Transcription: 0323 - Laura Escude

Released: April 26, 2020

Darwin: Today I get a chance to talk to somebody I've actually known for quite a while. She used to do demos back in the day, at the NAMM show. I always looked forward to seeing her, seeing her up on the Ableton stage. It was a blast getting to see her work, but I've just been around her and around the people that she's worked with over the years. It's been really phenomenal, the extent to which she's affected the world around us. Her name is Laura Escudé, and she is well known for being the "First Certified Trainer" for Ableton. But she's a person who has really been vocal about getting Ableton used in places outside of traditional production, and particularly used a lot in live performance. And so I'm really excited to get a chance to talk to Laura - and so I'll shut up and I'll talk to Laura. Hey Laura. How's it going?

Laura Escude: Hi Darwin. Thanks so much for having me. Wow, what a nice intro. I'm flattered.

Darwin: Oh well, you know, I just remember back in the day, it was like, working the NAMM shows can be so grueling and irritating, but you always put on a great show. You always brought a lot of energy to the Ableton station. It was always really great to get a chance to see you in action. So it's cool to be able to look that far back and still, you know, remember your work.

Laura: Oh, well thank you. I mean, yeah, that is kind of far back.

Darwin: Yeah, it is. I mean, it's like now going through the NAMM show, it's fun to do, but you know, back then it was critical because that was when the magazines would show up to check out what was going to be new and all this stuff.The whole music tech industry has changed so much since then.

Laura: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Things were definitely not as accessible back then as it is now.

Darwin: Yeah. So true. Now, why don't we start this off by having you fill people in on some of the stuff you do. I mean, we could spend this first 10 minutes of the [podcast] just literally talking through the laundry list of people that you've worked with, the work that you've done. I don't know that that's productive, but I'd like to hear some of what's really cooking for you right now.

Laura: Oh, thank you. Yes. So, you know, as you mentioned, I'm an Ableton certified trainer and used to work at the company, and [I] parlayed that into a career for many years as a playback engineer, someone who works behind the scenes at concerts, doing all the music playback for the shows - and performing as well during some of those performances, and doing my own artistry in live performing and just absolutely obsessed with everything music and technology, high vibrations and bettering ourselves and just becoming a better human and better person, day by day, as much as I can. So I also work with artists to help elevate their live performances and I've got a lot of educational programs around helping those artists to discover their voice in the live performance space, and to design their dream live performance. Right now, I mean the time that we're speaking right now, it's a very interesting time because I'm not able to go out and perform and do shows and, you know, it's April, 2020 right now and the time of the virus and you know, I was supposed to be working on the show American Idol right now and that got canceled.

And I have a production agency called Electronic Creatives, and we do live show playback for concerts all based around Ableton Live. And every single show of ours is canceled just like everywhere else in the world. So, it's a very interesting time, but it's also kind of cool in a way for me because I had spent the last couple of years bringing my educational work online, and I spent the last year teaching my course - called Transmute - about live performance online. And we had people from all over the world joining into this course. And it's a two month course to elevate your live performance. So, it's kind of neat because I spent all this time live-streaming and learning all the tools and techniques to perform online. And here we are cooped up in our homes and we're all online. So I've become the go to person for like, "Hey, how do I do this?"

"Which software should I use? How can I get good sound?" And you know, it's actually pretty fun because I just love helping out my friends and the community to learn new new tips and tricks. Especially now cause the paradigm is totally shifted. So recently, like recent in the past month, I've been doing a lot of online masterclasses, a lot of free stuff for my community to help them all get in a place where they can perform online and in their studios and get good sound - and level up their shows. So I've been doing quite a bit of that and, you know, just kind of navigating the rest of it just like everyone else is in the world, and just trying to be future-focused. And look to the future, but also just taking it day by day. So yeah, that's kind of the synopsis of what I've been doing.

Darwin: Well it's interesting because most of what I have known about your work over the last many years is that you kind of had to be a road warrior because you did have this focus on live performance and live show creation - development of the technology behind the live shows and stuff like this. It put you either on the road or in the rehearsal hall with people pretty consistently. And yeah, it has to be a huge change for you for that just to be not a part of your mix at the point at this moment.

Laura: Well, absolutely. I mean, as I mentioned, it's not completely different from me because I quit touring, mostly, about four years ago. Now I do do shows from time to time. Like I still do American Idol and that's here in Los Angeles and I don't have to travel for that. I'll do awards shows like the Grammys or you know, different shows or work with artists and get their shows off the ground. But my company, Electronic Creatives, I actually started the company in 2009 but it really started poppin' in 2011 when I started getting all this work to go out and tour and I was getting so many calls, so I decided to start training people. So I train the whole staff to do what I do and go out there and do the music playback for these shows.

