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Kate Havnevik

Artist Info
Kate Havnevik

M-Audio Gear :

It can be difficult to describe the depth and intricacy found in Kate Havnevik’s music. Her extraordinary vocal tracks are often accompanied by a variety of complex beats, guitars and orchestra strings. The Norwegian-born singer/songwriter gets involved in every aspect of the creative process, from writing music and performing live to co-running her own independent record label, Continentica Records.

With the release of her full-length debut album, Melankton, she has attracted worldwide attention to her trip-hop, electronically infused style. Havnevik also collaborates with other artists and has been featured on numerous studio albums. Carmen Rizzo recently enlisted her to co-write and perform two songs featured on his album The Lost Art of the Idle Moment. Havnevik uses a host of M-Audio gear while self-producing in the studio as well as on stage for live performances.

Kate Havnevik
Norwegian-Born Singer/Songwriter

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why?

I am very proud of having made my album Melankton. The challenge of creating so many of the string arrangements and producing it myself required me to learn a great deal along the way. I found it liberating to be part of the whole process and it improved all my technical skills. I would probably be bored if I were only responsible for singing. I want to be involved in everything.

As an instrument-driven artist, what part does technology play in your songwriting process?

I have two methods of writing songs. The first is very organic, where I sit by the piano or play the guitar and write until the song is completely finished and ready to be recorded. For other ideas, I’ll take a technical approach, sitting at a computer using a drum loop or Pro Tools M-Powered arrangement to get started. After many takes, the lyrics and melody start to take shape.

What makes the NRV10 a good fit for your live setup?

The NRV10 has made it easy for me to control the output of my laptop while doing live shows. On my last tour, I had eight separate audio tracks running from Ableton Live into the NRV10, and I was able to adjust the levels and EQ on each track. This is quite important when you play a different venue every night. Since each room is different, I used the NRV10 to adjust the levels at sound check. The low-frequency sounds are particularly sensitive and vary dramatically depending on the space. There are subtleties in my music that can sometimes get lost through a live sound system, but the NRV10 has helped me enhance these details in the live sound. If a track is getting lost in the mix, I can simply turn the fader up.

What other M-Audio products have influenced your approach to live performance?

M-Audio has completely changed my live setup on tour. My music incorporates many electronic elements that can make playing live a challenge. Using the M-Audio Trigger Finger MIDI controller, I assigned each track in Ableton Live to different pads, making it quick and easy to switch songs during my set. I also used my M-Audio Aries condenser vocal mic every night—it’s very crisp and clear, and my engineer found some nice settings that we used the whole tour.

We also had the NRV10 route our click track and electronic backing tracks to a headphone amplifier. From there, we used our M-Audio IE-20 reference earphones for monitoring the mix. By reducing on-stage monitoring we experienced less sound spillage to the microphones for vocals, accordion, trumpet and acoustic bass—improving our overall live sound. Using M-Audio gear has allowed me to focus on performing music rather than worrying about the technical aspect of running the show.

I think M-Audio plays a large role in creating new opportunities for artists and musicians to record and perform. I also believe M-Audio is on the front line of technological development, improving the efficiency and quality of audio production.

What are your favorite uses for Pro Tools M-Powered?

I love working with Pro Tools M-Powered. It has totally changed my views on audio production. With Pro Tools M-Powered, everything is possible. I particularly enjoy recording audio and then chopping it up and processing the sounds and making them unique. Although I don’t use much MIDI—usually only for string arrangements or beats—Pro Tools works amazingly with both audio and MIDI tracks. It’s great that I can work on music at home then bring the Pro Tools session to another studio and add new elements or collaborate with others.