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A-T Summer Sonic interview with Eddie Mapp, FOH for Taking Back Sunday

Eddie Mapp, front-of-house engineer for Taking Back Sunday, took some time to sit down with us on a busy day at Summer Sonic 2006.

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Eddie Mapp, front-of-house engineer for Taking Back Sunday, took some time to sit down with us on a busy day at Summer Sonic 2006.

A-T: What Audio-Technica microphones are you using?
Eddie Mapp: We have AE2500 on kick and guitars. We have ATM35 on toms and hi hat; AT825 for overhead, ATM25 for snare and tom, and AT4051 for snare bottom. We’re using the AE4100 for lead vocal and AE6100 for backup.

How are they working out for you?
They’ve been great. I haven't had a problem with them one bit. For the last few shows, the vocalist switched to the 4100. He’s a demanding guy with a lot of mic tricks and it’s held up fine. It’s in the air in air as much as being sung through—the Roger Daltrey kind of thing. It’s sturdy enough to withstand that so far.

How long have you been with Taking Back Sunday?
Since March ’06—about six months.

What are the unique challenges in mixing Taking Back Sunday?
There are two vocalists. So keeping that under control, keeping them above the mix, is a challenge. The lead guitar is as much lead vocal as the lead vocalist. Making space for both of these guys equally is a challenge—and still letting them have their own space.

Do you have a specific audio chain for vocals?
Microphones are always where it starts. I do a fair amount of limiting as opposed to compressing. So I can put the vocal where I want it and just leave it at that.

Are there any particular microphones that you feel are indispensable to your sound?
A-T mics are indispensable. Particularly the AE2500. It's been an all-around great mic. Everything I’ve put it on, it’s always delivered. The phase coherency is amazing. How the two capsules [dynamic and condenser] interact is amazing—it’s all constructive between the two.

How did you get involved in the pro audio industry?
I went to The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, Arizona, in ’97. From there I finished the program with an internship in Louisiana, worked with several production companies and then started touring with a group called Clearlight.

Did you play in a band originally or start off as a mixer?
Growing up, I played guitar in groups around Louisiana, and by default became the ‘soundman’ at the time. While doing shows, I’d end up helping with the PA’s and turning everything up—until something happened.

Eventually I realized there were plenty of better players, so I decided to get on the other side of the glass and still be part of the picture. It helped that I knew a little about music, and appreciated what I heard.

How did you get started professionally after school?
After Tempe, I came back to Louisiana and Mississippi. I was working with a band called Crowbar that was opening for Zakk. His engineer left for two weeks, and I filled in for four years.

What problems do you see inexperienced sound people making?
One that I see is not using restraint—letting everything fly out of control. When that happens, one of the first things that can get lost is vocals. I find that trying to get the vocals in a good spot first is generally your best bet—then build your mix from there.

Secondly—over compression. Sometimes this can be used as an effect; other than that, let the instruments breathe.

How do you like Japan? Are you enjoying the experience here at Summer Sonic?
It’s been great. It's nice doing stadiums. It’s my seventh time here. Everybody's so respectful and the crews here make everything so easy—they completely take care of you.

You have mixed numerous large acts so far. Do you have any advice for people getting started in the business?
Stick with it—that’s the biggest thing. A year into it, someone said to me, ‘I’m glad to see you're still sticking with it.’ I was just getting started. I couldn't believe they said that.

The best advice anybody gave me is: Learn what makes you sound good quick.