There was another RetroChic gig tucked into my various duties over the weekend, and although I have been part of the band for three or four months now, this was only my second time playing with them in anger. Given that we were breaking in a new singer as well, cheerily throwing herself into the midst of it all with commendable enthusiasm and verve, there were moments that did not quite accord with the versions of the songs I had in my head.
Even so, the technology has moved on apace since the days in the eighties when Jon, Pete and I sat in my father’s office with a Fostex and a microphone and laid down our Lothlorien recordings. They still hold up pretty well, although I only tend to listen to them these days if I have been primed with a large glass of something red beforehand.
People of my vintage are prone to saying how much things have changed, but that is certainly true of live gigging, and where most bands rely on somebody secreted in the crowd to fiddle with various faders to give the players the sound they want, in RetroChic we do it slightly differently.
Ian, our drummer, uses digital drums, so these and everything else go through a central box which then broadcasts a wifi signal, and each of us in the band then adjusts our own mix on the fly via an app on our mobile phone or tablet. I end up with a personal mixing desk on my phone and the sound is then fed to my in-ear headphones.
I have also seen orchestral performers playing from iFads, using a pedal trigger to advance the music as they go along, thereby getting rid of that most irritating of distractions for a player – the page turn. I wonder where we will be in another thirty years or so, probably having scores appear directly on our eyes. I certainly would not be surprised.