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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines


Performing electronic music requires a great many different skills to pull off convincingly… and while it may seem a daunting task, you can sort it out with preparation, practice and confidence. Erin Barra shows you how…


I ’ve been performing using my DAW of choice (Ableton Live) for roughly seven years now. In 2011, I sat in a room for about a half a year, trying to figure out how I was going to turn what I had in my head into a stage performance. This entailed lots of clicking around and typing stuff into Google. It was a crazy time in life (aka my 20s) when I had the luxury of spending six months doing something like that. At that point, not everyone and their mum was using their DAW onstage yet, and I was blissfully ignorant of those who were, so I was able to really just dive in, be me, and cultivate my art inside a vacuum.

For that I am thankful, because it allowed me to explore and create without following any preconceived notion of how one would go about reworking it for a live context.

EASY AS 1-2-3

After my first performance, I was hooked. From there, I kept going and started refining the concepts and ideas I’d developed on stages in and around NYC for the next three years. Then I toured with three different iterations of those concepts: once as a duo, then as a trio, then as a solo project all around the US. Now I stay at home and appear in peoples’ homes and mobile devices via YouTube performance videos and tutorial breakdowns, which suits my life as a wife, mother and full-time Associate Professor.

At a certain point, I started working for other artists who wanted to duplicate what it was I had done for myself. I’ve worked for many creative minds – these have included everyone from celebrities to people you’ve never heard of – helping them to go through the same process of bringing their ideas from the DAW to the stage, producing shows and building custom rigs. After having spent all that time working on live shows, I’ve walked away with an ethos of what I consider to be a ‘good’ performance with Live and a workflow I share with my students for putting together their performances. It’s a way to approach the idea, but by no means the only way. Using Ableton Live, or any DAW, on stage can be a daunting task for those who haven’t done it before, but I’m here to try and plainly present a path forward.

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About MusicTech

Now settled into 2018 we look ahead to the future of music. With NAMM 2018 behind us we had a chance to ponder on the many new and exciting pieces of tech we saw and their impact on music creation. In this issue, we bring you our annual show report, containing info on all the latest tech that you can expect to get your hands on in 2018. In keeping with the ‘future’ theme, our lead interview highlights the work of the legendary technological pioneers at the Bell Labs and their collaboration with artist Beatie Wolfe. Their augmented reality, 3D work Raw Space reimagines the album as a multi-sensory, immersive experience. We also speak to Aki Mäkivirta from Genelec about the advanced tech at the heart of the award-winning The Ones monitors. Elsewhere this issue, we have a guide to taking your mixes to the stage, our usual tips and tutorials and an expanded reviews section. We hope you enjoy the issue…