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Björk is currently wowing audiences around the world on her latest amazing tour. She has a full-blown backing band of 10 Icelandic girls (who play various brass instruments and also double as backing singers) blending traditional instrumentation with the latest technology, including Apple laptops and Novation controllers. Tour tech Alan Pollard offers us an exclusive insight into the live stage set-up.
“My job live is to handle all the parts that Björk wants to play back straight,” says Pollard, “while Mark Bell and Damian Taylor are there on stage to add the live element to the electronic side of the show. I concentrate on making sure that my systems are rock solid and will work night after night consistently, so that I have back ups of all the important gear, allowing me to swap to a B system if required. Also I try and work with the band plans and provide solutions for various scenarios so that the show can always go on.”
One of the most important aspects of this largely electronic show is obviously software control, and Alan and Damian are fortunately kitted out with the best in the business. “We’re using the Novation ReMOTE SL25 off stage and ReMOTE Zero SL on stage,” he says. “I use the SL25 as the main controller for Logic, running from a MacBook Pro. Damian uses a Zero SL for controlling live on stage.”
“For the shows I select Logic songs by sending a program change from the ReMOTE SL (using an excellent piece of software called OnStage), starting and stopping the sequences using the SL’s playback buttons so I don’t have to touch the laptop at all.”
“I like the large display on the 25SL, its size and its build quality,” Pollard continues. “With a lot of Björk’s songs the sequences start on a live cue and the dedicated play back buttons are a lot more responsive for starting and stopping Logic.”
“Björk loves spontaneity and the live shows are constantly tweaked. Having the ReMOTE SL there, always connected, means she can come and edit or add parts at any time without having to set up extra gear.”
Alan is on tour with Björk for the remainder of the year and well into 2008. For tour dates, visit http://bjork.com/. Björk also uses her own ReMOTE 25SL in the studio for composing, and podcasts about the new album and her creative process can be signed up to from the same site.