Choice pieces of kit from the likes of Elektron, Novation and Pioneer make up Saytek’s live-focused setup. He gives us a tour.
Saytek – My Studio
My whole setup is designed for live performance. I even ditched making traditional tracks apart from the odd remix and vocal track… Now everything is a live jam, it’s just me jamming and recording the stereo out of the DJ mixer with a tiny bit of mastering and editing to make it DJ-friendly.
Elektron Analog Rytm
This bit of kit is such a joy to use, from designing big kick drums and making deep sub-bass lines, from playing toms chromatically to shimmering hats and cutting snares. The sound design capabilities in this box are immense and the ability to play and warp samples is amazing. The Performance mode is great, allowing you to set loads of parameters to a single velocity-sensitive pad to do really cool stuff on the fly. I have whole live jam tracks come off this box, including ‘Just My Opinion (Live)’, ’18 Locks (Live)’ on Detone and ‘Rtym & Blues (Live)’ from my Machine Jams album on Cubism.
Elektron Analog Four
Lush and quirky four-voice analogue synth and sequencer. You can get some great sounds out of this, from two-oscillator analogue chords to acid bass. For me though, it’s the ability to make otherworldly sounds that makes it so unique – soft, gurgling tones and gentle bleeps that add depth and atmosphere to my jams – love it! It’s also got a great performance mode where you can assign multiple parameters to one knob. I use this as a lead in many of my live tracks, including ‘Re-Entry’, ‘Octave Shift (Live)’ and ‘Asymmetric (Live)’.
It may not be considered cool to take a laptop on stage in 2017, but I love Ableton as a performance tool. No hardware would allow me to have so much power when performing live with 30 tracks of audio, three virtual drum machines and two soft synths all running at the same time. I’m triggering samples and arranging Live whilst improvising with my other hardware.
Novation Impulse 25
A big, well-built controller keyboard that allows me to use Ableton like a sturdy bit of hardware. I only have to touch the laptop to load up my live set and then its all hands-on from there. I like working in the old-skool way, mapping MIDI, manually triggering samples with traditional keyboard keys, and Sharpie and tape labelling things up for me.
Novation Circuit & Korg KP3 Pro
I love the Circuit. With all the analogue bits, it’s nice to have something with a uniquely digital sound. The sequencer is great and the fact you can put your own samples in it make it a very useful bit of kit… Within a few knob turns you can get the macros going crazy with glitchy madness. I have made loads of brand new live material on this that hasn’t seen the light of day as far as releases but has been working well for me in the clubs.
I’ve had a Korg KP3 for ten years. In fact, it’s the only bit of kit that survived the road for all these years! I recently replaced it with the KP3 Pro. Hands-on trippy FX and synth sweeps from this box are big part of my live show.
A great bit of kit for performance with a selection of effects that really work on the floor and a simple sample player which you can put your own sounds in. I love the ribbon for stuttering the samples and the pitch knob for the sampler. It doesn’t sync to MIDI clock so sometimes it falls out of sync with the beat, but it’s worth risking as the results are so good. The crazy breakdown in ‘Doppelganger (Live)’ on KMS is created in this box.
Korg Volca Bass & Keys
People tell me I should sell them but I still love them. If the Elektron Analog Four makes beautiful noises then I use the Volcas for the dirty bleeps and raw, acidic squeaks – lo-fi sounds that have been a big part of some of my biggest dancefloor jams.
Sage Coffee Machine
There is only one stimulant left in my life and it’s brilliant coffee. I am a snob and only use the best freshly roasted beans from the UK’s finest roasting houses, often opting for single origin. At the moment I have a blend from Caravan in east London. This machine was a serious investment and with a burr grinder and 10 bar pressure it’s a serious bit of kit!