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Interviews & Articles

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http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/music/music-news/chemical-brothers-ready-reaction-gear-9201174

More of the same from Scotland. Apparently they played Surface To Air in 1994! (Should be 2004)
Never for money, always for love.

I need an intermission or I'm gonna Eve of Destruction in my pants


  • 2rbo Nutt37
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These interviews make me so happy! It feels so relieving to see Ed's still so much into it and passionate about their music. I can tell you I was totally shocked to hear Ed's going to take a break from touring last year and feared he had lost interest in the whole music thing. These statements, however, profoundly restored hope in me that they're going to press on on their Golden Path. I want them to become the Rolling Stones of electronic music :)!
Pie-chart music. That's what I have for dessert.


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Słucham THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS od 1995 roku .

* this chemical is good, this chemical is bad *


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It was something someone said somewhere..


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http://fastlane.fr/interview-technique-1-decryptage-technique-dernier-show-chemical-brothers/

Can someone translate into English?

Here's a translation :

Quote (selected)
Matt has been the designated backliner of the Brothers for over  years. At that time, the show was an Akai MPC sampler, and a few hardware synths. But the configuration evolved with each tour, and it was Matt's responsibility to ensure that this impressive machinery worked.


It took 6 weeks to prepare this new tour. Matt first met with the Brothers in their studio and helped them extract stems of the tracks to prepare the main playback document. He also started assembling the gear that the Brothers and him would use and the playback rack.

After 4 weeks, everyone gathered in a small studio to plug everything together, rehearse and do the technical modifications for a flawless execution. Finaly, the team moves in a much bigger studio to build the stage and handle sync between sound, lights, and the giant robots that appear at the end of the show.

3 rigs filled with equipement and 8 people touring in 2 buses are required to perform the show. Once the team takes the stage, it handles all of the aspects of the show: sound, audio returns, lights and visuals. The festival team will only intervene for setting up the giant robots and that's all.

The performance is half way between a DJ set and a live concert because the tracks are linked together back to back. The backing track is pre recorded in audio and played from a Macbook, while the Brothers manipulate the textures of synths and mix every audio source in real time.

It's a linear show in which the timeline is triggered at the start and only stops at the end

The performance relies on the live mix of 25 signals thanks to a Soundcraft GB8 mixer. Most synth and drum patterns are pre-sequenced but some simple lines will be played live. The synth patches are loaded in the machines on stage and altered in real time.

The transitions between the tracks are the main improvisation moments. The Brothers trigger 'one shot' sounds with an Ableton Push controller and use their spacialisation effects to fill the void spaces of the timeline.


The playback system:

After he tuned the synths and set back the timeline to 0 (show start), Matt stays behind the computer to intervene if needed. Logic Pro is used to play the 8 stems and sends the LTC sync (Linead Time Code) to the visual team.
Two computers A and B play the same document at the same time, they are kept in perfect sync thanks to an MTC clock (MIDI Time Code) generated by a rack Rosendahl mif 4:

Thanks to that system, any Logic session can be stopped at any moment and the second one takes the relay automatically. Even better: the first can then be restarted and will sync back to the same timeline as the second one! Furthermore, the signals generated by the two Logic Pro X documents go through a StartTechCom unit that continually scans them in order to switch the source if one of the two signals stops.

Finally, an MTC clock is generated by a Sync-Gen II LE unit in order to trigger and synchronize the synths and the drum machines surrounding the Brothers. Those external racks have been conceived to resolve the sync problems between the software and hardware.

Instead of using a classic USB or Firewire MIDI interface, the Sync-Gen II LE is a plugin that generates a pulse send to an external Sync-Lock unit (that looks like a DI box), generating itself a MIDI clock. The pulse and conventional audio are aligned in this unit, producing a stable sync without time skips. The MIDI signal is then sent to a Kenton LNDR MIDI to be transported via an Ethernet cable to the control board. It is received by a MOTU MIDI Patchbay that dispatches the signals to the different hardware.

The synths are vintage and error prone by nature. They can desync at any time. Matt built an iPad patch to restart the MTC signal during the show. By picking the right moment (a calm moment without drums) he can resync all the machines on the next high point.

A third laptop equiped with Ableton Live is used as a sampler and also handles Maschine Studio (NI). Some drum scenes are triggered by the Brothers from the Maschine Studio hardware. All the voice tracks are played from Ableton as audio clips, as well as 'one shots' triggered from Push and played from a Drum Rack in Live.

A fourth computer handles Pro Tools to record each show, including mics to capture the crowd sound.

Two sound engineers travel with the crew. One of them is responsible of the mix of the main control board and the other one of the on stage returns. They are very active during the show, where they adjust levels and control the frequency peaks sent by the Brothers. They also handle the compression in real time, in order to get a solid yet organic mix. The MIDAS mixers are also pushed to their limits, to get an even warmer sound. Here is a chart of the signal flow for the show :
« Last Edit: Sep 06, 2017, 11:53 by Ben_j »  


  • 2rbo Nutt37
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Much appreciated, Benji! My French is just too rusty, I seriously need to brush it up.
The article does seem to be intriguing.
Pie-chart music. That's what I have for dessert.


