SSL Upgrades the Simple Minds Sound

Olivier Gerard using SSL L200 console on FOH on Simple Minds Tour

Legendary British rock band, Simple Minds has been thrilling crowds with its unique, larger-than-life sound. The band has been out on an epic world tour, selling out venues  in support of its latest album, Walk Between Worlds. The band’s FOH Engineer, Oliver Gerard, and Monitor Engineer, Mike Gibbard, have both chosen Solid State Logic Live consoles for the tour.

While performing Simple Minds has been playing a mix of both classic hits and their new album which provided a challenge for Gerard and Gibbard, and their gear. “I have to cope with music from the late 70s, through the 80s and the 90s rock and roll stadium thing, and on to now,” said Gerard. “I try to recreate the true sounds of those moments because everyone knows those songs in certain colours.”

Gerard has been working with the band for over ten years alongside his SSL L200 while Gibbard started with the band in 2018 and used his SSL L500 console, using up to 11 reverbs at any one time to bring the multi-layered Simple Minds sound to IEMs and wedges.

For both, the sound of SSL Live was the deciding factor. Gerrard said:”When I started with my own multitracks, the first thing I noticed was that I had the analogue feel back again – the elasticity. In the analogue era you could do your first three songs in sound check and when your balance was there, you can do the whole gig. That has never been possible with digital consoles until this one.”

Structurally, both Engineers have their own preferences. Gerard is quite traditional when it comes to console layout, and though he has been ‘seduced by the Stems’ he used traditional auxes for all effects. Gibbard, however, made extensive use of Stem Groups to make sure that Jim Kerr’s mix was exceptional.

For a band like Simple Minds, the sound is everything. The production on the records throughout their long career has been a large part of the band’s uniqueness. For Gerard, committing to a new console meant committing to moving over 60 songs to the new technology, so he must have been convinced. “Going back to another console that doesn’t have the features this desk has would be difficult,” he noted. “Even things like the multi-touch screens – now I’m used to it, it’s very natural. I don’t use the rotary controls any more.”