On July 23, British progressive house production pair Third Party took to Tomorrowland’s main stage, making their debut during the festival’s second weekend of production. In an interview with Dancing Astronaut, the duo described its set as “a balance of new and old,” complete with “five brand new IDs” (view one here and one here).
Though attendees on the ground in Boom, Belgium and livestream viewers alike were treated to a Third Party DJ set, Jonnie Macaire and Harry Bass took Dancing Astronaut inside their methodology for their live sets, centered around live vocalization of their songs’ lyrics. Get an exclusive peek into their process below.
Could you define the difference between your live shows and your DJ sets, for those who are unaware?
Third Party: “For our live setup, Johnny’s got pretty much all the vocal samples that we use. We use a lot of vocal samples from old soul records to each trigger and all of them live on playing keys and singing. Nearly every song has one element where we’re playing, like an arpeggio or something live through Ableton Live. Soâfor the geeks out thereâhe’s controlling the filters and the cut offs. We try to build our audio equipment. I’m just running MIDI through that. You feel the liveness that you wouldn’t normally hear in the record. It’s an ongoing process. Each live show is like, ‘oh, can I do this?’”
How does the live format guide your approach to putting together setlists?
Third Party: “For the live set, you kind of have to have the set planned out, and obviously you’re performing the elements live. So that’s different every time, but it’s almost more like a band where you need to know what your setlist is going to be. There’s less of a read in the crowd; it’s more just based off format, so it took a little while to learn as it is different from DJing. We’re like novices. We aren’t the Chemical Brothers, we’ll never be that mad. If you make music that way, it’s easier to then do it. We’ve always made music in the buttons in the laptop, so they haven’t been translated [to live instruments]. It’s been quite tricky where, back in the day, they’d be just be using analog gear to make the music, so [artists like the Chemical Brothers are] already in that world, and it’s [easier] to translate that.”
How would you describe your style of music to those unfamiliar with your sound?
Third Party: “I think we’ve always said progressive house is not technically the definition for us. But I think we are within the bigroom world; we’re melodic and we like to be in motion, and that’s what we’ve always worked towards. But I don’t think we’ve ever fit into a genre very easily, even when ‘EDM’ was a big thing. People don’t really see us as straight EDM, it’s complicated for us. Bigroom progressive house seems to matter, because it’s bigger for the big main stages. It’s a progressive journey through the music we fell in love with.”
Featured image: Sam Neill
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