I’ve been playing live gigs for the last few years. Our genre is a bit more all-over-the-map, and not dance focused. Originally, I prep’d many beat parts in Ableton, and mixed and combined those live with varying live effects.
But then Digitakt happened. After I a few months, I switched to a whole new format: I load up a project with ~100 selected samples that reflect the mood I’m after for the gig… and arrive with empty patterns! I build it all up live. With my friend on keyboards, we can comfortably do a 60 to 90 min. set this way, all improv.
More recently, I’ve been playing solo in show cases, and can fill 15 to 20 min. with nothing by Digitakt, and effects, starting from scratch. I do wish I my starts would build faster (I always like the second half of my sets more than the first)… and I want to work up to a full 60 min. set… all of which I think will come with time.
For me, the key to pulling this off is simple: practice! I have to know my set up inside and out, and without thinking. I also go pretty minimal: Digitakt, one desktop synth (MicroMonsta or PreenFM), two controllers (pads, sliders, faders, knobs) - and digital effects (via Pisound). No laptop, no display, no mouse.
For reference, here’s a video of me performing (which makes it clear why I need to know the rig cold: it’s too dark to see it!):
And one of me rehearsing (where you can see the set up more clearly):