Live performances are a hot topic in dance and electronic music. Some believe that an artist can never truly be respected if they don't perform live, whilst some are happy to see their favourite artists on stage even if the equipment or mixer aren't actually plugged in. To get some more perspective we asked two of our favourite groups with strong opinions on the subject.
Those who know anything about the Melbourne electronic scene know Friendships and RaRa. Between them the two crews cover a broad spectrum of electronica, hip-hop, rap, song-writing, video production, and visual art. They both also rock ridiculously immersive live performances.
As both parties are performing at the upcoming THUMP Melbourne party, we started an email chain about the importance of the live show. Below is the transcript, word for word. You can see exactly what a live show means to them, and witness perhaps the latest and greatest online beef.
THUMP: I'd like to start by throwing out the following questions: What importance does a live show hold for an electronic/hip-hop group in 2015? Do you feel that all elements have to be live for a show to truly be considered live?
Nicholas Brown (Friendships): I'd like to kick it off by saying a live performance is always incredibly important, 2015 till infinity. You want to represent your art IRL. Moving beyond your recorded works, expanding and developing nuances that can only be created in a live environment.
Side note to "vinyl only djs" I respect your practice, but it's not progressive. Do more. Don't get trapped by outdated technology. Dive deeper. Don't be afraid of computers, they can be your mates.
Another sidenote to RaRa, I've never seen your live show before but I feel your practice is ill considered. I have respect for you like a cat respects its owner. Go back to clown school ya bloody clowns.... Lol, RaRa are actually my best mates - I just wanna start email chain beef.
Ben Beare (RaRa Manager): You gon sit there and be slandered by this berk Diz!? Darren, answer the question and then add to that sizzling beef, GO!
Misha Grace (Friendships): LIVE SHOWS R SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IMPORTANTS OMG YULEH. srsly they are. Erykah Badu once said "When you're doing an album, you're perfecting a moment in time that will be like that forever. When you're performing, you're creating a moment."
I think that applies to all genres. playing live is where everybody gets to dance with their souls out, performers and patrons, 2gether. Recorded stuff is where those patrons get to take ur music and appropriate it to their own lives.
Also to answer that other question. I think there's a common misconception about 'electronic' acts. i bumped into an old mate the other day and I was trying to explain to him about how friendships works. anyway so he was all like ''oh so ur mate nic djs, so all he does is press buttons and pumps his fists'' and I was like "bro, do you even understand what's going on back there?"
I thought that was kind of shitty, he plays guitar. anyway so, I think it's as simple as if you are pressing/strumming/beating/sliding/moving u r live. And u know, I'm not even an electronic musician, but I stand next to Nic every single gig and I see everything that he's doing, he hardly stops during sets. I'd be willing to dispute anyone who rekons that ain't considered live. ***what Nic sed "Don't be afraid of computers" broz.
Darren ' ' Parisella (RaRa): FR FR For Real the importance is massive. RaRa practically live in the studio writing traxxx with the live situation/performance always on our minds. We try sculpt a body of work to transfer live. i.e. shorter bars for raps so transitions happen quicker, big instrumental or singing moments that evolve/open up for the crowd to get wild to or be immersed into the antics of a RaRa live performance.
Also we learned S$SO much from live performances and have str8 hunna developed and matured as artists coz of it bruh.
Live its more about the vocal performances and stage choreography for RaRa. As a producer/MC its near impossible for me to spend to much time playing the beats out and make sure I stay in //MC\\ mode tryna slay hella barzzz n that... but for real tho on stage I need to focus on being an MC and remembering our rehearsed choreography. I get my kicks from studio production (FLEXXX) and quirky DJ sets that 'RaRa 4 the fl4' are known for.
Depending on the future and $ for RaRa things may get liver up back as we introduce more people on stage.
Honest but, mixing is dead to me, fuck off with your wanky mixes DJ's, I fuck with harsh transitions, chopped and screwed sloppiness and a general VIBE induced LOOSENESS, after all IM FROM THE FUTURE and perfect beat matches are something that I feel a lot of DJ's can do, but can they get wicked widdit and create an UNEXPECTEDNESS??? for real tho?
AYO "friendships" don't run up on us like a SNEAK DISS bruh bruh, when just yesterday you were begging us for a feat............ SNEAK DISS BUTTON PUSHER. YOU AINT LIVE BRUH
Grace: I fux with ur 2nd last paragraph darri
Andre Hillas (friendships Manager): when are we gonna see a live RaRa show bro? No excuse for no drums dizz. all the rock bands do it.
Beare: You ask when is RaRa bringing back the live drums, I put it to you that friendships fans are waiting for Misha to bring out the raps, MAN. Not enough painters are rappers.
Brown: Darryl will never understand rock n roll. He doesn't live that life bruh. His artistic vision is cramped and bogged. His only survival method is capitalising on the culture... but he does make a very good point about live performance developing an individual as an artist. Live performance has definitely shaped my music and the way I have matured as an artist. Especially experimenting over a large sound system with a greater frequency range than say listening to an album at home on your laptop speakers or logitec woof dog system. It's especially important for the visual half of friendships, crew can get totally immersed in an overload of sensory fuckery. In a performance space you can get away with a lot more, have bizarre interludes, or just pump a sub frequency and some high end for a couple of mins. I guess that kind of experimenting has given me confidence to do it in a recorded format... to some degree.
friendships wasn't born in a bedroom it was born as an audio visual duo in the basement of liberty social... live, abrasive, unrehearsed and disjointed. Darren should know, he cracked a free over some of our gronk shit that night... and absolutely nailed it.... he is still a total fuxing spud.
You can catch friendships and RaRa throw shade at each other (and rip out ace sets) for THUMP's upcoming Melbourne party. Brought to you by Rekorderlig Cider they'll be sharing the bill with Kirkis, Dugong Jr and DEER. It's all free, but you have to RSVP at http://party.vice.com/thump/