It seems like, with each passing day, there are more and more people moving past standard DJ sets, and creating live performances to better showcase their work. Some have been doing it for ages, but either way, we are big fans of people pushing themselves and their music. One such artist is Polymath boss Third Son, whose moody and atmospheric techno has seen him remix many of the genre's elite, more recently Maya Jane Coles. Seeing as he's extremely skilled in the ways of live techno, we invited him for our latest Do It Live series. Below, he walks us through his setup and how he's able to achieve maximum impact during his sets, as well as a couple videos on stage and in the studio.
Words and photos by Third Son
I’ve tried to keep my Live setup as close to my studio setup as possible. This lends itself to improv jams in a live situation and developing ideas organically in the studio. For live specifically, I use an Elektron Octatrack MKii, Toraiz Squid, Arturia Beatstep pro, and my modular system.
I’ll tap a simple drum sequence into the Octatrack, usually 909 or 808 sounds. The Toraiz Squid is connected by MIDI clock to the Octatrack so it is already in sync and running alongside. I’ll start jamming in basic rhythms to the cartesian sequencer just by hitting the pads. The CV and MIDI is going into the modular rig at this point, with basic connections to oscillators. These oscillators will then either have their own VCA’s, so decay is controlled within the module (Basimilus Iteratitas Alter), or I’ll have to patch in an envelope generator so it’s not just one sustained note (Mutable Instruments Plaits). I’ll often use a filter for this as well to give a bit of extra dynamic. I can hit randomise on the Squid and have new rhythms, pitches, and velocities generated until there’s something interesting or inspiring. This is where the Squid really excels.
Everything is already tuned and in scale, so it should always fit together. I also have a tonne of premade ideas, and sometimes I’m recreating released tracks or using parts through the sampler. With the modular, my favourite thing to do at the moment is to plug it into my SEM filter, which randomly changes the frequency and resonance over time (think Daniel Avery - Naive Response). Next, I’m plugging in the Beatstep Pro drum outputs into drum inputs on the modular - simple triggers and decay envelopes. Intellijel Plonk and WMD Fracture cover extra drums, hats, claps, snares and toms or anything weird.
Third Son's latest work, 'The You In You Isn’t The You You Thought Was In You' is out now on Polymath. Grab it here.