Modeselektor: How I Play Live
We met up with the German duo to find out how their live show works and to understand their performance ethos...
"The borders between the two kinds of performance merge but there is a core difference. It’s like when preparing a steak or a vegetarian dish: the elements have to be done on point. With a live show, you can act more on point. A live show could be compared to a theatre play; a DJ set to a longer feature film or a series. The impact of a live show can be bigger."
"When you produce an album and prepare to present it in a live show, the following questions come up: the setup size – if it's it going to be performed at on a festival or club stage – and the equipment’s weight – if it’s going to be transported by bus, truck or on a plane. In terms of content, it goes down to every detail, and above all, how to integrate tracks created with an older setup into a new setup."
"The actual setup works great. It can happen that digital connections get lost, meaning that soundcards or controllers just turn off unexpectedly - it's happened before. In that case, there is a secret emergency button: if you press this button, a second setup with the “helicopter” comes up from above so you can keep playing."
"Of course, that has changed extremely. Technology, in general, has developed so fast over the past few years that we have nearly a tool for every application. Software or hardware are used in many ways to perform functions beyond the idea for which they were created. I would like to recall an example which has been mentioned often. In 1982 the Japanese manufacturer Roland had launched the TB-303: the idea behind it was to provide bass accompaniment for guitarists.
"That is exactly what we have done in the last two years. Before we went back to the studio as Modeselektor, we did an extended DJ tour to collect inspiration and to assess what we wanted to do next. In a live show, there are no limitations in that sense - you are free to express what you want and only the question of setup, weight, complexity and technical efforts."
"It depends on the artist, regardless if it’s a DJ or live music experience. The audience wants to feel part of an experience and in a way to be 'entertained'. You have additional show details such as visuals, lasers, smoke, lights [all] synchronised - then a DJ set experience can be felt almost like a live set experience. There are DJs whose crew is bigger than our live crew."
"There's not really a recommendation. I feel it is important to travel and stay inspired. Then decide if you want to express this through a live performance or DJ set."
"That's exactly where I feel the development will go: the hybrid of both things. Individualism has been the trend for several years – we do it too. That’s why we still take some live equipment with us – 909, synthesizer, FX. This is our hybrid. By the way, the 'haute cuisine' is still with vinyl … tschüss!"
The duo are one of the headlining acts to be performing at this year's Kappa FuturFestival (6-7th July, Torino - Italy) - you buy tickets here and get more info here. Revisit Modeselektor's 'Who Else' album here.
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