The Vocalist And The Beat: Tips For The Electronic Vocalist
The Vocalist And The Beat: Tips For The Electronic Vocalist: A blog about vocalists and how they can best perform with synths/electronic music.
I’m going to start this post off with a video of a live performance. I like to use videos because seeing is believing and it’s a great way for you to learn new things, or at least see how other people are doing what you’re trying to do. Here’s an example of a performance by an artist named Jamie Lidell. This isn’t your typical live performance. He has a lot of effects on his voice and he’s singing with some pre-recorded tracks. But don’t be fooled, his performance is completely live – you aren’t hearing any pre-recorded vocals. This is just one way of many that bands use the human voice in their music. More on that later…
The Vocalist And The Beat: Tips For The Electronic Vocalist
A blog about vocalists and how they can best perform with synths/electronic music.
By: Jack Liddle (jack_liddle)
I’ve been a part of an indie electronica band for 6 years now. In this time we’ve played over a 100 gigs and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how vocals fit in with electronic music. I want to share what I’ve learned and hopefully help out other aspiring vocalists in the process.
Note: these are just my opinions and are far from comprehensive. Please comment if you want to add something or feel I am wrong about anything!
The most important thing to remember is that when playing live, there is no auto-tune, no compression, no reverb; it’s just your voice and the crowd will hear every single mistake you make.
**The Vocalist And The Beat: Tips For The Electronic Vocalist**
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of singing along to synth lines and beats, let’s take a look at how you can make your live set more interesting. Here are some tips for adding your vocals to electronic music and creating an effective live performance.
1. Learn the basics of beatboxing.
2. Don’t be afraid to add effects to your voice.
3. Practice singing along with pre-recorded tracks or CDs of your favorite songs/artists until you’re comfortable singing and playing at the same time.
4. Remember, practice makes perfect!
I’m an electronic vocalist, so I get a lot of questions about how to sing with synths and electronics. I don’t have a lot of advice about how to write lyrics or compose melodies for electronic music, but I do have some advice about how to perform your electronic song live.
I’ve performed in front of many different modes of backing tracks. There are some great ways to do it and there are some not-so-great ways. Hopefully this little guide will help you figure out the best way for you to pull it off.
Before we begin, let’s get one thing clear: there is no perfect solution. Live music is messy. You can’t perfectly recreate the sounds that you can create in the studio, so you have to make compromises in order to make your show work on stage. Nobody knows this better than electronic artists and DJs, who often use computers running software to perform their songs live. The traditional live performance setup of guitarists and drummers doesn’t work here…we’re going to need a new approach!
So, you’re a vocalist who loves synths, drum machines and other electronic instruments, and you want to use them in your performances. That’s great! This article provides some suggestions for how to make that happen.
First of all, I just want to say that at this point in time, I don’t know of any electronic musicians/bands who don’t like having vocalists in their acts. It adds a lot to the experience, especially for new artists… it makes people more curious about your music if they have something familiar (the vocals) to connect with. If there’s no one singing, people might take a look around and then go onto the next band if you don’t grab them immediately. So if you love electronic music and are looking for a way to include vocals in your act, there are plenty of ways to do it.
I’ve seen several examples of both really good and really bad shows where the vocals were performed with electronics… so I’m going to write about how I see things working best.
My favorite example of an act with awesome vocals with electronics is The Knife… they use both live singers and backing tracks as well as live singers by themselves (such as on their first tour). They are able to seamlessly
First of all, a band is a group of people who all play different instruments. A singer, a drummer, a guitar player and so on. An electronic band is usually just one person, who plays multiple instruments at the same time.
So how do you make up for the other members? There are two options: pre-recorded backing tracks or live looping.
Pre-Recorded Backing Tracks
If you are playing your own compositions (as opposed to covers) and you’re only playing electronic instruments, you can compose your backing track ahead of time. In fact, in most cases, this is the optimal way to do it. You have total control and can be sure that everything will sound perfectly in time and pitch. Just like in the studio! You can even get creative with it. Imagine someone playing with Ableton Live or similar software, where they can change their performance on the fly using MIDI controllers and such.
Or maybe you don’t want to sing/play along to pre-recorded music at all? Some performers just have an iPod with their backing tracks on it, which they use as a click track (so they know where they are in the song) or to trigger something cool at the perfect moment in their set.
In the late 80s, a new sound emerged from the UK. Mashing up dub, reggae and hip hop with electronic music, producers like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers helped to create a new genre known as big beat.
In this series of tutorials we’re going to look at how a number of different big beat tracks were made. We’ll see how the producers created their sounds and how everything was put together in their mixes.
1. Getting Started with Big Beat
2. Sound Design 101: Creating a Big Beat Bass Part
3. Sound Design 102: Creating a Big Beat Lead Part
4. Song Structure 101: Putting It All Together