In April of this year, revered stoner metal trio Sleep seemed to awaken from a lengthy – twenty year – slumber to release their first full length album of new material since the fan favorite LP Dopesmoker. Not that the band members have been dormant thewhole time. Bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist Matt Pikehave played in the bands Om and High on Fire respectively and drummer Jason Roeder performs with Neurosis.
Sleep’s new album The Sciences, released on the Third Man Records label, was hailed by many critics as a masterpiece and a wildly anticipated tour commenced in the U.S. in June with a stage full of Heil Sound mics.
The first thing you notice at a Sleep concert is the massive backline of guitar and bass amplifiers. And even more startling for the educated eye is that every cabinet has a live microphone on it. No fake dummy boxes with this band. John Hopkins, an Illinois native, mixes FOH for Sleep and also works with High on Fire and the Melvins.
Four full Ampeg SVT bass rigs plus one half stack are used with PR48, PR40, PR31, and PR22 mics sharing the low frequency spectrum from the furthest stage right box to the cabinet nearest the drum riser. Guitar speaker cabinets use a similar arrangement with five different mics, mostly PR30s, as a means to capture the different gains and sounds from each Orange amp. Fun fact – guitarist Pike is an “Orange” guy, so much so that on the band’s 1992 Holy Mountain album liner notes there is a message asking any fans who own Orange amps if they would like to sell them.
Jason Roeder’s drums are a bit more standard microphone-wise,although the toms are all double mic’d with a PR31 on top and a PR28 on the bottom head. The kick uses a combined mix from a PR48 (out) and PR40 (in).
Speaking just prior to departing for Europe and a tour with theMelvins, John commented about the Heil Sound mics. “I’ve been a fan of Heil Sound for a while now and I bought a kit that I use on other groups. Sonically, I noticed the difference immediately, they are a game changer. The people at Heil Sound are a pleasure to deal with. They are one of the few companies who not only understand this type of music and its artists but embrace it.”
Sleep will finish up their touring year with a three-night stand, December 29-31, at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA. Other dates can be found at www.wedian.com.