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Pre-Recorded audio used in a live setting


Stroopy121
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What're everyone's thoughts on this?

 

Is it a perfectly normal/acceptable thing to do? Or does it detract from the live experience?

 

Personally, I'm of the opinion that when you're performing live you should be making as many of the noises as possible so I always feel a little cheated when a band are playing with samples and all that jazz - it seems to be moving away from live performance towards miming, but I'm aware that for some styles of music you simply CAN'T produce all of these sounds live.

 

Can you really call yourself a musician if all you're doing is pressing "play" on a bunch of stuff? What about DJs? Is a DJ any less of an artist than a singer-songwriter? Is there such a thing as a "live DJ"?

 

Just curious if anyone has any particularly strong feelings on the subject?

 

xx

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I only have a problem with it if it's something that can be done by a member of the band live and is not (through laziness/ease/fear of 'fucking up'), especially if it's a vocal harmony.

 

I play in Stanley and we use backing tracks to a degree, but mainly for the weirder noisy stuff (where there is no one free to play it) and strings (in lieu of a live string section which is unmanageable and expensive to hire...).

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I think it's OK to use samples and electronic sounds that are pre-recorded or triggered if it's difficult for the band to reproduce on stage and they feel it's essential to the song.  Likewise if they've got a string/brass section playing on record but can't afford to take them along to gigs then that's OK.  It might lose a bit of energy but it's the band's choice if they want to make that compromise to ensure the song sounds how they want it to.

 

Personally I'd try and do as much as possible live or change the songs slightly. A live performance should provide a one-off experience of a song so it's an opportunity to change it and make it slightly different from what's recorded.  But I wouldn't have a problem going to a gig and hearing pre-recorded sections. It's not like there's rules are there?  Hell many pop artists don't even sing live!

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I only have a problem with it if it's something that can be done by a member of the band live and is not (through laziness/ease/fear of 'fucking up'), especially if it's a vocal harmony.

 

I play in Stanley and we use backing tracks to a degree, but mainly for the weirder noisy stuff (where there is no one free to play it) and strings (in lieu of a live string section which is unmanageable and expensive to hire...).

 

What do you play in Stanley?

 

Personally I'm of a similar opinion to Neepheid - if you don't have a string section then don't write songs that require a sting section.

 

xx

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I think it's OK to use samples and electronic sounds that are pre-recorded or triggered if it's difficult for the band to reproduce on stage and they feel it's essential to the song.  Likewise if they've got a string/brass section playing on record but can't afford to take them along to gigs then that's OK.  It might lose a bit of energy but it's the band's choice if they want to make that compromise to ensure the song sounds how they want it to.

 

Personally I'd try and do as much as possible live or change the songs slightly. A live performance should provide a one-off experience of a song so it's an opportunity to change it and make it slightly different from what's recorded.  But I wouldn't have a problem going to a gig and hearing pre-recorded sections. It's not like there's rules are there?  Hell many pop artists don't even sing live!

 

This is interesting - because I think there's one rule in a live performance - to perform live! In Needleman we use some double-tracked guitars for harmonies and all that jazz but since we only have one guitarist then that stuff gets altered to suit a live scenario - but Needleman's music is comparatively very very simple.

 

xx

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What're everyone's thoughts on this?

 

Is it a perfectly normal/acceptable thing to do? Or does it detract from the live experience?

 

Personally, I'm of the opinion that when you're performing live you should be making as many of the noises as possible so I always feel a little cheated when a band are playing with samples and all that jazz - it seems to be moving away from live performance towards miming, but I'm aware that for some styles of music you simply CAN'T produce all of these sounds live.

 

Can you really call yourself a musician if all you're doing is pressing "play" on a bunch of stuff? What about DJs? Is a DJ any less of an artist than a singer-songwriter? Is there such a thing as a "live DJ"?

 

Just curious if anyone has any particularly strong feelings on the subject?

 

xx

 

Its an odd one for me. I think in recent years, playing to backing tracks, even for rock bands, is becoming more of the norm. Watch a lot of the festival sets from the summer from bands like The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, and heaps others and they now all use back tracks at some point, Muse have done it massively for years now. I am really unsure if i like it or not, but it does really add to their performance, and i personally think it shows how good a band is if they can do it, playing to backing tracks, and click tracks is not that easy, you almost have to ignore the natural rythem of the band to really make it work, but i guess it must become the natural rythem after a while. 

 

I see no real reason why a band should not use backing tracks if they feel they are going to improve their gig, at any level as well. Saying that its not live is not strictly accurate, its an addition to the live sound being created, the whole sound is the live perfomance, not just the guys with picks and sticks in their hands. 

 

There definitely is such a thing as a live DJ. A guy that mixes and produces live, like Daft Punk, or The Chemical Brothers, who will kinda layer their own tracks live using whatever equipment they have. They do a lot more than press play on cdj's now a days. The skill involved is equal to playing a chord on a guitar, or a beat on the drums, just in a different way. 

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I don't have a problem with it really. The Knife's current live show has attracted a lot of discussion due to the fact that much of the music isn't being played live, at some points there are mimed vocals and at times you can't tell who is playing anything and it is more of a dance performance. After reading about it I was a bit wary before seeing them at primavera sound but in the end it was probably my highlight of the festival. I absolutely loved it, had a cracking time.

