Walking to a quieter part of the Mousetrap bar in Indianapolis, IN, I ask Cory Wythe (Marvel Years) if he’s any good at pool. He replies that he’s not very good but he is alright. The game commences and I quickly realize a pattern about Cory that seems consistent with his pool game: He’s quite humble and his natural skill far exceeds what one might assume upon first glance.
As I start speaking with Cory about his music career thus far, I become impressed with his long resume in such a short career. I ask how long he has been producing music. Maybe 3-4 years. I ask how long he’s been touring. Not as long but close. I ask his most memorable venue. Red Rocks, Colorado.
I know many lads who have been producing music for nearly 5-10 years and most can’t even get a gig at a local bar. But opening for Pretty Lights at Red Rocks after only a few years producing music? My interest peaks.
Over the course of the next hour or so it becomes obvious to me why Cory has made a name for himself amidst a sea of aspiring producers. Cory is one of the more detailed-oriented individuals I’ve spoken with, who has, as he put it, an obsession with producing and performing live music. Yet he doesn’t come with the weight of an excessive ego. He’s soft spoken. His show reflects it.
When Cory plays, it’s clear to see the passion of the music driving him, not the passion of being front-and-center.
Cory plays with a combination of electronic and traditional live instruments, like his guitar. He activates clips with Ableton Live’s session view, manipulates the clips via improvisation and sometimes loops clips while playing a solo with his guitar overtop the mix. It works, especially because his music is so upbeat, funky and live-oriented.
After losing in pool four consecutive games, I decide that it’s best if we do our interview. I ask him mostly about Ableton Live, his software of choice for live performance.
Me: Why do you prefer Ableton in a live setting versus other software?
Cory: When I was just starting out, I looked up online everyone’s DAW of choice to play live and Ableton was the top result. It just makes it easy to improvise and is catered more for a performance, rather than just pressing play.
Me: What does your live experience look like from your perspective?
Cory: I launch clips in session view which includes parts of my songs, samples, like acapella or horn loops, and I also have a drum pad that I can use with my controller. And obviously I incorporate live guitar as well, which I am now incorporating more into my live sets.
Me: What aspect of Ableton do you feel like inspires the most creative performance?
Cory: The overall functionality of Ableton is geared towards live performance/improvisation which is why it is so appealing for producers trying to play live. Ableton does things I could never do in Logic. Ableton is designed by producers who know what we need for creative performance, and it works.
Me:What is the set-up you use in live performance?
Cory: I use a Macbook running Ableton, a Livid Instruments Contrl-R controller which runs through my Macbook and a Logitech RP360 guitar pedal which I run my Fender Strat through.
After playing his show at the Mousetrap, Cory flies back home to his brother and parents in Vermont. From there, he will continue creating music, working on his set and fly out to upcoming gigs.
Cory’s passion for music production and performance is both humbling and encouraging. It’s especially cool to see the upcoming generation of electronic producers shift focus back to a live performance element, as opposed to a pre-recorded setlist. As Cory mentioned several times, Ableton helps foster that creativity and flexibility in his performance. I look forward to seeing what Cory has to offer in the future.
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