Session in NEW STUDIO!

I’m really digging this new studio. It’s just right for me – a flexible calendar, great musicians to share the space with, clean, and less expensive than I was paying at other studios. It’s win-win.

Alright – time to work on the Ableton set. Clean up old sessions. I feel it can be a waste of time because I’m not creating new music, but I need to internalize the fact that organization really does help me be faster and go farther. I know this from experience, but I forget it sometimes.

UPDATE from previous sessions:

  1.  My Launchkey Mini was not broken, as a producer told me it was. It was communicating with Ableton via one midi channel, and all I had to do was switch a setting in Ableton. PHEW – speaking with their support team saved a ton of time and money.
  2. Ableton – someone put a synth from the Suite version on my Standard version, and I no longer could save my session. Ableton advised me to download the trial with Suite, delete that synth, save the session, and then open it up again in my Standard version. Done. It worked.
  3. Normalized stems – I do not need stems normalized and them imported; I can simply edit their gain relative to each other in each clip’s track. Also saved a lot of work.
  4. Don’t underestimate your knowledge and capabilities. Just because someone claims to know what they’re doing doesn’t mean it’s so. I hired someone to help me, and it ended up backtracking what I had going on. I later went to other producers who were more knowledgeable (and more generous with sharing their knowledge) and nicer people simply as individuals. Oftentimes, I find that the more accomplished and knowledgeable people are also the most humble and gracious.

I have a solo show this Thursday at Fat Baby. I have my new Ableton session set up, and now my goal is to tackle the NanoKontrol – give the session some fun real-time manipulation.

Ok, I found this remote script for NanoKontrol2 and Ableton 9.7:

Here’s a video on how to upload the remote script into Ableton:


Where it stands today

I feel really good about the show at Pianos on Monday. It felt present, calm, happy, fun, connected. The new solo set is still in process of being set up, but the foundation is there. Set up now in the stu – Janet Jackson’s ‘Together Again’ has come back as a choice song to setup and strike my gear in the studio recently. And dance. Inspo as of late – Kate Moss pole dancing to an electronic pop track, directed by Sofia Coppola, originally for a music video for the White Stripes. Had to leave the studio since I need the internet for building the Alarke set. There’s no internet at the studio and date tethering is too slow. Hoping for faster internet around the world soon. Ended up working at this beautiful coffee shop, Devocion, in Williamsburg.

Today’s work (prioritized for GOALS)
1) update Ableton set with my new Live 9 and add normalized clips of stems, Just Get Here and Apollo (both from the previous set):

2) warm up for tonight’s Gypsy jazz gig at Le Fanfare
2) schedule future sessions with myself for next week where I’ll review the show at Pianos, review this month’s previous posts, and assess where the new solo set stands in the process.
3) get DJ fx setup – Muted1 Pure
4) NanoKontrol programming for Ableton
5) Launchkey Mini – investigate broken key that transmits midi without being pressed
6) get synth sounds – downloaded synth banks from Ableton’s license page + digital percussion soundbanks + instrument soundbanks

Evo’s session with DJ fx rack and instrument channels. I cannot get sound to play in his tracks. Test normalized tracks – are they the same volume as each other? If so, pull these into my set. Freeze and flatten both mine and Evo’s sessions. Authorize. Add Evo’s files to mine.


1) Authorizing Ableton:
Freeze & flatten tracks with analog or suite components.
Right click Freeze > Right-click Flatten

Preferences > License Maintanance > authorize on

It will allow me to save the set.

2) Lives Places – add project folder to Places





Saturday Run-Through

I did a run-through of the live set for my roommates. It was helpful to have a concert from start to finish with a live audience and feedback:

More relaxed, authentic, less artificial. Had fun. Take the mic out of the stand.

Pick three songs to show my story – Mignon, Pulses, Reverse. Personal experience to let the audience connect.

Use the microphone as a dance partner.

Quicker transitions between songs.

Just You – add later in the set to group guitar with the other songs.

Make the beat ready, then introduce the name of the song, then start singing.

Normalize the instrument levels for all of the songs.

Add more fx with the voice – use options on the TC Helicon. More reverb.

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – make sure all bass parts are in tune (not transposed – was there a global setting from Pulses that applied to the entire bass track)? Practice when to come in with the vocals so I sync up with the clip. Should I make a transition between each part of the arrangement?

Mignon – loop and overdub the chorus – sing over it.

Morning – strum with fingers, not pick. More tender to match the vocals and lyrics.

Angel – ending – analyze the best way to end it.

Apollo – people really like this one. Go directly from A to B – don’t bring it back to A to repeat the arrangement. It kills the energy. Check the tuning in the bass in the lowest note of the B section – sounds sharp.

Get stems for Just Get Here – Elkin + Alarke – play in the Alarke set.

Sing into the microphone! Maybe take the microphone out of the stand and carry over to the gear.

Good to step back from the microphone and dance. Move more. Move my body while doing the electronics. Animate the DJ element. Reggie Watts.

All fx – launch bass and drums together.

Drums: reverb

Bass: distortion

Synth: delay & filter sweep

Vox: delay

Stand closer to my table of gear so I don’t have to go far away from the mic.

Stay bouncy in my body and dance with the music even when I’m not singing.

Use more vocal effects on the TC Helicon.

Be more elegant. Being elegant never hurt anyone.

Friday Stu Sesh

Studio session. Friday morning. So many ideas and goals. Gypsy jazz gig tonight with Tim at Le Fanfare. Alarke show on Monday at Pianos. 10am meeting tomorrow (Saturday) with Kirk (my mentor / president of Avatar Studios). I need to ask him for help in creating a schedule that I can actually do this coming week. I know this, but I need to understand through experience that baby steps are necessary and that I cannot get too ambitious within a short period of time. I need to strategizeeeeee.

Pianos show prep – can I use Touchable to see the Ableton set so I don’t have to use the computer? At the same time, I could use the iPad to document the performance. BUT – the most important thing is to have a good live show. Why use the iPad to document the show when I could use it to make an ever btter show to document?

Saturday run-through for Gisela – set up table top on the music stand. Check tonight to make sure I have the base of the stand. Time the set. Videotape it. Look into stand carrying cases online. Gig bags for all gear!

– tabletop for gear
– tape controllers to read what instrument their knobs correspond to
– stems for Just Get Here
– getting the NanoKontrol to sync with Ableton – it was syncing before and now it is not
– guitar for Just You, Morning
– play guitar at the Gypsy jazz gig tonight at Le Fanfare to get warmed up. Play with dynamics.
– need more dedicated practice time!!!!
– guitar on Just You – audio is not coming through. Why? Do I need this or will I play guitar? Need to get a guitar stand.
– Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – TC Helicon harmony volume. Using this instrument is a strength. USE IT WELL!! Singing – my strength, over Ableton.
– normalize volume of all tracks. Reverse is louder than others.
– bass for Pulses