Kim Lajoie's blog

I made a YouTube video of me playing a YouTube video. And sampling it.

by Kim Lajoie on June 14, 2015

So, first of all, this is not a compositional masterpiece. It’s four bars with some funky guitar hits and seventh chords. If you want to know more about Glasfrosch, I reviewed them here and you can read more about them here.

You might be mildly interested to have a peek into how I sample and sequence using Maschine. Yes, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship, but right now we’re doing pretty well. What you’re seeing is my ‘B-Studio’; it’s a semi-temporary writing setup in my main recording space. At the moment it’s pretty much just a MacBook Pro, Maschine, an Ultranova and a few other bits and pieces that drift in and out.

To me, however, this is primarily a proof-of-concept. Not of the music, but of the workflow and multi-cam video production. In this case, the music isn’t terribly exciting, but that’s the point – so I could focus on the other aspects.

I’ve been watching Fact Magazine’s excellent Against The Clock series, and I’ve been thinking about live performance on video. In particular, I’ve been thinking about what’s interesting and engaging to watch. Not all parts of the production process are equally engaging. You probably wouldn’t want to spend several minutes watching me scroll through kick drum samples. You probably wouldn’t want to watch me try out a bunch of chord progressions that don’t work. But it is more interesting to see me find and chop a sample. And play the drum and keyboard parts.

Yes, it’s a live performance. And yes, it’s prepared and rehearsed. But unlike more traditional forms of live performance, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to the question of what should be prepared and what should be performed. You could have watched me audition drum kits. Or search a bunch of YouTube videos to find one worth sampling. Or I could have pre-recorded the drum patterns and/or keyboard parts, and simply triggered or unmuted them on camera. This one was all in-the-box, but I could have included some outboard analogue stuff. Or plugins. Or acoustic instruments. It’s interesting to step outside the music production ‘zone’ and think about how it looks to others.

Eventually, I’d like to use the format to demonstrate how I work with artists. And that poses similar questions, but on a bigger scale. How much of the process is interesting to watch? What’s the right balance of showing creation vs performance? Do you want a straight-up live-in-the-studio performance of something we prepared earlier, or do you want to see the song grow through each stage of lyric writing, structure, chords, groove, instrumentation, recording, editing, mixing, etc?

I’m looking forward to doing some more experiments.

-Kim.

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