the art of a techie

There has been a small pause in my EP progress as I threw myself into the final stage of a long saga of putting together a live install PA. And it was great.

The venue is a church I go to in Redfern – a beautiful/ghastly old 1800’s brick building with 20m ceilings and more hard surfaces than you could yell the word ‘echo’ at. Armed with zero PA install experience, the confidence of the fine folk at that church and…….. Google, I set about the long and scary process of spending much of the savings of a small church on a combination of heavy foam-packed bits that …..should… together.

My obsession with quality gear was unabated by the strict budget, and we haggled out the lowest possible prices to get a tasty Presonus digital desk hooked up to fancy latest-tech JBL fixed line array speakers (with sub), and separate sends per foldback wedge. And all the right stuff in between.

The moment of truth was a few days ago, after we hacked and ran and mounted and soldered and powered up. And to my _extreme_ relief, sound. Good, even, tasty, clear sound. This made me very happy.

Now I have not forgotten this is a Birds in Branches blog, believe me and here follow my whim. The satisfaction and relief of installing a tasty sound system was surprisingly similar to that of finishing a song or polishing off a recorded track. It was hard, annoying, fun, boring, exciting, there were more problems than expected, and it was easy to second guess yourself right to the end. But at the end, there it was – sounding something like how you had dreamed it would. Remarkably similar feeling.

So are the tech guys of the world actually artists? I think so. I think sound tech has more ‘art’ to it than I ever assumed.

This does blurs boundaries a little – could the setting up of my studio be considered art, or just what I’ve done with the studio? Perhaps it depends on whether it can be shared. If I setup a studio in public, would that be a creative release ticked off?

Abstract wonderings aside, I did milk the tech-guy effect for all it was worth. Nerdy banter with the strange igor-like character in the back docks of the gear hire section. Nerdy banter with the cable supplier about the physics of directional sub woofers. Ok, nerdy banter with everyone. I’m a nerd.

I also acted uppity about the way my helper coiled cable, got fast food, did things late at night, and put things loudly through the sub woofer that should probably never be put through a sub woofer. I would like to note that these all made a lot of sense as I did them – and I feel I now have a bond with wonderful tech guys I’ve known over the years.

Thankyou, tech artists everywhere.


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