Useful things to know about live performance

I guess here you can learn about anything regarding performing on stage; from stage fright to arrangements, pre sets and such.
Ask your questions in the comment section or something like that :microphone::new_moon_with_face:

Thanks @krolewskie, hope I can be helpful!

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Hi :slight_smile: so I’ve been wondering how to deal with backing vocals when you are the only person singing. I am in a music duo and my guitarist won’t sing at all but even if I find a third person, that’s not enough voices to fill up arrangements where for me vocals are a functional part. I don’t want to pre record anything, a looper is a solution but not quite ultimate. Do you have some magic tricks for this?

If tracks aren’t an option, I’d look into using a harmonizer maybe? TC Helicon makes a good one.

Also, in a live setting, (obvious but) doing a sparser arrangement also helps! Finding the one or two harmonies that really make it work, and doing without the rest. I realize this really depends on the kind of music you’re making, so it might not make sense.

(EM)

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That’s cool, thank you Elliot! :slight_smile:

Our music is pretty calm and chill, we love messing up with harmonies and surely 10 vocal tracks won’t be an option with any sort of device :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Those are nice! Extreme seems… well, extremely advanced so I wouldn’t make use of it, maybe not my level yet. But voicelive play and touch look like something I might find very useful. Which one would you recommend for a stage beginner?

I think the touch is sort of cool because you can run it while you sing! I’ve seen a lot of people with that one.

Thanks a lot :relaxed: Btw you are the artist who made me get rid of some obsolete beliefs about making and performing music, eg. devices/technology like that making their way to that sacred part of heart where experience of emotionally elevated artistry resides haha
I mean - I never considered letting in anything with stuff like hard tune or generated harmonies, never percepted an actual artistic value in it before. Big baby steps ahead for me :slight_smile: thank you!

That’s so cool to hear – they’re all tools for us! I love stumbling upon unintended uses, too. Finding weird artifacts as a result of watching some piece of tech try to comprehend a source it wasn’t designed to process… kinda feels like injecting a bit of humor into the signal chain.

Cool! I remember you talking about that blippy bloopy thingy you used in July 4, that would be the case I suppose :smiley:
Other than that, where else can we hear you playing having fun with technology?
I’ve always wondered how did the intro to Silver+Gold happen; was it random or did you plan it to sound exactly like that. I looove that intro. It sort of paints a compressed picture of the entire song. Because there are those two chords on a loop it feels like the universe (song) gathered in a teaspoon right before the Big Bang (that never actually does the big “bang” and fades instead, we know why from your previous conversations here). Anyway - was it an experiment? :blush:

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Making pitch-tracking effects do things that aren’t pitch-related is a favorite of mine. The intro of Silver + Gold was fairly premeditated, as I recall, but some of the weird artifacts that occurred (as a result of processing some synths this way) made it into the beginning for sure.

I love this comment. A little band called The Beatles were the champions of this. You already knew the whole song in 15 seconds. It’s a technique I cop (as best I can) any time it fits. First 3 seconds of Help , such an amazing song-hack.

Oh man. It’s all the time, but something that comes to mind are the drums on Bodyintoshapes maybe. They’re programmed on an old MPC, resampled back into it, and then manually controlling this note-repeat re-trigger thing on the way into Pro Tools. Giving them this bouncy, random texture.

In the Same Place is playing bass into a broken flanger. The envelope follower is all messed up and needs help.

Falling Down and Getting Hurt drums are run through a compressor with (I think?) a broken VCA, and it abruptly falls off into nothing beneath a certain threshold. A sort of unintentional gate that feels like a bad phone signal.

(EM)

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That’s something I’ve been curious about. God I want to do allll these fun experimental stuff but I’m still missing basic knowledge of daws and gear. I’ve been using Ableton for a while now and it’s still a foreign language to me when it comes to understanding what I’m doing when I try to mess with sound design. Where do I even start?

I noticed :smiley: but silver+gold intro specifically is somewhat special, at least to me. It’s condensed, that’s maybe the word I was looking for(?) and the weird harmony that doesn’t happen that exact way anymore but still in 3 seconds represents the next couple minutes of your life.

I had to sit down and to break it down, that’s it, genius :heart::heart::heart: So simple! How they so genius I -

I could never decide what I appreciate the most about Bodyintoshapes, the base line or drums… so since it required so much work to create drums while the base in In The Same Place needs help, I’ll pat it on the shoulder (carefully, not to break the flanger even more) saying “you’re the best”.
Sorry, that’s the most competent insight I can provide at this point.

