How I Play: Frustra

How I Play: Frustra

Today we’ve got an exciting narration of Frustra’s Live setup.


Hey guys, I thought I would take you through the process of how I create and perform my live sets in Ableton. It is essentially a hybrid set-up that blurs the lines between sequencing and production (I wouldn’t call what I do “DJing” as it is more performance driven) and allows for producers like myself to quickly integrate and swap in and out new audio samples, loops and unreleased tracks for live playback. This method of Ableton performance has been used by many of my influences in their own recent tours and live shows such as Daft Punk, Justice, Deadmau5 and Disclosure. I have given each specific part of this photo a letter which corresponds to the following description of each part of the Live 9.5 Session View below:

Session View FrustraA- The Master Channel:

Everything is output through here. All the sends, all the effects and all the cued tracks are sent through the master channel alongside various pre-mastering racks to ensure the best quality sound without the need for a Digital DJ I/O Unit. For producers like myself, money is scarce and when you need alternatives to problems, 9 times out of 10 you can solve them inside your DAW virtually.

B- A/B Return Sends:

These are used as a way to give extra body to cued tracks within the live set while sequencing them. It creates a nice atmosphere in which the tracks can either grow or shrink depending on the vibe of what’s being currently played.

C- Audio / Sample / Loop Cues:

All of these track cues act either as original productions, live edits, remixes or bootlegs. Everything shown within this part of the screen is usually made for that specific set and is designed to create one long sequential journey in which the listener is taken to different dimensions. There, of course, is room for improvisation whether it be through added effects or alternate tracks that are placed on-the-fly. It wouldn’t be a legitimate “live” performance unless I was able to swap out certain samples, loops and audio as I please. For any Ableton DJs out there, if you’re looking to go more into a live route with your sets, definitely see how this works for you and try it for yourself. You’ll be surprised how much more interesting it can become while being behind the decks.

D- The Effects Rack:

The belly of the beast. This is where you’re truly able to let your imagination run wild with ideas when it comes to adding onto the track cues above. Want to add more reverb? Do it. Echoes combined with a low-pass filter and a 3/4 beat repeat rack? Why not. Just want to trip people out using a scratch or a volume fader combined with said effects rack? Make it happen. This part of the Session View is where you let your improvisational skills shine and where people begin to separate sequencing from performing.


Be sure to check out Frustra this Thursday at Bassline Music Bar, and grab your copy of Frustra’s Requiem LP this friday!

Frustra @ Bassline Music Bar

Buy the Album!

Brayden Maxwell- Editor in Chief

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