Rising Stars: Ben Hammond

Audio Pro International’s commitment to showcasing the brightest young talent operating in the industry continues this week with the latest instalment of our Rising Stars section.

This week we speak to touring engineer Ben Hammond…

Where did you study?

I studied for a period of time in Leeds at LCM, doing a degree in ‘Sound Design for Film and Television’.

I had been working as an assistant in recording studios since the age of 16, and by the time I got to uni, I was house engineer in a busy local studio. I chose to pursue this instead of my uni course, as jobs like this were hard to come by and I felt that I was onto a good thing. I suppose there are two ways into this industry – the academic route or the experience route. Personally, for me, with the situation I was in at the time, this way felt right. I don’t regret it one bit.

Which band are you currently working with?

Im currently touring with Skindred, The Blackout and Deaf Havana. I spent a lot of time doing all the bands I could, but these guys are busy enough to keep me in work all year round. Also its great to be able to build up a strong working and personal relationship with the bands/management you work for.

Where are you based/working at the moment?

Im currently based in my hometown of York.

Which audio console are you currently using? And how many channels?

Im currently touring with a Digico SD8 from the lovely people at STS in Manchester.

What decision process was behind the choice of this console?

Im a total digital convert when it comes to the live show. It makes sense in so many areas; budget/space/flexibility for supports. However, I still like to mix like I’m on an analogue console.

I don’t use snapshots at all as I like to “play” the whole mix live. I think you get so much more feel into the performance that way. Every aspect affects the show, from the band, the crowd, the venue, the atmosphere, so because of this I don’t want to be chained to set changes. I want to be able to do what feels right. After all, I believe that I’m playing a gig just as much as the band.

With all that in mind, the SD8 is the perfect console for me as there is so much physical control to hand. With Skindred we are nearing 40 channels, but with the SD8 I can get everything I need on one layer and have my key FX send and bypass buttons to hand at all times. Also, being able to see a full overview of 12 channels at a time is a huge benefit for me.

Do you use any outboard effects/EQ, and if so, what are they used on and why?

With the SD8 im using a TC D-Two, as it’s just a great sounding accurate delay. Apart from that all the processing is done in the board.

I’m more a mic man than outboard. I travel with all my own mics and have a great deal with the people at Audio-Technica. If your source sound is right then whatever the desk at FOH, half the battle is won already.

What is your console of choice?

Digico SD7/8/9, Soundcraft Vi6 and Avid Profile.

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be?

If I could mix any band, I think it would be Led Zeppelin. I would have to invent time travel of course, but to get a chance to mix those drums would be incredible!

Ben Hammond can be contacted at bigbenaudio@me.com

To get involved in our Rising Stars column, whether you are an engineer who is new to the industry and would like to be featured, or an experienced engineer who would like to nominate a particular student/apprentice, please contact Audio Pro International editor Daniel Gumble on daniel.gumble@intentmedia.co.uk or 01992 535646.