since I had no idea what I was doing I did this ALL show. No biggie though. I was doing ok and the people who hired me seemed to be impressed.
Then it happened. Some guy’s acoustic isn’t working. I’m freaking out. I don’t know shit yet! I try everything. I Change the chord, the DI, the batteries. “It HAS to be the batteries!” I think to myself. We come to the conclusion his guitar is fucked. I am going to have to MIC IT. (Granted at this point in time I had no idea this was even a difficult thing) I am just glad it isn’t my fault that this isn’t working. Mind you my bosses were all watching me handle this. So I set it up. The guy gives me a couple tips for where to place the mic and we start to roll. Keep in mind this is a FULL ROCK BAND. So I have drums, electric guitar, and bass too.
Almost immediately the guitar is feeding back like crazy. I’m sweating bullets and EVERYONE is looking at me. Of course most people never even acknowledge that the sound person is there. We say we hate that. It’s not true. Nothing is worse than having an entire room of people giving you the stank eye. I had no idea what to do! Lucky for me my bosses were great guys and they gave me plenty of breaks in the beginning. They talked me through it and eventually we got things under control. Can I tell you the acoustic was sitting just right in the mix and I killed it. HELL NO that shit was no where to be found but it wasn’t feeding back anymore!I really fucked that up and everyone in the room must have thought I’d never work again but, I did. I didn’t give up. The crazy part is the guy whose guitar it was tipped me 20 bucks for not giving up and put in a good word for me. Goes to show you can be having the worst night of your life and still be impressive.