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Hot Potato Band goes wireless with Sennheiser and Neumann

Sennheiser’s Evolution Wireless Digital family and Neumann Miniature Clip Microphone System enable Aussie group to move freely at gigs or schools

The nine-piece brass band, Hot Potato Band, has been using Sennheiser and Neumann equipment, as an integral part of their live gigs and school workshops in Australia. Beginning as a New Orleans-inspired roaming band on the street in 20o9, the group has since expanded to playing, writing and touring original music alongside their educational initiative of performing in schools and providing workshops.

Wireless audio systems like Sennheiser’s Evolution Wireless Digital family – particularly the EW-DX – and the Neumann Miniature Clip Microphone System (MCM) enable them to move freely in their performances.  The band says Sennheiser’s “plug and play” functionality allows them to set up their tech much faster. It used to take 90 minutes, but now it can take as little as 20 minutes.

Simon Ghali, the founder and band leader of Hot Potato Band, reflected on how the low-profile, clip-on microphones enabled them to maintain their New Orleans-like street band identity while performing in schools. “We faced a challenge because we love to move around on stage. Wireless technology became our solution. It enabled us to maintain our identity as roaming musicians while performing on stage,” he said.

The MCM System offers nine instrument-specific mounting clips tailored for various acoustic instruments. These clips can be positioned on any instrument. Pete Orenstein, the director of Hot Potato Band in Schools Programme, and the band’s saxophone player, praised the MCM 114’s durability and its ability to stay in place throughout lively performances with various instruments in the band, like the saxophone, drums, trombone and trumpets. He said: “Where you set it at the beginning of the show is where it stays till the end.”

The group’s journey into utilising wireless microphones began with a desire to bring the vibrancy of their acoustic busking performances onto the stage. Orenstein added: “We had our first show with a lot of wired microphones and sound setups, which restricted our movement. We couldn’t bring the same energy we were known for. That’s when I suggested, ‘Why don’t we get some wireless mics?’ We wanted to create the same spirit and atmosphere we had on the street in our acoustic format.” 

The Hot Potato Band Workshops & School Concerts programme was a natural progression for the band, and they found themselves engaging with their local communities while responding to invitations from schools. After the pandemic, they noticed a lot of arts programmes were cut from schools, and they started offering workshops.

Recently, Hot Potato Band collaborated with Sennheiser to film a dynamic School Programme episode at Killara High School, delivering a musical experience for the entire school. Hot Potato Band heads off for a European tour in June 2024.