It’s hard to know where to start when considering the achievements of Laura Escudé. A highly talented DJ/producer and controllerist in her own right - her music is released as Alluxe - she’s also worked on live shows with the likes of The Weeknd, Bon Iver, Garbage, Iggy Azalea, Herbie Hancock, Porter Robinson, Childish Gambino, the Silversun Pickups, Charli XCX, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Drake and Kanye West.
Escudé is a classically-trained violinist and was the world’s first Ableton Certified Trainer, while she’s also the CEO of Electronic Creatives, a group of programmers and controllerists who work under her guidance.
With a CV like that, you’d expect Laura to be something of a gear-head, and that turns out to be the case. We asked her to talk us through some of the key components of her setup, which includes multiple controllers and synths.
Contrast, the new Alluxe EP, will be released on 28 October. You can listen to new track On My Own on SoundCloud now.
1. Ableton Push
“Ableton's Push is such a great instrument that I mostly use to create sounds in the studio with. I've been learning finger drumming a bit, but step sequencing has been my favourite way to make beats for a long time. Using a Drum Rack in Live you can have 64 different sounds all laid out over the surface to be triggered at any time.
“Push makes it easy if you're not a trained keyboard player because you can tell it what key you want to play in and whatever you play will be in that key. It's kinda magic!”
2. Livid Instruments Ohm
“Livid Instruments makes controllers from their shop in Austin, TX. They’re made out of beautiful materials and have an elegant design and shape. I had mine customised with a wood and LED case to set it even further apart from the rest.
“I use the Ohm for my live shows and every button, knob and fader has its own unique job. Everyone always wants to know what it is!”
3. Native Instruments Maschine Mk2
“I'm super into aesthetics and black and gold is the Alluxe brand, so when Native Instruments gave me this Maschine I was in love.
“I use this to create beats in the studio and also in my live show. There are tons of new expansion packs that sound amazing as well. Plus, the pads feel amazing.”
4. Novation Launchpad
“The Launchpad is great because it's inexpensive yet very powerful. I use this all the time working with other artists because you can find them anywhere; they always work and are adaptable to different situations. I own about 10 of them!”
5. Roland System-1
“I really love the Roland Aira series - I've been using the System-1 quite a bit. It's really cool because it's hardware, but it also has additional software, so you can easily integrate it with your DAW. The synth sounds really fat and it has this dope Scatter function that allows for crazy arpeggiation.”
“SubPac are the homies! I recently did an event at VRLA sponsored by the company where I DJ'd with a SubPac on. For super audio nerds and cool kids alike, it's a great way to ‘feel the bass’, and provides that extra dimension you may have been missing in the studio or on stage.”
7. Teenage Engineering OP-1
“These guys rock. I've visited with them twice while on tour in Stockholm and this little synth is my tour buddy. I always take it along to get a synth fix wherever I go. I've played with it on planes, trains and ferries. Even though it's super small it's so powerful, sounds great and it's fun to play with. You can even record into it and it has a built-in radio for sampling, which is so cool.”
8. Nintendo Wii Remote
“I use the Wii Remote a lot for controlling effects in my live show. I currently have a gold case for it and am always looking for new attachments. I map it to stuff like Stutter Edit which is super fun to play with while waving the Wii Remote around. Plus, I sometimes like to let other people play with it while I'm performing - they really get a kick out of that.”
9. X-Tempo Pok
“The Pok is great - I've been using it for years. It's a wireless foot controller that allows me to do my live looping stuff on violin. I searched high and low for a good one and this was it for me. Also made right here in Los Angeles, the owner is a friend of mine and will be updating some features soon, which I can't wait to see.”
10. Universal Audio Apollo Twin
“I love UA stuff. The Apollo is just the slickest little interface, and although it only has two inputs on the device I got a Focusrite optical expansion unit for my studio that brings up the input count. Plus, you've got the ability to run all of the amazing UA plugins off the device.
“When I perform live I plug my microphone and violin into the Apollo and I'm able to put a bunch of amazing-sounding plugins like the Neve 1073 right on the inputs and it fattens the sound right up.”