Vanguardia teams with Roly Oliver to promote new sound technology

Roland Oliver, Head of Live Business for Vanguardia

UK: On May 1, Vanguardia, the UK’s leading independent audio engineering, sound management and design consultancy, will be working with industry-acclaimed sound engineer Roly Oliver to promote the latest innovation in sound management in the live events industry.

In his new position as Head of Live Business Oliver will establish and oversee the company’s distribution of pioneering sound management tool MeTrao in the UK, for which Vanguardia has secured sole rights.

Also in May, Vanguardia will celebrate 10 successful years as the leading sound and acoustic consultants in the entertainment sector. The appointment of Oliver further expands the company’s team of 30 consultants.

In a career that has spanned a quarter of a century, Oliver has provided sound engineering expertise to legendary acts and artists including Manic Street Preachers, Daft Punk, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Pet Shop Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snow Patrol.

Joining from audio equipment specialists Eighth Day Sound, where he was in charge of global sales, Oliver brings world-class technical skills and an unparalleled network of contacts to Vanguardia. In his new remit he will be responsible for all concert touring and festivals – building on the company’s reputation for high-tech sound engineering excellence around live performance. Oliver will be promoting the consultancy’s comprehensive raft of services, including: noise control and management; event site feasibility assessment; event site noise modelling; sound system design and testing; licence representation; expert witness; and hearing protection.

As an integral aspect of his role, Oliver will oversee the UK launch of intelligent sound management unit MeTrao. Devised so event organisers can meet noise control regulations with ease, MeTrao is the only product on the market that not only measures all sound-related data, but also provides real time frequency and zone specific solutions to any arising issues. Uniquely, MeTrao provides correlation information enabling the unique source of a sound from a specific stage at a multi-event festival to be pinpointed and adjusted accordingly, so potential breaches of regulations can be identified in advance and avoided.

Director of Vanguardia Jim Griffiths said: “We’ve enjoyed such significant growth in our live events work and developed our own tools such as Audioview to serve our clients. MeTrao is a further development of this technology and to partner with it makes perfect sense, primarily because the product’s ground-breaking innovation will continue to keep us at the cutting edge of the industry.

“To lead this venture, we knew we needed someone who combined both hands-on sound engineering expertise with a proven track record in sales – a quite specific combination of divergent skills. Thankfully, Roly Oliver is exactly that person. We are over the moon he’s joined the team and look forward to working with him.”

“I’m thrilled to be working with Vanguardia,” said Oliver. “The consultancy is held in such high esteem throughout the industry, making this a dream appointment for me. From decades of experience with some of the world’s top acts, I’ve developed an in-depth understanding of the complex set of issues faced by sound engineers at live gigs and festivals. I know inside-out the quirks and specifications of many of the UK’s top venues – as well as the difficulties of festival production and sound level management at outdoor stages or inside tents.

“I can’t wait to introduce fellow sound professionals and event organisers to the technical innovation of MeTrao. It removes all the headaches – both literal and metaphorical – surrounding noise control, resulting in the finest quality audio at the highest possible legal levels.”

To date Oliver has enjoyed an exciting career at the forefront of sound engineering and production. While studying manufacturing engineering at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham, he worked on the college sound system with acts including The Stone Roses. Subsequently he set himself up as a self-employed sound engineer. In 1991, he went on his first major production tour, with Carter USM. He then secured a job as the house sound engineer for the Marquee Club in London’s Soho. This led him to touring, looking after bands including Motorhead and Rage Against the Machine.

In 1996 he went on a world tour with Manic Street Preachers as their production manager. He later worked with acts like Daft Punk, M People, Kula Shaker, Sparks, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Suede and Tricky. In 1998 he mixed sound for the rock band Tool on a headline arena tour. A year later, he mixed monitors for the Pet Shop Boys’ arena tour – which included the pop duo’s much-lauded performance at Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage.

At the turn of the millennium, Oliver became sales manager at Britannia Row Productions, where he handled Robbie Williams’ and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ stadium tours – as well as festivals like Lovebox and T in the Park. In 2008 he set up the UK operation of US-based Eighth Day Sound, managing to build it up successfully in testing economic times. While there, he kept his hand in at mixing, mainly for Snow Patrol, which included a number of festivals, arenas and headline outdoor shows.