Gear Up! : Liam Smith of Some Rabbits


    Gear Up! : Liam Smith of Some Rabbits

    Most people want me to shut up so I was chuffed to be asked to go on about my gear!

    I love drums, they are my first instrument and I feel more comfortable playing them than any other. However, I genuinely do not care whether they are 'tuned' or not (If it's round and goes “BANG” then I'll play it.). It's obviously better to have them sounding great but whether or not a drum technician agrees with ones tuning is irrelevant to me. I keep it simple and use a 5 piece TAMA Swing-Star. I tune my first rack tom to sound like a cross between a roto tom and a timbale then a deep mid tom and a slightly bouncy floor tom.

    When I'm playing with Some Rabbits I use a Roland SPD-SX instead of toms. This piece of kit is truly awesome. With the nine pads in front of me I can trigger, in real time and with my sticks, any sample that I have created which could be a strange drum noise, a banjo part, backing vocals or anything you can think of. I can also affect these samples with built in live effects. The SPD-SX can be used as a generic midi drum controller which works brilliantly with Ableton Live 8..

    When I'm doing gigs solo I use Ableton Live 8 with a Novation Launchpad and my laptop. Ableton has replaced all of my other DAW programs. The main difference between other recording suites and Ableton is that I can quickly record a loop of myself playing an instrument (I have a pretty generic condenser mic that works well enough for me.). I can then trigger these samples in a map using the Novation Launchpad. This keeps electronic music as live as can be although I often use it to trigger pre-recorded audio. Some of the live audio manipulation that can be achieved this way is, in my opinion, a really exciting way of solo musicians getting their point across without the 'karaoke' effect of a disjointed instrument/p.a. mix.

    Gear Up! : Liam Smith of Some Rabbits

    In addition to this I use a generic MIDI keyboard controller, Yamaha Mw10c to power the audio (also I can mix all of instruments personally before it goes into the main desk in a venue), melodica, a fairly cheap banjo that sounds ace, cheap semi-acoustic bass and semi-acoustic guitar.

    Occasionally if I need to save space to travel to a gig I will use my Nintendo DS Korg program that has a similar function to Ableton running 8bit sounds. This however can only be connected via 3.5mm lead so it's really for tiny places.

    I also have a Street Fighter Fightstick that can be used as a MIDI controller. This not only looks cool (arguably) when you use it but has sensitive arcade buttons that work really well as sample triggers.

    Gear Up! : Liam Smith of Some Rabbits

    I am no techie especially when it comes to guitars, I just know what I like. I play a Fender Jazzmaster Special. I like that with improved fittings the guitar can take a bit of beating, stay in tune and still give me the sound I like (60's fuzz is my default setting – sometimes acoustic strings really sound ace, but don't tell any real guitarists.). I know nothing about pick ups save for the fact that they exist. It goes through a fairly standard Marshall combo (MG100). I have an EHX Bass Muff Pi which sounds exactly as fuzzy as you would imagine, an EHX POG 2 octave pedal which makes my guitar sound like Goblin's keyboards and an EHX Nano Clone chorus pedal (I'm not a massive fan of digital chorus but this just sounds spooky-sixties as hell.).

    For my vocals I use a TC Helicon Power-live Play pedal. This thing is amazing. I like to play around with my singing, trying different weird voices with effects. This pedal lets me use my voice as an instrument with which to solo and I can beef out some backing vox (It's an abbreviation for vocals – no worries.) with the touch of a foot-switch.

    I also have a clarinet, recorder, uke, gob-iron, flute...whatever makes noise can be sampled, manipulated and even played live! This way of recording-while-writing suits my creative process perfectly and my tendency to get bored quickly (ever used Cubase?) is no longer a problem because I can change the songs for every single gig due to Ableton's user-friendliness.

    Thanks Newpath for letting me share my setup, I always enjoy a little insight into the creative process of others, hope you enjoyed the insight into what making music is like from me about me....?

    If you're a musician and would like to get take part in Gear Up! Send us a message at info @ (remove the spaces!)

    Tags: Some Rabbits, Gear Up!, Liam Smith



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