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Bah, Ben J has amended his post and done the translation. I got down as far as the "Rack de synchro Rosendahl mif 4" (red clock image).

Here's what I got,so you get the native English speakers perspective (dammit, I spent time on this so you're gonna read it!). No mistakes here, oh no....

The Chemical Brother’s ten (!) albums have garnered an international and timeless reputation.  Their show and electronic performance are considered among the best that exist.  We have come to meet their technician, Matt Cox at this year’s Creamfields festival in Liverpool for a guided tour of the staging and equipment used. You can see the show in action here (click link).

Matt is the backliner employed by the Chemical Brothers for the past 20 years. At the beginning, the show consisted of an Akai MPC sampler and various hardware synths.  But the configuration has evolved with each new tour and it has always been up to Matt to ensure the smooth running of this impressive machine setup.

Six weeks are needed to prepare for each tour. First of all Matt meets the Chemical Brothers in their studio and helps them extract the stems of the tracks, and also to prepare the principal playback “document”. He also starts to prepare the equipment that the Brothers use as well as the playback rack. Matt says, “Sometimes I ask Ed about how they make all this music, he mutters something about Brexit whilst glancing over at Tom for backup. Tom then goes into insane detail and I wish I hadn’t asked!”

After 4 weeks, everyone convenes in a small studio to connect all the equipment, repeat and put into place the modification techniques for an infallible system. Finally everyone moves to a larger studio in order to put together the staging, and manage the synchronisation between the sound, the lights, and the giant robots which appear at the end of the show.

3 trailers full of equipment and 8 people trouring in two busses are required to run the show. Once the team gets to the site/venue, they manage all aspects of the show: The sound (?), the audio returns , the lights and the visuals.  The festival employees don’t get involved except to help put the giant robots in place, and that’s all.

The performance is like a cross between a DJ set and a live performance, as all the tracks are played/mixed back to back. The backing track is pre-recorded in audio format and played from a  portable Mac (cheats!), whilst the Brothers manipulate the synth textures and mix all the sources/elements in real time.

It’s a linear show in which the time line is tripped/released at the start and doesn’t stop until the end. 

The performance relies on mixing 25 signals/feeds using a Soundcraft GB8 mixing console/desk. Most of the synth and drum patterns are pre-sequenced but certain simple lines are played live.  The synth patches are put in the machines on stage and transformed/played in real time. Matt Cox: “Sometimes Tom whispers in my ear, 'Don’t let Ed’s live playing come out of the speakers whatever you do'. I don’t know why he says that. Tom’s funny!”

The transitions between the tracks are the principal moments of improvisation. The Brothers release their “one shots” thanks to an Ableton Push controller and use their special effects to fill the empty spaces in the time line.

BIG PICTURE OF ALL THE EQUIPMENT
(Here is a detailed description of the live set up of the Chemical Brothers)

Once he has set up all the synths and put the time line at zero (show start), Matt sits behind the computers in order to intervene if necessary. Sometimes at the end Tom kinda plays live but it's mostly for show and the crowd are too off their faces to know what's going on anyway. Logic Pro is used to play the 8 stems and send the LTC (Linear Time Code) synchronisation to the visuals team.
Two computers, A and B play the same “document” simultaneously, they are held in perfect synchronicity thanks to a MTC (Midi Time Code) clock generated by Rosendahl mif 4:

Picture of red Rosendahl mif 4 clock.

And that's as far as I got, the dog ate my homework etc...


ps: the bits where Matt is quoted may... or may not be an accurate translation. You decide.
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Thanks, guys. Lovely.
Eight or over.


  • 2rbo Nutt37
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I second that! Thank you both! That's a pretty fun interview to read as I always wanted to know how they work things out live.

But the most important part is this one:
Quote (selected)
A fourth computer handles Pro Tools to record each show, including mics to capture the crowd sound.

I know Matt mentioned/confirmed it before on here but one can't highlight it enough ;) How bad I want to browse through their archives is beyond description.

Oh, and by the way, the fact that they accomplish such a complex show with just 8 people is truely impressive. Kudos!
« Last Edit: Sep 06, 2017, 20:39 by Csar »  
Pie-chart music. That's what I have for dessert.


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The performance relies on mixing 25 signals/feeds using a Soundcraft GB8 mixing console/desk. Most of the synth and drum patterns are pre-sequenced but certain simple lines are played live.  The synth patches are put in the machines on stage and transformed/played in real time. Matt Cox: “Sometimes Tom whispers in my ear, 'Don’t let Ed’s live playing come out of the speakers whatever you do'. I don’t know why he says that. Tom’s funny!”

ps: the bits where Matt is quoted may... or may not be an accurate translation. You decide.

I can confirm they're 100% true


  • Swoon Arpeggios..
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There's no quotes from Matt in the interview!
Why you little??!!...

It was something someone said somewhere..


 

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