As part of the Ableton Spaces workshops at Together 5 this weekend, District Hall hosted singer/songwriter/producer Natasha Kmeto for a demonstration and discussion of how she employs Ableton for live performance.
Ms. Kmeto first outlined her hardware setup, which includes a Korg Mini synthesizer and an Akai MPD. Drum pads on the Akai controller are set to trigger loops and scenes organized in Ableton’s clip view. Elsewhere on the MPD, faders are assigned to control Ableton’s reverb, delay and beat repeat effects on her vocals. She also employs side-chain compression to create a “pumping” audio effect. Kmeto mentioned that the vocal effects – delay in particular – are useful for transitions in and between songs.
Kmeto also uses Ableton’s looping functions for vocals, with buttons on the MPD mapped for recording, starting and stopping the loops. She builds each song from pre-existing stems during live performances, rather than looping all of the synth and vocal parts live. This, she said, makes for a less tedious and more immediate set. Still, her MPD is set up to allow flexibility and improvisation in her performances.
As far as specific sample packs and VSTs go, Kmeto cited Goldbaby‘s 808 and 909 sets as her favorite drum packs and Valhalla as her go-to reverb. Software effects, she explained, made touring and performing live much more cost-effective than traveling with complex rack-mounted gear.
Kmeto described her creative process as starting with a title, a mood or an emotion before melody and structure enter the equation. Her ultimate goal, she said, was for her music to be “emotionally honest.” She composes and records using analog synthesizers and Logic, and ultimately bounces her stems as audio to Ableton to adapt the finished songs for live performance. Ableton’s flexible nature makes it the ideal performance tool for Kmeto, and a perfect solution for DJing as well, she said.
Together 5’s not over yet – be sure to check the schedule for daytime events at District Hall throughout the rest of this weekend.