(S1E4) McKay Garner of doppio performance and interview – Electronic Music Makers Video Podcast

McKay Garner of the band “doppio” gives an in-depth tutorial on “keyboard drumming”: using a drumKAT MIDI controller with Ableton Live to create the beats and melodic lines heard on their latest self-titled album. McKay also talks about the band’s creative process and their participation in the Music Video Race.

Brought to you by the San Francisco Electronic Music Meetup (SF-EMM). Hosted by Chris Huelsbeck and Amy Lee. Contents:

* doppio
* drumKAT
* McKay Garner – Keyboard Drumming with Ableton Live
* Ableton Live
* “Cobra” music video by the Outer Avenues
* Music Video Race

Jane Woodman talks about her performance gear

Amy has asked me to write an article about the show I did at the Hot Spot Bar on Sunday, December 5th, 2010, describing my equipment and setup logistics of the performance.

Jane Woodman
http://janewoodman.com/

This was the first time my equipment and concept had left the studio, and I was actually still encoding video at 4:00 that day, so I was a little stressed, but it was a fun night! My main concern was hoping my equipment and the concept of playing solo with video and tracks would translate into a typical bar environment, and I felt that the Hot Spot was a perfect place to try it out. Eve and her partner set up the PA system that also included a subwoofer, speakers downstairs and upstairs, and a video screen.

Besides some unforeseen circumstances (broken projector remote) and a few mistakes on my part (no guitar volume to mains, ill-fitting earbuds) I think the concept translated quite well, and I’m looking forward to future shows, and eventually a tour, with little or no glitches thanks to what I learned that night.

As for my setup:

Behringer RX1202FX Eurorack mixer. I submix everything and send a stereo out to house mains (or in an independent situation, to powered speakers), using stereo for everything except the mic.
http://www.samedaymusic.com/product–BEHRX1202FX

AudioTechnica ATW-251-H92-TH Wireless Mic System. This is a low-end VHF wireless system, and I actually like it quite a lot, and thought it sounded good. I like not being tied to a mic stand. Split mono signal to submix and KP3 pad.
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Audio-Technica-ATW251H92TH-Wireless-System?sku=273004

Nady E03 wireless headphone monitor system. As everyone knows, an in-ear monitor is mandatory when you play with tracks. The headphones that come with this low-end UHF system are really bad. Use your own, and make sure they don’t fall out of your ears! It worked great, except I’m replacing my ipod earbuds with higher-end, better-fitting ones. Submix monitor out.
http://www.nady.com/eo3.html

General wireless note: Consider getting higher end, matching UHF frequency components for potential interference prevention (although, IMHO, I don’t know how much control anyone really has over this, and I didn’t notice any substantial problems).

Benq GP1 LED projector with USB interface. I prerecorded live tracks that I attached to video on a thumb drive, which is then inserted into the projector. I’m not impressed with the projector’s menu interface or special encoding you need to do for the USB mpg files, and as those who attended may have noticed, there was a green line on the right side of the video (I have no idea why), and a loading bar for each one. I am looking into using my Macbook Pro and itunes to run the video/tracks in the future for better quality all around, but I really do like the idea of plugging in a thumb drive, instead of running more wires and adding another component to the system. I will give you an update on that one. I thought the projection and the associated music tracks looked and sounded good though, and I was happy with the quality of the machine itself. Stereo signal to submix.
http://www.benq.us

Korg KP3 Kaoss pad. I love this machine. I think I’ve really only scratched the surface of it’s capabilities, but I predict it will become even more crucial to my live sound, and will add interactivity to the performance, which I find important since I play with tracks. I use it extensively in the studio for guitar and vocal effects, which will eventually carry over into my live show. Stereo signal to RC50 Loopstation.
http://korg.com/Product.aspx?pd=269

Boss RC-50 Loopstation. Unfortunately, there was not enough room to use this, and at this time, is not a crucial component to my system, but I expect that to change. Typically though, I use it to control the Korg KP3 pad; I program the setlist into it with BPMs and run a midi out to the KP3, and this helps keep the Korg effects in sync. I find looping difficult because you need really talented feet! One thing I can say, though, is that when I do it correctly, it’s right on with the BPMs, so I’m working on that one…I think it has potential, and I like the programming options – you can really customise it to each one of the songs. Stereo signal to submix.
http://www.roland.com/products/en/RC-50/index.html

Line 6 Pod XT Live. This is a highly programmable guitar effects machine, and I think it sounds good for line-in guitar performance, which a lot of players cringe about, but I really like it, use it constantly, and it integrates well with the live tracks; an amp would have a hard time doing that unless you were in a venue with a great system and highly skilled engineers. Split stereo signal to submix and KP3 pad.
http://line6.com/podxtlive/

1959 Gretsch Anniversary Special guitar. Love. Straight into line 6 pod xt live.

All in all, i was happy with the fact that all of my equipment actually worked, people showed up, and the concept translated. I had a nice time – thanks SFEMM!

No, thank YOU Jane! — Amy

Talking with Chris Huelsbeck, composer for the new Zombie Smash iPhone game

Chris Huelsbeck, SF-EMM member and experienced video game soundtrack composer for more than 70 titles, has one more to add to his list: Zombie Smash. Here’s a short email interview I had with him recently:

Amy: You have heavy pianos, grungy guitars, and punchy percussion. Was there any particular inspiration for the music?
Chris: Zombie Movies had their first big success in the 80s, when I was a teen and I wanted to capture the vibe of the soundtracks of those movie scores. They were often low budget flicks with synthesizer scores (think John Carpenter).
What kind of software/hardware are you using these days? Were there any recent additions to this setup?
I am working completely virtual since about 2003. The only hardware that I use are midi keyboard controllers, every sound is created with virtual synths and samplers on my laptop computer. My main weapon of choice is Steinberg Cubase and for the music of ZombieSmash I used a number of classic modeled synths like Native Instruments Pro-53 and the Korg Legacy Collection.
The music sounds sounds great with and without headphones. What was your experience developing music for the iPhone/iPod Touch? Were there special considerations?
I definitely wanted it to sound good in all listening situations, including the build in speaker. So after a few weeks into the project I decided to finally ditch my trusted Palm phone and get an iPhone to test and hear everything myself. That really paid off and I made quite a number of adjustments to the mix until everything sounded clear and balanced. Even the sound effects went through several iterations. The hardest one was a heart beat SFX that is played for the finish move, but at the end it was very worthwhile.
Thanks, Chris!

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