When it comes to being a one-person band, a producer/performer if you will, it would appear that boys like their laptops and their big fancy light shows and us girls like our gizmos and gear. I don’t have a term for it yet, but I’m seeing a trend of female artists who aren’t quite electronica yet definitely use electronica elements in the creation of their music. I think I may be part of a genre and I’m in good company!
For myself, I got the notion of using a looper from watching guitarists and originally was planning to use my JamMan Loop Pedal with just a bass guitar, layering notes to build chords and rhythms. It didn’t quite gel for me and I put the whole thing away for a while. Somewhere between putting it away and pulling it out again to loop keys and drum machines, I encountered Lily Taylor and I think I would be remiss to not admit her performance style was an inspiration. Using a loop pedal, effects pedals, and Casio keyboard, Lily layers lush vocal harmonies over ambient synths to create hypnotic music. She is currently based out of Austin, TX, but seems to visit the San Francisco Bay Area on a regular basis to perform.
Poised on hitting the mainstream, Grimes is a Canadian artist who also performs with a keyboard, effects pedals and a sampler. Her vocals are lovely and ethereal, while her music ranges from ambient to pure pop. She recently performed on Jimmy Fallon and I’ll admit I was a bit sad to see they felt the need to dress up her performance with back up dancers and some special effects, but it was still a beautiful performance.
Finally, there is MNDR, which is actually a duo comprised of Amanda Warner and Peter Wade, but Warner performs solo. I’ve seen Warner perform with a synth and also with a guitar, but it seems she is focusing mostly on singing live. She reminds me a bit of Kim Wilde (of Kids in America fame) so I guess I’ve included her here just because I really like the music. She’s also opening for Duran Duran these days. I think I would like to be her when I grow up. Heh.
I recently realized that I am anti-laptop when it comes to music performance. It feels like a crutch to me, or maybe I just don’t want to compete on the same playing field as all the people who can kick serious a** with Ableton Live. I currently describe my music as having all the canned sounds of electronica and all the shaky timing of a garage band (ba-dump-ba), although in truth, I think my timing is pretty amazing considering I make most of my loops live on the fly.
Currently I’m beginning pre-production on my next recording project and also thinking I’d like to perform live again soon. This song, Lessons, performed at the Stork Club in February, will most likely be on my next CD. Check it out and enjoy.