The Pigeon Detectives On Tour With Audio-Technica

The end of 2008 sees The Pigeon Detectives finishing up a two-and-a-half year rock’ rollercoaster of a ride. From appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals in 2006, through support slots with Dirty Pretty Things and Kaiser Chiefs to their own headline tours, the Leeds quintet has laboured long and hard to become one of the brightest stars in the UK rock firmament. With the band throughout the last couple of years is front of house sound engineer Andy Hawkins, a man whose credits include The Damned, Flogging Molly, Sugarcult and Matchbook Romance. Andy has long been a fan of Audio-Technica microphones, and now finds himself in the position of working with a band whose entire backline and vocals rely on Audio-Technica to deliver night after night, venue after venue.


The end of 2008 sees The Pigeon Detectives finishing up a two-and-a-half year rock’ rollercoaster of a ride. From appearances at the Reading and Leeds festivals in 2006, through support slots with Dirty Pretty Things and Kaiser Chiefs to their own headline tours, the Leeds quintet has laboured long and hard to become one of the brightest stars in the UK rock firmament. With the band throughout the last couple of years is front of house sound engineer Andy Hawkins, a man whose credits include The Damned, Flogging Molly, Sugarcult and Matchbook Romance. Andy has long been a fan of Audio-Technica microphones, and now finds himself in the position of working with a band whose entire backline and vocals rely on Audio-Technica to deliver night after night, venue after venue.

“I started working with the band two years ago,” he explains. “A guy I knew at their record company called me up out of the blue – I had no idea who they were so I went along to a support slot they were playing just to check them out. They completely blew me away. I could see straight away that the lads really had something about them - great songs, energy and bags of character. Luckily we got on, and two years later I'm still here, so I must be doing something right.”

Fast forward to 2008, The Pigeon Detectives are fully-fledged Audio-Technica endorsees and Andy couldn’t be happier…

“I've used Audio-Technica mics in the studio for a long time and have always been impressed with them” he reveals, “so when the chance came to use them on-stage with the Pigeons I was extremely interested. I have to say I've been very pleased with the results I've achieved with them, in particular the AE3000 which I find is a really versatile microphone.”

The band’s guitarists, Oli Main and Ryan Wilson, are also forthcoming on the positive impact that using the AE3000 – and AT4047 in Oli’s case – has had on their live sound. “The main thing I want is for my sound to be really big and beefy,” explains Oli, “and the AT4047 that I use on my amps does just that. It sounds massive.”

The priority where Ryan’s rhythm guitar is concerned is clarity – “I really need my rhythm parts to cut through the mix,” he confirms, “The AE3000 on my amps is perfect for making sure you can hear everything in amongst the drums, bass and Oli’s guitar.”

Andy’s studio and live experience has frequently led him into situations where he’s had to juggle “loud guitars with clear, full-sounding vocals. That’s very much the case with The Pigeon Detectives – all this time I’ve been constantly developing strategies to achieve that balance and it’s really paid off with this band.

“My key focus is on separation and clarity between all the instruments and vocals,” says Andy. “I want to be able to hear every detail, something that comes from my studio background I guess. There's nothing specifically awkward to deal with as far as The Pigeon Detectives are concerned – they're all good players, which helps an awful lot, plus they keep it simple as far as their set-up is concerned. That's always the key I think – if you're an engineer with 40 or so inputs for what is essentially a garage band you either don't know what you're doing or you're desperately trying to justify your existence.”

Talking about the factors involved in the band opting for a full array of Audio-Technica microphones for live use, Andy is quick to point out that, “it really comes down to selecting the right microphones to achieve different tonal layers so all the instrumentation can fit together without having to mix out of balance.

“The Audio-Technica range allows us to do that perfectly. With the AE3000 for example, we use it both for guitars and drums with excellent results - it's a great, natural-sounding mic. Similarly the AT4047 has worked out really well on guitars, it sounds really full and beefy. Also the clarity I'm getting from Matt the singer with the AE4100 has been very impressive. These are just particular highlights though; the whole array of mics we've been using sounds fantastic.”
It’s not just the sound of The Pigeon’s Audio-Technica mics that has found them favour with the band either. Lead singer Matt Bowman, fittingly, has the last word. “The AE4100 that I use gives us loads of clarity,” he says, “which is obviously the most important thing where lead vocals are concerned. And it’s tough – it stands up to all the abuse that it gets from me without complaining.”