Clint from synnack’s blog on “Laptop Rockers”

I’ll confess that I’ve taken swipes at one-man “laptop rock” bands, as I’ve seen more shitty ones than good ones. I’ve also seen more than enough really shitty “real” bands playing a full freakin’ orchestra of instruments.

With that said, I’ve also seen some laptop artists that have continually blown me away, such as (but in no way limited to) Abelcain, Mimetic, Cervello Elettronico, and the tall, handsome fella that wrote this: Clint Sand of synnack/Monochrome/(formerly)Cut.Rate.Box.  Listen to synnack HERE:

Read on, and get rockin’!



By the way, I’m loving that these blogs are inspiring others to write about their areas of knowledge or expertise.  PLEASE share them with me.  I can’t promise that I’ll crosspost every one (especially if it’s something I’ve already covered), but if it’s good info I’m more than happy to post the link.  This is meant as a resource of ALL good information for what a lot of us do and it’s not about it all coming from me (obviously).


EDIT- DJ INTONER provided this link also worth checking out!

And another link from Clint:


17 responses to “Clint from synnack’s blog on “Laptop Rockers”

  1. Best laptop band I ever saw was Bong-Ra at Maschinenfest last year. He didn’t do anything other than pressing play, and didn’t pretend to do anything else. In fact, he made sure to demonstrate clearly that he wasn’t doing anything.
    The audience on the other hand, were dancing and moshing their asses off.

    You really need to get a show of yours into Maschinenfest somehow.

    • I’d love to play Maschinenfest but I doubt I’m on their radar. Oh well:)

    • Sumez, He actually was doing something other then hitting play.
      he falls under the catagory mentioned in the article as: “DJ-like – Musicians who, when performing, play their own prerecorded music back and sometimes crossfade or cut between them. Potentially adding live bits here and there in the form of samples or synth parts.”

      Having seen Bong-Ra at that MF and several other times, I know this for a fact. That said, the MF performance of his (musically at least), I thought was his weakest… it totally wasn’t as insane as he was in San Francisco.

  2. Yep. I’d love to play Maschinenfest. It’s somewhat of a gated show though. Unless you’re on one of the German labels it’s hard to get in.

    I do have a show coming in Leipzig in January though.

  3. The lame thing is, though, even my own wife, magnificent as she is, still thinks I’m not doing anything up there, even though I’m playing as many parts as I can in addition to otherwise manipulating the sound in realtime via the controllers I have hooked up.

    Unless you’ve visibly got someone playing a major portion of the music, most people are just going to assume laptop rocking anyway. =P

    • I think that is partially due to the fact that the sounds we play aren’t easy to relate to in a general sense.
      But then again, you have someone like Tim Exile who is doing stuff… nothing crazy, but the way he interacts with the crowd and plays with the sounds is great. Eventhough the chance of fucking up is higher…
      and if you fuck up, at least they know you’re there and are doing something. ::shrug::

      • Some of that can be fixed in the performance though. Like, I specifically put logical groups of knobs in illogical places.

        Like, if i am going to tweak cutoff/resonance, I’ll put them on 2 different controllers on opposite sides of my rig so I have to physically show effort to do that.

        You also over exaggerate certain actions to make it more obvious that you are actually doing what is being heard. You don’t just turn a knob, you TURN THAT FUCKING KNOB!

    • This is why you need a tuba on stage, my friend:)

    • Well. How often do you fuck up? It may sound silly but I have found fucking up the whole time makes it pretty damn obvious you’re playing things live. Finding the right balance is important of course but seriously, I take risks that go bad all the time and everyone gets it pretty quick that there’s something more than email checking going on.

      • exactly. That’s part of playing live… I think people respond a lot better when they know that a set wont be the same if they see you again.

  4. This was a really interesting look at the spectrum of electronic music performance. I guess I’m somewhere between DJ-like and Musician-like on the performance side, since I use a laptop, but also a guitar, keyboard and sometime a bass player. A lot of modern electronic music would be neigh impossible without a laptop. But, that said, my experiences with audiences is they appreciate it even if you got someone standing behind a keyboard doing ANYTHING in addition to the laptop.

  5. yeah any “live electronica” artists walk into the possible danger of the “checking their email” look..its a hybrid way of performing…producers playing their own music..something sure to change with the evolution of controllers etc

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