As one of electronic music's rising stars, Pretty Lights (aka Derek Vincent Smith) has been a solitary figure on stage. But for his latest tour -- supporting the "A Color Map of the Sun" album that came out in July -- he's expanded and is working with a full live band, which includes members of Lettuce, Break Science and others who appear on the album.
"The decision to tour with a live band came out of the experience I had with creating my record," explains Smith, 31. "That was an ongoing and evolving process where I first became obsessed with this analog sound and began to grasp it and create it and then the lightbulb popped over my head and I said, 'I could potentially recreate this same sound, this same concept, in a live setting. It would be hard, but it's possible.'
"So I started figuring out the players and building the setup that would make it possible, and it's been awesome."
Rather than simply accenting the live playing, however, Smith is having the band's performance run through his mixing board on stage, where he adds his elements and then blasts it out over the PA system. "It's like a super computer meets a super vintage recording studio up in my DJ booth," he explains. "I'm able to manipulate and sculpt and affect all the sounds of the band. It's all extremely fast, but the whole thing sounds like a breakbeat coming off a piece of wax, and that's what I was going for."
Smith -- who releases all of his recordings for free online (though he does solicit donations) -- says he and the Pretty Lights band have also been creating new songs during the live shows, which could be the basis of another album or individual tracks, which he'll determine in the near future.
Pretty Lights performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at Masonic Temple, 500 Temple S.t, Detroit. Tickets are $33. Call 313-832-7100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
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