Photosynthesis Festival

Woo hoo, it’s official, I’m playing live at the Photosynthesis Festival at Neah Bay here in Washinton State, on Saturday night from 12:30-2:00 AM.  Well, technically that’s Sunday morning I guess, but you get the idea.  I’ll be in the h’Art tent put on by the people who run Church of Bass in Seattle.  Not all of the details have been posted yet, but you can follow the infomation on the website here:

http://photosynthesisfestival.com/

As well as the Facebook Page for more info.  If by any chance you plan on being there, let me know or stop by before or after my set, I’d love to hang out and meet some people.

Of course, this will likely be one of my  largest gigs yet, so I’ve been working hard the last few days to get something really awesome to play.  I had been debating exactly what gear I wanted to bring, and what kind of live set I want to do, hardware or software-based.  Since the promoters have asked me to do a bit more of a chill set however, and I’m playing for 1.5 hours, I think ultimately this will be an Ableton and APC40 live set.

It’s been almost a year since I redid my software live set (most of my blog readers know I’ve been on a hardware kick lately), so I took this opportunity to relook at my Live PA set up in Ableton.  In the past, the effect rack I was using on each of my audio channels was functional, but just never really did what I needed 100%.  Too much overlap with the send effects I was using as well (delay and reverb), and I wasn’t quite happy with the sculpting capabilities of the filters I made in the past.  So this time, I decided to use my Xone62 emulation rack as the first device in the live rack.  Having 4 bands of EQ (hi- and low-cut shelves, and two mids) lets me really shape each sound, and to be honest I’m just used to that from my DJing with the Xone62.

Following the 4-band EQ, are 2 different gated slicing devices, which let me add more rhythmical interest to parts, or to sort of mimic making drum parts less busy.  Next is a smooth modulation based effect that sort of a weird combination of a chorus and flanger/phaser.  Last is one of my “washes”, which is a bunch of delay based effects that let me turn any sound into a pad or ambient texture with one knob.  This same rack is on all 8 of my audio tracks in the set.

I also went and redid the delay and reverb sends I had been using, making the delay a little more dubby and the reverb less metalic and darker sounding.  The previous versions sounded ok in the studio, but in a club they were just a bit too bright for me.  Live and learn.

I’m also experimenting with Liine’s Kapture Pad for iOS.  This way I can store a snapshot of the live set before I start playing, and then instantly return to it no matter what kind of tweaking I do while playing.  So far it’s working pretty good, easy to set up and exactly what I wanted.  I’ve had a couple issues where it didn’t restore all of the tweaked parameters to the saved state unless I triggered it a couple times, but I’ve got a support request in with the Liine guys to see if they can help me solve this.  Could just be something not set right on my end.

The hardest part of prepping for this show is that I’m playing live for an hour and a half, and usually I play for 1 hour.  I have enough material for that long, but it’s been interesting trying to pace it all out.  My downtempo tunes cover all sorts of energy levels from comatose almost danceable, and much of this is regardless of the tempo.  Bit of a challenge to get it all flowing nicely without huge jumps in tempo or energy song to song.  I’m sure I can figure it out though! 🙂

And of course, because I always have to be prepared for every possibility, I’m also prepping some DJ sets and probably even a Machinedrum solo live set just in case.  Better to be over-prepared than under-prepared I guess!  Who knows, maybe I’ll get bored during the day and just hook everything up to the car stereo to throw my own little parties.  Either way, I’m really looking forward to this gig, should be a great time.

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Just a heads up that I’m still looking for more questions for round 2 of the Q&A series I started last month.  I got more positive comments about that blog post than any other by far, but I still haven’t had many people submit some new questions.  Feel free to  send me an email or ask something in the comments if you’d like to see my try and tackle it next week.  Thanks!

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I also added a “Like” button to the blog page at the top right, click that baby if you like the blog please! Thanks!

4 Replies to “Photosynthesis Festival”

  1. Well done sir! Represent the ALDJ & the Downtempo communities proppa. I haven’t nagged you much in the last couple weeks so I’ll see if I can come up with a good question or two. Like for starters, maybe the ins and outs of a nice dubby reverb for use in DJ sets. Been meaning to sit down and come up with a K&D style dub verb but just haven’t done it yet. Ad while I’m thinkign about it, why the need for so much EQ sculpting?

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