Well, the Photosynthesis 5 festival is over and done with, and I have to say I’m really pleased with how my set went. After all the work I put into prepping a brand new hardware-based live set, it’s a good feeling knowing it all worked well and that people really seemed to enjoy it. Probably my best live set so far in fact, so I’m very happy with the decision to take a break from the laptop and Live for a bit to focus on dedicated hardware for awhile.
Of course, not everything was perfect. There was some confusion over time-slots, and I ended up having to go on about an hour earlier than I was scheduled to (depending on who’s schedule you were following I guess). Plus, my gear was stored in a locked trailer, and the person with the only key for said trailer took awhile to find. Minor freak out for me.
And then there was the rain, which had started earlier in the day and didn’t let up all night. The tent I was playing in started to leak eventually, but we scrambled and managed to at least get some tarps up to divert water off the ‘stage’ where the audio gear was. Unfortunately it had already soaked the carpet, so I ended up performing kneeling in 3 inches of water (the DJs and live acts all perform sitting down normally, since this is a chill out tent).
But, the tent was packed with a line forming outside to get in I’m told, and lots of people were dancing. Something you don’t always see with downtempo. 🙂
When I finished the set, I realized that due to the scheduling issues, the next live act wasn’t there yet. So I was planning on putting on CD while I packed up and waited for them, but one of the promoters just asked me to start playing my set again. So I did another 30 minutes of it while we waited. Not quite the finale I was planning on, but I’d rather play than not, so it could be worse 🙂
Best part of the weekend was just all the random people that came up to me all weekend telling me how much they enjoyed my set. Always a nice feeling!
But, no rest for the wicked as they say, and now that I’m home and back in the studio I realized there were a few things I wanted to improve in the set still. Namely most of my songs in the Octatrack don’t use up all the available tracks, there’s still 1-3 tracks free in most of the songs. A few times while performing, I’d be really into a song and wanting to extend it, but not having more sounds to introduce would have made it too repetitive.
So the last few days I’ve been using Live and Omnisphere to write new parts for all of my live songs in the downtempo set, 17 in total. Mainly I was just MIDI syncing the hardware to Live and jamming with Omni until I got something cool that I liked. This was trimmed, and then transferred to the OT. I probably could have recorded into the OT directly, but I wanted to work fast to get this done, and I’m definitely more used to working like this in Live still.
So, now all the new material is prepped and in the hardware, and I just need to go into each song and dial in the mixdown, and any small tweaks to the new sounds with the OT’s effects. It was a lot of work overall, especially considering that I thought I was done with the set prep work. But I think in the end things sound much better, and with the new sounds I added, it really gives me a lot more flexibility in how I perform the set and want it to flow.
Which is a good thing, since my next live gig is not that far away! I’ll be doing the live set at Chillography in Seattle on August 4th, at Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s a free party that runs from noon til 9:00 PM, and it’s in a beautiful location right on the shoreline of Puget Sound and within walking distance of the Art Institute’s outdoor sculpture garden.
My set is from 6:00-7:00PM.
Stop on by to hang out and listen to some great music for free. Bring some lunch, a book, your dog, you name it, and enjoy the great vibe the h’Art people bring to all their events. Hopefully I can record my set this time too!
Next up, I’ve had a few people ask me when the next Production Q&A will be. The answer is that it depends on all of you! I need a couple more questions before I’ll start, so if you have anything music or production related you want advice on, just drop me an email.
Finally, thanks once again to all the people who sent in a donation over the last couple of weeks. It might only be a couple dollars to you, but if enough people pitch in, I can finally buy that pony I’ve always wanted. 🙂