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The Evolving Sound of Success with David Williams

Sound Engineer can be a very general job description, especially when applied to someone like David Williams. Working in both music and newly in film, Williams likes the challenge of testing himself with projects varying from intimate theater concerts to those of the biggest stadiums and even more recently with a mixture of music and film. These are the reasons that those who work alongside him use the title “artist” when referring to him…while he most often prefers FOH (Front of House) or simply sound engineer. Working in a variety of settings to support the creative of different offerings, David Williams seems comfortable with everything except being complacent.

What started out as small club gigs around Australia, David’s notoriety quickly elevated him from acclaimed sound engineer around the cities of his homeland to international touring FOH (front of house) engineer in some of the biggest venues on the planet. Running sound for Grammy Award winners Portugal. The Man at iconic venues like Denver’s Red Rocks, festivals such as Lollapalooza and Summer Sonic (in Osaka and Tokyo) has placed him in charge of the sonic presence of this famed group in front of of thousands of adoring fans every night.

Verified pop sensation Fifth Harmony has won numerous MTV awards on multiple continents. The Miami based quartet sought out David for his ability to adeptly handle large venues. The group consists of essentially four lead singers. While the legions of fans at Fifth Harmony (the band has sold a total of 456,000 albums, seven million digital songs and earned 1.6 billion on-demand streams according to Nielsen Soundscan) concerts may not know it, four singers who move about the stage constantly can create a multitude of precarious scenarios. Procuring Williams as a sound engineer laid the foundation for a secure creative presentation for Fifth Harmony as their PSA tour made its way through Asia in cities like Tokyo, Bangkok, Manilla, and Jakarta. David took what he called a “very track-forward approach” for the group because so many of the sounds on their record are unique. Blending these tracks with the energy produced by the incredible live band and the members of Fifth Harmony culminated in a heightened intensity of the group’s big hits.

DNCE hit big in 2016 with their song “Cake by the Ocean,” winning many VMA Awards and a Teen Choice Award. Earlier this year the band joined Bruno Mars in Europe for the 24K Magic Tour with Williams taking charge as FOH sound mixer. Playing to crowds ranging from 65,000 (London’s historic Hyde Park) to capacities of 80,000 (Stadt de France in Paris), David recreated the bands well-known and award-winning sounds to crowds that were in effect musical cities for an evening.

The immense size of these crowds would intimidate many sound professionals in the industry but Williams thrives on testing himself to bring excellence. Beyond his work with acclaimed groups like those previously mentioned, David has recently experimented with working in the film industry. In what seems to be an intuitive way of using his skills, Williams designed specific ambiences to fit the Australian environment of the three-part short film Misery. Written by and starring Australian band The Amity Affliction (directed by UK director Ryan Mackfall) this short film is currently being released as promotion for the upcoming Amity Affliction album titled Misery on Road Runner Records. The main objective was to use this as a promotional tool for the band’s new record, featuring one of their songs in each of the three parts, treating it as more of a short film than a typical music video. Pt 1: Ivy (Doomsday) and Pt 2: (Feels Like I’m Dying) have been released already with Pt 3 to be release later this month. Williams notes, “Making sound design and mix decisions is certainly a big part of post-production audio in the film world in general but as someone who works in music and is used to getting clarity out of very dense and thick instrumentation, I think my background helped a lot with this.” David also recently completed the sound design (including dialogue editing and recording foley) for NYC director John Hein’s dystopian sci-fi film Leech which screened in New York in April.

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