Snow Patrol recently embarked on a UK tour for their album, Reworked, relying on an SSL L550 console for their live shows, including two special performances at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Northern Irish-Scottish rock band, Snow Patrol formed in 1994, rising to fame with their album, Final Straw, which was certified five-times platinum in the UK, eventually selling over three million copies worldwide.
Reworked, Snow Patrol’s eighth studio album, was released in November 2019 to celebrate their 25th anniversary, and included reimagined versions of old songs, three new tracks, and a tour, which Matt West joined last year as FOH engineer.
“It’s a 14-piece band and a very open, live stage; the band has reworked songs to a certain extent, so it’s a new take, with new instruments on already fantastic songs,” West explains. “Everyone’s got a vocal mic, and the guys are all on in-ears, as we’re keeping things as quiet as possible on stage.”
He continues: “I knew if SSL was going to put out a live range of consoles, they would capture the trust of the old school analogue vibe; once upon a time, you’d do everything you could just to save up to buy one preamp and record everything through it. So I looked at what SSL were doing, saw that the L550 had a big screen and big buttons, and being a big-fingered person, little buttons are ineffective for me, so it looked very interesting straight away. I spent a few days just mixing on the board, and I just kind of fell in love with it.”
West is using the L550 alongside the SSL ML 32.32 analogue stagebox. “That’s a great piece of kit; we’re using two for the existing setup of the band. I said ‘Well, I’ll just have another 32 SSL preamps please!’ It’s a splitter as well, which is great; we use the MADI out of that to send people the full console breakdown when they need it.”
Ultimately, West says he is just enjoying being able to get hands-on with his mixing and not having to worry about racks of outboard. “Especially when you get in tight places with difficult load-ins and load-outs,” he says. “We just bring in the desk, and away we go – no racks of kit to set up, it’s all there in the console.”