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A heady mix C

Rampton has been the FOH stalwart for scores of acts over the years

“We got there and the site for the gig must have been a big mansion house that had been torn down. All that was left were tennis courts, but there was rubble everywhere and the stage had bits of metal sticking out and all sorts. If it was the UK, health and safety would have had a field day, but it wasn’t, it was Mexico. The whole stage was rickety and they had these side fills that looked like huge boxes on sticks. I don’t know what they were, but they were big old lumps and to keep them in place, they had the biggest, most colourful collection of bungees you’ve ever seen, wrapped around bits of scaffolding and these full-range cabinets. They had the power distro sat in a big puddle behind the stage in an orange box to keep it above the water, but every time the kick drum was hit or the subs made some noise it splashed water all over it. “I said to them: ‘are you sure about that?’ and he said:

‘yeah, it’s fine, we do this all the time’. Well, it all seemed to work okay – if you do something enough you learn how to iron out the problems don’t you?”

If it was the UK, health and safety would have had a

field day. But it was Mexico.

USE YOUR EARS: Rampton worries about ‘visual mixing’ BACK TO BASICS

“I started engineering in 1980, mixing for a punk band called Here & Now. We had a Canary 24 into two desks with fixed eq – high/mid, low/mid and bottom end. There was no outboard or anything, no gates; all we had was one WEM Copicat and the most modern bit of kit was a Roland Space Echo, which was amazing. And I didn’t care what I was using either, because the whole buzz of going out on tour was so great that it didn’t really matter and I would have worked with whatever I had. Using that sort of gear helped me learn to get the best from a console or PA, no matter how basic it was. We got some great gigs out of some very average gear. “Having all the best gear can even be a curse. The powerful technology we’ve got these days is great, if used responsibly, but my biggest concern is the way that digital equipment is affecting the way engineers work. I love the thinking behind the drive to give us more tools – the fact that I can use plugins on a Digidesign desk is really cool – but my gripe with it is that it encourages you to use your ears less and your eyes more, and I think that is fundamentally wrong. Ultimately, you’re being paid to make something sound good, not look good.”

28 audioPRO October 2010

urrently handling FOH for Chase & Status and, when they return the stage, Basement Jaxx, Rampton is also employed as both a FOH and monitor engineer at the Shepherds Bush Empire, Koko and Indigo at the O2. His career began in 1980 and a tour with anarcho hippy punks, Here & Now, during which he honed his craft on an early PA system designed and built by Tony Andrews. Rampton stayed with the band for nearly four years, before getting involved in promoting and man- aging bands in his hometown of Southampton. Acts in- cluded The Cropdusters and Flik Spatula who enjoyed relatively successful, if short careers. In 1988, Rampton was invited to work for Vince Power's Mean Fiddler Organisation and became pro- moter of his new Islington Club, The Powerhaus. He gave the venue it's name and chose the musical policy, booking the first London dates for most Madchester scene bands such as The Stone Roses, and UK shows for Dinosaur Jr, Naked Prey, Mo Tucker and Half Japanese among others. Rampton recalls that the first demo he listened to was by an outfit from Wiltshire called Jesus Jones. After a brief quarrel with Power, Rampton began engineering on a full time basis at The Mean Fiddler, Powerhaus, Subterania and eventually The Garage and The Grand. He soon started working directly with artists, such as Ash, which he juggled with Compulsion, one of his favourite bands. He went on to work with numerous successful touring acts, including Shelby Lynne, Remy Zero and The D4. More recently, Rampton has delivered live mixes for The Libertines, Kate Nash and The View. He has also done some studio work, remixing live audio for Chase & Status at Ibiza Rocks for MTV and, last year, recording an album for US band The True Lovers at Mission Sound in Brooklyn. This was tracked in January 2009 and mixed April the same year.

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