Something we've gleaned from indulging our inner geek in these gear based interviews is that everyone has their own touch on bringing their sound to the stage, but in our latest session with Portable we think we've uncovered one of the most obscure and interesting arrangements yet. There's no photos for this one instead we've included the Süd Electronic boss's most recent Boiler Room set as a visual and sonic illustration of the live set in question. In the discussion below we uncover the secrets behind the boxes (not your standard stuff) as we look forward to experiencing first hand in Room Two this coming Saturday night. There’s also an extra special teaser video Portable has put together especially for the occasion...
Ok so I’ve found your Boiler Room video of you performing live and I’ve made my best attempt to ID what you’re using – butam coming up stumped. Can you please run us through your set up?
For me setup I have a little controller that was discontinued some years ago from JL Cooper, a US company more famous for video controllers than midi controllers,but this one unit is my pride and joy, we have 72 trigger buttons in total and 32 tiny sliders, this controls all my clips in Ableton and also my volume of the seperate tracks, it’s super tiny and I am always asked how my hands can do that, but I guess practice makes perfect.
I have the first edition of the Fader Fox for scrolling through the different tracks My newest addition is a wireless midi controller from Numark, that kind of looks like a game controller and is a lot of fun in the live set. Then my voicetouch live for vocal effects. And of course my customized microphone.
And an teenage engineering OP1.
Are all the controls triggering Ableton or are some synths or drum machines in their own right?
I use both, the midi gear is controller seperate parts of the songs in Ableton, bass, drum, hi hat etc, And then I also use the OP1 as a synth is some tracks with live modulation and as a drum machine in other tracks !
Can you talk us through your choice of microphone and do you put any effects onto the vocal when you play live? It sounds kind of harmonised like there’s multiple parts playing at times…
Yes the mic goes through the voicetouch live for my live show, because the studio recordings I harmonise with myself and the voicetouch live makes harmonisation while live possible, I also use it for crazy effects during my show.
There’s not many electronic artists that sing live – I know a few have done so on their tracks but are still petrified of singing in front of crowds! As a performer what do you find that singing gives to your own experience?
I really love it, everytime I am live my set is different, I would play different tracks or just different mixes and depending on the party, so the live vocals just adds something completely personal to the show and I have been fortunate enough to be booked only as a live show all over the globe , and each time after the show there is tremendous thanks and gratitude, because I sing from the heart, my last show at Panorama Bar's Perlonized some people came up after and said they were close to tears, so that was sweet!
How often do you rework your live set? Do you like to keep some of your older tracks in it or do you prefer to keep it more looking forward?
I have a mix of things, I play the hit tracks as it were but make different mixes of them, then I also throw in new upcoming tracks and also some really old ones mixed with each other,like a medley, so it never really sounds the same as the recording or even another live set.
I know you have a life time of experience under your belt but are there still times when you get nervous before you play?
Actually sometimes I do, I recently played in Cape Town and my parents and family were attending, I was really nervous then, but in the end it all worked out and things were magic!
It is weird that when people you know are there the nerves are stronger. You’ve recently announced your EP Sportable on Perlon how did the release come together for you – like were the tracks put together over a certain timeframe or with any particular ideas at the front of your mind?
I’m always composing, the EP was composed in S.America and Barcelona and put together here in Berlin. It was over a period of a year I guess, so each track has quite a different feel to each other. Also with this release I had a music video made for each track. This will be featured on Inverted Audio, groove Magazine online and electronic beats over the next few weeks. One video was made in Puglia, Italy,another San Francisco and another in Istanbul!
What’s the rest of your year looking like can we expect anything more release wise from yourself or Sud Electronic?
I have a südelectronic ep completed but with some delays that will be out next year. Aug 27th sees the release of Sportable on Perlon and in Nov I have a new release on Live at robert johnson!
Portable photo by Shai Levy.
Check Portable's website for more information on his forthcoming projects.