Billie Eilish catapulted onto the music scene in 2017 following the release of her debut EP Don’t Smile at Me. A sign of things to come, that debut EP was certified Platinum, an incredible achievement for the debut release of any artist. Eilish writes her own songs along with her brother and live band member, Finneas O’Connell; songs which have helped propel Eilish into the mainstream charts in a very short space of time.
As you’d expect from a modern pop act, Billie Eilish’s sound comprises a mixture of traditional acoustic instruments and electronic sounds, all of which combine with her beguiling vocal to produce a distinctive pop sound infused with R&B and Hip-Hop. Reproducing this live takes a great team of musicians, engineers, and of course the right kit to do the job.
Last year, shortly before Billie broke into the major leagues of pop, we caught up with her then touring crew to ask their opinions of the then-new PlayAUDIO12 interface.
Billie’s playback tech at the time, Eric Downs, turned to iConnectivity and the PlayAUDIO12 for their touring playback rig, for a number of important reasons…
I like the [PlayAUDIO12’s] streamlined simplicity. To run redundant playback before this used to require a lot more equipment and, to be honest, a lot more money. All of the gear that you used to use in a redundant rig, which used to take up two full rack units, has been shrunken down to a half rack, and gosh! It works even better than before!|
PlayAUDIO12 - gets the “Thumbs Up!” from the Billie Eilish tour
Of course, it’s not just the playback technicians which have to work with a playback rig night after night. The musicians and the sound engineers have work with the kit night after night too. A poorly designed or poorly functioning playback system isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s a liability. Members of the Billie Eilish touring team were happy to lend their seal of approval to PlayAUDIO12.
When we visited the Billie Eilish tour in Boston, the tour’s Front of House engineer and Production Manager was the multi-talented Alexia Stratton. To meet the demands and approval of a joint FOH Engineer and production manager, the gear not only has to sound great, it also has to be a great road tool.
We went from a fly-date tour in Australia to a fly-date tour in Europe, to a bus-date tour with flights in the US. Having something as flexible as a compact rig like this has been absolutely essential.
Andrew Marshall, Billie Eilish’s drummer, has been a constant touring companion to Billie Eilish. As is often the way when a touring act starts out, the responsibility of setting up and controlling the playback rig originally fell to Andrew.
Now that Billie is playing larger shows, and the scale of those shows has increased, that responsibility falls to their latest playback tech, Kyle Fournier.
With or without that responsibility, as the rhythmic core of the band, Andrew has to lock into a digital heartbeat every night, which has to be rock-solid.
The more solid and stable your playback is, the better show you can have and the less stressed you feel. I love PlayAUDIO12… it’s really easy to use, really easy to set up, and it’s made my job a lot easier.
One year on from first catching up with the Billie Eilish tour, it’s clear to see that she’s gone from strength to strength; selling out arenas in the USA and Europe and garnering praise and accolade from press and punters alike.
We’re proud to count the Billie Eilish team as part of the iConnectivity family, and thrilled that PlayAUDIO12 has followed them in their success.