Welcome to another edition of our on-going series Do It Live, where your favorite artists break down their stage setups and provide a behind the scenes look into how they are able to do what they do best. This time, we are joined by Berlin-based artist Luca Draccar, whose track "No Sometimes Yes" we premiered back in January. Below, he shows us how he performs live using a variety of different controllers and hardware.
Words by Luca Draccar
I like to change my setup to experiment with inspiring machines.
This is spoken in terms of hardware, therefore it is as well understood the pleasure coming from the physicality of the instrument.
1. TECHNICS 1210
I started my disc jockey journey with vinyl, using 2 Technics 1210: I was not so good on that medium, but that physically taught me to handle sound. Touch it, cook it, sweat it.
That's why I started scratching with effects processors for guitar/bass because it didn't exactly seem to me like I was a great talent or the future of vinylism haha :-)
Scratching and noise shaping sound to me more proper and creative from my profile.
Even today if I can use a turntable on my set, not to play records, but to scratches some particular tracks, and modulate with effect, I am always pleased to have the possibility of such primitive contact, such as the physicality of a hand on a Technics 1210.
I also transported this task, digitally speaking, obtaining with a combination of hardware/software the same scratch power, used on the effect category.
After my inspiring journey with vinyl, I was springing on what I was sure the future looks like: digital content. I started to implement the various software platforms, the same source’s content. Basically playing files, original length, or just a particular part; better-known as loops.
I can’t deny that Traktor and Ableton Live have been there since the very beginning and used in parallel.
The first more oriented to the DJ world, for easy playback of the tracks, or playlist, the second one, for loops, phrase, original things.
That’s why 2 laptops give me the old good feeling of the 2 turntables. Even for a live backup, speaking in term of a possible crash (something which has never happened).
Acting like a DJ or with a machine was not something I necessarily wanted, or planned, but I always loved finding my self on the unwanted next level, to face and take on new challenges. I find myself and learning new topics, even things initially meaningless to my workflow.
Can you imagine how DJ will perform in 20 years?
3. DJM 900 NEXUS
This story is easy.
DJM was my first mixer, the sound blow my mind. It was at the end of the ’90s and to be honest, it weren't that many options on the market. I could not believe what an instrument it was under my hands. That happiness never fades.
These days are quite a different story, because there is a lot on the market: I am also attracted to other concepts, other styles, and possibilities.
The first is A&H.
I think for example DB4 is one of the greatest underrated projects from Allen & Heath. I really like the ergonomic elegant touch of the DB4.
Same if you focus on Xone 4D: with two decades of evolution this machine runs on, you can easily understand how good and modern was the concept.
4. XONE: 4D
I guess I have had 4 Xone 4D my entire life, in different periods. I mapped it all as MIDI interface and mixing from a second mixer.
This is something possible on the 4D because there are so many possibilities: among pots, faders, encoders, rotaries that leave you the choice to have all visible and directly playable, without running on subcategory or group command.
Still facing a typical or classic DJ layout, let’s say: symmetric, which makes it all easier for live performing.
This is the contradiction of the contradiction. Reduce to the max. And necessary too. There is nothing out there, easier, more direct, more basic than the Faderfox DJ.
It is the instrument I use more for learning and studying sets because it gives me not many choices (besides mixing 2 channels). You are back to the basics topic: good DJs just need 2 tracks to impress.
And if it does not, I don’t think the way is adding more nerdy stuff, more cables, more hardware, more complexity.
It could be a lack of ideas, and Faderfox is very honest to reply to you on this topic, and I am completely honest with him too. So we communicate, we work, we do a lot of things with absolute trust.
6. KORG MICROKONTROL
Live: staying in a booth or in a stage. Performing. There is nothing more angelic and divine than to caress keys.
Even if I am not a classic pianist, thanks to technology, I can program keys and have the opportunity to show my ideas through combinations and assignment to MIDI functions.
Korg always had excellent cutting edge products between DJ and producer.
And if you use a Microkontrol to trigger your sequences of commands, on a linear concept, keyboards let you fly away on a different level, a higher one.