Electropop Powerhouse MØ Goes On Tour With DPA Microphones
Jon Schumann, FOH for this Danish singer/songwriter, is using DPA microphones to ensure her vocals, live guitar and drums integrate seamlessly with electronic elements and samples.
Danish singer/songwriter Karen Marie Ørsted Andersen, better known by her stage name MØ, has a distinctive musical style that combines electronic elements and big samples with live drums, guitar and vocals. For her long time Front of House engineer Jon Schumann, transporting her music into a live environment is challenging because it brings some very modern production issues to the fore – not least how to best amplify MØ’s voice and the live musicians so that they integrate seamlessly with the electronic samples.
The answer, Schumann says, is an arsenal of DPA microphones because the transient response and character of DPA’s products helps him blend the live sources into a heavily processed electronic soundscape with ease and confidence.
“DPA mics have always been a benchmark for a lot of my studio work and when I had the opportunity to take a larger pack out on the road, I was amazed at just how well the DPA sound also translated to live duties,” he explains. “Doing FOH is a different beast to capturing a performance in a great sounding studio where you don’t have to worry about things like wedges and a roaring PA, but the response from the mics was just such an incredible help in shaping my drum and vocal sounds. Finding a ‘pocket’ for the individual channels is so easy when I’m making decisions about what goes where. I also find myself dialling in a lot less for ‘fixing’ issues and a lot more just for creative uses - and I have become a lot braver with the processing because I can rely 100% on the sonic quality at the first point of contact. The fact that DPA mics are so tiny is also a joy because they are so easy to position.”
Schumann, who is also an award winning producer, has worked with numerous bands including Kashmir, Mew, Carpark North, Kent, Ginger Ninja, D.A.D, Guano Apes and The Raveonettes. He began working with MØ in March 2013 and now handles all her live performances.
“I had decided to come off the road because I wanted to spend more time at home and focus on mixing tasks in the studio,” he explains, “but then I got a call from MØ’s agent asking if I could do a showcase in London and I said yes for old time’s sake. She was like a powerhouse with a ponytail – there were 200 people at XOYO in London just going insane because she had such a great and unique voice and such amazing energy. That was five years ago and now we’re heading out on her Forever Neverland Tour that will take us deep into 2019.”
To ensure that the live instruments and MØ’s vocals cut through the electronic wall of sound, Schumann is using DPA microphones to cover virtually everything on stage. He cites transient response, flat EQ, portability and size as the main reasons for his choice.
“We are carrying a full DPA mic locker that weighs less than my laptop bag and the sound that comes out of them is so clear and transparent that it’s a joy to place the drums in the mix,” he says.
The selection includes d:vote CORE 4099 Instrument Microphones for the kick, toms and second snare; d:dicate™ 2011C Twin Cardioid Microphones for hi-hat and percussion; a d:dicate 4011 Cardioid Microphone for underheads and a combination of d:dicate 2011C and d:dicate 4018 Supercardioid Microphones for the snare.
“MØ uses a linear d:facto Vocal Microphone on a Wisycom wireless body for her vocals because she feels 100% comfortable with the dynamics and frequency response of the d:facto,” Schumann says. “I can clearly hear her leaning in to the mic in a more controlled way and it is such a great help for me at FOH and Jeppe Andersson on Monitors. We can both focus on making her feel and sound great without spending too much time on carving out a space for her to cut through. The d:facto does most of that work for us, but without sounding forced.”
Schumann adds that he also uses d:dicate 4017 Shotgun Microphones as ambience mics for in-ear mixes and a d:dicate 4091 small diaphragm condenser microphone for measurements at FOH.
“This combination of microphones works really well because my EQs are more or less flat on the snare, toms and cymbals and I get the wonderful punchy response I always dreamed of having in a live situation,” he says. “For in-ear monitors we have also found that we can drop the level of the mics significantly in the ears and still retain the clarity we need without the spill “junk” or oversaturation of the mixes.”
MØ’s tour is already playing dates in Europe and will eventually move to the US, Asia, Australia and South America before taking on next summer’s international festival circuit. Although this hectic schedule is keeping Schumann busy, he is also keeping busy with product development ideas for the live and studio markets.
“The advances in audio technology are progressing at such a fast pace that I’m spending a lot of time trying to be at the front of that evolution,” he says. “It’s an exciting time in the world of audio - I just need some more hours in the day!”