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Monckyman

Playing to a click track.

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Hi
I have done tracks for other bands so maybe I help.
There are a few ways you could go about this. Are you going to do the tracks yourself or buy them?
It is easy to do them yourself if you can find the midi files and on some DAW's you can track the tempo changers of the original song to give you a much more loose feel. try not to over possesses them or uses over possessed sounds., think in the context of what will sound good in your band and try to make the sounds believable, to put it simply think in terms of a live keyboard player rather than a studio production.
With pre-rerecorded tracks the mix/sounds can change when summed to mono not the end of the world but worth checking. I have had some clients who feel that the sound in mono is too much of a compromise, it might be worth investing in a 4 track.
Lastly you work in live sound so there will be no need to tell you but it is worth mentioning for others, make sure all connections are tight and you keep backups. Edited by ironside1966

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In my band we play with a programmed drummer, we simply havn't found a guy this is good enough and/or fits with the rest of us.

Restrictive? yep
Difficult? live at times definitely. The monitor mix has to be spot on or we're pretty much screwed. There have been times the drums have dropped out live and it's been upto me to keep the rhythm going and hoping it sorts out.
Can it pay off? Yes! One particular gig (3 so far, testing the water and now we're sorting our weaknesses) the crowd went absolutely bloody beserk. One of the best nights out for me to date and people loved the drums and synths.

It's what works for the situation, but playing to any kind of click really does need a lot of discipline.

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Oddly enough, on the subject of clicks being restrictive, a few of my friends went to see Rammstein in Nottingham last night and apparently at one point their click track messed up mid-song so they had to stop and start again.
So it even happens to the best of them!

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My brother saw David Grey mess up the start of a song 3 times in a row. It could have been recovered with live musicians.

Quantisation is worse than auto tune in my book. A drummer that can't play in time to a click isn't a drummer in the same way that a singer who can't sing in tune is not a singer.

I'd use the Jurasic Park Quote about people doing things because they can but I can't remember it.

We used mini disk and the drummer just had a mix in his headphones which worked. You need a way to stop it while you continue playing in case it goes t*ts up rather than having to stop the tune. Because it undoubtedly will.

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the technology these days is good and reliable enough that worries about form, false starts, tempo shifts really aren't really an issue provided you know what you're doing.

For me the trick is using it as an instrument and performing it live, rather than playing along with a track

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I just remembered watching REM getting it wrong too. On a pretty big stage!!

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvxTJFIz18s[/media]

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For a big band it is not really excusable..and I would rather them use more players to do the parts required.

4 pieces are pretty limited in this regard, so why don't they just admit some parts needed augmention and put those guys on stage.... not try and hide them from the cams..!!
For more local bands, there is more excuse as there is a cost element...which really shouldn't be a factor for large stage show bands, IMO.

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hey gang,

like it or not playing with a click and having keys, and additional bells and whistles etc is now industry standard,,,
We are now using a sample pad (SPD-S) as are a lot of pro bands, i know for a fact a great deal of major touring bands have a dual system running side by side,,
More interestingly tho is where are we getting the tracks from !, I suspect like us, most bands are producing their own in a studio set-up and creating WAV files, however I did find a french website which produces backing tracks which you can customise before downloading (and can alter afterwards) which is pretty cool,, you can just click to lose the drums or vocals etc,, even alter the key..
Tracks which we have to produce are now taking a long time due to studios busy SO my question is,,,,do we know anyone producing pro quality backing and is this a resource which ought to be shared??

:gas:

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There are times when you need extra human beings on stage and times when machines can do the job better. It's a question of knowing which one suits your situation best.

In the past I've played in bands using pre-recorded backing because the alternatives were either impractical from a technological PoV or finding the right musicians with the right equipment and attitude was impossible.

If you are going to use the backing to replace things that are better achieved with another person on the stage, then you are adding too much extra complexity to the band set up for the sake of not getting another member.

OTOH if you are using machine for their strengths - things that would be technically difficult for musicians to play and that rely on repetition combined with super-accurate timing, then you need to explore how best to integrate it into your band.

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My point was really related to the REM clip... there is no excuse for that, they should use additional players.

People like Madonna and Britney can't sing a show anyway so they are going to fly in vox.. and if they do that then another few sequences is not going to matter.

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Just seen this topic.

Click track - can't do it and won't do it.

Backing tracks - sh*te - refuse to use or work with them.

Live music is live music and if you can't reproduce on stage what you do in the studio as live musicians with proper instruments, you are taking money under false pretences IMO.

