My live performance setup includes a large number of mp3 backup tracks … mostly bass and percussion tracks … to which I add live guitar and vocals. A few years ago, I upgraded my live performance setup to incorporate the latest technology in stage lighting, effects, and music playback devices.
I was interested in automating my stage lighting system so I could get rid of at least one bank of footswitches. My instrument and vocal effects devices were computer controllable, so I could potentially eliminate some foot switches there, too.
It wasn’t just the footswitches, which were often distractions, causing me to look down to find the right one. Just as much, it was to eliminate the stage clutter and the extra setup and teardown time. Music is a labor of love for me. At the same time, I treat it as a business in the sense that, the less time I spend doing the infrastructure of the business … setting up and tearing down before and after gigs … the more money per hour I made.
So automating my system was giving myself a raise.
I wanted an all-in-one package … a way not only to easily find, select, and play my backing tracks whether doing this on the fly or structured in sets / shows … but also a way to control my stage lighting system and instrument and vocal effects devices … and synchronize those with my backing tracks.
I couldn’t find a low-cost combination of tablet and software that had the features or interface I needed to efficiently operate my show.
So I went to work developing a program that would:
- run on low-cost touchscreen tablet computers
- keep track of my entire live performance playlist, music library, and lyrics library
- play my backing tracks
- contain a user-controllable loop function so that I could select, in real time, how many loops would be executed before exiting the loop (so I could accommodate variable-length solos or sit-in soloists)
- scroll the lyrics when necessary
- control stage lighting synchronized with the music so I wouldn’t need footswitches or manual dedicated lighting controllers
- control all my effects devices for both guitar and vocals, eliminating the need for footswitches
- be exceptionally easy / intuitive to use
- be mostly invisible; i.e., not be a distraction itself
- be as close to one-button operation as possible
I designed Songbook Pro for myself. Along the way, it occurred to me that I may not be the only one using this kind of setup out there.
The result of my development efforts is UTT Pro — a program that will take your own performance up to the next level by helping you get your message out to your audience.
UTT Pro will help your small act put on a big show!