And so about four years ago, I had like a massive health crisis and I was just pushing myself too hard. And yeah, it was not cool. I actually wrote a whole article about it on Medium. It's called "Hustle Healthier", if anyone listening wants to go check it out. I talk about the fact that I was touring for so many years. I toured with Kanye West for seven years and a bunch of different artists in between and you know, it definitely took a toll on my health. And now I'm so much better, but I just got to the point where I decided: I don't want to live this lifestyle anymore. It's great. I just turned 40 so I'm kind of in the next phase of my career where I want to be mentoring. I want to be doing my artistry and doing different things. And you know, while it was fun to do that for the better part of 10 years, I'm just in a different place right now in my career. And especially the last couple of years I've just been passing along the gigs that people have asked me to do to my team and have been growing my company. So that's been cool to be able to provide opportunities for other people.

Darwin: Now, two of the things, though, that I've seen kind of active lately is that you still are pretty active in developing your solo performance thing. And for anybody who gets an opportunity to go over to YouTube and take a take a peek at some of Laura's solo performances - I mean it's pretty amazing. It looks like quite as a stress ball trying to get all of that stuff happening all at once. But you put on a really great show, and it's really clearly a live performance. I mean, you're a violinist, you're clearly adept at a lot of electronic interfacing and stuff, but you really get this connection with somebody performing as opposed to playing along with a track or something. And I think that that's pretty amazing. But also developing that kind of show for yourself has got to be pretty difficult. What, for you, is the focal point when you're putting together a solo performance? What is the focal point for you? I mean, do you view yourself more as an instrumentalist - a violinist? Do you think of yourself kind of as a conductor of all this stuff? Do you think of yourself as a performer for people to watch while this other stuff is happening? Or how do you imagine this solo performance thing being - you know, what is the center of that for you?

Laura: That's such a great question. Wow. I love how you asked that. You know, my show has been through many different iterations throughout the years and I went through so many years of kind of getting lumped in with the DJs, right? So, "Hey, come play our show and you gotta set up your stuff on the DJ decks..."" And it was challenging because I was trying to be in that format. I was trying to do more uptempo electronic music, but it still wasn't like DJ music. And people were like, "Well, are we supposed to watch you? Or are we supposed to dance? Like what's going on?" And so in the past couple of years, my sound has changed and evolved quite a bit. And I call my current sound "Future Classical". So it's, you know, the mixture of my classical violin roots with the futuristic kind of crazy synth and bass sounds that I love.

And so I've been playing in different formats - more like theaters versus clubs - and doing presentations at conventions and with companies and different things like that. So it's definitely evolved and I've added so many different elements. I love the fact that you asked me if I think I'm the conductor because I kind of resonated with that one the most. I do consider myself an instrumentalist first and foremost. I am a vocalist as well, but the violin takes the front seat, but I am thinking about so many different things on stage - from the violin to the controllers to the effects to changing presets and sounds to controlling the visuals in real time. I've been working with an artist to create my Unreal gaming engine set up, so I'm actually controlling the video with my violin and converting audio to MIDI in real time and creating modules and nodes and changing colors with the bow pressure of the violin.

And so I've been doing quite a bit of this kind of audio-visual show for the last couple of years. And it is very much like I'm conducting the performance and I really feel like it's special to me and it's something that I came up with and just kept morphing throughout the years. I just kept adding different things and trying new things and depending on what phase I was in my life and what I wanted to say and speak to the audience because, you know, for the most part it's instrumental and I still want to convey emotions to the audience and still want to convey how I was feeling when I wrote that music - and to get the audience sucked into my world and to really be there with me. And I use technology to do that.

And I really firmly believe that technology helps us to express ourselves in ways that we wouldn't be able to normally; the tools like Autotune, for example, I used to really look down on a tool like Autotune 10, 15 years ago, because I thought it was a crutch. And now I think it's amazing because after working with artists who use it as a tool to express themselves in a way that they wouldn't be able to express themselves to the audience normally. And I just love the fact that technology can allow us to augment our emotions and our feelings on stage.

Darwin: Right. Yeah, that's a great point. And it's interesting to imagine you being up on the DJ decks trying to deal with this because when I've seen you perform, and when I watch your videos, the stuff you do has very very much a concert-like quality to it. So it seems like it would be a weird mismatch to have it be in a club-like setting. And so it's good to hear the direction you're taking it. So one of the things I like I like doing in my podcast is I like talking to people a little bit about their background, how they got to be the artists that they are. And I'm really curious because you come to this with like these really high level skills with violin, but also a clear - not only understanding, but like high level of comfort with the technology you were into. You were in some of these technology worlds even like before it was a common thing to do. So I'm kind of curious, where are you coming from? What is your background and how did you get to be the artists that you are today?

Laura: Oh wow. Well how much time do we have? I did start out playing violin and did the whole classical music thing and didn't know much else when I was in high school. I discovered the Dave Matthews Band and I just had never seen a violent ass perform with an electric violin before. And I just fell in love with Boyd Tinsley, the violinist in that band, and just the different sounds that he was making. And I didn't know how to get there though. I didn't know how to perform like that because I just had read music off of a sheet of paper, you know. And then when I went to college, I ended up meeting someone whose boyfriend was a DJ and the electronic music world. And I went to a rave and I just felt like I'd found my tribe. Like I had had an experience, this feeling of inclusiveness and this feeling of community - as well as the music was just incredible and just evoked emotion for me that I'd never felt before.

