With Finland allowing live events within government restrictions, the nation’s favourite country artists, Steve ‘N’ Seagulls continue to do what they do best, touring the country with the bluegrass reworkings of rock and metal anthems that won them YouTube stardom, all mixed from a super-compact dLive Wings system.

Antti Laitila with the dLive Wings system at show in Krapin Paja, Tuusula, Finland
Photo credit Antti Laitila

As on previous tours, engineer Antti Laitila has created a FOH and monitor mixing rig for the five-piece band of multi-instrumentalists based on a dLive CDM32 MixRack and a 19” C1500 Surface. Careful planning allows Antti to keep the size and weight of the system to a minimum, so the band benefits from a consistent, self-contained setup wherever they play.

A new addition for this run of shows is a portable DX168 I/O expander, giving Antti a dedicated drum snake and future-proofing the setup in anticipation of a full 2021 European tour to mark the release of the band’s fourth studio album in late November. The DX168 has already proved invaluable for accommodating guest performers and for splitting I/O to different locations when recording live videos. Snug in a Peli Air case, the DX168 can fly in the cabin with Antti on future fly-dates, allowing him to up the channel count without increasing the number of checked bags.

Steve ‘N’ Seagulls onstage in Akuliina, Finland
Photo credit Jaakko Manninen

Working with a compact Surface and musicians that can play up to five instruments apiece, Antti has refined his showfile for maximum efficiency, as he explains, “I use a lot of DCAs and audio groups. I love the DCA Spill function and I’m particularly happy with the addition of MCA (Mix Control Association). I’m moving away from DCA groups based on instruments and changing to a musician-based approach. It makes more sense, because each artist only plays one instrument at a time, and it saves me a couple of faders for something else.” Antti has also made full use of the C1500’s 19 assignable SoftKeys, “When doing monitors from FOH, I assign each musician's mix to a SoftKey, so I can access Sends-on-Fader mode quickly. I have all kinds of other things assigned to them: mute groups, tap tempos and MIDI messages to mention a few. Softkeys can make your workflow so much more efficient.” 

Steve ‘N’ Seagulls members Hiltunen (playing accordion) and Remmel (playing mandolin).
Photo credit Jaakko Manninen

Another ace up Antti’s sleeve is an IP8 remote controller, giving him an extra 8 faders in 6 layers. Antti keeps his FX sends and returns on the top layers and uses the rest for aux masters and utility channels. The IP8 is also an insurance policy in case the C1500 has an accident on tour, allowing to keep the show running from the remote controller and a laptop running dLive Director.

The current Steve ‘N’ Seagulls tour runs until the end of September, with the European tour kicking off in late January 2021.