Performing artist Lady Starlight enlightens us with her live setup

Berlin-based techno artist, Lady Starlight, joined us for a workshop on her live setup, featuring the Elektron Analog Rytm. Watch our interview to find out more about what catalyses her creativity.

Lady Starlight is a musician after our own hearts. The bundle of creativity that burns within her is not confined to a single genre, nor a single artform. With her wormhole-opening techno, the artist has illuminated diverse corners of the musical cosmos – from the dark matter of Berghain, to Lady Gaga’s surreal pop planet, to an asteroid belt of legendary metal bands, including Iron Maiden, Slayer and Megadeth. Her brilliance, as she confirmed during her visit to Catalyst in early 2022, is a nuclear reaction of curiosity, collaboration and authenticity.

“I would describe my musical style as hypnotic through repetition and atmosphere. Keep hammering away at this one idea until you’re in another dimension.”

We were honoured to host Lady Starlight for an intimate workshop with our Electronic Music Production & Performance [EMP], Creative Audio Production [CAP] and Creative Music Production MA [CPM] students in our Electronic Music Production Lab. We learned about her workflow when approaching new instruments, her creative process, as well as the inspirations, motivations and goals behind her iconic live-sets. 

"I have followed Lady Starlight’s music for a while now and was intrigued to know more about her musical processes. I also own a Digitakt and it follows a similar workflow as the Analog Rytm, so I was interested to learn its workflow in a techno related setting." said Gloria Le Hodey, artist and Catalyst music student.

Lady Starlight introduced us to her live setup - simple and powerful – including her analog dream machine, the Elektron Analog Rytm MKII, an eight voice analog drum computer and sampler. As Lady Starlight walked us through her workflow, we gained an understanding of her instrument selection and creative process. Lady Starlight shared how much she enjoyed the addition of a digital sample layer on the Elektron's Analog Rytm, as well as the depth of the kick drums, snares, toms, and hi-hats, which she took to the next level with some extra distortion from her favourite pedals.

"I've been producing techno, IDM and ambient for 4 years now and since the beginning Elektron Analog Rytm was my main piece of hardware" said musician and Catalyst student Jaime Mancha, "It is an endless device and for that my main tool in the studio. Also Lady Starlight is one of my all time favourites… it is a dream come true to learn from her. "

She also explained how her simple yet punchy set-up was perfect for touring live, as having more instruments won't necessarily make your set more interesting, and it may cause a few more hiccups than needed once you're in front of a crowd the size of a Lady Gaga concert!

After the workshop, Lady Starlight gifted us with a short live set so we could experience how smoothly the new instrument tied in with the rest of her set-up. The Analog Rytm allowed her to build the playful, expansive and hypnotic percussion and rhythms that characterise her sets. You can listen to a few snippets in the video below.

Following the workshop, we chatted to her to dive deeper into her artistry; touching on her pandemic passion project, DIALOGUE, her favourite Analog Rytm features, and her advice to the emerging artists in our community. 

You can read the Mixmag article 'Watch Lady Starlight explain the inner workings of her ferocious live techno sets' here.

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The video was directed and edited by photographer, filmmaker and Catalyst alumni Roman Koblov, with the support of Catalyst film student Leo Bonmati, as camera operator (Leo moonlights as a drone pilot).

The live-set and workshop recordings were managed by Ole-Jacob Sand (read about Creative Production MA alumnus aka VIBKO's, final project, titled ‘Making Music in Time,’ focusing on the creative potential of live performance through practice-based research here); and highly talented, soon to graduate EMP student Alex Penate, who's recently released a dance-provoking EP on Bandcamp.

The video's sound design was created by EMP student Surrealich, and KwokPiu Poon, experimenting with Elektron machines, modular for atmospheres and space, combining vocals and guitars through pedals to create samples, to use along with Elektron's Digitak and Analog Heat.

Photography and portraits were mady by Ian Margio, audiovisual creative and EMP diploma graduate.

Special thanks

A warm thank you to Lady Starlight for coming to our school and participating in this educational and inspiring event. You can find out about her upcoming sets in Berlin and beyond on RA and follow her on Soundcloud and Instagram.

Thank you to Elektron and Your Mom's Agency for facilitating the experience. And finally thank you to all workshop participants and our very own film production, sound engineering and sound design crew.