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Producer · Engineer · FOH
Dave Lamb

Dave Lamb

Sound Engineer

Sound engineer Dave Lamb now tours the world delivering great sound for some of the world’s biggest acts – and it all started in the kitchen…

The God Machine, Swervedriver, Pharrell Williams, Paloma Faith, Biffy Clyro, The Hives, Oceansize, The Vines, Peter Bjorn and John, Sophie Ellis-Baxter, NDubz, Maximo Park, Circa Waves, You Me At Six,
Cooking up a FOH career

Dave Lamb describes himself as “a front of house sound engineer and sometimes a tour manager and monitors guy - possibly the laziest ‘Carling’ sound engineer ever...”

His CV, however, obliterates the ‘lazy’ theory, scanning like a who’s who of venue-filling artists from the past three decades, and indicating someone whose services are more in demand than ever. In the past few months alone he has worked his sonic magic for Circa Waves, You Me At Six, Magic Gang, Peter, Bjorn and John, Josh Rouse and Maximo Park. However, he claims sound engineering was initially just another way of funding his exploits as a musician.

“I used to be a chef to earn money to be in bands, it’s exactly the same thing.” Dave told us.

“I played in bands for a few years, all s***, but I met a lot of good songwriters and eventually found my feet dropped in the deep end of being someone’s sound engineer.” 

The deep-end in question was his first live assignment, in 1990 at the Borderline club in the heart of London’s West End: 

“I don’t remember the artist, I worked there depping for a friend Mike Crossley who was the house engineer, I’m still grateful.”

There followed a stint recording a comic opera, Paul Sands' ‘Mad and her Dad’, for the Liverpool Playhouse, two years as house engineer for Ezee Studios in London and from 1990 to 2002 he was a house engineer for London venues the Astoria, the Hackney Ocean and the scene of his first gig, the Bordeline, mixing for Bingo Hand Job (REM’s moniker for smaller venue gigs), Black Francis and Crowded House amongst others.

Hendrix at three to You Me At Six

Ever since, Dave's freelance career has gathered momentum and diversified, and in addition to the aforementioned headliners, those attending gigs by hot-ticket artists including The Hives, The Vines, Paloma Faith, NDubz and Sophie Ellis Baxter will have heard audio crafted by the chef-turned-engineer.

His love of music started unusually early courtesy of cool parents and a collection of 45’s procured from a family friend. A little later his own musical explorations would lead to his finding inspiration in the post punk explosion of the late seventies:

“I’ve loved music and played records since I was 3 years old, The Stones, Hendrix and Beatles got me going (Mum and Dad’s student collection), along with a box full of 500+ 7” singles from Keith Warner’s club jukebox when they had a clear out around 1972 (sort of an Uncle who I owe shit loads to). The jukebox was in a club in Cornwall so it was mostly 50s and early 60s stuff. Then I discovered The Jam for myself when I was 9, Tubeway Army at 10, Bunnymen at 14, Stooges and stuff.”

These formative influences may have pointed towards a career focused on new wave acts, however the reality was far more eclectic, as Dave found his skills required by artists spanning a spectrum of genres, from the metal of Raging Speedhorn, via stadium acts like Blur and Biffy Clyro, right through to a Motown tour featuring Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson and Edwin Star.

Reducing overheads

It was audio industry mic’ veteran James Biddle who originally introduced Dave to Aston mics and the old friends have both become important members of the Aston family; Dave as a high-end professional using Aston mics on the frontline, and James as the head of Aston’s fast-growing USA sales and marketing operation, The Presidio Label.

As an aficionado of the gear he uses, we were proud as hell to learn that Aston mics had found their way into Dave’s affections, and even more so to hear they vie with his classic vintage guitar for his attention. He professes a love for d&b speakers (J series and K1 & 2), Sennheisers and Digico consoles:

“…now I love all of my Aston mics as much as my 1967 Gretsch (same age as me, sounds better and less annoying even though the bridge isn’t fixed down.”

The Aston Starlight laser-guided pencil mic is a particular go-to for Dave’s live assignments and they, along with Aston Spirit large diaphragm condensers, have been put to use delivering the recent performances of Maximo Park, Peter Bjorn and John, Spector, Swervedriver and Circa Waves among others, the Starlights as overheads and the Spirit typically on close-mic’ing drum kit duties.

Dave also found the Spirit valuable when short-notice improvisation was called for. He recalls a gig in Antwerp where the headliners only allocated eight channels of the desk to the support band, with only two channels for drums:

“I used the Spirit as an overhead and a Beta52 in the kick drum and stuck them both through a DBX 160 - it sounded amazing.”

Wisdom of a wolf

In a 1989 press interview a 21 year old Dave Lamb bemoaned the fact that bands were skipping live work and heading straight to the recording studio. “Live music is important because it enables you to share the music with people – it’s a much more personal situation.” He told the journalist, whose sub editor came up with the headline ‘Wisdom of a wolf in Lambs clothing’. Seems to us they were wise words indeed, from someone who has, for many years now, done as much as anyone to keep live music alive and well.

Dave wrapped up our more recent interview with him with some kind words, not just for Aston mics but for all the musicians he has encountered so far on what must be one hell of a ride:

“Thanks Aston for getting your mics my way, and for the chance to thank everyone who ever made some good music and made someone happy at least once by being part of it all X.”

And thank you Dave, for your support, and for making all that music sound so damn good. Aston family.

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. I'd be a Chef

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. The Ruts ‘Babylon’s Burning

Credits

Dave has used Aston gear with the following artists:

Circa Waves

Maximo Park

Peter Bjorn and John

Spector

Swervedriver

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