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Matt Smith, Fabric sound engineer
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a sound engineer

By
Danielle Goldstein
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…according to Matt Smith, 44.

When you work in nightclubs, sunlight is a luxury

‘We often don’t get to see much daylight in the clubbing industry. The hours can be hard on the body clock, especially in winter. Although the people visiting Fabric may go clubbing once a week, we’ll be there over the weekend three nights in a row.’

Warehouse parties are fun for everyone except the sound guy

‘Generally, doing sound is trickiest when we take over a warehouse space that’s not purpose-built as a music venue. We did the Q-Tip aftershow party with Need2Soul in a warehouse, and the condensation was so bad we needed an umbrella to stop it dripping on the sound desk.’

Earplugs are essential, and not just at gigs

‘Damage to your hearing is a worry for sound engineers, but it’s totally avoidable. We all use ACS in-ear attenuators that reduce noise properly, so it sounds exactly the same but quieter. They’re great. I wear mine on the Underground too – anywhere that’s noisy.’

Sound engineers need to be shockproof

‘I’ve been electrocuted quite a few times in various parts of the world. It takes your breath away and it throws you across the stage, but it happens pretty fast and it doesn’t hurt afterwards. Once I was in South Africa and someone forgot to put the top of a plug back on, so when I was reaching round I didn’t see that there were bare live wires. Basically, it’s other people’s failings that get you electrocuted.’

Hear Matt in action for Need2Soul’s penultimate party at Fabric on Sunday December 3.

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