Stereophonics released their 10th album last year, Scream Above the Sounds, which comes almost 20 years after the Welsh rockers first stormed the BRITs back in 1998 and won the award for British Breakthrough Act. The band’s longevity speaks for itself: eight million albums sold in the UK alone, six number one records, a BRIT Award, three Kerrang! Awards, a pair of Q Awards, and 40 singles to their name.
On the road, Harm Schopman is looking after frontman Kelly Jones and co. from side-stage using his trusted DiGiCo console, supplied by rental company Capital Sound.
Although in charge of monitors for this tour, Harm has been responsible for various roles on numerous touring productions.
“On Stereophonics, I originally looked after [FOH engineer] Dave Roden as the systems tech, mostly on the arena tours,” Harm explains. “It’s only in the last few years that I have taken on the role of monitor engineer for them.”
A DiGiCo user since the days of the D5 Live, a console Harm used on shows for The Strokes and Katie Melua, the SD10 is now his board of choice for Stereophonics, which he is running at 48kHz with the SD Racks being shared between FOH and monitors.
“I love the clarity I can achieve for the IEM mixes using the SD10,” he says. “Everything seems to be easily separated, which means the mixes are very detailed and clean. I’ve used these consoles quite a bit over the years; the interface works perfectly for me and speed of operation is always a priority when working monitors.”
Dave Roden met Stereophonics in 1996 and began touring with them the following year. His relationship with the band is very strong, but the job does not come without its challenges.
“That’s only because the musical programme material is so large and varied,” Dave insists. “Ten albums and 40 odd singles means a lot of back catalogue to draw upon, which can range from the softest of acoustic songs to out and out rock belters. Having known Kelly [Jones, frontman] and Richard [Jones, bassist] almost half my lifetime does help, though; there are some unspoken understandings which keep things on an even keel. As far as key elements go, it’s always Kelly’s vocal and the guitars first. Everything else second.”
After completing the UK leg of the tour with a performance at RISE Festival in August, Stereophonics hit North America in September, to play a series of shows in Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, and New York City. Their DiGiCos went with them.