Walk the Moon's "Press Restart Tour"

by Photos and Text by Steve Jennings
in Production Profile
Walk the Moon 2018 tour photo by Steve Jennings
Walk the Moon 2018 tour photo by Steve Jennings

Walk the Moon is out on its headline “Press Restart” tour in support of its What If Nothing album. We caught the band’s sold-out show in February in Oakland, CA and spoke with FOH engineer James Wooten and monitor engineer Daniel Kirkpatrick about mixing the band. In March and April, the tour plays overseas in places such as Sweden, Germany, Belgium and the U.K., then heads back to the U.S. in June and July to co-headline amphitheaters with Thirty Seconds To Mars.

WALK THE MOON 1 by Steve Jennings

Wooten is mixing FOH on an Avid S6L. Having been an Avid user for a while, the first consoles he ever carried on tour were Avid Profiles. “I really like their workflow, the patching is extremely fast and easy, and most of the options and settings are just a few clicks away. I like how quickly I can get around and make things happen on the board.”

From left, James Wooten, FOH engineer; Daniel Kirkpatrick, monitor engineer; Stuart Berk, production manager; Greg Watlington, playback operator/keyboard tech; Josh Schreibeis, guitar tech; Mitch Sallee, drum tech. Photo by Steve Jennings

Wooten says he uses a few plug-ins, but finds he’s relying on them far less on the S6L than he did on the Profile. “Although I do own a bunch of Waves plug-ins, I actually opted out of having a Waves Server on this run. A few fellow engineers turned me on to McDSP and Plugin Alliance, who both make plug-ins that run natively on the S6L,” he notes. “With McDSP, I am using a bunch of instances of the AE400 Active EQ and the 6030 Ultimate Compressor. Both plug-ins are extremely flexible, and help me tame any inputs that have a ton of dynamic range. The AE400 especially helps to surgically remove feedback and low-mid mud from my vocals. Plugin Alliance has an awesome channel strip from Brainworx (The bx console), that — combined with the SPL TwinTube — help me add some character or warmth to inputs that I want to have a little bit of fun with. I’ve also been using a bunch of the Elysia Mpressors for some sidechain compression and on vocals. I love how clean and accurate the compressor is.”

James Wooten, FOH engineer. Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         Keeping in Tune

Wooten has a total of 64 inputs, but only 50 or so actually are coming out of the P.A.; the rest are talkbacks, click tracks, etc. “I have a Lake LM44 that I route all of my outputs through, and 8th Day Sound provided a tablet that I can walk around and tune with. I will normally start at the console and try to tame down the obvious ringing frequencies, or blatant imbalances in the P.A. Then once I am happy with that, I walk around a bit and work on the individual zones.”


Wooten will do some tuning with music played from FOH, but always prefers to tune more when the band and live mics are onstage, that way if and when singer Nicholas Petricca wants to jump out into the audience, or a mic gets thrown around, it (hopefully) doesn’t immediately feed back and destroy everyone’s eardrums, he says.

The rack at FOH. Photo by Steve Jennings

“This tour is actually the first tour I have ventured into outboard gear (apart from a Lake). I have a PSM1000 for our lighting director, to provide her with an in-ear mix so she can hear the click track, slates, and talkbacks. I’ve used the Waves API-2500 Bus Compressor plug-in for years on both groups and my main outputs, and I was pretty sad to let it go. But 8th Day was kind enough to track down a real one for me to use on my main left/right bus, and let me tell you it has been absolutely awesome. I can barely imagine trying to do a tour without one, it is by far the most fun and musical compressor I have ever used.”

Walk the Moon is an extremely dynamic live band, with a bunch of unique and fun challenges for Wooten. “They love experimenting with sound and what does and does not work live. We have everything from vocal distortion and crazy delay throws being panned around the room to drums being filtered DJ-style from FOH and side-chained synthesizers. It’s an extremely fun band to mix, and they are always looking for new, interesting ways to make their sound unique and dynamic from show to show.”

WALK THE MOON 3 by Steve Jennings

Wooten started in the industry as a musician (“obviously, that went well,” he says), so he tends to approach the console as an instrument. “I try to play the band the same way they play their instruments, endlessly tweaking and adjusting from show to show. I have a few things that my clients ask me to do consistently from band to band — I love doing vocal effects (delay throws, distortion and modulation) especially. Most of the bands I work for like to have a very live feel — the general goal seems to be to blow the recordings out of the water. We love it if people walk away going ‘That was so much better than the record.’


