South Windsor, CT, June 2022 – Phenomenal bass guitarist, singer, songwriter and actor Thundercat is currently opening for The Red Hot Chili Peppers in Europe to be followed by major July and August dates in the US. He is currently using a custom TELEFUNKEN M81 mic for vocals and the company’s direct input boxes for bass and in the band’s DI touring rig.
Thundercat first came to prominence as a member of crossover thrash band Suicidal Tendencies. He has since released four solo studio albums and is noted for his work with producer Flying Lotus and his appearances on Kendrick Lamar's 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly.” In 2016, Thundercat won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for his work on the track "These Walls" from the album. In 2020, Thundercat released his fourth studio album, ”It Is What It Is,” which earned him a Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album.
Handling FOH duties for Thundercat on tour is top British engineer Jonny Williams, who has worked with some of the world’s most celebrated artists, including Wu Tang Clan, Liam Payne, Kylie Minogue and Rita Ora.
“Thundercat, and both of the other band members all sing down the M81 mic,” says Williams. “Thundercat is the loudest stage you will ever hear. There is a massive bass rig that is cranked to full volume. There's a drum kit right next to Thundercat. There are extremely loud monitors, so I needed a microphone that rejected that as best it could, but also permanently sounded amazing. And the M81 seemed to be the microphone.”
And how did Williams chance about the TELEFUNKEN M81? “I covered on a gig in 2018 for somebody else, and the artist was using a TELEFUNKEN vocal mic. I had never used one before, and I thought it sounded brilliant, and it was rejecting the stage still very well. So I started to move all of my artists onto Telefunken after that.”
In October 2018, Thundercat premiered the song "King of the Hill" from his then upcoming album “It Is What It Is.” The second single, "Black Qualls" featuring Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, and Childish Gambino was released and another single, "Dragonba Durag.” The full album was released in 2020 and was nominated for the Best Progressive R&B Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, and won.
Regarding Thundercat’s stage rig, Williams continues, “We have quite a lot of keyboards on stage. Previously, we were using a rack DI unit just because it was easy, but what I found was they seemed to be thinning out the sound, whereas with the Telefunkens, they seem to add all of these extra harmonics, especially in the lower region of the frequency spectrum. So we've now built our own Telefunken rack DI that consists of four stereo TELEFUNKEN boxes and two mono boxes velcroed onto a rack shelf. We also have one on Thundercat's bass pre-FX. So we come out with his bass into the DI, and then the DI links into his effects chain and then into the amplifier.
Thundercat opens for RHCP July 23 in Denver, CO; July 27 in San Diego, CA; July 29 in Santa Clara, CA; July 31 AT SoFi Stadium in LA; Aug 3, Seattle, WA; Aug 10 in Atlanta, GA; August 12 in Nashville, TN; Aug 14 in Detroit, MI; Aug 17, Metlife Stadium NJ; Aug 19 in Chicago, IL; and Aug 21, in Toronto, Canada.
Williams sums it up, “This time around, we have a very fancy gold TELEFUNKEN M81, which we love. When you see images online of Thundercat live, it's usually a close up of his face, and it's quite clear to see what the microphone is. So a very shiny gold TELEFUNKEN is going to stand out. By the way, TELEFUNKEN support is fantastic. I've bought many microphones from them, and they've always been very helpful.”
Learn more about Jonny Williams’ FOH company and also his audiophile boombox company BoomBocs: www.production-worx.com ,