Clarett 8Pre Powers Foals’ Live Setup
Keyboard tech James Sharpe on integrating the Clarett 8Pre into Foals’ live rig.
With countless gigs and festival appearances under their collective belt, acclaimed Oxford art-rock band Foals know what they want from their touring rig – and, indeed, how to get it. One of the main tools called upon in the pursuit their powerful, engaging live sound is the Focusrite Clarett 8Pre, and the man responsible for wrangling it is drum and keyboard tech James Sharpe. Having lost faith in the interface the band had been using previously, James first “took a punt” on the Clarett 8Pre in 2016. “The clarity of the sound, particularly, was something that was commented on in the first show,” he recalls. “A massive difference in sound quality.”
The Clarett 8Pre’s role in the Foals live setup is as a submixing hub for the entire keyboard rig, as well as the output for the various soft synths deployed by keyboardist Edwin Congreave. “It’s a matrix for all of our hardware synths to go through,” says James, “and also a handy bank of ten outputs that we can send all the soft synths and premixed hardware synths front of house with, to be mixed in any way we want.”
In terms of technical specifics, it’s the Clarett 8Pre’s preamps and ease of use that prove its most compelling features for James. “The preamps have so much headroom that you can drive them hard and they don't break up,” he enthuses. “Getting to the front, the adjustment of gain, that kind of thing, it's all just right in your face – it's just a very easy thing to set up. It's completely reliable, really well built. Anything that I want it to do, it does, and it just allows us to have complete flexibility. It's just been an absolute joy.”
Hear much more about how Foals are using Focusrite and Novation technology in the studio and on stage in our exclusive video interview with drum and keyboard tech James Sharpe.