Signal Path Podcast: Rachel K. Collier

Shure Incorporated | January 13, 2020

Hear the stories behind the music with the Signal Path podcast. Tapping a global network of musicians, producers, engineers and other sonic innovators, Shure brings you exclusive interviews with the people shaping the world of audio.

Episode 30 – Rachel K. Collier 

For the latest episode of Signal Path, Mary Spender spoke with the Welsh electronic music producer Rachel K. Collier at the Montreux Jazz Festival. In the podcast, she discusses of taking her music from the studio to the stage, refining her live show and why she likes to breakdown her songwriting process on her YouTube channel.

Mary Spender: We are at Montreux Jazz Festival. Is this the first time you've been?

Rachel K. Collier: Yes. So for the first time I've ever been to Montreux and the jazz festival and it is an absolutely stunning place. The view from my hotel window is impeccable. 

We met for the first time at Ableton’s Loop festival, you came over to the Shure stand and we just hit it off. 

Yeah! There was a mutual Shure bond! I just came over and sort of was telling you guys that I was using the Shure SE535s and the SM7B and had been wanting to say hello for a while.

Then later that same evening you were on a panel talking about your YouTube videos and we were blown away. You gave a run down and got a round of applause.

It was quite crazy. They basically asked me, “Do you have to sort of make it more technical for your viewers?” And that was quite a good question, but I said, well, I don't really I just do whatever I do for fun. Then I did a little rundown of a section in one of my tracks and went quite into the tech with Ableton and the toggle mode, soloing the groups and media mapping. I think maybe because I just said it quite fast and then stopped, there was a pause and everyone clapped. I was a bit like, “What just happened?!”

It was a jaw dropping moment. I know we can't replicate that here, but can you do the same rundown in terms of how you work?

So when I set up an Ableton Live project, I'll go into a little bit more depth and then get to that section. I like to take people on a journey with the music. With Ableton, if you wanted to, you could just trigger a scene and have everything at once, that's it. Easy-peasy. You could also put things on scene so that you can just change the scenes and have whatever clips coming in. But I like to do a combination of clips that I can bring in one by one and then looping. Whatever I can bring in live, I like to. In the ‘Paper Tiger’ song, for example, I start with the click in my ear, so nobody front of house can hear that. Then I'll make a two bar loop of keys, then a couple of vocal channels that are armed so I can loop some vocals. I've got some like reverb midi mapped to a fader so that I can bring that up on that group of vocals. I can then start bringing in some other sounds that are premade and could never do on the fly because they are quite I'll just bring them in gradually, maybe keep building up vocal loops. As the song goes on, I'll just move through different sections and build, drop into like some bass, so you set the songs up. Mainly need to have as much fun as possible.

Listen to the full interview with Rachel K. Collier and subscribe to Signal Path with the podcast provider of your choice below. You can check out Rachel's YouTube channel here.

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