Do you like this story?
Me Myself And I – Voice Controlled Music
“Our instrument is our voice, our mic and the gear.”
Me Myself And I refer to their style as simply voice controlled music. It seems to be an extremely appropriate description as with the aid of their TC-Helicon products they can regularly use more than 10 additional voices as harmony or doubles live! After a series of experiments with different effects and vocal processors they’ve established their own system where TC-Helicon gear plays a major part. They share, “At the moment we currently use 3 separate VoiceLive 2’s on stage, some of the VoiceTone effects such as the Correct XT and the good old VoiceWorks which Michael uses for his synth bass part. Recently, we’ve also decided to use VoiceLive Touch for solo looping and improvisation. We definitely stretch the products to their limits!”
“We definitely stretch the products to their limits!”
Michael first met Magdalena at a jazz club where she was improvising with a human beatboxer. He was quite impressed and thought that it’d be good idea to add a third, bass part to emulate the full power of a rhythm section. Magdalena was at this time a solo vocalist but when they discovered vocal processors and harmonizers, their style changed forever.
After few gigs the group turned out to be a great success and they decided to go professional. In the beginning they performed covers and standards but soon moved on to create their own, individual repertoire. Magdalena and Michel are the regulars in the group and perform with different session beatboxers such as Zgas, Mando, Pejot, Saulik and L.O.S. Their music is composed and arranged completely by themselves. Within two years Me Myself And I had established their own way of singing and their songs quickly gained popularity.
“So, our problem was how to get rid of the pre-recorded background and control the harmonies live on stage, just with the voice.”
They now perform over twenty gigs per month and have had the pleasure of supporting or singing along with such stars as the Beastie Boys, Manu Chao, Barbara Walker, Uri Cane, Lizz Wright, Richard Bona, Aga Zaryan, Angie Stone, Michael Bolton, The Manhattan Transfer and Bobby McFerrin. They’ve also had the honor of introducing with their performance XIV Dalai Lama’s lecture about globalization and peace. They feel comfortable performing at small clubs as well as on big open-air stages for thousands of people. Being extremely flexible, they lead vocal workshops and even compose music for screen advertisements and computer games. In 2011 they released their first album entitled Takadum!.
“We came across TC-Helicon at the end of 2006 just after we established ourselves as a group. Really what we were looking for was a no-latency harmonizer, but with VoiceLive 2 we found so much more. Up until then we’d been performing using devices designed for guitar and a variety of other effects processors. It was either that, or we’d have to prepare our own choir-samples before a show.
However, Me Myself And I is all about the performance, so our problem was how to get rid of the pre-recorded background and control the harmonies live on stage, just with the voice. We’d heard that Ursula Dudziak, one of the top Polish Jazz singers, was using the original VoiceLive, so that attracted our interest!
“We started to think in different ways. Instead of imitating musical instruments, we created new vocal-instruments.”
At the time, Michael worked at the Royal College of Music in London, so he went to (London’s) Denmark Street to check out harmonizers. There were – and still are – very few devices designed purely for vocals, and even fewer that can harmonize effectively. Most of them were cheap guitar multi-effects turned into a ‘vocal’ multi-effect. Most of these also had horrible mic preamps, guitar level gain and no decent EQ or compression. But there amongst them was the original VoiceLive! He bought two of them right there on the spot…”
So how has TC-Helicon changed the way they work? They explain, “It’s changed a lot. It’s given us the freedom to control our voices and generated harmonies live on stage. We started to think in different ways. Instead of imitating musical instruments, we created new vocal-instruments. Thanks to these products we really can have as many layers as we need.”
Me Myself And I use their TC-Helicon products when writing new material as well as in the studio; “The best part is that you can actually check how a phrase or a rhythm is going to sound on the spot. We tend to use a lot of momentary harmonies and doublers. Michael often uses his VoiceWorks as an octaver and Magdalena also likes to add a lower octave to her voice. Recently, we’ve also had the pleasure of exploring new possibilities with a range of distortions and hardtune effects and at the moment Michael is working on his looped solo with VoiceLive Touch where he uses only slightly modified factory presets.
After a series of experiments in the studio we decided to record our voices post-effect. With our TC-Helicon gear the voices sound great and there’s no real need to post-edit them. That also comes from our general musical philosophy: we say that our instrument is our voice, our mic and the gear. We just find our sound and record our voices post effect exactly as they would sound on stage. It’s very natural and so much faster. “
We asked Michael to share how he generally goes about setting up a preset. He explained, “We usually start from a plain voice, setting up proper parameters for EQ and compression. Then, we add more and more effects depending on what we’d like to achieve. There’s also another approach I use, which is to pick a factory preset and modify it to my needs from there.”
Finally, we asked what advice they would offer to an aspiring vocalist/musician to which they passionately answered, “Be brave! Don’t think about what others think about you. What’s most important is what you think about yourself. If you work hard and decently on your music people will eventually buy it. For us, the most important thing is if we are happy or not? Who creates your music, the audience or you? However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be professional in the presentation of your music, as your audience deserves it. That’s why you should be honest with yourself and work hard.
“With our TC-Helicon gear the voices sound great and there’s no real need to post-edit them.”
Since releasing their first album Takadum! Me Myself And I have become extremely busy. At the moment, they are 7 people working full time with only 3 of them on stage. At the moment they’re working on their second video named Tykoptyk. The first video Skibaraba was recorded with French beatbox master L.O.S. During July and August they are looking to start recording a second album. The autumn will be busy with touring and promoting this album and the new songs, which they plan to release just before Christmas. In March 2012 they will also begin their first American tour starting in Chicago.
Keep up with all the goings on of Me Myself And I via their official website