Friday, 5 April 2013
Peter Van Hoesen talks fabric through his new live setup
Peter Van Hoesen has been working behind the scenes tinkering and expanding his new live setup. The combination of hardware and software will be put to use for the first time in fabric's Room 2 tomorrow night, so the Farringdon nightspot sat down with him to discuss the mechanics of it all and his decisions to change the way he performed
Both. At last year's Labyrinth festival I tested a new setup which involved two hardware synths, complimenting the laptop setup. This was so much fun that I decided to explore this more thoroughly. It took me about four months to decide on a final setup, which right now includes three hardware synths and a drum machine. At the same time as I was exploring these new options I decided to write new material. Right now I have a lot of unreleased tracks exclusive to the live performance. My upcoming fabric gig will be the first time ever with this new setup.
I have always been adding new ideas to the live set, but this is the first major change since 2011.
About 70 % is unreleased, most of it in the form of loops or midi sequences which can be modified and edited in real time. This allows me to try out different variations, to see how they work. So yes, in a way it allows me to test the waters, see what works and what doesn't. Some of these new ideas might end up as released tracks.
There's an Elektron Monomachine synth which produces weird, bleepy percussive sounds. Then there's a Waldorf blofeld synth which I've programmed to play more pad-like sounds. For some shows I will add a Roland SH-101, that machine can create really deep and powerful basslines. It's a classic synth, easy to work with in a live setup. The other new addition is the iPad, running Moog's excellent Animoog synth. It's really interesting to see the iPad come to life as a real instrument, the touch interface really shines with this Animoog app.
Everything is sequenced via Ableton Live. All the sounds run through a number of outboard effects and filters to beef things up, there's a drum machine running along....it's a pretty big setup. There's lots of room for instant manipulation and even some live keyboard playing on the 101... I want to give the Jean-Michel Jarre in me a chance to come out.
I wanted to have more control over the sounds and the sequences, that's why the hardware machines have been added. This setup allows for much more creative, real-time editing. Every live performance then becomes something unique. I also believe that a live set should be a bit of a challenge for the artist, there should be some tension involved. This spices things up, makes it more interesting for me and for the audience. It's interesting to step out of one's safety zone once in a while.
One of the goals of this new setup is to be able to produce with it as well playing live. I want to arrive at a situation where the studio setup is almost identical to the live setup. In the past I was investing too much time into translating studio tracks into live parts. I felt a lack of spontaneity arising from this method. So right now the goal is to come full circle, to have everything integrated in one setup for both purposes. I'm not sure if I will ever get there completely, but the process is probably more important that the end goal. So basically, I am trying to re-create the studio setup as much as possible on stage. The opposite is also true: I want the studio setup to become more like the live setup. So both situations are growing towards each other. Then there's also the fact that new tools are constantly tested and added to the live and studio setup, be it software or hardware. The important thing is to be able to work intuitively, without too much of a technical barrier in the way.
Hmm... I would say that there is a constant, healthy tension between the analog and the digital, or rather between hardware and software. Right now I have definitely moved over into the hardware domain more than let's say a year ago. One of the great things about electronic music is that there are new tools and instruments being released all the time, I find this very inspiring. Trying out new things, new approaches, new ways of making sound, that's why it's fun for me.
I'd love to have a compact Turbosound or Funktion One club full-frequency system setup in the studio. That would be smashing. We have great monitors in our studio, but a small club system would really brings things to live.
As we mentioned earlier Peter will be performing with his new live setup for the first time in Room 2 at fabric this Saturday alongside one of UK Techno's original trailblazers, Surgeon and fabric mainstay Terry Francis. Tickets are available from the fabric website