Com­ing out at night

Computer Music - - Make Music Now -

Spektre aren’t just DJs – they’re also fa­mous for their live act, which has en­ter­tained crowds around the world. Re­cently, though, the live show has been put on ice while the lads de­velop some­thing new. We sat Paul down to find out what they’re cook­ing up. Com­puter Mu­sic: Tell us about the first ver­sion of Spektre Live. How was it dif­fer­ent from your reg­u­lar DJ set, and how come you de­cided to up­date it? Paul Mad­dox: “The orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion of it was ba­si­cally a kind of hy­brid DJ and live set. What would hap­pen is, we’d have two lap­tops, one run­ning Trak­tor with our tracks and some­times some other peo­ple’s as well… and then I had an­other lap­top with Able­ton Live, so I could add ex­tra loops and bits of dif­fer­ent tracks on the fly.

“We went with var­i­ous con­trollers over the years, in­clud­ing a No­va­tion SL for a bit, an Akai Pro APC40 for a bit… but keep­ing ev­ery­thing in sync was al­ways the big bug­bear. We had a box from a com­pany called Innner­clock Systems which did a pretty good job – you fed it an au­dio sig­nal into a spe­cial plugin, and it sent out a re­ally tight MIDI clock sig­nal. It worked most of the time – a lot bet­ter than do­ing it man­u­ally – but it was still never quite there.”

: So how will the new live show work, in a tech­ni­cal sense? PM: “It’s an evo­lu­tion of the old idea re­ally, but there are big­ger pos­si­bil­i­ties brought in by Able­ton Link – you can take some­thing like Trak­tor… or two copies of Able­ton, and keep them prop­erly in sync. At the mo­ment, we’re still at the R&D stage, and what we’re look­ing at now is us­ing Trak­tor and Live, but with Trak­tor’s Stems fea­ture – so it’s go­ing to be all our own ma­te­rial.

“We’ll split all our tracks down into the Stems for­mat so we can mix the back­ing part… al­most as you would a DJ set. But you can drop spe­cific parts out or in, like the drums or the high per­cus­sion. Then we’ll have an­other lap­top run­ning Live with Push 2 at­tached to it, and we’d ba­si­cally use that as a big drum ma­chine, us­ing Push 2’s step se­quencer and the Drum Racks as a kind of su­per-deluxe 909, with lots of ef­fects and things like that.

“I think the plan is for Rich to be on the Trak­tor lap­top, and I’ll be on the Able­ton lap­top so we could play a track al­most as it was orig­i­nally… but with dif­fer­ent ef­fects. We could, say, loop just the bot­tom end and have me do­ing a 909 jam on Push, and then we can bring the rest of the track back in. I’ll tell you if it works in a cou­ple of months!”

: It’s been out for over a year now… so af­ter all that time, how do you think the re­sponse to NI’s new Stems for­mat has been? PM: “From a DJ’s point of view, it’s been fairly luke­warm to be hon­est. I’ve not seen many peo­ple us­ing them, or talk­ing about them in terms of a ‘nor­mal’ DJ set.

“Un­til you can get al­most all mu­sic in that for­mat, I don’t think it’s re­ally go­ing to be that ap­peal­ing, be­cause you’re go­ing to have to do the Stems thing only on cer­tain tracks, and that’s kind of lim­it­ing for a DJ. To me, it doesn’t mas­sively ap­peal, but be­ing able to make our own Stems files is def­i­nitely go­ing to be quite a use­ful fea­ture for our new live setup.”

: It’s hard to sell reg­u­lar dig­i­tal files, let alone Stems ver­sions. PM: “I’d be in­ter­ested to know what the num­bers are like, to be hon­est! Per­son­ally, I can’t ever see it tak­ing off to the point of it be­ing ‘the norm’, but I hope it does be­cause it’s a re­ally cool for­mat and it’s a cool idea. I think there’s prob­a­bly some el­e­ment of the pro­duc­ers not want­ing to give the parts away, be­cause if you’ve got vo­cals on a track, you’re ef­fec­tively mak­ing the acapella avail­able… and as we know, when acapel­las are avail­able, peo­ple rip them off!”

“The plan is for Rich to be on the Trak­tor lap­top, and I’ll be on the Able­ton lap­top”

In­deed! Should all go to plan, the new and im­proved Spektre Live will be re­turn­ing this sum­mer and de­mol­ish­ing the dance­floor at a club or fes­ti­val near you.

The two com­put­ers run­ning Able­ton Live are synced and stream au­dio via Able­ton Link

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