Tash Sultana is a multi-instrumentalist known for their electrifying live performances. Formerly a busker, Tash became famous overnight after garnering millions of views on YouTube. Now, they play as a one-person band at festivals and sold-out shows worldwide. In this blog, we chat with Tash to discuss their live setup which includes synth, guitar, trumpet, drums, and vocals. Read on to see why the H9000 is their go-to effects processor.
You started out by making videos in your room and busking, and now you play venues like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Has anything changed in the way you approach performing?
Tash Sultana: I actually didn’t start by making videos in my room or busking – those things came much later on once I realised I wasn’t really furthering my career. I played every single open mic night I could possibly find from the age of 13 until about 18 and I did that every single night for years, selling CDs I printed at home. Then I started busking because I didn’t want to work for someone else.
How would you describe the difference between the music on your records and the music you perform live?
Live is in the moment and happening as we are. That’s the best part. You can manufacture whatever the fuck you want in the studio and sometimes it just isn’t real anymore. Live is real.
Tash performing “Cigarettes” in their studio. Spot the H9000 at 5:48!
How do effects influence the way you perform or the way you write a song?
TS: I take full advantage of the technology available to me. The way I see it, effects are a very potent way to enhance the capabilities of a solo performer, so if we have those things available today, I can’t see who wouldn’t be using them!
You use an H9000 in your live shows – what roles does it fill?
TS: I use the H9000 primarily as a vocal and trumpet harmoniser. This adds depth and size to my vocals for more impact in big parts of my songs, particularly choruses.
Has the H9000 replaced any equipment or streamlined any aspects of your performances?
TS: The H9000 actually came along at the perfect time. I’ve been chasing studio quality vocal effects for a while, and since we’ve started using it, it has in fact replaced a number of units I previously used to process my vocals that just weren’t cutting it live. I’ve been using Eventide Harmonizers in the studio for years, so it’s great to have one out on the road with me!
How are you planning on using MADI live with the H9000?
TS: This is actually one for my audio engineer Jordan – I’ll let him answer.
Jordan Tanner: We’ve actually recently transitioned Tash’s entire looper into a MADI-based system. As such, most elements of the show move around as MADI at some point. Using the MADI card in the H9000 means we can pick off any input we like and process it using the H9000, with the added benefit of being after our redundancy switcher in the signal flow.
Speaking of looping: as an artist who relies on looping, are you ever afraid of making mistakes in your live loops?
TS: I wouldn’t say I rely on looping but it certainly plays a significant part in my live show. I try not to be defined by looping, and am looking forward to expanding my live show soon. That said, sometimes when I loop I totally fuck it up, but that’s part of the fun! It happens.
When do you have the most fun during a live performance?
TS: When I’m locked in and feeling free and not self-conscious about my performance.
Does gear ever hold you back from best expressing yourself?
TS: Definitely not. If anything, it opens new possibilities and ways for me to express myself.
It looks like you have tour dates booked up until late December – what’s next?
TS: You’ll see.