Hi Everyone and happy New Year!!
I’m kicking off this year with a blog from Audio Hire Geelong think tank and a common question we are asked; why do sound engineers look so unhappy?
According to an online article I read recently an ‘International Jobs Summit’ in Tokyo, Japan last year, declared sound engineers the grumpiest profession in the world.
There were comparisons to ‘post internet librarians’ and a certain member of the seven dwarfs etc, to add weight to the statement…
The article went on to say 99% of sound engineers are failed musicians and DJs, hanging on to a lost dream of one day being on stage in front of thousands and in the process harbouring truck loads of resentment for the success of performers.
I would like to state, for the record, that sound engineers (I’m referring to Live Sound ones) are not grumpy just that their work environment is hazardous.
Have you ever used a loud machine or piece of equipment and tried to listen to people talking to you? Like welding a jackhammer and someone’s like ‘you missed a spot’- what mate, I can’t hear you…
Now in the normal world you would reduce the volume of said machine/equipment and give someone the time of day but Sound engineers do not have this luxury. Added to that the person talking (or screaming) at you is most probably inaudible because they’ve drunk 4 pints and there’s always this ‘I can’t hear the backing singa’, ‘the guitar’s way too loud’ – thanks for the advice and you’re like ‘now shut up so I can make the adjustments!!’
It’s fair enough you pay your ticket and you should have a say on proceedings but do you ever question a bus drivers abilities? ‘mate You’re going too fast’, ‘now quick speed up and pass that car’ etc…- I don’t think so…
The problem Sound Engineers face is we’re the most sober person in the room – that’s what makes up unhappy!
Sound engineering is technically challenging and you can’t slur words on stage, you can’t smash instruments or stage dive. You have to be focused, alert and prepared to be shouted at by anyone.
When the bands set is over and the house lights are up, beer at the ready, then you’ll see smiles.