Practice time!!

practive setup

With my album just about done it is time to start learning all the songs. There are quite a few different parts on the recordings and I have been trying to figure out how I can include them in my live show. The drum and atmospheric parts in particular are really hard to reproduce live. I’ve been doing some research into including a sampler in my live setup and I eventually settled on using a Launchpad Mini (the square grid of buttons that you can see in the pic).

The Launchpad is designed as a controller for Ableton, which is the audio software that I used to the recording my album. You can set up various clips within the software and then trigger them via the buttons on the Launchpad. The trickiest part so far was trying to get the software to speak to my loop station so that everything would playing be in time. After a couple days of googling and experimenting I finally figured it out. Now it is just the small matter of piecing all the songs together: figuring out what I am going to play and when, what buttons need to pushed and in what order and then trying to do it all without falling over. Once I have got the general structure of a song down I will practice it over and over again, recording my performances and tweaking the sounds and settings so that everything is just right.

With the official album launch on November 10, I am hoping to have the album ready to perform in entirety for a release party on 9 November. Wish me luck!!

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All The Things, live in my kitchen with a special guest.

I made this video over the last week or so for my song All The Things.

I have started making a few live-at-home videos so that I can give people, venues in particular, an idea of my performance with the looping, etc. The first two I made were for The Road and for Seasons but then I started to think that too many videos in exactly the same location might get a bit boring. So I put my mind to coming up with something else.

The shoot obviously took a bit of planning. The basic idea was that I would perform the guitar and vocals separately and only use half the frame of each take, layering them one of top of the other. I first shot the guitar scene and then immediately after the vocals. I would keep the camera (on my phone) rolling so as not to bump anything.

One of the most important things was to get the timing right of when the two versions of me would be coming into the scene and interacting with each other. Because I am playing to click-track, it was easy enough to get the timing of my performance right (although I did make quite a few mistakes along the way in terms of when I am singing or playing) but I really had to count the seconds in my head so I could know roughly where the other version of me would be at any moment in order for the interactions to be as natural as possible.

Next, I had to know where the line dividing the room was so that I didn’t end up cutting off an arm or part of my head when walking in and out of the room (this happened a few times too). Finally, I had to shoot at night so that I would have maximum control of the lighting as any shadows falling across the dividing line, or movement from outside, would ruin the effect. Being in late European summer this meant that I was starting to shoot quite late at night and because my computer takes a while to process the footage I could only really do one complete take a night. I would then only find out the next day if everything had gone as planned. In the end it took three full shoots and edits to get it done properly.

Take a listen to the original recording of All The Things on Spotify or Bandcamp.