Live Performance Techniques Part 1: Performance Playthrough w/ Atropolis

In this first video of a three-part series about Live Performance Techniques, Dubspot Instructor Adam Partridge aka Atropolis demonstrates his live set and performs a Global Bass routine with various instruments. In the second and third part of the series, Adam will breakdown his approach to performing live and take us further into his set while sharing many helpful techniques to help improve your live sets.

In this first video of a three-part series about Live Performance Techniques, Dubspot Instructor Adam Partridge aka Atropolis takes us through his live set and performs a Global Bass routine using various instruments. Watch as Adam performs his remix of “Batuque” by Dom La Nena, using Ableton Live connected to a drum pad for playing and recording percussion, an Ableton Push for launching clips, a Livid Instruments DS1 for mixing and manipulating effects, two Akai MIDI keyboards for playing rhythms, and a Gaita: a tradition Columbian Woodwind. In the second and third part of the series, Adam will give us a closer look at his live setup while sharing his approach to performing live and offering some great techniques to help improve your live sets.

My Own Personal Journey: Ways of Creating a Live Set

During this performance, I played two tracks, one of my own original track’s, ‘Urban Chief’, which is the track that I start with and transition into the second track, ‘Batuque’, an official remix Jeremy Sole and myself did for Dom La Nena. Through the various gigs I have had with this set, the order of these two tracks remain the same, however, I have discovered new parts through performance and improvisation that has allowed me to expand and switch things up. For example, for this performance I decided to scoop out the main melody of ‘Urban Chief’ and play on the flute, a famous traditional Colombian folkloric song, called “La Curura” over the rhythm section. I also lay a new chord progression over the transition and drop off the second track, “Batuque”, that never existed in the released version. Gaining control over your live set gives you the creative freedom to change, add, rearrange, mash-up, and improvise on the fly without having to look at your computer.

To get a sense of the changes I just described, check out these three musical ideas in their original form:

Atropolis | Urban Chief

Dom La Nena | Batuque (Jeremy Sole & Atropolis)

Toto La Momposina | La Curura

The Short Version

  • Ask what you need and want out of your live performance
  • Figure out what equipment you may need to achieve your performance
  • Sort out a system that organizes your songs into a live set template
  • Experiment and try things out to iron out the details
  • Build custom tools to give you the power to manipulate your sound

Transitioning from DJ to Live Set

Transitioning from a DJ to a live set was always an aspiration, being a live musician since the age of 8 I was itching to get back to more of a live performance where I am creating music on the spot. I had a vague idea of what had to be done but like any creative process; the thought is way easier than the actual process itself. First, I did some research to gain some ideas of where to start and I soon discovered that creating a live set was a very personal and custom set up. There isn’t one way to go about this process, rather a set of questions you need to ask yourself in regards to what you need in order to create a live set. I strongly suggest reading Timo Preece’s article on AskAudio, “Preparing a Custom Live Music Performance Setup.” I found his guidance to be very helpful and inspirational; please refer to his article as an extension to this one.

The definition of a live set can mean a number of things. For instance, my live set comprises of clips from my original tracks, official remixes, and live performance aspects where I am playing a drum synthesizer, the keys, and a traditional Colombian flute, the Gaita. It is a combination of pre-recorded musical ideas with live components. I am not recreating every aspect of my music on the spot. Some artists may define their live set as only triggering and manipulating clips. I am open to all definitions of what constitutes a live set. For me, a live set is a performance that can be solely the manipulation of your own musical ideas in clip format to creating everything from start to finish, to what I am doing, which is a hybrid of these two worlds.

Be sure to catch the two next videos where I will talk about my own personal process and demonstrate the custom tools used to build my live set.

Live Performance Techniques Part 2: Equipment Breakdown w/ Atropolis

Live Performance Techniques Part 3: Ableton Configuration w/ Atropolis


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