Views from the top: The monitor engineer (Laurent Midas)24 August 2016
This Frenchman likes his IEMs, but he says there is still work to be done (writes Guillaume Schouker)
Who are you?
What do you do?
I am a sound engineer, mostly on the monitoring side.
Where do you do it?
I follow artists or projects on most of their tour dates: artists such as Mylène Farmer, Johnny Hallyday, Charles Aznavour, Julien Clerc, Etienne Daho, and MC Solaar. Right now I am touring with Michel Polnareff in France.
Why do you do it?
Passion, and a taste for a challenge. I would say it is a mix of craving, beautiful encounters — those that influence your routes — and personality traits that means I am happy in my job. Each new tour or new artist remains a challenge.
Where did you first enter the trade and where did you work in the past?
Some twenty years ago, I progressed through the ranks within the Dispatch PA hire company that merged [with others] into Dushow SAS. I met some great people there to whom I owe a lot for getting me to where I am today.
What’s your biggest success to date?
Balancing this time-consuming and absorbing job with my life!
If we are talking about technical success only, the Christophe Maé 2010-2011 tour was undoubtedly a real challenge. The evening we were capturing the concert in Brussels, I had to manage two consoles, one singer, seven musicians, a great number of guest stars including gospel choirs, a string quartet and a New Orleans band, plus more than 100 inputs, 64 outputs, frequency coordination and the sound. We did a good job.
What’s the biggest challenge coming up?
At a time when mobility on stage is essential in most shows, IEM wireless systems are an essential link in the chain. This is the field in which progress still needs to be done.
Also, the great challenge is to last even though everything changes around you. The job changes, yesterday certainties become second thoughts. The business model is more than mature and needs to be re-invented.
What is the issue that never seems to go away?
The recurring issue is money. It has a direct impact on the working conditions of the technical teams.
Do you care about digital audio networking?
Digital networks will be part of the day-to-day in a near future. This is already the case for certain brands.
Can you name a few venues where you have been worked?
As well as the theatres and concert halls of France, there are but international venues such as the Bacon Theatre in New York, Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv, the Royal Albert Hall, the Olympic Stadium in Moscow…
Are you finding more and more venues have their own loudspeaker systems permanently installed?
Yes, and I have also noted this process that is taking place in mid-size venues. It was already the case in the very small venues. The ability to make substantial costs savings for productions that settle in those venues is an obvious engine for this change.
How else is the touring scene changing?
The multiplication of wireless systems has changed the priorities and the skills needs.
What kit do you like working with?
The list is neither exhaustive nor exclusive, but I would point out the Soundcraft Vi7000 console, Wisycom MRK960 modular wireless-microphone receiver system, Sennheiser IEM 2000 Series, Adamson M212 M-Series wedges, Lexicon 480L reverb, among other nice pieces.
What technical solutions have made your life better in the last few years?
I would note three great evolutions or revolutions: line array systems, IEMs and digital consoles – at last! They offer an undeniable work comfort.
This is #9 of 10 ‘views from the top’ appearing in PSNLive 2016, PSNEurope’s 11th annual analysis of the European live sound industry.