Pop artist Billie Eilish’s sold-out global tour dates feature flyable Allen & Heath dLive rigs at both front of house and monitor positions. Drew Thornton, front of house engineer, and Salim Akram, monitor engineer, use compact, 12-fader C1500’s to mix over 50 inputs from an array of live instruments and backing tracks. Their innovative rig is fed by a quartet of DX168 stage boxes connecting to a DM0 MixRack via EtherCon connections.
Thornton designed the dLive system to travel with the band. “Throwing down your stage box and pushing out everything patched and line-checked in ten minutes is amazing,” he says. “We plug it in and it works like a dream. And I’m a firm believer that if you get your mix right, you can handle things with as few as eight faders. Having 12 faders on the C1500 is a luxury.”
Akram notes, “I built my dLive show file on the airplane. I’ve been on a lot of other consoles and nothing has a workflow that is this intuitive and customizable. And, DCA spills were the key for me – that was a game changer. Now, I have my mixes on SoftKeys which flip the faders and everything else I need to get to quickly.”
Thornton and Akram put the internal dLive effects to good use in recreating the immersive textures Eilish is known for. “I’ve got multiple plates for the drums and I’m starting to play with gated reverb effects,” says Thornton. “And after years of looking for the perfect vocal, the Dyn8 does what I need. It’ll smooth things out as I play with really subtle or aggressive effects on the song.”
On monitors, Akram has his own approach. “I’m using the Dyn8 on Billie’s vocal and on some of the mix outputs. The 16T compressor sounds great and the Opto is for musical drums, sometimes on tracks.” He adds, “The way Billie runs her show is so musical and we pay attention to the blend of the tracks so it doesn’t show up like a traditional pop act.”
“Good point, Salim,” chimes in Thornton. “My philosophy has been to ask myself, ‘What does the record sound like?’ and then do all I can do to make sure the record sound translates to the live show. Mixing is like my paintbrush and working on the dLive has been the easiest palette to work with.”
As the fly dates wrap up and the bus portion of the tour kicks off, the C1500 surfaces will be transitioned into use by the support acts while Sound Image provides dLive S5000 surfaces for front of house and monitor duties.