And about the broken VCA…

… I tried 🥲

Kidding, I don’t give up so easily

Laughing not to cry hahahahahha

There’s no wrong place! Open any pitch-based effect and start sending drums into it! Already, you’re in space.

Ha it’s a whole world. I’ve since fixed it, so the sound is forever unique to that track, which is sort of cool to me.

I have some broken pedals that I built, that half work, that I also love. There’s something really endearing about something doing its best, to me.

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Like chorus etc? Wow those really are things I could figure out on my own. I do play with this kind of stuff a lot and honestly I think I have some mental blockage about technology that needs to disappear.

That’s amazing! Now it will feel nostalgic every time I listen to it again haha. This really is another level of cool to use broken, self made or fixed stuff to create such unique sounds. Because they really are, I guess that’s the thing (well, one of many) that caches your attention and makes you stay. And even if you can’t tell what things are, you can sense their presence somewhere between impression and perception :slight_smile:

That’s one, also pitch-tracking effects like pitchers and hard-tune do some ridiculous things to drums. I also love putting an autotuner after a reverb, to see it try to make sense of what’s happening and output blocky weirdness.

The final step is forgetting where you started, haha. There’s a lot I can’t remember about certain things, makes them all the more special.

Thanks a lot for all the information @elliotmoss :slight_smile: I’m going to do some ridiculus things to your drums from the sample pack i promise.

Thats beauticool but then how do you recreate the sound live?

A bit of experimentation! But certain sound design things end up being record-only, since they’re not possible to bring along :confused:

Enjoy the samples, too! Glad people are liking them!

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Now I’m going to pay extra attention to that when listening to your live performances. What about the live from studio? Like the one with Boomerang. That’s one of my favorites, especially Falling Down and Getttng Hurt - can’t remember about the broken drums thingie now - but I think that song got a whole new punch with that performance (and the guitar yay!).
And also Dolly Zoom. I just can’t pick which version is closer to my heart. About that song - may I ask what made you use that way to talk about (I suppose) dying love? Because, again, for me that was yet another one of your songs that has no metaphorical meaning behind the lyrics when applied to my perspective and it helped me go through, well, what it says literally. And I can’t imagine getting a picture this accurate to paint with words without experiencing it. Thank you for that.

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Lots of fun bringing a human energy to synth things live… bending the original arrangements in favor of them being something we can do with people makes for some unexpected sonic results. I mean, we could bring more synths and do it that way, but there’s a lot to be said about breaking it down to the skeleton and building it back up with things we’re comfortable doing. You can put more of yourself in it.

I felt like my knee-jerk reaction when writing about tragedy was to zoom in on the largest, loudest parts. A hospital, no matter what the story is, tends to have a sort of enforced quiet at night. And the song was written inside of that refrain, before things start up again in the morning and we’re back to quickly reacting. When the distractions are minimal and you can really think. Like that adrenaline-sleep you get when the day went way South.

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That’s a beautiful aspect of elaborate arrangements and I find it especially enchanting in electronic music; how the sound goes beyond what a small band can perform live. To me that sort of enhances the feeling of discovering a song over again when you hear a raw acoustic version performed solo, with just one instrument. (now I randomly thought of Heat Waves by Glass Animals performed in an empty hall during quarantine - this made me start liking the song at all). Of course that might not apply to everything but I still believe that you could pull it off if you really want (now I randomly thought of I heard - yes you will :wink:).

I’m not sure if I understand it correctly; the concept of the song was to show a painful breakup in form of tragedy and deliver certain feelings and emotions you have while it’s happening. Then used hospital as a universal metaphorical space that represents all those aspects you wanted to talk about - that’s how I interpretate your words. Please correct me if I’m wrong and thank you for sharing this :slight_smile:

To me the zoom in and pull the camera back part represents that small moment when you get the news or suddenly realize that things indeed are going south right now or soon, that literal ‘drop’ you feel when heartbeat stops for a second, the world slows down and you zoom your focus on one small detail in your surroundings for one or two seconds… and pull the camera back, the next moment where everything around you goes on unbothered.

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So this is actually describing a camera move commonly referred to as the Hitchcock Zoom or the Vertigo Effect. In some cases, the background grows massively in size. I thought it represented the distortion in scale we feel in these quiet moments. Our emotions can feel all-encompassing without the rest of the world to measure them against.

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