Photos by Fat Tom Photography
S.M. Audio are a team of fully qualified sound engineers made up of Stephen Mitchell and Aaron Foy, they provide support for bands all across NI and ensure that their gigs run smoothly and sound amazing. Stephen and Aaron answered a few questions about the work they do to give an insight into this behind the scenes element of local music.
Firstly, can you give the readers a bit of background info on S.M. Audio?
Since 2016, S.M. Audio has worked to provide a high quality live sound service for bands all over Northern Ireland. We work with established bands and those more new to the industry, ensuring each act receives the best possible outcome for their event. This ethos has seen us work in venues, small to large, with cover bands and original bands all the way to providing live sound for events and fundraisers at the heart of the community. We were inspired to begin this journey because we’ve always been massive fans of music and wanted to support the musicians that we knew by putting on gigs, especially for local bands who were just starting out like us.
What’s it like working in the behind the scenes of the local music industry?
Sweaty and stressful but always worth it. Especially when you finish a gig knowing that a band has put everything into their set. We’re always the first to arrive and last to leave but we wouldn’t have it any other way. At the end of the night, it’s always a chance for the team to pile into the van and say “Well that was good, but what can we do better?” Reflection is a really important part of working behind the scenes.
Are there any bands you have worked with that you would recommend for readers to check out?
We’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists including Paul and The Meanie, we love their tune ‘Mrs Bloom.’ Another unreal local band we’re currently working with is Blurred Reality, a three piece metal band from Armagh. They’ve been working on new material that’s set to be released soon, so definitely keep an eye out for that.
How has the lock down impacted the work that you do?
Although it’s been difficult losing out on gigs and unfortunately, some weddings being cancelled, we’ve tried to use lock down as an opportunity to upgrade some of our equipment. We recently invested in some new Sennheiser microphones which we’ve been testing out on a kit and doing some practise for when we can get back to gigs. We’ve also been working on a new website which is now up and running : smaudioni.co.uk.
What do you think the local music scene is going to look like post lock down?
Of course we imagine it will take some until the music scene is back in full swing and we are still waiting on guidance from the government. We do, however, think this is a time for the local music scene to rally together and support each other, from bands to engineers to booking agents. We’ve seen a rise in streaming over lock down but nothing beats a proper, loud gig and we can’t wait to get back to it!