I await being dragged to the stocks........................ Edited by Jazzneck

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331641806' post='1576316']
Just seen this topic.

Click track - can't do it and won't do it.

Backing tracks - sh*te - refuse to use or work with them.

Live music is live music and if you can't reproduce on stage what you do in the studio as live musicians with proper instruments, you are taking money under false pretences IMO.

I await being dragged to the stocks........................
[/quote]

off to the stocks you go then :lol: :lol: wait for the flaming

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331641806' post='1576316']
Just seen this topic.

Click track - can't do it and won't do it.

Backing tracks - sh*te - refuse to use or work with them.

Live music is live music and if you can't reproduce on stage what you do in the studio as live musicians with proper instruments, you are taking money under false pretences IMO.

I await being dragged to the stocks........................
[/quote]

Here we go then.

That sort of attitude simply shows a lack of understanding of the music and acknowledgement that there are situations and genres where click tracks and programmed/recorded backing is perfectly appropriate.

As I said in my previous post there's two different kinds of backing tracks - ones that simply replace what musicians would be playing and IMO should be avoid as far as possible. Then there's others where you use the machines for their strengths to do stuff that no musician could or would want to do - complexity and repetition.

In previous bands where we have used sequenced or recorded backing as part of the live act and we would get comments from audience members saying that they thought the music would be better with a "real" drummer/keyboard player etc. my response would always be to ask them if they were interested in the job and if so to invite them to the next rehearsal. Unsurprisingly most of them turned down my offer, but one didn't. He turned out to be completely useless at playing the parts that we required despite being a more than competent keyboard player. I hope that he went away with an appreciation of what can be done with machines and when they might actually be more appropriate for the music than a human being.

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1331642681' post='1576343']
Here we go then.

That sort of attitude simply shows a lack of understanding of the music and acknowledgement that there are situations and genres where click tracks and programmed/recorded backing is perfectly appropriate.

As I said in my previous post there's two different kinds of backing tracks - ones that simply replace what musicians would be playing and IMO should be avoid as far as possible. Then there's others where you use the machines for their strengths to do stuff that no musician could or would want to do - complexity and repetition.

In previous bands where we have used sequenced or recorded backing as part of the live act and we would get comments from audience members saying that they thought the music would be better with a "real" drummer/keyboard player etc. my response would always be to ask them if they were interested in the job and if so to invite them to the next rehearsal. Unsurprisingly most of them turned down my offer, but one didn't. He turned out to be completely useless at playing the parts that we required despite being a more than competent keyboard player. I hope that he went away with an appreciation of what can be done with machines and when they might actually be more appropriate for the music than a human being.
[/quote]

If it can't be played on an instrument by a human being it ain't music then, is it?

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I was in a band that used click & backing tracks extensively. We had it set up on a PC and used Ableton Live, plus some other gismo software that could also cue video playback. As others have suggested, just the drummer could hear the click. It all worked well, although it did take many months to get all of the technology working together smoothly - and more importantly triggering instantly when the keyboard player hit the relevant key. It's a shame the band didn't last long enough to do any gigs :(

I'm not sure if a PC is the best way to go, but your options are limited when you are using a LOT of samples, without doing a final mix-down and want them all to hand without having to swap drives/reconfigure stuff. Most appliances don't have enough storage capacity (or at least didn't when we were doing our thing).

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331642939' post='1576354']
If it can't be played on an instrument by a human being it ain't music then, is it?
[/quote]

Enjoy the responses you get for that comment :P

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... and in response to the "backing tracks 'aint music" comments, you try doing a full-on Pink Floyd tribute without any sound effects. Or splitting the mediocre money between the three backing singers, saxophonist, three guitarists, two keyboard players, bass and drums you'd need to reproduce all of those overdubs accurately.

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331642939' post='1576354']
If it can't be played on an instrument by a human being it ain't music then, is it?
[/quote]

Assuming that you're not trolling for effect...

My parents honestly believed that anything produced with amplified instruments wasn't music and they were by no means alone in this view. Thankfully you'd be hard pressed to find many people who think like that now.

The idea that using machines takes something away from the music is just as ridiculous as the idea that using amplification does. A good musician uses all the tools at their disposal and knows how to use them appropriately.

I would also argue though, that the PF tribute band should be using musicians rather than machines. As I said it's all about the right tools for the right job.

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[quote name='Norris' timestamp='1331643522' post='1576381']
... and in response to the "backing tracks 'aint music" comments, you try doing a full-on Pink Floyd tribute without any sound effects. Or splitting the mediocre money between the three backing singers, saxophonist, three guitarists, two keyboard players, bass and drums you'd need to reproduce all of those overdubs accurately.
[/quote]

Tribute act???
Don't get me started on that, either............................

BTW have a look at this:
[font=Arial][size=2][url="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17350688"]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17350688[/url][/size][/font]

[font=Arial][size=2]Wierd.....[/size][/font]

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[quote name='BigRedX' timestamp='1331644281' post='1576399']
Assuming that you're not trolling for effect...

My parents honestly believed that anything produced with amplified instruments wasn't music and they were by no means alone in this view. Thankfully you'd be hard pressed to find many people who think like that now.

The idea that using machines takes something away from the music is just as ridiculous as the idea that using amplification does. A good musician uses all the tools at their disposal and knows how to use them appropriately.

I would also argue though, that the PF tribute band should be using musicians rather than machines. As I said it's all about the right tools for the right job.
[/quote]

Thanks for the PF bit BigRedX and I will admit to a slight amount of trolling, but amplification is just that, amplification.
We use amps to increase sound in the same way as an orchestra uses numerous violins (for instance) all playing the same thing at the same time to amplify sound, don't we?

Maybe my problem is that I'm a self taught bass player and not a musician. :D Edited by Jazzneck

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I have seen Metallica play 7 times since they released the Black album and not once have I seen them perform Enter Sandman where the sample of the kid saying his prayers has been in time with the break in the middle 8th. It sounds bloody awful! That's a classic example of when using a click sparingly to maintain an organic feel to the whole set is more than persmissable. As for the other songs they play...they tend to play them faster live which I actually welcome! :D

I know Hagis from Senser (forgive the name drop!) who doesn't play on stage with them, but a very important member of the band. He doubles up as their sound engineer/samples guy and controls their click tracks and triggers the samples from the desk. I have seen this guy at work and take my word for it...if these guys didn't play to a click track the would not be able to play to the samples and it would be nigh on impossible to perform their songs as the samples form a huge part of their style. Hagis is a muso too and is totally appreciative of 'keeping things real', but I do regard what he does as skillful as the other guys part on stage. Edited by shizznit

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331642939' post='1576354']
If it can't be played on an instrument by a human being it ain't music then, is it?
[/quote]

I once sequenced a 16 bar passage of "The Mad Piper" in a song where I'd played everything else in real time. His sound was a piccolo (an instrument I can't play anyway), and other bits of his part I'd played on a Korg M1 but there was no way I could have played this in real time. This section consisted of argeggios in hemi demi semiquavers and at the tempo I guess an expert at the top of his game could have done it, but (1) I didn't know any of those and (2) I couldn't have paid him anyway.

IMO I was justified in making my music by conventional means plus using a little help from technology. Those 16 bars are as much "music" as the rest of the piece. I'm sure many other BassChatters could also provide similar tales to show that statements such as that quoted are just intended to provoke those of us with nothing better to do into telling our stories of how technology helped us achieve a musical goal.

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[quote name='Jazzneck' timestamp='1331645025' post='1576421']
Thanks for the PF bit BigRedX and I will admit to a slight amount of trolling, but amplification is just that, amplification.
We use amps to increase sound in the same way as an orchestra uses numerous violins (for instance) all playing the same thing at the same time to amplify sound, don't we?

Maybe my problem is that I'm a self taught bass player and not a musician. :D
[/quote]

Amplification in modern music is about far, far more than just making the instruments louder. No matter how many acoustic guitars we double up it's never going to sound the same as a single guitarist with a Les Paul through a Marshall amplifier even on a "clean" setting.

Here's another question: Do you think the use of loopers (where you record part of your performance on the fly and then play along to it) any more "musically" acceptable than using a sequencer? IME the majority of the audience can't tell the difference and will assume that you're using a backing track.

I'm a self-taught bass player too. I'm also a self-taught guitarist, keyboard player, synth and sequencer programmer. I like to keep my options and mind open when it comes to creating and playing music.

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So my mate who's a singer got pee'd off with paying all those (sometimes unreliable) bozos behind her and invested in some professional backing tracks and a decent PA and lights. She now makes a lot more money and can have all the effects and sounds that she wants, all programmed by another mate with a keyboard and a PC.

Downside of course is that the drummer, bassist, multi instrumentalist and guitarist are out of a job.

I think there's a slippery slope between being a live, gigging band who can be spontaneous and go with the flow, and a singer backed by a file of noughts and ones.

Steve

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