Laura Mvula takes to the stage on the Saturday afternoon at Rock en Seine. She delivers an hour of exquisite soulful pop, at times encouraging the French audience to sing along – if they’ve not been stunned breathless by her smooth-as-silk vocals and the delicacy of the string/harp/keyboard arrangements by her musical director and drummer Troy Miller.
While Laura transfixes the fans, what she doesn’t realise is that, in some small way, she’s also helping to transform the pro-audio industry.
In a pre-fab control centre 100m away down a fibre cable, sound engineer Olivier Gascoin and his colleagues are taking the Mercury Prize nominee’s liquid songs and mixing them - as if for a FOH mix – on a Lawo mc256 Mk2. These mixes will then be piped to another base, where they will be embedded in video and streamed to websites and TV channels including the Dailymotion, Culturebox and France 4.
Rock en Seine began a decade ago and this year attracted its biggest ever audience (a reported 100,000 fans over three days). An international line-up including Franz Ferdinand, Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, Alt-J, Major Lazer and Tricky, as well as a host of domestic acts (Phoenix being the biggest) have ventured to the Parc du Saint-Cloud for this most sophisticated of music celebrations.
For Lawo and product manager Hervé de Caro, Rock en Seine is the last leg of a very important ‘Tour de France’ in partnership with audio production outfit Yasta. The arrangement has given engineers from Yasta access to the intricacies of Lawo’s methodology via the mc256 Mk2 desk and associated kit at music events around the country.
The pay-off for Lawo and du Caro has been an insight into the needs of sound engineers in the live music sphere, rather than in a sports environment where the brand is already strong.
(Laura Mvula photo courtesy of Helen Aitchison)