Excerpted with permission from Sound Girls, check out the full interview here.
Mr.SoundLady aka Rachel Ryan has been working as an independent audio engineer for the last eleven years. She has worked as a FOH and TM for School of Seven Bells, Phosphorescent, Little Boots, Nightbox and Honeyblood. FOH for Albert Hammond JR, MNDR, Streets of Laredo and as ME for Silversun Pickups, The Strokes, and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. She is currently doing monitors for The Strokes and FOH for PHOX. When she is not touring she works at the Brooklyn Bowl as both a FOH and Monitor Engineer.
After high school she attended NYU and received a Bachelors of Music with a specialization in technology. While at NYU she was the first and still the only woman to intern at Radio City Music Hall in the audio department.
Do you find it difficult to go back and forth from FOH and Monitors?
Not really, it does take a second to switch gears though. It’s like mixing a tiny show for four or five individual people instead of a room full of people. They do require a different part of my focus but I like the challenge, it keeps me from getting too comfortable in one job. Although I must say I do prefer doing FOH.
You currently are touring as the Monitor Engineer for The Strokes – How has that been?
Headlining a major festival was absolutely mind-blowing! Seeing 50,000-80,000 people all shouting the lyrics to the songs of the band your working for is quite a trip. There’s nothing like it, I can’t wait to do it again. Then you have they days when you’re in production rehearsals and you’ve been in a windowless room for for eight hours, day four of eight and the band decides to take a break, you come back in from getting food to discover your drummer and drum tech are having chair races down the slanted hallway. We all turn in to box car drivers when presented with chairs with wheels on them and a slope.
Do the Strokes use IEMS or wedges or both? Are you touring with production?
Both. Our singer is on wedges, the rest are on IEM’s, two of them have IEM’s and wedges. We use the PSM 1000’s for the IEM’s, I really like using them. Easy to use and I’ve never had any interference problems. Using d&b M4’s for wedges and traveling with a Profile at FOH and an SC48 at Monitors.
Advice you have for other women and young women who wish to enter the field?
It never hurts to ask
You really have to love what you do and stick with it. If it’s not a passion, it’s going to be a really tough thing to want keep doing day after day. Be curious, ask questions, learn as much as you can and remember to have fun.
What’s your Favorite gear?
Miktek mic’s, pink gaff tape, Avid, Pelican anything and everything and my (you guessed it pink….) Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors.