Keeping it in the family and acting as the FOH Engineer for his brother’s band, Peri Birtles has been with the group since their formation in 2017 and can boast career highlights such as mixing for Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage, touring the world, and engineering sessions at Maida Vale and Abbey Road Studios.
“The main highlight I take from it all is looking back and seeing what we’ve achieved together, with the same core crew that we’ve built and turned into an amazing unit,” Birtles explained.
Supporting him in these career highlights is an Allen & Heath CTi1500 console, supplied by Solotech. The portable kit weighs under an impressive 23kg with a flight case, adapting to the world of overweight airport fees, designed to be a mobile console it offers engineers like Birtles flexibility when on tour.
“There’s a lot I like about the system, the main thing being the functionality and ability to have extra controllers for dedicated functions like the IP8. The other thing I like about the console, is the power of the dyn8 and the way Allen & Heath have incorporated dynamic eq and multiband compression,” said Birtles.
Discussing festival season, Birtles told of a mishap that happened at the band’s first festival this year: “We had our monitor desk, Allen & Heath dLive S3000, in place at the side of stage being built during one of the performances before the band’s set – the weather had been overcast all day but almost out of nowhere a storm rolled in and unleashed a strong 10-minute downpour including a massive puddle that spilled over from the roof on to our monitor console, we had to hustle backstage to figure a new set up for our audio rig but managed to pull it together and get a show out.”
Birtles and Monitor Engineer, Richie Taylor were introduced to the CTi1500 last year when Taylor utilised the desk with IP8 monitors. From using the dLive setup for years, Birtles made the move to the CTi 1500 recently, he elaborated: “The CTi just then brings all of that power and the same layout of screen, soft keys and faders as a bigger desk but in a more compact, lightweight model that you can fly with; in a Scott Dixon case it’s 21kg. The flyability, lightweight and small footprint means I can walk my FOH set up to position in the middle of a field and only need 1 sq m of space.”
Going from a bigger console to a more compact piece of kit can be difficult, which Birtles explained: “I grew up using analogue consoles and mixing a lot of reggae dub bands, so I was used to having everything in front of me all the time, the good old days,” he enthused. “Previously, I would have wanted as many faders in front of me as humanly possible on the digital consoles, but we had a very successful summer season last year, using only the CTi1500.”
Looking after the band’s crew since 2019, Birtles tells of the collaboration with Solotech: “They have really helped us on our journey, providing great support and audio packages for our live performances.”
He concluded: “The show has grown so much since we started in 2017. It’s an honour to be able to work and have a lot of fun with my brother and the rest of the band and crew.”
Words: Alicia Pollitt
Photo: Marisha Shanti Kelly