LUCIANBLOMKAMP and Two People walk us through their live shows
The pair of acts will round out their dual-headline tour with shows in Sydney and Brisbane across the next two weeks.
Header photo: LUCIANBLOMKAMP live, via Facebook.
When it comes to Australian electronic artists doing brilliant things at the moment, it's hard to look past Melbourne's LUCIANBLOMKAMP and Two People. The former tied together a three-part debut album, Sick Of What I Don't Understand, with its epic final chapter last month, following on a dominative twelve months prior that included co-writes for rising R&B force 6LACK. "Sick Of What I Don't Understand is an album that demonstrates LUCIANBLOMKAMP's versatility and dexterity, documenting moments of transformation and self-realisation as it moves from darker moments to light as the collection draws on," we said on the album on release and we stick by it; it's a release that well and truly the production skillset of one of Australia's finest. The latter, composed of ex-Snakadaktal (RIP) members Phoebe Lou and Joseph Clough, have been having a big year themselves, slowly teasing their forthcoming debut album First Body, which will arrive on January 18th next year.
They've currently joined forces on a three-date, double-headline show which kicked off in Melbourne last month (never fear, there are dates in Sydney and Brisbane to come), a tour which sees two of Australia's finest strut their stuff in tour-mode – something we're super excited to see after Two People stood out as one of BIGSOUND's finest forces. Ahead of the remaining shows – which you can find out more details on below – we sent through a couple of Q's to Two People and LUCIANBLOMKAMP about their live shows, so dig in and make sure you get those last tickets HERE.
So both of you have very electronic-centric music, which often, can be quite hard to translate into a live setting. Can you walk us through the process of translating your music into a live setting?
LUCIANBLOMKAMP (L): I don’t think about the live shows nearly enough when I’m writing my music, so it can be tough when it comes to eventually performing things live that I initially didn’t think about having to perform. Typically, I try to emphasise any if not all of the ’live’ aspects of my tracks, so playing the violin, guitar, keys or singing wherever possible. Keeping things visual for the audience really makes a big difference. While you technically have far more options for manipulating sound when working with controllers running through Ableton, as an audience member it’s just pretty unstimulating to watch someone turn knobs and whatnot.
Two People (TP): Putting together our live show was quite a process. Our music was written in the studio as we recorded it so we had to work backwards to form live versions of the songs. We like to think of the whole set as one piece with improvised moments and few silences. We base the set around electronic loops which are taken from the recordings. We always thought of it as a DJ/live band hybrid. The arrangements of songs are not set and the loops allow us to go wherever we want.
What does each of your respective live shows look like? What should people expect?
L: It’s me and a live drummer. Percussion has always played a pivotal role in my music and is often centre focus in my songs. Because of this it just seemed like a natural progression to bring live drums into the show to emphasise such an important aspect of my music. Plus just having someone else on stage with me really helps add a lot of energy to the performance as I have someone to feed off.
TP: Barna plays live drums, Phoebe sings, plays rock guitar and electric piano, and I control the samples and sequencing. We try to create more expansive versions of the recordings when we play, layering live instruments and extending particular sections. I’d reckon it gets pretty searing when we play. We have dubbed the genre of the live show ‘desert’.
What gear do you use, and for those unfamiliar, what part to they play in your live show?
L: Things are actually far more straightforward nowadays compared to how they used to be. Over the years, I’ve cut the fat a fair bit in regards to using a lot of gear that wasn’t adding much to the show. It’s all essentials now. I have my guitar and violin running through some effect pedals (reverb, delay, chorus, distortion, octave). My vocals run through a voicelive pedal for looping and different vocal effects. I have a very barebones 49-key midi controller used to play synths via Ableton live from my laptop. Similarly, I have a Push controller to adjust the effects of the synths I play on the keyboard and to trigger a few samples from time to time. Ironically I don’t actually use Push for triggering any clips which it’s more typically used for.
TP: We have a guitar, an electric piano and live drums along with our samplers and synths. We use Ableton to sequence synths and to trigger loops. I have a couple of controllers that allow me to arrange the songs as we play and manipulate the sounds, essentially mixing. I have a Prophet 08 that is sequenced from Ableton, which I’ll sometimes play. I also sequence a drum machine that is used for the electronic beats. I am able to punch in patterns on the drum machine on the go. This is a neat little way of improvising and layering up sounds live.
Electronic music has a heavy DJ culture, while both of you run with the live sets – despite it being more expensive and difficult to tour. What’s the importance of having a proper live show in your eyes in comparison to a DJ set?
L: Doing a DJ set is just something I never really considered. I only started producing because of trying to mess around with instruments so it just seemed natural to move in that direction when I started to play shows. DJing was something that just seemed so foreign from the get-go, nevermind the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to DJ regardless.
TP: I think it depends on the music or act. if the music has a real human quality to it, It’ll always come across better if it’s a live set. Our music has prominent vocals and a lot of live instruments so we always envisioned creating some kind of hybrid band/DJ show. But sometimes all you want is a DJ just lining up perfect sounding beats. I don’t think one way is better than the other.
The tour is a rare co-headline tour – which is super exciting. What draws you to the other act’s music?
L: I think the best aspect of their [Two People's] music is its sense of space. They really ride the line between keeping things down to the essentials and continually maintaining interest so perfectly. Even just sonically their sounds are so defined and unique to them. A mix of so many styles but somehow comes together into something super cohesive and special.
TP: It’s been great to see Lucian's songs performed live. Lucian has this great stark, aggressive quality to his music that has really drawn me in.
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