An active musician since early childhood, Erin Barra is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, consultant, and more. Within her many different projects, Ableton Live and Push have become the center of Erin’s set-up in the studio and on stage. We recently caught up with Erin to discuss her music, playing...
An accomplished and experienced electronic musician and vinyl/digital DJ, Paula Temple’s latest releases see her diving into Live 9 and Push. Out now on the venerable R&S label, “Colonized” is a new statement from Paula, a dark, atmospheric techno soundscape with remixes from kindred spirit Perc. Paula recently shared a video with us, in which she demonstrated how “Colonized” was created using Live 9 and Push. Watch the video below, then continue reading for an interview with Paula.
How long have you been making music? When did you first get introduced to Ableton Live?
I've been making music for 18 years since I got my first synth the Roland SH-101 and an Akai sampler. My first record came out seven years later, in 2002. I was first introduced to version 1 of Ableton Live in 2001, when I was co-developing a new midi controller called the MXF8 (which stood for MIDI-cross-fade-8). We were testing the MXF8 with Ableton Live mostly, because it was so different to other software and it really appealed to us as DJ/producers, enabling us to perform live AND as DJs with our computers. I could add another level of experimenting in my performances and still perform with vinyl if I wanted to. So between 2002 and 2006 my performance setup was two vinyl decks and Ableton Live with MXF8 as eight virtual decks, ten decks in total. It was fun (and chaotic at times).
Did you start "Colonized" in Live 9? How did you find that the new workflow and mixing tools helped you in shaping the track?
Yes, “Colonized” was made entirely in the beta version of Live 9. The improvements to the browser layout got an immediate thumbs up from me, but what got me excited the most were the improvements to EQ8 and the Glue compressor. I usually rely on outboard hardware compressors to get the quality of compression effects you see me creating in the video. Techno production traditionally relies a lot on compression techniques; for my track I had the Glue and EQ8 on individual channels, group channels and on the master. What was interesting, for the first time I could go extreme with the compression without killing the track. One example I give in the video is overdriving the hats. This was how I was able to keep the music raw with a sparse atmosphere yet sounding very powerful.
Above: Listen to a preview of the "Colonized" EP
How has Push affected your studio workflow?
Before using Push I didn't realise how stagnating it can be to just sit in front my computer screen to make music. Working on Push has started to help get to my ideas much more quickly, and I feel like I'm working with a very flexible instrument being more interactive in my workflow as I'm developing the beats and melodies. I particularly enjoy the alternative approach to keyboard layout and scales/chords, which I don't actually show in the video but I think is great for both trained and non-trained musicians. As I'll be travelling more I imagine Push will enable me to produce music on the road without needing to carry loads of equipment.
Will you be playing Live to promote "Colonized"? If so, what is your setup?
Yes, I'm just about to announce some dates and I'll be using the following setup... Macbook Pro with Ableton Live 9, Push (for live and remix elements), Allen & Heath Xone K2 (for digital DJing), Technics 1210 turntables (for vinyl non-digital Djing). This way, I can test out my new music ideas and perform something exclusive for every gig, play other artists' promos that have not been released on vinyl, and still play some of my older records I love. I've just tested out my setup at a launch gig in Glasgow and was really happy.
What's next for you following "Colonized"?
I'm currently working on two new tracks as Paula Temple that I'm really excited about, and I hope these will be released later in the year. One of the tracks is a more melodic techno piece (shock!).