Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Day in the Life with Goodie Mob

A couple of weeks ago, I got a phone call to "come help Goodie Mob in the studio with some Ableton help." That's not really a phone call you can say no to, so I jumped right in.

The objective was to get all the tracks live-ready and locked into a click track. Since Goodie was playing a variety of tracks from their (and solo) catalogues, no two tracks would have been produced the same way. Some tracks were based on vinyl samples, some were recorded analog, etc. Goodie has a live drummer (which makes a huge difference in live shows, I wish more electronic acts had live drums) so all tracks had to be aligned to a click.

On Super Bowl Sunday, I went over to their studio and the entire afternoon (with the game muted on the studio TV towards the end of it), we "warped" all the tracks, 8 bars at a time. I fell asleep that night with the "Ableton click track" song stuck in my head.  Some programming by yours truly was done here and there as well, you'll have to go to the show to hear it. 

Goodie Mob live is all 4 original members: T-Mo Goodie, Khujo Goodie, Big Gipp, and Cee-Lo.

Their backing band is Mark Mays on Drums and Aaron Clay on Bass and Korg MS-2000 (still a beefy little synth) with DJ Princess Cut on Serato and Ableton (two separate machines, wouldn't it be nice to Bridge them together one day).

Ableton, Serato, Bass, Drums. What else do you need?



Ableton and the APC40 (and our hard drive)

The Band

"P-Cut," Cee-Lo and "Some Guy"

We arranged the tracks in scenes, so the setlists can be dynamic and changeable. This also opens up room for improvisation and ad-libs.

Our Live use didn't stop with just the backing and click tracks.  On the day of the Atlanta show (2/20, rescheduled due to the snow on 2/12), we started up at 9:00AM getting the stage ready and synching the APC40 machine to the video machine.  

A familiar look on the LED screen.

My showday workspace, synching to the Mac Mini, two copies of Live running.

On the video machine, the songs' corresponding videos were loaded up in Arrangement view with a Marker as the launch. Master quantization on the video machine was set to "None" and each Marker had a specific MIDI note assigned to it (C1, C#1, etc).

On the APC machine, there was a blank MIDI track with each tracks' MIDI note in a clip, launched with the scene. (Pro-Tip: leave Loop OFF when triggering video unless you want your video to start over every bar ;)

So by using Ableton and it's built in Scenes, we had control over the Songs, the appropriate BPM/click and the corresponding video to it. 

The calm before the storm.

Soundcheck in twilight, quite a cool vibe inside the Tabernacle.

Finally: Showtime. Here was my view on stage.

The Mob is currently on the West Coast rapping up their Reunion tour, here are the remaining dates:
Sunday in San Francisco @ Ruby Skye - Get Tickets 
March 10th in Washington DC @ 9:30 Club - Tour Info here

Exclusive rehearsal video and some "spoiler" pics and videos after the jump.

Many many thanks to Maceo, DaVinci, Mark, Dan Z, and the rest of the Goodies for this amazing opportunity.

Midset wardrobe change:
The Dungeon Family (actually on Cool Breeze's record) classic, "Watch for the Hook;"
Cell Therapy: