I’ve had an Octatrack MkII for about three years now. My original idea was to use it as a backing track player & sequencer to arrange old, mostly VST-based material into a proper live set. That project has since not gone beyond one song.
But I’m going to play something very different next week in a private event. It’s also my first time playing solo.
I have no high ambitions for this gig. I’m mostly out to make a fool of myself and tackle some trauma. Get a feel for being on the stage alone.
The slot is only 20 minutes max, and I’ve made two songs, each lasting 7-10 minutes depending on how much I feel like jamming.
The setup is very simple, with only a Korg Monologue connected to the OT and everything else is done in the box. Both songs utilize resampling and the other one is using a pickup machine for layering the Monologue. One thru track is reserved for a “prepared” (preamp, EQ, compressor) signal from an SM58, although I have no idea (yet) what I’ll be saying or singing.
I’ve been rehearsing and refining the set daily and for the first time I feel like I’m not playing around with the Octatrack - instead I’m just playing. It’s an instrument that requires you to be in the moment and in command or you’ll screw up.
It’s almost brutal. Reloaded a part before saving it? Too bad, it’s gone now! Cleared all your carefully placed sliced drum break trigs? Better start rebuilding!
I save the project often, of course, but only if and when I’m sure everything is set up correctly. I could build in multiple failsafes like pre-recording things similar to what I’ll end up with when resampling.
But I’m in it for the danger.
I’m now gravitating towards practicing so that if I mess up, I will not hit stop. Because you don’t hit stop mid-song unless it’s a calculated break or maybe something like a MIDI sync problem. I’m trying to get into the mindset that if I mess up, it’s not the end of the world. I can recover by improvising.
My bandmate once told me that I shouldn’t be so overly serious about everything we do, and it really made me think. The ghosts that haunt me are the ones that say “your music sucks, you’re not a real performer, they’re only going to laugh at you”. These ghosts feed on perfection and self-loathing.
That’s why I’m doing this performance. I’ll start off with a joke and admit that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m there to make some noise.
There’s no particular point to this post. I’m just excited and felt like venting.