TPi Magazine issue May 2016 released on May 11 features one of the most interesting articles about BABYMETAL this year. None of the band members are featured, but their stage production at Wembley Arena starting with their main Sound Engineer Mads Mikkelsen. We transcripted the most important parts of the article, but there is also the full scan of the article if you are interested in more technical details. Check this out below.
BABYMETAL production process at Wembley Arena featured on TPi Magazine
TPi's Ste Durham catches up with Theis Romme of Victory Tour Production to find out how the company managed to provide lighting, audio, video and staging elements for one of the most talked-about live acts of the moment.
As you'd expect with a fusion as ambitious as BABYMETAL, the corresponding production is equally as crazed - coomplete with inch-perfect dance routines, dramatic set pieces, and enough pyrotechnics to raise the eyebrows of even the most gig-weary Rammstein fan.
In order to kick off their 2016 would tour in style, BABYMETAL held one-off show at Wembley's SSE Arena that required international collaboration between UK-ased production management company, Touring Solutions; Danish supplier Victory Tour Productions; and the band's Japanese crew.
DOUBLE DOUBLE DUTY
Victory was brought in to provide audio, lighting, video and some stating elements for the band's Wembley show, having orged relationships with some of the crew while supplying Denmark's Volbeat - a band with whom BABYMETAL share both PM and FOH Engineer.
Project Manager of audio at Victory and occasional Volbeat System Tech, Theis Romme, picked up the story: "It was a huge production for a one-off gig - to me it felt more like a TV Show than a concert during the build up. Everything had to be perfect, which wasn't easy when you consider that we had no production rehearsals all together in Europe.
The Japanese style of doing things is quite different. When they came in they were measuing everything and moving fixtures if they were so much as a centimetre out of place."
The full production rehearsals took place in Japan with an identical setup to the one that was to be built in The SSE Arena, which allowed the crew to programme everything down to the letter. Romme continued: "There were a lot of emails back and forth. We went through eight different lighting renders during pre-production, but ended up with something that was really impressive and worked for all of the parties involved. We then had a week at our warehouse in Denmark for our guys to prepare."
After being recommended by the band's live album producer, FOH Engineer Mads Mikkelsen quickly adapted to BABYMETAL's distinct style with a run of German club shows in August of 2015, closely followe by Reading and Leeds festiva appearances.
He commented: "Victory have been great to work with. The fact that they could supply the PA system I wanted was the biggest thing for me. I've worked with them before, with Theis having acted as my system tech on Volbeat. With both of those things in mind it was an obvious choice."
Mikkelsen said: "When I'm given a choice, I will always go for this system. The throw of the LEO System is incredible an the high-end-resolution is unmatched by anything, in my opinion. Quite a long throw was necessary due to the absence of delays in the arena - even FOH was 60 meters away because of the stage thrust."
He continued: "There's a lot going on in the mix, including additional backing tracks, samples and harmonies. It's quite a blaancing act to keep the heavy metal sounding powerful but keep those candy-like vocals as the focal point. I tend to do a lot of cross-compressing and keying the vocals into different part of the music, always making sure the are on top of all the other instrumentation.
My primary concern is that the main vocalist, Su-Metal, is always loud, clear and crisp. The two other girls use headsets as they do a lot of singing and dancing, so I really have to cut a lot out of it in order to combat feedback and make sure they're not picking up too much snare drum or guitars from the stage."
Mikkelsen added: "I thought the show was really fun - every time I mix them I'm so impressed with the girls an the band. The Japanese are extremely professional and everything is rehearsed down to the letter. Even though Wembley is a challenging venue, particularly being situated at 60 meters from the system, the band is a joy to mix. Victory provided exactly the rig I wanted, as well as a good solutioin for the subs."
...As well as the lighting crew, BABYMETAL brough an entire video department with them for the Wembley show, due to the fact that the show was eing recorded for an upcoming DVD project. This team also created the Visual content in Japan, leaving Victory to supply the screens and electronics.
...The panels were arranged as one central video wall and two side IMAG screens, showing a combination of content, camera shots and song introduction videos. As welll as having camera present to record the show for the band themselves, three broadcast trucks were at the venue t ostream the footage directly to thousand of BABYMETAL fans watching on a big screen in Japan.
The final part of Victory's contribution to the madness that was BABYMETAL's Wembley show was a selection of staging elements, including stage lifts and a rail dolly back. "The stage was built in the room, and involved a big catwalk that went out to a round, rotating B stage. We provided lifts that allowed the performs to emerge from under the stage and a rail track so taht they could get from the catwalk to the main stage quickly", explained Romme.
Romme concluded: "It felt to me like some of the huge TV events I have done in Denmark except that we only had one day to build it! IT was hard work but it turned out really well and was great fun to be involved with". No doubt The One, as their fans are affectionatly known, would agree...
Read the full article with many technical details in the scans below.
Article courtesy of TPi Magazine issue May 2016.