BIGSOUND is known for curating a festival full of unsigned emerging acts, many of which have yet to hit the collective radar of the masses. One of those acts at this year’s event was Paces, an electronic music producer and artist from Palm Beach on the Gold Coast, whose superhero double life involves a humble fatherhood to young Koa and caretakership of Chili the dog. Mike Perry is Paces and, as a co-working resident at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse until recently, the man’s heart remains loyally on the GC while he travels Australia and the world getting people moving on dancefloors.
While known as a fun-loving DJ, it was a little bit of a surprise to see Paces on the BIGSOUND conference lecture schedule this year, as well as the festival lineup, as he partnered with software/hardware provider Ableton, to deliver a lecture at XCargo on the use of his equipment for his late night sets. Obviously technically proficient but also a friendly and engaging presenter, Paces ran through his stage preparation and planning regime, disclosing his safety fallbacks and software preferences. Interested punters heard that 90% of his time planning a set is technical separation of tracks, working back from a finished product, leaving gaps for guest performers and improvisation, while relying on safety track only if an emergency eventuates, emphasising the importance of good technology. He drew some nervous laughter from the audience as he explained his safety button;
“There was only one time it happened, and I wasn’t prepared. I just had to go home. Now that I’m touring regularly and expectations are raised, I committed to investing in a redundancy package, with my safety button, to make sure the show can go on. That’s my advice for young players… Reduce your panic time on stage. It really kills the vibe.”
Paces focussed on his themes of fun, audience engagement and partnering with guest artists. He tours with one selected singer or rapper, and uses his vast network of friends and collaborators to add even more variety at each port-o-call he visits. He recalls a light bulb moment at a Flume gig, prompting him to add a bit of his own drumming to the performance.
“I’m not a drummer but it’s been fun pretending. You gotta make the performance simple enough that you can get into it and perform, but complex enough that you’re not being lazy. Using drumming and gaps for improvisation or guest slots make it really feel like a live show, more accessible and entertaining for the audience.”
Paces followed his 2016 release ‘Vacation’ with a new offering this year in ‘Zag’, which debuted at #1 on the Australian electronic music charts. Given his experience collaborating with stars like Guy Sebastian, his Ableton lecture at BigSound was watched like a hawk by a number of aspiring DJs and performers and previous Gold Coast Music Award winner Ella Fence was spotted in the audience keeping an eye on the tips.
There’s no doubt, if he ever retires exclusively to the family life, Paces can be sure his lecturing experience will hold him in good stead. Paces tours major regional centres and capital cities in November/December 2018.
IMAGE (c) FishFilms