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Aloe Blacc

Artist Info
Name
Aloe Blacc

Base of Operations:
Los Angeles

Occupation:
producer, rapper, singer, musician

M-Audio Gear :
Torq Conectiv

Official Website:
http://www.aloeblacc.com

Background:
“Aloe Blacc makes the kind of sophisticated R&B that is much missing in today's landscape. Smart, soulful, humorous, sexy…” – URB Magazine

SoCal native Aloe Blacc began his recording career as an MC back in 1995, when he joined up with hip-hop producer Exile to form the mainstay indie rap group, Emanon.  A few years later, Aloe would “stow away” on a Lootpack European tour and become fast friends with Oh No – a relationship which led to many fruitful collaborations as a solo artist.

These days, Aloe Blacc has evolved into a true Renaissance man.  Recordings like his Latin cover of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” prove that—not only can this multi-instrumentalist produce, rap and sing – but he can flip it in Spanish, too.  With an amazingly broad set of influences ranging widely from the acoustic guitar stylings of folk artist Cat Stevens, to the soul-stirring sounds of the Negro Spirituals, Aloe prides himself on the spectrum of his musical roots.  His sound often forays into the digital R&B realm, but always grooves with a tinge of Latin and the pulse of hip-hop.

Aloe Blacc
Producer/Rapper/Singer

Blacc on M-Audio hardware and software: “I connect my Oxygen 8 v2 to my laptop via USB along with the Trigger Finger.  I map the controls in whatever program I am using to the Oxygen 8 so that I can manipulate effects and various envelope properties whenever I want. I used the Oxygen 8 as a controller for production on a song called “Anything Can Happen,” which will be featured on a Red Bull Music Academy promotional disc. 

“Sometimes when I want to sample from a song I will use Torq Conectiv so that I can change the pitch of the song as if I were using a real turntable. First I will play the song and adjust the speed using either the onscreen controls or knobs that I have mapped on the Trigger Finger or Oxygen 8.  Then I use the record feature in Torq to record the song at the new tempo.  When the sample is at the desired tempo, I import it into whatever music production program I wish to utilize.”

What he’s proud of: “I’m most proud writing and producing my solo debut album Shine Through, mostly by myself.  After releasing hip-hop music as EMANON with my DJ Exile for over ten years it feels good to experiment with different genres and create new music that people like.  The best thing about it is that my music is making a positive effect on the lives of those who listen, which is one of the greatest rewards I can ever receive as a musician.”

His songwriting process: “I come up melodies, rhythms and lyrics all the time.  No matter where I am or what I am doing there is likely to be a new tune dancing around in my mind.  I often record the idea into my camera’s audio recorder and then transfer it to a folder on my computer where I keep hundreds of other vocal sketches.  Eventually, I will start to work on the song.  Traditionally, I used the Korg Triton to develop songs that I would sequence in Pro Tools.  Nowadays I use the M-Audio Oxygen 8 v2 controller, Trigger Finger and Digidesign Mbox along with various types of software, including Reason, Ableton Live, and Pro Tools.”

Performing with M-Audio: “On stage, I use Torq Conectiv with the Trigger Finger.  The Trigger Finger is mapped to controls on the screen so that I can modify the music on the fly with reverb or delay and a host of other effects.  I can also use the Trigger Finger to manipulate volume and pitch as the music is playing and I don’t really ever need to use turntables at all.  I like to play my DJ set from inside the box.  I can even sing along with the music, which is the best part about the Torq Conectiv setup because I can’t help but sing when I am playing my favorite music.  I just connect the M-Audio Sound Check microphone to the Conectiv interface.”

Touring with M-Audio: “I traveled to Melbourne, Australia where I used Torq Conectiv to conduct my second live DJ set ever.  I played for three hours straight and the partygoers received me very well. Whether or not I am on tour, I carry my studio with me in my M-Audio Studio Pack that holds my laptop, Mbox and Oxygen 8 v2 controller.  On a few occasions, I have recorded songs on the road that made it all the way to market. M-Audio gear has made me more mobile since I no longer have to rely on my Triton as a bank of sounds.  I just control the sound in my computer from my Oxygen 8.”

Why M-Audio? “All of the M-Audio personnel have been very accommodating.  Whenever I need help with the gear they give me clear instructions on how to accomplish the task I am attempting.  They have been especially helpful in my mastery of many different software platforms and are very knowledgeable about all of the hardware setups.”