Live Sound

When iPods Take the Stage

Chicago-based rock band Midstates recently an Apple iPod (with video capability) as the group's sixth member while on tour with Wheatus during the holidays. 3/01/2006 7:00 AM Eastern

Two-fifths of Midstates in Boston, with iPod playing drums, synth and lead guitar. Note: the drummer is “projected."
photo: Annie Camara

Chicago-based rock band Midstates recently “hired” an Apple iPod (with video capability) as the group's sixth member while on tour with Wheatus during the holidays. The 'Pod played drums, keyboards and guitars, as three-fifths of the band could not make it on tour due to conflicting holiday schedules.

“I bought the new iPod right when it came out to keep me entertained on the road,” says Paul Heintz (lead vocals/guitar). “Then I found out that Angel [Ledezma, drums/percussion], Sasha [synth] and Michael [Dahlman, lead guitar] couldn't make it. We spent a lot of time working up to this record [Boxing Twilight] and live show. Touring with Wheatus was a great opportunity. I hated to see it lost. [Then I thought], ‘Why not record Sasha and Dahlman's parts and videotape Angel playing his drums?’ We can mix it all down and project Angel behind us.”

Using a digital video camera and their studio, Spectra Kakarot, the band put together a video of Angel playing drums in time with the rest of the band. Using Videora, a free converter application, the band converted the video and music to iPod-compatible backing tracks. They ran the iPod through the board and a video projector, and played along the tracks and Angel's video, all while controlling the order and volume of the tracks from the stage.