At the end of the day, what motivates extra technical preparation is the same thing that drives musicians to practice scales or work long hours in the studio: that extra discipline can pay off in real freedom of expression.

So, it’s moving to hear St. Vincent talk about musicality as the end point for onstage computer-based coordination. In the behind-the-scenes video, you can see how the band combines Ableton Live, a loaded rack of instruments in Propellerhead Reason (presumably running via ReWire into Live), and a whole big mess of pedals. Interestingly, MIDI triggers for those pedals helped focus on performance and not on foot switching, a reminder that computer tech can benefit guitarists, too.

And the results are wondrous: that technology isn’t just there for the sake of it, but because it’s a set of instruments for the band. The tech is keeping pace with their expansive musical imaginations – both Annie Erin Clark and her talented band. More:

  • Sean McLellan

    What kind of stop boxes can be controlled remotely? I know there are midi foot pedals for digital effects, but her boards looks like its comprised or regular-ish pedals. Are those pedals midi controlled, or did that keyboard guy seriously wire analog ones up to be controlled via midi? cuz that would be hella tite.

    • rib

      By the looks of it RJM MasterMind provides MIDI functionality on the pedalboard.

    • Dan Gillespie

      Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada (formerly Nice Rack NYC) built that board for Annie. The MasterMind provides switching for the analog pedals and the Eventide Pedals take program change, tempo, and midi cc through some midi jacks on the side. There’s a video with more info here:

    • Sean McLellan

      Whoa that’s pretty cool, indeed! This is something that I might have to look more into for my own synth/guitar rig. Good thing I’ll start my Electrical Engineering degree program in the spring! =)


    i have cool computer. it’s called akai s900. i plug in drum trigger. i play drum. s900 plays sample. the end.

  • sean

    that “rack of synths” is Reason; not Live. perhaps he sends the midi triggers via live.

    • Peter Kirn

      Yes, I identified it as such in the article.