Jessup, Maryland - Aug. 2011:
South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground has been making a name for itself since 2002 with several successful albums and a number of notable performances, including a collaboration with Shakira on "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)," the official song for the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010. The band's most recent release, Radio Africa, continues to gain critical acclaim, winning two SAMA awards – "Best Engineer" and "Best Adult Contemporary Album" – and has recently earned multiple Africa Music Awards nominations, including "Best Album" and "Best Music Video." The album's producer, Fab Dupont, said he and Freshlyground couldn't have done it without an API 1608.
"Overall, it was a lifesaver to have the 1608," said Dupont, "not only because of its tone, but also because of flexible routing, 500 series hosting and the easy way it enabled us to build a great sounding cue system using the auxes. It would have been very hard to pull the session off without it, and it definitely would not have sounded this good."
Dupont became involved with Freshlyground after meeting the band's live engineer, Keith Farquharson, at a master class Dupont was teaching in South Africa. Farquharson had said that Freshlyground was looking for someone new to produce its next record and, after listening to some tracks of the band's upbeat and joyous style, Dupont agreed to do the job.
He said that the group used the 1608 hub for everything on the Radio Africa session. The seven-piece band needed more than sixteen preamps so they placed a number of 500 series modules in the 1608's empty slots.
"We were able to centralize almost everything on this board," he said. "Pretty amazing. I've also always loved the 512c pre amp, and having so many of them available in a practical manner was perfect. All of the drums, percussion, bass and keyboards were tracked through it; you can tell from the punchy but controlled tone of the drums, for example. The 500 series slots also allowed us to pop in some processing on the way in without having to deal with patching or other headaches that the chaotic situation could not allow for," said Dupont.
"We all felt that we were making something very special at the time," he said. "It felt right and pretty flawless. It later proved to be true."