Musician calls for big bands to come clean on secret backing tracks
Even credible indie bands have their whole performance pre-loaded onto a laptop, according to J Willgoose Esq
Bands who rely on secret backing tapes when they play live are “conning” fans, a rising musician has claimed.
Concert-goers are used to the likes of Britney Spears lip-synching, but even credible indie bands have their whole performance pre-loaded onto a laptop, according to J Willgoose Esq, of dance-rock duo Public Service Broadcasting.
Willgoose, whose band are nominated for Album of the Year at the Association of Independent Music awards with their debut, Inform – Educate – Entertain, admits they use loops and backing tapes to replicate songs when they play live but he says other artists are being less honest.
“I’ve seen bands turn up to some pretty big gigs with the whole set pre-loaded onto a laptop as a one hour-long stereo file, then play a few notes on a synth or guitar while the laptop does the hard work, or the frontman sings along to 18 perfectly tuned vocal harmonies coming off a computer,” claims Willgoose, on the Q magazine website. “Isn’t that a bit of a con?”
Willgoose said the practice was exposed when Sir Paul McCartney missed his cue during his performance of “Hey Jude” at the Olympic opening ceremony last year, revealing the entire track had been pre-recorded.
He concludes: “Live music should have an element of risk and an element of danger. There should also be room for improvisation, even if only in small measures. How else are you supposed to be able to tell a good performance from a bad one?”
Deadmau5, the festival-headlining dance producer, has admitted on his blog that he doesn’t even mix tracks when he plays live: “I just roll up with a laptop” and “hit a spacebar… no beatmatching skill required.”
Willgoose believes the cost of taking live musicians on the road is forcing struggling rock bands to rely on a concealed laptop. “They put it at the back of the stage because they don’t want you to know it’s there,” he wrote.
The most successful stadium bands rely on technical enhancements. Muse and Coldplay are believed to use playback systems to reproduce their recordings’ swelling strings. Some artists sequence a backing to their video-screen and light show, squeezing the potential for any spontaneity, Willgoose claims.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
comedy Erm...he seems to be back
tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa
tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
EastEnders Christmas special, review: Brilliant Danny Dyer glues you to your seat
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who series 9: Jenna Coleman staying on for whole season as Clara Oswald
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader