DiGiCo is the Architect for Paloma Faith

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It has been another outstanding year for multi award-winning UK songstress, Paloma Faith. The Architectis her fourth studio album and probably her best yet: a fusion of big beats, soaring vocals and layered melodies, with some nice production techniques courtesy of Jessie Shatkin, the man responsible for Sia’s epic record, 1000 Forms of Fear. Now, Paloma and co. are touring The Architect– and her engineers are using DiGiCo consoles to run the show, provided by UK rental company, Adlib. 

Mixing the Paloma show is no mean feat, it seems. The show’s channel count out front is at 75, which is broken down into drums and electronics, 20 lines of keys, guitars, vocals, and various drum triggers. The sheer size of the show meant a DiGiCo console was a must-have, says Paloma’s FOH engineer, Andy Williamson.

“I could have done this show on an SD5, but we’re using that on monitors [with James Neale], so I’m on the SD7; and I have to say, this show really is an exercise in chopping,” Andy says, with a smile. “There is thatmuch going on, it had to be a DiGiCo to make it work – and I have a comedy amount of Waves plugins on here, too. I have to use dynamic compression across the whole thing, and all the tracks are cut to hell; it’s a bit of a noisy jigsaw, really, but it works well, and these consoles are always great sounding and super-reliable.”

Andy admits that one of the biggest challenges in making this huge show work is getting all the strings to sit on top of the mix; thankfully, having the SD7 at hand makes it that bit easier.

“That’s definitely thetough thing to do on this show, but Paloma has a thing about Phil Spector’s production – that wall of sound – and we’ve been able to give her that using this console,” Andy explains. “She has such a phenomenal voice, too – totally unique, and instantly recognisable – but she does have a lot of high mid in her voice, so we also added a linear head [to her microphone] to take away that presence, and that has made a big difference all round.”

Andy has been a DiGiCo user for many years because he finds them very easy and instinctive to use and is a fan of the overall functionality within the console range.

“I have always loved the DiGiCo preamps; and for this show, I am using Snapshots on every song, because I have to,” he says. “I run simple MIDI program changes from my Mac, most of which are the usual – mutes, FX changes, level changes, and VCAs and faders – but I’m always pretty hands-on with the console when it comes to Paloma and her backing vocalists, as she is very dynamic. You have to be aware of those dynamics the whole time, and using this desk allows me to do that comfortably.”

Monitor engineer, James Neale, has been working with Paloma since 2014. He has built up a good working relationship with her, her trust in him making her feel more relaxed on stage. He started using DiGiCo consoles a few years back, whilst mixing Ellie Goulding, opting for them for the overall sonic quality the brand offers and because he needed more outputs for the show.

“I started out on the SD7 and have used most of the rest of the range over the years. The SD5 is a real favourite of mine; it’s available everywhere, I like the workflow and it has great functionality,” James explains. “The layout really suits the way I like to work, but it’s a close run thing between the SD5 and the SD7.”

Paloma’s UK tour will continue into early September; and in November, she will head down under for a series of shows in New Zealand and Australia as special guest to four-time Grammy-winner (and fellow DiGiCo artist) Sam Smith.