Pavement FOH engineer Remko Schouten
and lead singer Stephen Malkmus
with a Shure KSM9 mic.Niles, IL (July 20, 2010)–Nineties alt-rock act Pavement has reunited for a world tour, bringing longtime FOH engineer Remko Schouten and a passel of Shure mics along for the ride.
In the years since Pavement’s 1999 breakup, Schouten has been working as an engineer-producer, working out of his own IJland Studio facility in the Netherlands. “I was with them since the summer of 1992, when they first came to Europe,” he recalls. “It was great to see them getting back together, so when they asked me to mix for them again, I put my studio work on hold.”
For Pavement’s world tour, Schouten acquired new microphones. “There are plenty of great microphones out there, but I’ve always been a big fan of Shure mics and they’ve gotten even better since we were last on the road,” he notes. “Our monitor engineer, Jeremy Lemos, recommended I try the KSM9 for [lead singer] Stephen Malkmus’ vocals, and I totally fell in love with it. It cuts through so well, has a nice shine at the top, and it’s almost impossible to get feedback. It’s almost like a studio sound in a live setting.” For backing vocals, Schouten went with the band’s traditional SM58s, with the exception of a Beta 57A to create more isolation for drummer Steve West.
Schouten uses a KSM313 ribbon mic in combination with an SM57 to mic Spiral Stairs’ rig, which consists of a Fender Showman played through a closed-back Marshall cabinet. “Spiral does all the rhythm parts and he’s got that background growl, and this combination gives him the extra texture he needs,” says Schouten. “I especially like the thickness of the KSM313. It has that classic ribbon response – nice and thick, with a clear, detailed high end that always shines through.” Two more SM57s handle the audio for Malkmus’ lead guitar. Using two mics allows Schouten to produce Pavement’s patented guitar tone. For Mark Ibold’s bass rig, Schouten relies on a DI box in combination with a Beta 52A.
Steve West’s drums are another bastion of Shure mics. “I fell in love with the KSM137. It really cuts through in the 10K area, and the bottom end is nice and thick, like an SM57. Perfect for snare top.” Schouten augments that with an SM57 on snare bottom. Toms are miked with the Beta 98 miniature clip-on mic, and the kick drum is handled by a combination of Beta 52A and Beta 91. Twin KSM44 studio condensers capture the overheads, while a second KSM137 handles the hi-hat. For Bob Nastanovich’s percussion setup, the miking consists of Beta 98s on the floor tom and snare, with a single KSM137 overhead to capture everything else. His vocals are sung through an SM58.
Fan reaction to the Pavement reunion has been extremely positive. “It’s pretty amazing,” notes Schouten. “The band sounds fantastic and the fans are loving it. For my part, it’s great to get back out on the road after eight years and a pleasure to mix these guys again. It’s been a great experience.”