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'I wish I had known...' Your first live Modular Performance?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author 'I wish I had known...' Your first live Modular Performance?
Hey Friends,

I've got my first ever live performance as a solo modular synth situation. There's 4 artist improvising round robin style for 3 odd hours, vibing off each other and the venue. I'm super nervous, but I know my modular and the kind of patching I like to do well enough, that I feel prepared.

Anyway, any tips you wish you'd known before you had your first live appearance in a modular capacity?


Headphones for cuing/tuning (and the appropriate mixer [or whatever]) to tap into the signal pre-Master Output.

All the electrical and audio cables and adapters of which you could possibly imagine.

Power strips and extenders.

Kent wrote:
Headphones for cuing/tuning (and the appropriate mixer [or whatever]) to tap into the signal pre-Master Output.

All the electrical and audio cables and adapters of which you could possibly imagine.

Power strips and extenders.


Cheers for your input! smile The cue-ing and tuning bit is an issue for me. I'm aiming towards building myself a Befaco Hexmix and Hexpander, which will sort that out, but for now, it'll be attenuator and my Boss TU3 to the rescue razz
I left out the following:

Patch diagrams that are large and clear. Make sure that you've rehearsed using them in disassembly and reassembly. Leave as much pre-patched as possible and don't let the gig night be the first night you attempt re-patching your system and trying out your patch notation; what with the shit lighting, nervousness and constant interruptions by the romantically interested that will be certain to be throwing themselves at you like proverbial lemmings off of a cliff.

How about a wheeled case for all of the shit that you have to bring?

A flashlight

Make sure all phones, iPads, tasers are fully charged. Bring the chargers.

Hearing protection. It could be a long and loud night.

Fresh underwear, obviously, due what was mentioned above. And maybe another form of protection if the night ends up being even longer than just synth-nerd jams.
Miley Cyrus
Make sure it is all warmed up before you tune it.

That was a humbling experience when you give the bass player crap for not being in tune when its you.
This is non-modular specific, but you should have a gig bag. Some things I carried with me always:

Screwdriver with replaceable bit collection
Hex wrench set
Long 1/4" and XLR cables because you never know about the mixers
Bandaids and antibiotic ointment
Self-sticking roll of bandages
Duct tape and painter's tape
Electrical tape
Water bottle
Sharpies - Black and silver
A regular pen and pad of paper
Business cards or band equivalent
Roll of toilet paper
Power strip
Small tactical flashlight
Spare t-shirt
Whatever meds you take on a nightly basis, because who knows where you'll wake up (on the subject, condoms when I was single -- though I was a bass player, so it was usually unwarranted optimism...)
Spare house & car keys
Spare tubes for my amp
Spare strings for my bass
Spare strings for my fucking guitarist's guitars
An SM-58 mic (or whatever cheap mic you have laying around that could be shoved in front of the singer's face when he breaks the one he started with)
(No spare drumsticks, fuck that guy)
Sunscreen if you ever play outdoors
Fingernail clippers (once tore most of a nail off mid-set, it would have been way easier than scissors)
A couple of small candles
Protein bars or whatever high-calorie-dense food you like (nothing like blood sugar crashing mid-song)

This kit basically lived in my car, and fit into a small bag.

I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff as well, it was constantly evolving
If you are improvising have a watch. You will lose any sense of time and either finish too early, or the next artist will tell you to stop in the middle of your set.

I had my first gig 2 weeks ago. Planned to play for 40 minutes. Had no idea how much time passed, and ended after 25 minutes.
Only played one show with my modular so far, but I have another one coming up in a few weeks so I've trying to fool proof my setup. Having a mixer with cue functionalities is absolutely essential for me. Making sure everything is on pitch and all that BEFORE bringing it up in the mix. I like to start with an interesting sequence and then introduce mangled up samples from my G0 and then shift the focus to that. And then back. And so on and so forth. But without cue there would be a lot of live awkward pitching which is no good.

Actually one big mistake I made was not properly tuning my oscillators which lead to some awkward moments (AND my safety net of a bank of samples completely falling through as they were all in a certain pitch that I missed d'oh! ) so I'm definitely going to focus more on that in the future. Maybe even bring a guitar tuner!

My main philosophy is to have as many tricks up my sleeves as possible. Changing presets on braids, modulating the euclidean patterns from the disting, switching octaves, changing time signatures, etc etc. I don't like to hold on any one thing for too long.

And yeah of course, practice practice practice. As soon as I've decided on a patch, I set a 45 minute timer, and try to continiously make interesting noises until the timer's up! Recording your set is super helpful also.

Of course, I'm a huge noob at this so what do I know but I'm very excited about the future of performing with ELII (my expressive live improvisational instrument) Mr. Green
Label your cables. Just put a paper sticker on each end that tells what it connects to. For your patch cords, you can get cards of numbers—put matching numbers on each end and list them in your notes. This will take the panic out of the setup at the venue. Some folks use colored tape, but that can be hard to see in dim light.
I always improvise my sets, even when I plan not to, so my tips are catered to that. If you do plan patches, in addition to what others have mentioned, keep it simple. Think conceptually rather than details. Trying to recreate a complex patch when you’re on stage, in the dark and nervous is no fun.

My other advice if you’re improvising is to practice improvising. Create a patch, then think about how to turn the elements of that patch into a structure. Intuition takes practice!

I usually bring my gear into my living room the night before or day of the set, and set up there (not in my studio) to make sure you can do everything you want to do with what you’re carrying. Assume venue has a PA only, and bring everything you need otherwise (and then some)!

Break a leg!
No fackin worries, Have fun and JAM!!!
Bring a delay. Hit record 15 minutes before you play.
Really great tips, thank you everyone for sharing! smile My first gig went really well. Cannot wait for the next one!

[s] 22nd-march[/s]
Remember to hit "Record"
Ask what tables the venue provides for you and make sure you'll have enough space. Don't forget to provide enough light yourself so you won't have to wiggle in the dark. If possible bring some spare cables as backup or to borrow them to a fellow musician who forgot his/her own.
Pelsea wrote:
Label your cables.

I write my name on them for good reason hihi
R.U.Nuts wrote:
Don't forget to provide enough light yourself so you won't have to wiggle in the dark.

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