“It has been awesome working with Walk the Moon for the last few years. I was very inexperienced when I first started with them and have been able to do and see things that I never thought I would be able to do and see. It has been incredible to be along for the ride from the ‘one bus and a trailer’ tours to ‘several buses and a semi or two’ tours. Being able to grow with them as friends and as a professional has definitely been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Mitchell Sallee, drum tech, with mic setup (inset). Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         The Monitor Viewpoint

“Both myself and James have been using Avid consoles with the band for the better part of three years now, says monitor engineer Daniel Kirkpatrick. “Mostly Profiles, but there were a few early runs where I took out an SC48. I definitely enjoy having a fiber snake run, as opposed to a heavy copper snake run on this tour,” he adds, nothing another plus of improved technology.

Daniel Kirkpatrick, monitor engineer. Photo by Steve Jennings

According to Kirkpatrick, “the S6L is definitely a giant sonic leap forward for Avid. Even transferring over a mix I was familiar with on a Profile to the S6L was a night-and-day difference. Combine that with Shure’s PSM1000’s (IEM transmitters) with their impressive noise floor, and you suddenly have tons of headroom to play with.”

Kirkpatrick has 64 total inputs, but as Wooten mentioned, only 50 or so make it through to the P.A. The rest are crew and band talkbacks and click tracks. “On the console, my go-to reverb has always been d-verb — it just sits in the mix with little to no effort. I also use the built-in EQ’s and compressors, and I have to say that those have been massively updated on the S6L as well. This run, I also opted to take out Waves’ Extreme Server. Waves C6 is still superior (in my opinion) to the built-in, multi-band processing that comes stock with the S6L. On a tip from another engineer, I’ve also discovered that throwing an instance of Vitamin across each mix gives me a lot of tonal flexibility in each of the band’s mixes.”

The rack at monitors. Photo by Steve Jennings

Rack gear at monitors includes a Shure PSM1000 and Shure UR4D+ (wireless mic, wireless tom); the rest are just stage racks/split. The entire band is on IEM’s — all Ultimate Ears UE7’s.

Guitar tech Josh Schreibeis with Dr Z and Benson amps and sE GuitarF amp/mic reflexion filters, both miked with Shure SM57’s. Photo by Steve Jennings

‡‡         Miking Up

Guitar tech Josh Schreibeis deploys Shure SM57’s for the Dr Z and Benson amps and sE GuitarF amp/mic Reflexion filters for guitarist Eli Maiman. “This is the first run we have used filters for mics, and they are definitely something that I will continue to use indefinitely,” Kirkpatrick says. “The consistency of Eli’s guitar tone has gone drastically up, and I have to do less fine tuning in their monitor mixes from venue to venue as a result.”

All of Sean Waugaman’s drum mics are Shure. Inside the kick is a Beta 91A (they opted to not use an outside kick mic this run.) The setup also incudes a SM57 on snare top, Beta 57 on snare bottom, Beta 98AMP/C’s on toms, a Beta 181/C on hi-hat, SM27’s on overheads and a PG56 on his vocal.


Vocalist Nick Petricca is currently using a Shure UR2 transmitter with DPA d:facto capsule. ”We have definitely played around with different capsules on Nicks vocal, starting with a KSM9, and then landed on the 58 capsule for a long time,” Kirkpatrick adds. “On this run, DPA was kind enough to loan us some gear to test, and we are definitely enjoying the d:facto capsule for his vocal.”

Kirkpatrick has been with Walk The Moon since their very first bus tour almost six years ago, which just so happened to be his very first bus tour as well. ”It’s been an amazing experience, and a wild ride watching them go from a baby band into the massive act they are en route to becoming. The amount I’ve learned from being a part of this project over the years, not only on the technical side, but about myself has been a huge positive in my life,” he exclaims, adding: “A quick message to my Walk the Moon brothers — I am beyond excited to see where this ride takes you all, and may it only continue to grow exponentially from here.”

Greg Watlington, playback operator/keyboard tech. Photo by Steve Jennings

Walk the Moon 2018 “Press Restart” Tour



  • Sound Company: Eighth Day Sound
  • FOH Engineer: James Wooten
  • Monitor Engineer: Daniel Kirkpatrick
  • Tour Manager: Blake O’Brien
  • Production Manager: Stuart Berk
  • Playback Operator/Keyboard Tech: Greg Watlington
  • Guitar Tech: Josh Schreibeis
  • Drum Tech: Mitchell Sallee



  • Main P.A.: Venue Provided


  • Console: Avid S6L 32-D Control Surface w/E6L-192 Engine
  • Outboard Gear: API-2500 Stereo Bus Comp
  • Drive: Lake LM-44 Processor


  • Console: Avid S6L 32-D
  • IEM Hardware: Shure PSM-1000
  • IEMs: Ultimate Ears 7
  • Mics: Shure UR2 transmitter w/DPA d:facto capsule
  • Wireless: Shure UR4D receiver with Professional Wireless GX-8 antenna combiner