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:Feature Article: Growing With A Growing Band

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View from the soundboard

Growing With A Growing Band
By Lisa Gosselin

A little over a year ago I was approached by an acquaintance after seeing the second show of his band. I told him they had sounded better than the previous time, but the sound guy didn’t really do them justice. I had listened to their EP at that point and his production was pretty great—so I knew the potential for them to sound better live was there. I made some suggestions on what they could do to avoid the “sound person who doesn’t know the music/doesn’t care, just wants a paycheck” instances, and Sivart—front man and originator of the band, who is also a sound engineer on the outside—agreed with all my points. At this point, he asked if I would be willing to help them because he outright trusted me and my judgment.

Their first two shows I saw they were a three-piece; singer (Sivart), guitarist (Nix), and keyboardist. When I started working with them, the first show I did for them at a place with an impromptu sound system, they had downsized to a two-piece, singer and guitarist. Having a heavy electronic influence in their music, this worked, as the percussion all came from the backing track. Sivart’s vocal effects processor wasn’t quite working so we had to run a distortion pedal through an insert on his vocal line from the Front of House (FOH). There were also no stage monitors since the PA (Public Address, or Mains) was directly behind them on the stage. Easy set-up, easy sound job, and great musicians. After they were done performing, it was really great hearing their friends telling them that this was the best they had sounded yet. Needless to say, after that night, I was hired on for the long-haul, to grow with a growing band.

It would be some time before we would do another show together again. There was a show scheduled later that spring, but I had a personal obligation to take care of. I wouldn’t work with them again until the middle of May of this year. The band had evolved back into a three-piece, this time with the addition of a drummer (Frank). Awesome. I love mixing drums. This show was a little critical. I can’t get into too much detail, but there were important people attending this show to check out the band, and the sound had to be on point. No pressure right?

Technically, the venue was a nightmare. The snake only had five working channels, and the 16-channel board only six. We had to scale back the input list to make it even work and run a long XLR cable to the stage to be able to get that 6th channel. There were no stage monitors and the venue itself was in the basement of a Manhattan building, so the surfaces were all brick/stone/concrete, it was narrow and long, the PA faced the stage from three directions around, and we now had an acoustic drum kit in place.

Sound check went surprisingly well despite all that, and the show itself went off without a hitch. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys for slaying it as hard as they did, but that’s what they do with every show. They bring their A game no matter what the circumstances. Once again, after they performed the band’s friends were telling them how great they sounded, which, of course, gave me relief that I did right by them. A couple of weeks later we did it all over again, but this time in a proper venue with a decent sound system and better functioning equipment.

So here we are today, November 1st. Why do I bring this up? Because I’m still buzzing over the incredible performance these guys put on last night for Halloween to a sold out crowd at St. Vitus. The band has expanded to a four-piece to now include a bassist (AJ). Honestly, growing with these guys has just made my heart swell with pride. Sivart, Nix, Frank, and newest member AJ really work well together on stage, and sound even better together. It was great seeing their friends, the audience, and even the staff getting into their performance, and watching the buzz of the crowd afterwards who were there to see GosT and Dance With The Dead. I don’t think they were all fully prepared with how heavy these guys are, but definitely got into it.

Now you’re likely wondering who this band I’ve been talking about is. They’re Brooklyn-based Hogwasche, self-branded Metallic Body Music. Their first Album MBM was released as digital and on cassette via Bandcamp. It features some super heavy vocals and guitar riffs, with some old-school style electronic programming keeping it heavy, hard, and in your face. They’re currently in the studio working to drop something else down the pipe. This is a band you definitely will want to watch out for. As they grow, I see more and more how they are aspiring to great things which I see as completely achievable for them, because they are talented and passionate about their craft.

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