Channel Lists, Cleaning lists and Other Noise

Recently I came across an article that mentioned that list-making is a sign of someone with anxiety. So in order to try and find any research that would agree with it, I came across Psychology Today’s article “How Making Lists Can Quell Anxiety and Breed Creativity”. Which in turn contradicts the first article. Because if you ask, you shall find. Online! Sources are more important than ever with all of the fake news and information that is readily handed out to us for clicks and likes. Social media spreads it without consequence in most cases, making it hard to know what to trust.

So I love making lists. Even as I plug cables into my multicore, snake, stage box, or whatever you like to call it, I make a list in my head. Kick, snare, toms and if needed, overheads. Then comes bass, guitars, acoustics, keys, BVs, and finally lead vocals. There are colours, and they follow what my first studio teacher in Sweden, Bengt, used. Our personal workflow and ways of doing things ripple down to those who we teach. I’m getting ready to have another young woman shadowing me and I really want to do it right this time. It’s hard doing your job and passing on the knowledge you’ve gathered for 15 years at the same time. All my experiences and those I’ve learnt from have made impressions that I will pass on, and that’s the kind of knowledge you won’t find in any book. Just small things like that I like my drums red.

I tend to not get stage plots and channel lists emailed to me. Maybe the band makes it, forgets it or it just doesn’t make it from the booking agent to me. So they tell me and I continue to make lists in my head. If someone sends me a list in advance, it’s also very often wrong by the time you meet the band or act, so I always ask. I try to learn their names, have a chat and ask how far they’ve traveled. Small talk is as important as my list. It’s kind of my signature move. If someone is skeptical of working with a woman I will talk small until they like me. It’s an attempt to be accepted and liked but likewise to be respected for my work. Not for just being a nice engineer but an engineer who cares and is brilliant, who gets you and wants to make you as comfortable as possible. Because I’ve been on the other side, on stage, singing since I was four years old. I know that the people looking after you and how they behave affect your performance.

Today I had a day off and I got to make a giant list of cleaning for my flat and like naming my channels, there’s real satisfaction in crossing off one thing after the other. I suffer from anxiety and lists make sense of the jumble that’s inside my head. I once lost an artist’s in-ears because another engineer stressed me and “helped” me packing up. So my words of caution and care to myself and you today are to take your time and clear your head, don’t let anyone stress you. If things get messy in your head, take three deep breaths and you will find the solution and tune out that noise. Basically, be the boss of the noise on your inside as well as outside.

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