Prepping Your Music For Live Performance In Ableton Live
So you’ve done it, you finished a track and it all sounds great. Now it’s time to get up on stage and share your new work with the world. You have two options: you could DJ your own track, or you could get it set up for live remixing. Live remixing will allow you to do some really interesting creative work and gives your audience an engaging experience.
Building a live performance setup can be a complicated and daunting task. There is a lot to consider because there is only so much you can do at a time. So remember to keep it simple. The best live setups are flexible but don’t overwhelm you with options or making complicated choices because when you are on stage there are lots of distractions.
Step 1: PullING Up Your Multi-Track Session
HERE IS A SESSION OF MINE BEFORE GETTING READY TO PLAY LIVE
STEP 2: GROUPING YOUR TRACKS
Let’s start with getting your song all prepped and ready. To do this you are going to need to consolidate the number tracks in your session. You don’t want to be micro managing the 40+ tracks you have when you wrote it. Ideally everything should fit into 4-8 tracks. The exact number is entirely up to you. I don’t recommend going over 8 tracks because most MIDI controllers have their buttons and knobs set up in groups of 8. You could go over but then you get into multiple pages on controllers, which exponentially adds levels of complexity.
In my live setup I have divided all my tracks into one of 5 groups: Drums, Bass, Melody 1, Melody 2, and Everything Else. These divisions just have to do with the way I compose, and fits in with what I want control over on stage. Picking the number of tracks and how to divide them up is entirely up to you.
NOW I’VE ADDED 5 TRACKS, ROUTED ALL MY OTHER TRACKS TO ONE OF THOSE 5 TRACKS, SET MY MONITOR TO “IN” ON THE NEW TRACKS AND “RECORD ENABLED” ALL OF THEM.
STEP 3: CONSOLIDATE & CREATE TRACK STEMS
In order to get all of my tracks consolidated I create new tracks for my new stems. Then go into all the tracks in my session and route the output to one of my new stem tracks. Don’t forget to your reroute your return tracks as well. Make sure the monitor settings on your stem tracks are set to IN and hit the record arm button on the new stem tracks. Turn on your arrangement record button and hit play and Live will re-record everything onto the stem tracks.
ONCE I’VE RECORDED THE NEW STEMS, I RECOLOR THEM IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE TO ME
STEP 4: GETTING CREATIVE WITH YOUR STEMS
Now time to splice it up. Across my new stems I will pick an amount of time (usually 4 or 8 bars) to slice up by selecting an area in my arrangement and hitting CTRL + E (or CMD + E on a Mac). This will divide the clip into segments. The size of these slices may vary depending on my arrangement and how much control I want to have over it while performing. When I am done it should look something like this:
STEP 5: PREPARING IN SESSION VIEW
The last step involves moving your new clips back to the session view. You can either copy and paste all your clips over, or you can right click on and select “consolidate time to new scene.”
NOW THE SONG IS CHOPPED UP AND BACK IN THE SESSION VIEW, READY FOR PLAYING!
Now plug in your midi controller and start midi mapping it, or if you have a grid based controller like and APC40, Push, or LaunchPad, it will automatically map to allow you to launch your clips in any order that you’d like. That’s all you need to do to get started. You have a simplified version of your arrangement that is fully customizable and when you perform it live, you can make it different each time.
The next step from here would be to start adding effects on to each one of the tracks for even more customization. You can also start adding other songs into the same session and remix between your own tracks. Remember to spend lots of time practicing with it, and most importantly, have fun with it.