Fresh from the successful launch of its first product, Rack Performer (4/5), we talk to Abeem Live Technologies Lead R&D honcho, Alexandre Pagès, who wants to help you take performing to the next level.
What's the story behind the company?
"Abeem is currently two people: I'm in charge of product conception and development, and Tejjy, my associate, handles all the non-technical aspects. I have a violin and piano background but fell in love with electronic music quite early and have been exploring various genres since then.
"Our projects had been brewing for a long time, and once they were mature enough, we founded Abeem to market them. It has been a long journey, and now with the release of our first product, Rack Performer, it's the beginning of an enthralling new phase for us."
Rack Performer is dedicated to "stage performance". Do you think performance is neglected in software compared to recording/programming/sequencing?
"Historically, musicians were financially rewarded for performing music. With the advent of the recording industry, albums became the main revenue source and bands ￼￼￼￼started spending more time in the studio. Now it's becoming increasingly difficult to make a living solely from recordings, and live performance is a necessity again for musicians.
"A lot of tools were created to answer studio needs, but they're not necessarily adapted to stage performance. We intend to fill this gap with products that are designed from the ground up for this application, and help the live musician at every step from the rehearsal to the concert."
Is Rack Performer primarily for electronic musicians, or can it offer something new to vocalists and players of "real" instruments?
"All instrument players can use the software. As long as their sound can be picked up by a microphone, it becomes a live source to be processed by the application. It can work as a powerful modular multieffect for guitarists using the Scene Snapshots feature. Special guitar-oriented modules developed by Antti of SmartElectronix (ASynth, etc) will be added in a future update as well."
Which feature of Rack Performer was the most challenging to implement? And which feature are you most proud of?
"There were a lot of technical challenges, like using OpenGL for the patcher and all the very low level interactions with the operating system. The most involved part was developing the control events sequencing engine and having the application sample-accurate from end to end. Many fellow developers told me it was overkill, but I persevered with it, and I'm definitely proud I did! All nuances of the performance are more faithfully conveyed."
What can we look forward to from Abeem Live Technologies in the future? When will Rack Performer's 'sister' application Live Factory be released?
"We had to postpone a lot of exciting Rack Performer features and modules, but development will continue. The product will keep growing and evolving over time. Meanwhile, we expect to complete Live Factory by 2015, and there are also Mac OS X ports on the horizon. Stay tuned!"