Rick Camp - On The Road with J-Lo
Engineer Rick Camp is a man with a lot of frequent flyer miles. When your list of FOH mixing credits includes the likes of Madonna, Beyonce, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Destiny's Child, Chris Brown and Burt Bacharach, you've been around the block a few times.
We recently caught up with Rick on the Australian leg of the current Jennifer Lopez World Tour, where he shared some insight into his extensive audio background and why he now uses his favourite EQ plug-in to tune the PA in each arena.
What got you started in the business?
I played trumpet for about ten years, back in the 70's. In the 80's, I went to the Berklee College of Music. But then I realized all the horn bands, like Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and Chicago had kind of gone away. So I made a change and went into engineering.
It was always something I did with the local bands that I played for, but it just came natural to me. I turned my sights on engineering, and one thing led to the next. I made the move from Cincinnati, Ohio - where I'm from - to LA. At that time I had a gig with a national recording group called The Whispers. From then on, I kept at it, and ended up mixing for Earth Wind & Fire around '94. I mixed them for about five years. Then I went out with Madonna, Beyonce, Destiny's Child and so on. Now I'm out on the road with J Lo.
Was it all at the FOH position?
I did mix monitors when I first started, but I got out of that when I started with Earth, Wind & Fire. Although I can switch back and forth.
What got you into using the Avid consoles?
I always owned a studio while living in LA., and I got into Pro Tools, when Digidesign/Avid came out with the Mix Plus system, where you could record 64 tracks. Otherwise, it was 48 tracks on 2-inch. So back around '95 I got heavily involved into the Pro Tools craze, and rode it all the way out to where it is now. But I was always doing the live thing as well, and one day I got stuck on the Digidesign console at a one-off. The sound company on the gig was demoing it, but I thought, "there's no way this could work live". To my surprise, they really had it together; the sound quality was great, it didn't crash and from then on, I was requesting that board. It got to the point where my wife and I actually bought a 96-channel Venue board, for rental purposes. I would of course use it whenever I could on my own gigs.
How about your use of Sonnox plug-ins on this current J-Lo tour?
I've been using Sonnox plug-ins since 2000 now. In the studio, I used the Reverb, Dynamics, SuprEsser and the Oxford EQ. I always liked how accurate the EQ was, and finally it kind of hit me to use it to tune the PA. That way, I could use it instead of the Dolby Lake EQ, which most sound company's use. It's just as accurate, and I could save it with my show files for later recall. That's what led to me using it live.
On this current tour, I use it on the most important thing - to EQ the main speaker system. It's so accurate for tuning a PA that I can totally rely on it.
I also use it on the important instruments and vocals, in this case on Jennifer's vocal. The settings will of course change every night, depending on the room and on her voice. I even shift it around on the fly for each song using the "Drag handles option", depending on how she's on the mic and so on.
In addition to the vocals, I use it on some of the drums and bass. Actually, I use the Sonnox EQ on anything that is critical to the show. It's the EQ - there's nothing else out there that is more accurate than this.
Interview and editorial provided by Rich Tozzoli