Over the past two weeks I had the opportunity to perform two shows for some of my favorite people in the world—nerds. That is my bread and butter right now, and my passion. These crowds seem to better appreciate the technical aspect of electronic music, as well as the obscure references to video games and cartoons that I try to incorporate. I worked hard over the last two months to put together a killer live set for Icrontic Oktoberfest 2011 and Youmacon 2011.
Icrontic Oktoberfest is an event that is held during the weekend of Halloween every year at ICHQ in Michigan. It usually includes a few activities exploring the local scene, as well as a Saturday night costume party, which I recently seem to have transitioned into a rave. Since these are my homiest of homies, they were the first to hear my new live set as we danced, boozed and danced some more all night long.
Youmacon is an anime convention that is held every year at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. This year, nearly 20,000 nerds gathered in the Escher-esque towers of the Ren Cen, dressed in costumes and ready to party. There were two cosplay raves at the main ballroom of the Marriott tower, and I got a chance to perform my new live set at the Friday night dance.
My new set is a live mix that I created using Ableton and the Akai APC40 on the newly acquired HP Envy 14. I first started working on the set when I had a gig in Charlotte, North Carolina, with my tag-team DJ project, Lune Noir. I started to put together samples from some of my favorite bass music tracks and slowly turned it into a live performance during my two weeks there. After performing for an intimate crowd at Crown Station, I took my work home to continue to improve, tweak and add more samples and loops to the live set.
The results of this turned into a one-hour live set that includes samples and loops from nearly 60 different tracks. I also worked on an eight-minute dedication to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic using tracks and samples from fan videos. The set is appropriately titled Bronies Eating Bass, a spinoff from the title of one of the intro tracks, Ponies Eating People.
The tech behind the music
The HP Envy 14 is really what made this all possible. This is the first live set I’ve done where the laptop hasn’t crashed on me mid-set. The stability of the machine is very important to be able to perform live. I have seen many laptops crash on many people—it even happened once to a Saturday night DJ at Youmacon. Sometimes it’s hardware instability or lack of resources, and sometimes it’s software issues. Ableton can be very hardware intensive, and is definitely more stable on a high-end machine.
From here I will be taking this set to the next level. I am going to use what I started and add my own beats and loops to personalize it. I also want to extend it so that I can play for up to two hours if need be. Of course, I will be adding new samples from the latest hardcore tracks I come across.
I’m looking forward to taking this set on the road as well. There will be my birthday party at The Old Miami next month, a show in Grand Rapids sometime in January, and I’m currently working on setting up a date in Flint. Then I will be looking to take the show to East Lansing and Kalamazoo. Stay tuned on my website for more details on future shows.
Coming up, we will be doing some benchmarking of the Envy 14 as well as a video about my performance at The Fillmore Detroit. Also, you can check out my set from ICOK and Youmacon at Soundcloud.
I couldn’t be more happy with the way things are going in my music career. I am so honored to be a part of these events and spreading peace and love to the people there. It is also great to receive all the warm compliments from the people who attended these events. Bigger things are coming yet, and you’re all invited to the party—especially if you’re kinda nerdy!