The Glitch Mob hails from Los Angeles, California, and is made up of 3 men armed with laptops and Lemurs: Boreta, Ooah, and edIT. As the group's name would suggest, they create a powerful blend of glitched out beats with grinding bass lines, frenetic edits, all of it grooving hard at 90 bpm, striving to push the envelope of of hip-hop.
We got a nice little preview of their new setup before they headed out on their More Voltage summer tour, and here's what they've got going on:
How did you discover the Lemur?
edIT: Well the Lemur is something we knew about for a long, long time, actually, since they've been around. But it wasn't until recently, when we were really thinking about how we could step up our live show, and how we could actually show the audience that we are performing stuff, and not just hiding behind a series of computers, that the Lemurs actually came into play. We thought it would be great to have these things because people could actually see the Lemur light up on stage, they can actually see what it does. With the Lemur we could transform it into anything we wanted to, and it would be very apparent to the audience what we're doing. I mean, if you've got a gigantic fader and you're moving it, and the audience can hear something happening, they know there is something going on. As opposed to hiding behind your laptop wall and tweaking something that no one can see.
Boreta: That's part of our project, too. We're more of a band in that sense, and we want to make more of a connection with the audience and get them more involved, and that can be hard with a laptop. I used to use a Tenori-On, and a friend urged us on to the Lemur; it was just a logical progression for us. We really want to avoid the "email checker" syndrome that is a problem with playing a laptop, and the Lemur puts us out in front and the laptop further away.
Has the Lemur replaced controllers for you, or do you use it in addition to other controllers?
edIT: I'd say it's a combination of both. We used to perform on Trigger Fingers, and what we've essentially done is recreated them on the Lemurs but also improved upon the way we used to perform with them. And that was kind of it; the Trigger Finger can only go so far. And the Lemur can not only do what the Trigger Finger could do, but can do so much more.
... tell us more about using the Lemur for live drum pad triggering.
Boreta: It's definitely a different feeling, but once you get used to it, and with the visual feedback, it works, and there is other things you can do with it that you can't do with drum pads. Our samples are loaded into clips in Live, not into a drum sampler, so by setting the launch quantization of the clips to the desired timing, we can easily play the pads in time. And say they are set to 32nd notes. I can just drag my finger around on the screen across the pads, playing the samples faster than is possible on an MPD.
edIT: And being able to make the pads the size you want and lay them out however you want, you can play unique fills and patterns that you wouldn't be able to do on a traditional drum pad.
Boreta: And just how sturdy they are, too. We play lots and lots of shows, and put these things through the ringer.
So has it changed the way in which you perform?
Boreta: Definitely. One of the projects we're working on now, and we're getting closer and closer to, is moving the laptops completely off the stage. And I don't mean moving to a hardware based show with drum machines, but because we can program everything we need on the Lemur we can have pages and pages of controllers. It was too difficult with a Trigger Finger because we have so many samples, but with everything laid out in Ableton Live and programmed accordingly on the Lemur, we have 15 pages of controllers - it allows up to push the laptop further off the stage.
Seeing as how integral the Lemur is to your live show, do you also use it in the production stage?
Boreta: Absolutely. We are always discovering new ways to use it. Live, it's more of a static controller, but in the studio we use it for more creative purposes.
The last time we were working in the studio we were just doing some panning work on some high hats; as opposed to drawing in all the automation, we used the Lemur's physics capabilities: we were just assigning the controls to objects on the Lemur and just throwing things around. I mean, balls were just flying everywhere!
edIT: The Lemur is a one of a kind. And being able to record all of the objects moving around on their own on the Lemur is huge.
What would you like to see in future revisions of the Lemur?
All: More memory!
Boreta: The way we have our interfaces set up causes our Lemurs to run out of memory pretty fast. We like to have our pads individually colored and have unique sizes as well, we don't just use a single pad object and make a grid out of it, so we run out of memory pretty fast.
edIT: Another thing I'd love is the ability to control other objects on my Lemur and on the other guy's Lemurs with an object on mine. I'd love to click this pad and have it turn on corresponding pads on the other two Lemurs. It would be totally helpful to us to be able to signal to the others that 'something is about to happen'.
... you can! :)
edIT: Oh you can, wow, OK. Gotta hit the manual a little harder.
Ooah: More Dexter updates!
What are you hoping to do with the Lemur in the future?
edIT: Well, honestly, we've just scratched the surface of what the Lemur can do, and in the future, as we get the hang of it a little bit more, things are going to get a little more advanced and a little crazier. Because we are going to make the Lemurs part of the visual show by projecting video of them up on screens, we're going to color code each song's interface so again the audience can see what's going on.