Beat Lab Artist Series Recap: Brady Watt

Last weekend we had another Beat Lab Artist Series presentation and we were graced with the presence of talented bassist Brady Watt. Brady has been the bandleader for Talib Kweli and has had his funky hand involved in countless recording sessions. He joined us to share some production tips but mostly to give a presentation on his live-performance solo set up using Ableton as a companion and controller. Brady began by sharing a bit of history – he grew up with hip-hop influences like Wu-Tang, Tribe Called Quest, and Gang Starr. His affinity for hip-hop clearly worked to his advantage as he’s been professionally recording for hip-hop greats like Talib Kweli, Ski Beats, Curren$y to name a few. Brady opened up Ableton and gave us a look at one of his live sets where he explained how simplicity can be used to your advantage.

 

In that clip, he was talking about how all he had on that synth line was an autofilter; using that one effect he was able to add more rhythm and give the track movement. Brady’s layout reflected that message, he only had a column or two filled with clips and the rest of his performance relied on his incredible bass-playing skills. Additionally, there was some clever use of Ableton’s Drum Rack to launch some clips that he had set up.

 

You’ll notice that Brady is using the Ableton Push 2 for his set up, he also was using a Line 6 wireless transmitter connected to his bass guitar. He said that that was one of if not his favorite gear investments he has made. Brady was using a fretless 5-string Modulus bass guitar that he has had for 14 years! He offered some interesting insight into what it’s like playing hip-hop, he said that because a lot of tracks are sampled that their basslines are often detuned. Recreating that with a bass would be much harder if he had frets limiting his tuning precision. Also, growing up with a fretless bass he was able to develop his ears because he had to learn where the note centers are.

Overall, Brady was a pleasure to have at the school sharing his extensive knowledge of music and performance. If you want to catch our next workshop, it will be with Arturia where they will be demoing the BEAST of a synthesizer – the Matrixbrute. Join us on March 24th. We will be uploading a longer video of Brady’s entire workshop so check back in later to see that. Until then, enjoy more clips of Brady Watt getting funky on the bass below.

 

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