 

 

As for the question about DJs, that's an entirely separate issue. What do you mean is there such a thing as a live dj? All of them? If they weren't djing live that'd surely jsut be sticking on a playlist. Anyway imo a techno dj, mixing different part from different tracks to make a new whole, is doing as much live as other musicians.

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This is interesting - because I think there's one rule in a live performance - to perform live! In Needleman we use some double-tracked guitars for harmonies and all that jazz but since we only have one guitarist then that stuff gets altered to suit a live scenario - but Needleman's music is comparatively very very simple.

 

xx

 

I would agree, I deliberately picked an extreme example though.  Generally I'd expect most bands would do what you say Needleman do.  But who's to say it's wrong to record a harmony line and play along to it?

 

At the Music Tapes gig a few weeks ago one of the support acts (forgot his name, the one that wasn't Dave or Washington Irving) was effectively just a guy playing guitar to backing tracks.  Now it was OK, the guy was clearly good at it but to me it had a whiff of someone playing along to a total guitar CD backing track but on stage and in front of everyone.  He definitly WASN'T doing that, but that's what it reminded me of.  Probably an unfair comparison.

 

I'm aware that in both my posts I've not given a consistent account of whether I think it's right or wrong.  Think that means it's right but it can be a little bit wrong as well.  Guess that's down to the act in question and how well they pull it off.

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What about looper pedals? I've seen a few acoustic acts recently going down the KT Turnstile route of layering their own tracks live using looping pedals. Technically speaking they are backing tracks of a sort as the person is not performing the full track live themselves. Whats your thoughts on them? 

 

Id like to add if i have to listen to that Jogi guy again im going to cry myself to death. 

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What about looper pedals? I've seen a few acoustic acts recently going down the KT Turnstile route of layering their own tracks live using looping pedals. Technically speaking they are backing tracks of a sort as the person is not performing the full track live themselves. Whats your thoughts on them? 

 

But they are performing the whole track themselves. Just using layers. They still have to play the backing loop correctly when they record it.

 

Loops are great but sometimes it can take away from the energy of a piece as you patiently wait for them to get their loops built up and layered correctly. When it's done well it can be fantastic though.

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I've seen artists using pre-recorded material to mesmerising effect and I've seen dull as dishwater exclusively realtime bands phoning it in.

 

I don't think I've ever seen anyone perform with a backing track of some sort and found myself going 'what a fucking rip'.  I mean, I can't imagine anyone being pissed off if they saw MF DOOM or somebody pressing play on a laptop and rhyming like a boss over it.

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We (Uniform) played around with samples etc but they didn't quite work with our sound. Our piano player has a synth that plays string sounds but that's 'played' live I guess as he's physically playing the synth.

 

It works really well with some bands and not so well with others. It's all dependant on what you're trying to achieve.

 

As for live DJs (and I'm speaking about these incredibly irritating pricks like DJ Guetta, Tiesto etc) - I do not accept that creating an entire song on a laptop counts as a being a musician. That's someone who is good with software for a computer. Daft Punk etc are exempt from this.

 

Milner - my missus seems to love the boy Yogi but I have yet to see him play. Really poor?

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I would say your wrong Mark, a musician creates music, regardless of the medium. Its takes as much skill to become very good at programming a song, as it does to learn the drums, or the guitar, its just a different skill set. If anything, you need to have both a technical and musical mind to do that kinda thing. If it was that easy then there would have been many more annoying cunts before Guetta, but take back what you said about Tiesto, he doesnt deserve that :p

 

Yogi just does my head in, i dont think he is bad really, just really really annoying, and he looks like a fanny. 

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Dunno like Milner, I've seen our guitarist knock up a tune in an hour on an app on his iPad. Pre-programmed drums, bass etc, adjustable speeds, pre programmed pianos, it's just a case of taking all the pre-programmed stuff and shoving it together. To me, that's not making music as a musician, it's putting a heap of ready made stuff together, pressing 'condense' and letting the app or program do the work.

 

And I will not take it back about Tiesto, as I just fucking hate dance/techno music :p

 

Haha, just an annoying loon? She seems to think he was ace. She really enjoyed you guys at WakeTheDeen on Saturday by the way :)

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Dunno like Milner, I've seen our guitarist knock up a tune in an hour on an app on his iPad. Pre-programmed drums, bass etc, adjustable speeds, pre programmed pianos, it's just a case of taking all the pre-programmed stuff and shoving it together. To me, that's not making music as a musician, it's putting a heap of ready made stuff together, pressing 'condense' and letting the app or program do the work.

 

And I will not take it back about Tiesto, as I just fucking hate dance/techno music :p

 

Haha, just an annoying loon? She seems to think he was ace. She really enjoyed you guys at WakeTheDeen on Saturday by the way :)

 

Aye, but your guitarist has not gotten anywhere with it, most likely because he hasnt put it out there, but at the same time it will only be of a certain quality. Your right, anyone can knock shit together, just like anyone can learn to play wonderwall on the guitar, but to be really really good, you have to have skill. I played the decks (vinal) for years, and even with being a drummer, with impeccable timing, i struggled for a long time. DJ'ing and producing is not a simple thing when you get beyond the basics of making a drum track, or getting two records in perfect timing with each other.

 

Im glad to hear it man, we struggled through but i think we played nae bad considering. Tell her thanks :) 

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