From pop to hip-hop and jazz, nowadays musicians of each genre depend heavily on electronic production and certain production elements that allow acting with backing tracks may be used. If you tune in to any radio station, you will be guaranteed to listen to more electronic batteries than acoustic batteries. Guitar-oriented music has begun to give way to the popularity of the 21st century, and, consequently, electronic music is taking control of everything.

Paris Music Limited specializes in producing sound-a-like Backing Tracks for the license to professional singers and performers.

Only the best musicians and singers are used to re-create these new backing tracks and as a result, they are hard to distinguish from the original recording.

Live performances are also changing. Drake's recent world tour sold all tickets in large stadiums around the world, and he did it without a band of musicians. Throughout the night, only Drake and a backing track were present. Kanye West did the same on his Saint Paul tour (although Kanye had a flying stage, so…

If you are thinking of using a backing track for your live concert before you start as Drake did (with just a microphone and an auxiliary cable with a 1/8 connector), here are 8 ways to Control your stage and remain flashy.

1. Ask yourself what you need

Before using a backing track, ask yourself what you need, not what you want or what could be cool. What do you need that you can't recreate life?

Some electronic artists, such as James Blake, present their complete set live without a laptop (although Blake does use many previously recorded songs), while others, such as Flying Lotus, will spend their complete set watching a MacBook closely. If you know that you want some parts of your accompaniment track to appear in your live mix, ask yourself what part of this track can be recreated on stage during the performance.

If you have an electronic drum rhythm that is full of tracks and automation that can fail, then it may be difficult, but not impossible, if you use an array of samplers and drum pads that are currently available. But if you simply do not want to present live some harmonies and some sound design that you would prefer to sample, then accept the challenge of really minimizing your dependence on the backing tracks. Your fans will appreciate your authenticity.

2. Add instruments

If your recorded music already includes live instruments, then this should not mean more effort. But if you create most of your music electronically, using a digital audio workstation, then it could be quite powerful to add live instruments to your stage performance.

For example, if you have an excellent saxophone solo that you created with a MIDI saxophone, hire a saxophone player to play this part live instead of playing it in the background. Or also play that same live alone but on a different instrument, such as an electric guitar. Live synthesizers make this much easier and can also help reverse the problem of what to do if you have a saxophone in your recording, but no saxophone player can play live. This is one of the reasons why many performances are beginning to use bass synthesizers to replace bass players since musicians who play synthesizers can frequently play some instrumental parts simultaneously.

You may lose the defined sound of the recording studio when you play live electronic parts on real instruments, but what you lose in sound, you gain in commitment from your fans. The audience is not present to hear a perfect replica of a song recorded in the studio. They want to see the song come alive. Performing live with a real instrument expresses a deeper emotion, and gives your audience something impressive to see.

3. Keep only the essential voices in the background

This is related to the first point of the article: When it comes to voices, use only the necessary. If there is an instrument in music that people usually criticize it is the human voice.

The Edge, lead guitarist at U2, literally takes his guitar tone effects to the point where we're not even sure what he's playing, but when Kanye uses AutoTune, everyone identifies him as a singer Fake and with little talent. Having said that, if your audience realizes that the voices they are listening to do not come from you, then they probably won't want to see you play live again.

You can choose to keep some voices on a backing track, or cut them completely, but it is always important to remember that singers at least sing the main vocals live. If you are smart enough, you can sometimes get singers to completely replace the backing vocals by adding electronic processing to their voices. BANKS is an artist who uses a backing track with minimally processed and stratified voices to accentuate the sound of the instruments while she sings live.

Let's face it if your song is built around a lot of studio effects, but you present it live with just one voice, it will sound empty and disappointing.

If you decide to keep some voices on the backing track, make sure they are minimal and exclusively complementary. In other words, don't bring a Mariah Carey on New Year's Eve last year.

4. Use MIDI pads

Today, there is no real excuse for some electronic artists not to use these devices live.

With so many varied options for MIDI controllers and pads, you can recreate the sound of a live drum or play complex MIDI pads with a real keyboard. If you have a drummer, he or she can use a drum pad in conjunction with a real battery, allowing you to play unique backing tracks. If you don't have a drummer, an MPD (Music Player Daemon) is an interesting and more striking way compared to just having the drum track play in the background.

5. Make a remix to the song

If you don't find other options and if you find yourself in need of playing next to a backing track, try modifying the song. The xx is a great example of a band that takes their electronic songs and makes them a remix to offer a more intimate live performance. You may not need to put all of those automated funk loops to your song, perhaps a reduced version of the song with completely live parts and fewer backing tracks will give your audience more than just take them home.

6. Ignore (or hide) your laptop

In the 21st century, it is quite common to see a laptop on stage. It may even be a bit strange that there aren't any in certain music scenes. The more you can minimize its visibility, the better it will be. Even just placing the laptop next to the platform can make a difference in your presence on stage. If your fans realize that you are always staring at it, it's like when you go out to dinner with a friend and he or she keeps staring at your mobile phone, that distracts attention. If you need to have your computer on stage, minimize its use.

7. Encourage audience participation

This point is essentially crucial for hip-hop artists who probably don't have a band but simply depend on the backing track to play live. It is likely that your fans want to sing with you or that they do it when you tell them, but one part that makes hip-hop concerts so striking is the participation of the crowd. Before the chorus arrives, make a countdown and tell the audience to sing with you. Don't be very dominant, but if the audience is having a good time singing, they probably won't worry much about the fact that you don't have a band playing with you.

8. Add emotion to the performance

This should be present without even mentioning it. You will be playing next to a backing track, therefore, your performance must be as human, pure and full of emotion as possible. Even if you are an electronic artist without any instrument, if you are committed to music, it will be contagious. Skrillex somehow sits in front of some DJ teams throughout the concert, but he has fun when he plays. He also dances with the rhythm of the music, jumps and encourages the audience. That additional effort to be as emotional and to be as committed as possible to your performance will hide your dependence on the backing track.

Author's Bio: 

Here at Paris Music Limited we specialise in producing high quality, sound-a-like professional backing tracks for singers and performers. All our professional backing tracks have definite endings – we don’t do fade outs – and are available in the original key unless stated otherwise. Alternatively, we can make songs available in alternate keys, however prices and availability will vary from track to track.