As part of our On The Road With…. series, we spoke with sound man Andrew Mishko. We talked about how he got started, what’s he’s been up to and his thoughts on in-ears.
Hi Andrew — thank you for talking with us today and for sharing your expertise. Before we really get into it, can you quickly tell us who you’ve recently been out with and what you’ve been responsible for?
This year has been pretty crazy. Probably the 3 most important Tours I have done this year are Monitors for Ryan Bingham, Tour Manager / FOH for The Drums and Tour Manager for DJ Tommy Trash. I have been very lucky schedule wise to be able to make all 3 work.
Do you prefer tour managing or engineering or do you always just end up wearing both hats?
I feel like whenever I’m doing just one. I always wish I was doing the other. But most of the time yes, I do end up wearing both hats. My brain moves a million miles a hour, so sometimes I feel like I’m better of doing both. If I had to pick one it would probably be Tour Managing.
So how’d you start in the music industry?
Well, Its pretty long so I’ll try to give you the short version. I was about 16 years old living on my own. A guy from my neighborhood Josh “Bagel” Klassman, owner of “ Complete Entertainment,” gave me a job pushing cases. It kind of just took off from there. I then began working for Goldenvoice at local Los Angeles venues like the Henry Fonda, El Rey, Mayan and Orpheum. I was pretty much just a punk ass kid. Some people gave me a chance. The rest is history.
Did you always want to mix sound?
I don’t think that was ever my plan. To be honest I just wanted to be able to afford a pack of cigarettes and pay my rent. Once I was around it all the time I wanted to be a part of it. My friend Ronnie Kimball got me on my first tour working for Rat Sound when I was 19 . I honestly had no idea what I was doing, But I realized I didn’t want to do anything else.
What’s your favorite piece of equipment? That one thing that you just wouldn’t tour without?
My pelican case. Its kind of ridiculous but I take that thing everywhere.
Do you have a preferred console that you get to work with or do you just have to mix on what’s available?
Usually for me its Console De'Jour. But if I had to pick one it would either be any Digi Design console, or a Sound Craft Vi series.
When did you first start mixing in-ears?
Almost 3 years ago. It was actually shortly after my first tour with Rat Sound. My buddy was production managing for a American Idol winner. His monitor guy broke his leg or something like that. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. But I was lucky enough to have guys like Dave Reyna and Manny B show me some stuff.
So here’s an interesting question that you may be able to answer based on all of your unique experiences. I know that you also do a lot of work as a tour accountant and money manager. Do you see any financial incentive to tour with in-ears rather than carrying wedges? Strictly speaking from a cost savings position, is there any financial benefit to being on ears?
I guess that all depends on who you know. One person may pay up the ass to rent wedges. When another person may get some sweet deal. I guess that plays a big part in overall answer. Other than that, You don’t rent in-ears so its kind of a one time purchase - as opposed to renting wedges every tour you do.
OK. So again, from a financial perspective. Any good rules of thumb as to what a band should spend on in-ears? With costs ranging from $400 to $2000 per band member, any advice on what a band should budget for?
I think that everyone has their own taste in the way they want stuff to sound. From my experience for someone who has never used in-ears before: it would be to buy something a bit cheaper at first, who knows if you are even gonna like the damn things.
And with that my friend, we’ll see you out on the road.
Andrew Mishko is from Venice, CA. He is 22 years old and has been touring as a sound man for 3 years and as a tour manager for just over 2. He has worked with such bands as: The Joy Formidable, The Drums, Cobra Starship, Christina Perri, Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses, Fishbone, DJ Tommy Trash and more.