Can you tell a bit about yourself, how and why you got into music, a bit about your history?
My name is Jarek my moniker is Ярeк. I live and work in a war-zone where I try to write a little music everyday. Outside of my job music is my main hobby. I'm not a classically trained musician by any means but I have gained a good understanding of music and music theory though books and the internet. I consider the laptop and my Lemurs my instruments. I've been a huge fan of Ableton Live and Lemurs ever since I started making my own music. Its a combination that cannot be beat in my opinion. I've always loved music especially because of my condition called Synesthesia. Its when your sensory pathways in your brain are cross-wired so one sense will involuntary trigger another. So when I listen to music I see a bright array of colors that light up like fireworks. When I sit down and play melodies on my Lemurs each note will have its own color that washed over my sight. I've had this since I was born so music has always been something I've been passionate about. I wanted to have a deeper connection with music and start writing my own. Luckily I live in the age where music technology is booming and you no longer have to have giant expensive studios to make your own music. You can just have a laptop and your favorite Digital Audio Workstation and be good to go.
How did you discover Liine's controller apps?
I had an iPad that I never used very much and I had heard about Griid from a Richie Hawtin interview but when Liine announced they were releasing Lemur for iPad I jumped for joy. The iPad is certainly a more portable alternative and it is a more expendable piece of technology should one break I can get a new one; with the Legacy Lemurs being vintage you can't really do that anymore, the price difference helps too.
Why did you choose to use it above other products on the market?
I have a honed a process in the studio and playing live that works best for me. Its a really unique setup and any other producers that come to my studio would be lost trying to use it. But hey it works for me and to each their own. Point being the reason I choose the Lemur against all other products is I can design all the other products via the JazzEditor. If I want a monome like button grid I can draw it up quick and easy. If I want a 16 pad drum machine I can draw it too. Basically the Lemur combined with any DAW gives you infinite possibilities. Instead of working for your controller you can make your controller work for you.
How has using Lemur changed the way you work?
It is great in the during the studio process because I've designed a touchscreen keyboard that spans across several iPads. The keyboard has two rows of keys one on the top and one on the bottom. The top row triggers all the chords for a certain scale and the bottom row triggers all the keys for that same scale. All the keys are mapped to clips in Ableton live which are pre-filled with proper MIDI data so that they are always in key and musically "correct." So with a simple turn of a pitch device in Ableton I can play any scale or any chord. Also since they are all clips in the Ableton Session view I can set the quantize function to whatever I want and play in that time. This also goes miles for performing live. The way I perform live is a little different but the same concept. After a song is finished I reverse engineer it sampling it note for note and sound for sound. All of these audio samples are then loaded into samplers in Ableton Live. This way I can play all the parts live during my live set.
What do you find most useful about it in terms of features?
The most useful feature to me has always been that you can make an entirely custom controller from scratch. If you want a controller that has thirty buttons and five faders you can make that. If you want a controller that has twenty knobs you can make that too. The beauty of the Lemur is that you are only limited by your own creativity. It gives you an entirely new way to write and perform music that hasn't been possible until now. The Lemur will always beat every other controller competing with it for this exact reason. When you buy a controller like the 16-pad drum controller or an APC40 you are limited right away by that controller. There may come a time when you outgrow that controller but if you keep using that controller you remain stuck in the mud. With the Lemur if you want a new controller you can make one right of the bat.
How important is the visual aspect of your performance?
Very. With all of the innovations in music technology it has become so easy to hide behind a laptop and pre-sequence a live set these days. This is a tip I took out of The Glitch Mob's book but when I perform live the laptops are usually under the table I'm playing on and I have my four Lemurs out facing toward the crowd. This way when you move a slider or fader that is mapped to a high pass filter you can see as well as hear what is happening to the sound. When looking out at a crowd you can see it on their faces like "wow this is different he is actually doing this live rather than just playing a song like the other guys." I still love playing on turntables and still play DJ sets to this day. However, nothing can compare to the flexibility of an all out live performance with Lemurs. It feels like I'm in a old two piece jazz-combo with my laptop where I'm the soloist and Ableton keeps the accompaniment.
What are your plans or projects for the near future?
Right now I work out of the country for nine plus months out of the year so I'm on a bit of hiatus from playing shows. While I'm working overseas I still write a lot of music in my free time. I'm focusing on writing an album right now and when I'm done with the album I'll breakdown all the stems to make a gigantic Ableton Live set where I play all the parts on the Lemurs. I've conceptualized the method by which I'm going to accomplish the live set its just a matter of having newer original music to work with. Hopefully I can get the album done early 2013 and tour it during one of my visits back the United States.
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