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Performing Live
Old 17th September 2011
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Performing Live

I saw this amazing guy today Pretty Lights performing at Austin City Limits, and all he had was like 2 laptops and I guess a couple samplers or something. My question is: when you perform electronic music live what are you doing when performing? I mean, he was busy the whole time, but it's difficult for me to understand what all this activity is for. Does he remove parts of the song, put them on the sampler and then activate them in real-time just so he has something to do on stage?
Old 17th September 2011
  #2
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Naugo's Avatar
 

It's different for everyone.

Sometimes the drum tracks will be separate from the vocals / bass / leads and the song will be produced totally, then broken down into 4 bar loops and played through samplers and fx. This is the most common way of doing things.

Other people have the drums and bass pre-arranged and they choose to control just the leads / vocals...

Really though there is no way of knowing what a performer is doing because they all do it differently. The common denominator for most of them is that they build the song first, then break it down into loops so it's easy to perform on the fly.

Some of us just like to produce tracks i'n the studio and leave the engineering aspect in the studio, so we can have fun with a totally different type of creativity when we dj
Old 17th September 2011
  #3
As with many things in life, it all comes down to what YOU want to do. Some people have their set entirely automated and just LOOK busy the whole time after pressing play, others actually create everything from scratch (I think only the brave/foolhardy go this route. Can the audience really be that interested in watching you EQ a synth loop ). I think the happiest medium lies somewhere in the middle; along the lines of having pre-made (and mastered!) loops ready to go so you can tweak them in real time gives you the security of having everything good to go but the ability to actually "create" something for your audience.

As for PL's specific setup, I know he runs ableton, and I believe he's controlling it with an akai MPD. Not sure on any other equipment, but it's possible one of those laptops is just for show/backup. I think everything he does live can happen on one laptop.
Old 17th September 2011
  #4
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Would y'all say that he is intentionally composing in a manner that is geared toward live performance? I ask this b/c when I write a tune I automate a lot of entrances/fades, I'm thinking of the tune as a whole, and I think it would be quite difficult to achieve the same musical effectiveness simply hitting start/stop with loops in real-time.

It's almost like composing a great electronic tune and "performing" it live are completely different animals.
Old 17th September 2011
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
Would y'all say that he is intentionally composing in a manner that is geared toward live performance?

erm...no. I think you write the music you want to write and then perform it the way you want to perform it

That said, I DO think it's easy to use faders and/or volume automation to bring in/out various loops in the creation of your live set
Old 17th September 2011
  #6
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

I just went to youtube and watched a video of this guy live at Bonaroo. It looked as if he pressed play on his computer then swayed his arms back and forth the whole time. I really don't get it. I've seen dj's do their thing and they were working their gear like crazy. But this guy literally stood there and from what I saw did almost nothing. To each their own.
Old 17th September 2011
  #7
yes it`s different for everyone, here is pretty unique one - he just controls effects live but do it good

Old 17th September 2011
  #8
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Beermaster's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StringBean View Post
I saw this amazing guy today Pretty Lights performing at Austin City Limits, and all he had was like 2 laptops and I guess a couple samplers or something. My question is: when you perform electronic music live what are you doing when performing? I mean, he was busy the whole time, but it's difficult for me to understand what all this activity is for. Does he remove parts of the song, put them on the sampler and then activate them in real-time just so he has something to do on stage?
'Performing live' tutt


I'm sure he looked busy but in actual fact all he was doing was pushing a few buttons on an already pre-constructed mix.

Emperors New Clothes !

It's a con ! - Who really has any respect for a guy posing in front of a bloody lap top ! ?

If he was going to use the 'performing Live' then at least have the self respect to hold a keyboard and have a few other real musicians with you playing instruments........

Most of the time these guys are totally ripping off their fans with the 'Look at me on stage pressing 'Play' and jumping round like I'm clever'

Bunch of monkeys !

Beer.
Old 17th September 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
'Performing live' tutt


I'm sure he looked busy but in actual fact all he was doing was pushing a few buttons on an already pre-constructed mix.

Emperors New Clothes !

It's a con ! - Who really has any respect for a guy posing in front of a bloody lap top ! ?

If he was going to use the 'performing Live' then at least have the self respect to hold a keyboard and have a few other real musicians with you playing instruments........

Most of the time these guys are totally ripping off their fans with the 'Look at me on stage pressing 'Play' and jumping round like I'm clever'

Bunch of monkeys !

Beer.
Old 17th September 2011
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Konketsu's Avatar
 

StringBean:

You should head over to livepa.org and have a look around. I'm sure that you'll discover that there is a lot more to live electronic performances than just a "bunch of monkeys" jumping around behind laptops. I've seen shows ranging from electro-acoustic interactive installations done with a laptop running Max to full on acid being done on a modular that would impress even the most jaded and self-rightous neckbeard modular owner.
Old 17th September 2011
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konketsu View Post
StringBean:

You should head over to livepa.org and have a look around. I'm sure that you'll discover that there is a lot more to live electronic performances than just a "bunch of monkeys" jumping around behind laptops. I've seen shows ranging from electro-acoustic interactive installations done with a laptop running Max to full on acid being done on a modular that would impress even the most jaded and self-rightous neckbeard modular owner.
I think his point is that, for every artist who tries to push the boundaries, there are a thousand monkeys with laptops.
Old 17th September 2011
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Saw them live and he was playing with a live drummer, but the tracks sounded pretty much verbatim to the recordings....didn't seem to be much happening live. He does his thing - it can be catchy, but it's very formulaic.

Good light show, though.
Old 18th September 2011
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Konketsu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aunshui View Post
I think his point is that, for every artist who tries to push the boundaries, there are a thousand monkeys with laptops.
There isn't any question about what his point is, I'm just certain that there is a more helpful manner of expressing that point that doesn't resort to using pseudo-colonialist epithets.
Old 18th September 2011
  #14
Occasionally pretty lights works with a live drummer. he has a pretty nice set up. I think quite a few people have to strip it down for a live set up especially when touring solo and without much staff. I've seen him once. He releases his stuff for free and then tours tours tours. Good on him for getting play.


The new set up - Tour Bus/Studio on Twitpic



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