From Laptop Tracks To Live Performance

A little while ago after spending around a year producing music I received an email from a local band asking if I would be interested in being the support act for their next live show. What seemed like an easy task to prepare for turned into hours of stress questioning whether I would be able to pull off this show on my own.

Fast track two weeks to the show, it was a slight disaster as I was denied a soundcheck and midway through the set I was told there was no time to finish.

Here are a few tips and tricks I wish I knew at the time.

Track

Depending on the genre of music you’re performing, an underlying track is essential. To construct this track it’s important to keep one thing in mind; what instruments are you playing live? Standard live instrumentation usually includes; guitar, drums (electronic pads and/or acoustic), analog synths and keyboards (run either through laptop or as external instrument). These instruments should (but don’t necessarily have to) be omitted from your original track if they are being replaced live.

Try to avoid using a DI for acoustic instruments such as guitar and keyboard as the end mix will become muddy and in turn create a less desirable performance.

When playing with a track it is important to have a click track running as quite often it is hard to hear the track over the sounds of the location/audience – usually through in-ear monitoring.

Quality over Quantity

I’ve made the mistake of trying to play as many instruments as possible on stage and it has turned out to be a huge confusing mess, my desire to impress the audience with my ability overtook the quality of the performance.

Jack Garratt is a great example of a successful multi-instrumental performance, keeping in mind that he is a trained professional I like to use his set up and show as an end goal.

Performing Should Not Be A Chore

Aside from obvious nerves, always approach a performance with a positive mindset. If a performer is enjoying themselves on stage it’s almost guaranteed to rub off on an audience. Performing your music on stage should always be something to look forward to and if nothing else comes of it, you will always gain experience.

Mikaela Grob is an intern sound engineer at Enmore Audio. Have a read of another piece she wrote on recording raw trumpet sounds in a home studio setup. 

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