Welcome Los Angeles-based music producer and singer Dresage as our first performer in Output Live Sessions, recorded live and direct from Output Studio. Output Live Sessions illuminate cutting-edge artists at the intersection of music and technology taking their productions from the studio to the stage.
Dive into how Dresage brings her song “Center” to life by triggering chopped-up vocal stems into a dynamic performance alongside electroacoustic harp, bass, and drums.
Notes from the artist
The song “Center” fell out of me one evening, as I found myself stumbling into a crossroads of no longer being the center of somebody else’s world. It’s a lovely crisis of realizing you are but an insignificant speck within a massive, unforgiving, and beautiful universe. It was almost freeing.
The initial idea came about when Greg Martin created a weird bendy synth from my sampled vocals, laying down eight bars of a bass and drum groove to go underneath. I thought it was such a vibe!
He continued to work on the instrumentation, as I kept hearing this melody cooing “The center of the center,” so I just ran with it for the lyrics. From there, I took the production stems into a Pro Tools session to further shape the song. I ended up making chops of the original vocal synth, which now are the focus of this piece.
Transitioning to live
Bringing this song to life, I knew I had to think a little out of the box. Since there are so many production elements with atmospheric weight in the record, it was key to hold true to the elements that felt signature to the song.
In each chorus, we built this amorphous moving cloud of vocal layers and guitars. So, when harpist Lara Somogyi (aka my secret weapon) and I got together, we reconstructed this feeling to trigger at each chorus through her Boss RC-5 looper pedal.
An audience responds so much more when seeing things being hit and played in real-time, instead of wondering where a vocal or synth is magically coming from. To me, the Roland SPD-SX is a perfect live tool to bring that aspect to life and add texture, harmonic, and melodic elements with a live band. I’m not a drummer, but as a producer, something I love is chopping audio in my songs like hip-hop producers would on MPCs in the ’90s (J Dilla I love you).
Bassist Ricky Bakken and I have also been playing music together for years in a band, Hotel Cinema. Additionally, I adore how Tamir Barzilay plays the drum kit pushing boundaries in ways I hope my music could. I am lucky to know and make music with all of them!
If this inside look with music producer Dresage has you feeling inspired, check out this performance her named “secret weapon”: harpist Lara Somogyi.