Behind the Board: Neil Fenske

Behind the Board: Neil Fenske

by SaskMusic

May 26, 2021 in Industry Profile

About me: I am a FOH Engineer for Emerson Drive, Tebey, and Helix.

Favourite show I’ve mixed: Favourite show I’ve mixed would probably be on the Monsters of Rock Cruise with Helix, the Middle East with Emerson Drive (troops show) and if Covid ever lets up I’m supposed to go to the UK with Tebey.

Advice for emerging artists: Advice for emerging artists would be, first and foremost USE IN EAR MONITORS, get your own little monitor rig together so you have consistency, and keep your stage volume as low as possible by using as much direct input (DI) gear as possible, keep cymbal noise as low as possible especially if you have a weak singer, but also for strong singers. Sound 101: If all else fails you MUST hear the singer. If you’re fighting stage volume and cymbal bashing with a hot mic on the singer, the mix will start turning to mud especially on smaller stages. If you believe the house tech will NOT properly reproduce what you have going on on stage then hire someone you know that will do you justice. There are too many house techs that don’t give a shit, they’re too busy getting drunk to boost a solo or make sure the harmonies aren’t over powering lead or whatever the song needs.

That goes for established artists too. Work with your sound engineer and the room. There is always a solution or compromise.

Favourite piece of gear: My favourite piece of gear is still the Avid Profile. For me I love its ease of access. I’ve used many, many different consoles on the road which have all been great mixing desks but there is nothing like knowing exactly where to go without scratching your head thinking “How do I get to this page again?”

Dream gig: Dream gig would be an artist that pays a retainer. It’s very hard keeping your head above water in this industry, not knowing if you can pay your bills this month because there are no shows. All in all I’m kinda doing my dream gig, I’m am flown and bussed around the world and having the casino gig at home when I’m not on the road is all great but doesn’t always pay the bills. Since Covid has shut down the industry, my wife leaving me, not knowing if I’ll be homeless in a few months when my savings runs dry. Yeah, a retainer would be a dream come true. At least knowing a dollar amount to budget on would make a world of difference.