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live sessions Magic Mountian High
Old 17th February 2017
  #1
live sessions Magic Mountian High

Hi David, really great that you're taking time to do this Q&A.

I want to ask you about the "Magic Mountian High" sessions with Juju and Jordash. You said they're taking the studio jam live. Maybe you can tell a little bit about the workflow of this live performance? What part is presets, what part is improvised?

Second question is about the hardware setup used. What is synced to what (MIDI)? All the audio is summed into one mixer? How about effects? I know it's a couple years ago already but maybe you can share some tricks or details?

Third question is about DJ-ing vs. live performances, I'm sure you've given it some thought, maybe you like to share?

thanks
Old 17th February 2017
  #2
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hey reptil,
thanks for asking about MMH!
first (and second) question: everything is 100% live improvisation: sequencing / composition / arrangement.
about half the gear we use for a gigs is provided by the promoters, so there are none of our patterns or sounds, but everything needs to be programmed on the spot.
everything is happening 100% live and in realtime, except the opening track where we can take off from where we left things at the end of the soundcheck before the show.
only the equipment that we bring might have some sounds preprogrammed that we then can use during the show - mainly jordan's poly synths (Poly 800 II; Wavestation; DX-11; D-50 - depending on what he is bringing out - usually two of these).
gal (juju) might have a few patterns in his TR-707 or his Zaquencer driving a FB-01 fm module.
my main rig is a TR-606 without batteries - so no preprogrammed patterns in there.
anyware instruments tinysizer (not programmable, semi modular) driven by a doepfer darktime - also not programmable.
SH-101, no presets using internal sequencer, triggered by TR-606 trigger out
JX-3p, internal seq triggered by TR-606
(alternatively korg minilogue)
and last not least the critter & guitari bolsa bass which allows realtime sequencing/looping.
finishing up on gear: our gear rider is requesting a tr-909; SH-101; JX-3p or Juno 6, electric guitar, 24 chan mixer, a reverd and a delay unit.
gal also brings another 606, 707, zaquencer, ehx looper and plenty of fx pedals...
the TR-909 is midiclock master.
with the help of through boxes and midi/sync converters we give the 909 clock signal to the two 606s, the 707, Zaquencer, Bolsa Bass, Darktime, EHX Looper. Minilogue (if present).
SH-101, JX-3p are driven by TR-606 trigger outs, as mentioned above.
gal and i have a couple of portable effect pedals to process our instruments and then there is the one main mixer with at least reverb, delay and looper on aux send.
jordan might use one 606 trigger out to sync the arpeggiator of the juno 6.

third question: a dj set and a live set are two totally different things.
a dj set relies a lot on a certain routine of knowledge in music; knowing how to mix and eq records, but the music is not unknown - should be the opposite: very well known at least to the dj himself.
this allows you to compare the sound to other sound systems / venues and give you some guidance how to judge and handle the overall sound. in a live gig situation this is a lot more difficult, because you have no reference of how things should sound ideally. meaning that sometimes (should say most cases) we have to mix half blind accirding to the stage monitors which might not represent the FOH at all...
all in all an (improvised) live set means to be on your toes troughout the entire set.
i never really get to connect with the audience during a concert, because this means constant concentration.
a dj set on the other hand is depending on the connection and feedback situation the dj is able to create with the audience. a dj set consists of three main ingredients:
1. choose the next track
2. feel and read the crowd
3. mixing
at least during number 2 a dj should be able to relax temporarily.

the main difference to me is this: as a dj it is my job to help people have a great time of dancing and hopefully cheering and laughing...
so the main purpose is a service and therefore i feel that i have to be willing to compromise at least to a certain degree so i can hopefully seduce the audience to follow me to stuff that i think people should hear. it doesn't work, if you are just preaching "good mzsic" whatever that means to the individual.
as an artist performing a live concert, i think the rules are different, almost the opposite: you should not fold for the lowest common denominator but you have to stick to your musical / esthetical beliefs.
otherwise, you will lose your signature your impetus and your significance.
unless your thing as a live performing artist is either straight techno or straight house, i usually find the typical club concert situation between two dj sets a very tricky/dissatifying one and often not benificial to developing a genuine sound - it is so easy to be misled down the road of cheap, cheesy and obvious stutter fx and snare rolls, white noise orgies - the obvious stuff that will always work but has nothing to do with what you really are about...
having said that, it is no surprise that i am a big fan of atypical concert situations.
for example nights of live acts only, festivals with stages that are live acts only. gigs in parks; at daytime, in a museum or an art gallery, live streams from a studio...
bottom line: djing is a lot easier and usually more enjoyable, but nothing will beat the satisfaction after a decent improvised live show that you can go back listening to and the music you will find will be all freshly created - nothing that you spent hours of rehearsing on and that already bores you because you know it inside out...
Old 17th February 2017
  #3
wow! thanks for the detailed answer!
Old 17th February 2017
  #4
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