Gearing up for a largely sold-out cross-country tour—and heeding the challenge of creating a compact touring audio footprint for a band in transition—this tour’s FOH engineer and full-time production manager Daniel Hodges (top photo) upgraded their audio outfit to a pair of DiGiCo SD8 consoles (plus an SD-Rack) provided by Solotech. Utilizing the streamlined Optocore network, as well as having the ability to share one stage rack between FOH and monitor world (managed by Justin Doucette), ultimately made the small trailer limitations workable.

NYC-based indie pop band fun. are on an uphill, seemingly unstoppable trajectory with the release of their second recording, Some Nights. The album reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Digital Songs charts, and the album’s breakout single, “We Are Young” (featuring Janelle Monáe), marked the first time in more than a decade that a rock band made a Billboard debut in the number one spot on the Hot 100 since Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” in 2001. The anthemic tune is also the musical backdrop to Chevy’s new Sonic “Stunt Anthem” ad, which aired to millions during the Super Bowl.

 

“The band has a pretty decent-sized lighting package for this tour, as well as a few other big pieces of backline (upright piano, etc.),” Hodges explained, “but we are still in a 16x8x8 bus trailer, so I had to come up with a way to carry everything we need in a small space if everyone was gonna have a happy tour together. DiGiCo had always been on my radar, and while I had toured on the other major digital consoles, I was never really ‘married’ to anything.

Having Optocore at FOH was kind of the only way we could get a proper rig on this tour without cutting into trailer space for the other two departments, and the way we have it laid out is just the coolest thing, as are the cabling options. The fact that I could share the stage rack was a pretty huge deal. We are feeding FOH with Optocore and monitors with MADI, and the SD-Rack works flawlessly as the master clock. I eliminated at least two good-sized racks for splitting, and there is no external CPU or PSU, so there goes another rack at each console. What would typically be a tub-full of cable to FOH is conveniently tucked onto two spools of optical cable that I could practically fit in a backpack.

I am still running 50-plus channels of audio day-to-day, and my entire package—IEMs, mics, stands, wireless and all—is in 12 cases, barely taking up the front wall of our trailer! A lot of really important issues for me on this tour were solved with the DiGiCo consoles—without having to ask for any special treatment or additional trailer space. And the Optocore is my favorite thing to show off to the house engineer or system tech. I even told my (non-engineer) girlfriend all about it I was so excited!”