I always like to have a proper soundcheck. In my contract I state that I have to be driven to the venue before the event starts and test my set up. However, in the real world there are many times I don’t get the chance. Sometimes my flight lands so late I have just about enough time to get to the venue to make my time slot. So how do I avoid sounding weak? More importantly how do I make sure I sound better than anyone else during the evening?
I have a special pre-recorded intro which I simply call “Soundcheck Intro”. It’s about thirty seconds long, starts with a dirty pad sound and then two loud kick drums play. After the two kicks go boom da boom I scream “Check Check!” and this repeats. During this time I’m making sure those booms are loud as f___’n possible and my voice at its loudest is not clipping the music or any limiters attached to the house system. Lastly, a snare comes in so I check the high end. A few other things worth screaming include the city your in, the name of the event, your record label’s name and whatever year you happen to be in. Be warned that if you mess any of those slogans up your screwed!
I also use this intro time to double-click the title bar of my video window on the second screen being displayed by my LCD projector. This brings my live show video that is running in Ableton Live full screen. A quick touch of the projector’s size and focus rings and the wall behind me is ready to entertain too.
Of course this is a painfully obvious thing everyone should do but think about how many times you see a band start and they sound bunk. Clearly they are not “braining on it” and doing any little intro diddy warm up. Another positive side-effect of a soundcheck intro is you clear or refresh people ears away from whatever monontanus boring DJ who was on before you. Yes, it’s a competition and the best act of the night gets paid the most, signs the most autographs and get’s the best looking ladies. The runner up can have all the booze.
related post: Soundcheck checklist. Are you ready?
Above is a photo I took on Saturday night during soundcheck. I played at Club Maria in Berlin. It was packed and overall a great evening. Other acts included Thomas P. Heckman, Adam X, Luc Van Acker and Dan Monox. If you click the photo it will take you to it’s flickr page where I labeled each piece of gear using the “notes” feature.
The show is an hour long and a woman named “Festes Weiss” is on stage with me. When I run around the stage she takes over the computer. She also sings two songs in the set. As mentioned in this post there is a video that plays in sync with the music during the entire show. Ableton Live controls everything. There are several audio channels of music, a video channel and a mic channel with several effects on it. I use an M-Audio Firewire 410 audio interface which outputs directly to the house or DJ mixer. I have the venue prepare a monitoring system for me which I control from the Firewire 410′s system preference control panel. I use a Shure PGX-24 cordless microphone system connected to (more…)
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