Seismic Audio Interview with East Coast Stroke’s Kurt Nigh

Seismic Audio is all about getting the best gear to the real working musicians, high quality gear at affordable prices.  To that end, we recently spoke to one of those real working musicians.  Kurt Nigh, band director of East Coast Stroke, sat down to tell us about his experiences with the industry, music itself, and how Seismic Audio gear makes his life easier.  East Coast Stroke is an eleven piece horn band specializing in soul, funk, and R&B.  They are based in Maryland.  Kurt sent us the video below of his second performance with his new L Wave-15s.  We had to find out more.


SA:  How long have you been using the L-Waves?

I just purchased them about 2 months ago.  The event on the video was the second time we have used them.


SA:  Have you used any other Seismic gear?

Yes, the band has some SA-12MT monitors that we have used in the past.  They’re great sounding, and light weight.  We have a mix of powered and unpowered monitors in our inventory.  I’ve bought Seismic cables in the past as well.  Great quality!



SA:  How would you describe the sound of the speakers?

I think that the sound of the L Waves is very clear and crisp.  I believe that the video of our performance is a testament to that.  Also, the speakers are versatile.  The switching on the back (Boost, Flat, Cut) enables you to configure your sound with or without subs.  The bottom end of the L Wave does have a great sound on its own, though.


SA:  How did you find or decide on the purchasing the L-Waves?

I had been looking for a pair of powered mains, and had some money “burning a hole in my pocket”, so I decided to purchase the L Waves.  I was impressed with the SA-12MT monitors I had purchased in the past, and the reviews of the L Waves were very good.  I’m on Seismic’s site at least once a week checking out their deals and product line.


SA:  In that price range, was there any other speaker set you considered?

Truthfully, I didn’t consider any other speaker.  Seismic’s speaker sound and build quality is excellent for the money you spend on them.  In fact, I would say that you get much more for the money.  I just knew that I wouldn’t find the same quality anywhere else for the money I had to spend.


SA:  Have you recommended Seismic to any fellow musicians?  Would you?

Yes I have.  I’m always looking for great quality at a great price, and like to pass on these kind of “finds” to my musician friends.  I’ve had some skeptics, but when they hear the quality, they’re won over.


SA:  Are the L-Waves powerful enough for your gigs?

For sure!  We’re an 11 piece band (5 horns, rhythm, and 2 lead vocalists), and they were plenty powerful for us.  At 600 RMS, they handle our BIG sound with room to spare.


SA:  How do they handle being moved from gig to gig?

The L Waves are solidly built. The sturdy handle is easy to grip, and the L’s aren’t cumbersome to handle or carry at all.  As with all powered speakers, you need to be conscious of the knobs on the back.  Carry them with the knobs in toward you, and pack them in a way in which the knobs are protected.


SA:  How long have you been performing as East Coast Stroke?

East Coast Stroke has been around for about four years.  We started out as a Tower of Power tribute band and transformed into a soul, funk, and R&B band.


SA:  Is it a hobby, a side-job, a passion, a career?

East Coast Stroke is a “hobby” band for sure.  We all have full time jobs that limit our ability to make it anything more than what it is.  But, I’d also say that it’s a passion for us as well.  We are a dedicated group of musicians who strive to bring an authentic soul, funk, and R&B sound to our audiences.  A lot of time is put into capturing the exact sound of the artists’ music that we play.


SA:  How did the band form?

Being a big Tower of Power fan, and having seen them live many times, I had a huge itch to put a Tower of Power tribute band together.  About four years ago I spoke to some musician friends of mine about the idea, and before I knew it, I had a band put together.

Now, Tower’s music is, by far, NOT the easiest to play.  It is very challenging … VERY VERY challenging.  It took time for the band to grow together … to get really tight.  During this time, though, we had some personnel changes.  It didn’t move fast enough for some.  Just when I thought things were sounding better, someone else would back out of the band, and then it would extend the rehearsal process even longer….UGH!  We persisted and kept moving forward, though, until we finally got out to perform.

We eventually decided that we wanted to branch out and cover other artists than TOP.  So, we went to work learning new music and came out in January of 2015 with our new song selections.  We haven’t ditched our entire repertoire of Tower of Power music, but have selected ones that we thought would be more recognizable by our audiences.


SA:  What’s next for the band?

We have a few gigs planned for late summer and early fall.  We’re going to take some time off during most of the summer into the fall to work on some new material.  With an 11 piece band, it’s tough to work around everyone’s vacation schedule, and with two high school band directors in the group, we also have to work around their fall marching band schedules.


SA:  How long have you been a musician?

I started out playing piano around the age of 7.  When I became a 4th grader, I enrolled in my elementary school’s band, playing trombone, and loved it so much that I decided to make music my career.  I graduated from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with a degree in Music Education in 1986.  Since the fall of 1987, I’ve been an instrumental teacher in Frederick County, Maryland.

For roughly 30 years, I’ve been playing off and on with local soul bands, brass ensembles, jazz combos, and a big band.  For the past 15 years, I’ve served as Cornerstone Community Church’s worship leader, playing piano and singing each Sunday.


SA:  What is your role in the band?

Besides being the band leader, I play the trumpet, flugelhorn, and trombone in the band.  I also cover back-up vocals from time to time.


SA:  Any tips or stories to pass on about being in a band or live sound, in general?

Forming a band is a lot of work, especially putting a large band together like mine. Be prepared to be let down from time to time, but don’t let that discourage you.  Keep moving forward.

You have to know the abilities of your musicians as well.  Be patient and kind.  Not everyone is on the same performance level, so growth will be different for everyone in the group.  Continue to encourage your musicians and sound man.  Understand that we are all human, so when something goes awry at a rehearsal or gig, fix it as best you can and move on.

As far as live sound goes, know your equipment.  Know what you can and can’t do with it.  I would also suggest that if you can, make sure that your collection of sound equipment is versatile enough to handle the jobs that you’ll take on.  I own both powered and passive speakers in different sizes and wattage.  As well, I have a powered mixing board and an unpowered one.  The band is currently using a digital mixing board that you can run from an iPad.  This set up is working very well for us at this time.  However, if we wind up having someone run sound for us that isn’t familiar with the digital system, we’ll have to break out the analog board.

When you can afford it, spend some money to supplement your equipment inventory (within reason of course).  Buy an extra monitor, mic, or cables, etc.  You just never know when equipment is going to go on you.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to have a cable tester on hand.  I bought mine from Seismic, and it works great.

Last, but not least, take that step and give Seismic speakers and equipment a try if you haven’t already.  I have been totally happy with my purchases, and their customer support is top notch.


We can’t thank Kurt enough for sitting down to talk with us about his experiences.  Learn more about his band at their official website.  As always, learn more about Seismic at our website.  Send in pictures and videos of your Seismic gear in action and we can talk to you next.


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