And I just love dancing. So I started to go to these raves and I started to talk to DJs about playing violin over the music. And I met a couple of different people that let me look over their shoulder. And, it was very interesting because I was doing bookings for a small club-loke coffee shop at college and this band came into perform and it turns out it was George Clinton son's band. I didn't know this, but George Clinton actually lived in Tallahassee (where I was going to school at Florida State). So I found myself at his studio learning how to use music technology. Use software like Acid Pro. And that was my gateway drug. As I say, my gateway drug was Acid Pro! And so I started using that and got into other softwares and then really started with softwares and then came back around and looked and learn hardware stuff when I could afford to buy it. I really just started trying to play violin over electronic music and then trying to make my own music and then, you know, I moved to LA and started working at M-Audio and doing tech support there. And there was a little known software program at the time called Ableton live that was being distributed with every keyboard, every sound card. Do you remember those little green envelope inside of it? It was brilliant. I mean, it was brilliant. So we were getting these phone calls about this Ab-La-Tron program,

And at first we were like, "Okay, well I don't know how to use this program..." And I was like, "Well, I guess we should learn how to use this program because people were calling and wondering about it." So I started learning how to use it and I just, I fell in love. I thought it was just the most amazing software that I had ever used and I was performing at that time. And so I just fell in love with it. And a couple of years later Ableton decided to do their own distribution and stop putting the little green envelopes in every box and start selling it themselves. And they asked me to come and work at the company. So I was actually one of only a few people that was working at Ableton at the time in the US. So just from there, you know, I became certified, started touring, working with all these different artists and built my company, but it was really just the core was just being a violinist and just loving music and just loving to learn, really.

Darwin: I have to tell you, Laura, there sounds like a great big missing link in there, you know, going from M-Audio tech support, talking about the Ab-El-Tron to putting together and working with Cirque du Soleil or touring with Kanye West. I mean, there's something in between there, you know?

Laura: Okay. I mean, you know, I can break it down even further... So yeah, I mean, around so 2007 I was working at Ableton, just from M-Audio I was the first West Coast product specialist. So I was living in LA, I was working remotely, the office was in New York at the time and I was going around and doing all the demos at NAMM and you know, Guitar Center and all the stores, just doing a lot of demonstrations. 2008 hit, and of course that was not a very good year for our economy. And they said, "Hey, we're restructuring the company so we have to lay you off." And I was like, "Oh geez, like, but I thought it was the top salesperson. I thought I was doing great. And you're like, you're doing great."

"It's nothing personal. It's just restructuring the company." They said, "Well, since you've been helping us develop the certification program, we will make you our first certified trainer." And so at the time that didn't really mean much - like, okay, well great. Okay, but what about my health insurance? You from there, I went on unemployment and very quickly just had developed so many relationships with companies through going to NAMM and doing these demonstrations. Pretty soon companies started asking me to be there rep; and I of course was still working with Ableton doing demos and things like that, just not full time. And so I started my first company called Evotech Audio, and was just going around and doing demos and doing sales and just getting people interested in the products and it was a lot of like a lot of different software products like FXpansion and Rob Papen and things like that.

And so in 2009, I got a call from a salesperson who said, "Hey, I met this guy, he's Kanye West's engineer, do you want to go hang out with him?" And I said, "Sure, I'll go hang out with him." So I ended up meeting this engineer Anthony Kilhoffer and doing some sessions with him because they were trying to convert their live set over to Ableton and just developed a really good relationship with him. And he said, "Hey, you know, do you want to go on this tour?" And I said, "Well, no I can't because Cirque du Soleil had contacted me about doing this show in Las Vegas." So I ended up going to Las Vegas for four months and lived on the strip and worked on the Cirque du Soleil show. So I really just kind of fell into the live show programming and playback stuff because they were looking for someone who was an expert in Ableton Live. And I was that expert.

Darwin: You were the person. Right. Well that's really interesting. That was such an interesting time because people were pretty rapidly moving away from hardware solutions, moving to software solutions. And so, you having the skills puts you in kind of the catbird seat for that. When you would go to work with somebody like Kanye - or Cirque du Soleil for that matter - and they were trying to put together a Live set, what were they trying to accomplish that was different than what they were doing before?

Laura: Well, really it's just about flexibility, you know? With artists like those two, I mean other artists it's a little bit more straightforward. But so for instance with Cirque du Soleil, they've got this massive production with hundreds of people working on it and the show doesn't go the same way every night, right? So if there's a trick that's they don't make that they fail at doing, they might retry the trick or something doesn't move at the time that it's supposed to move, like automation, you might have to skip to another song or another section in the scene or you might loop something because they need more time. Somebody got stuck. So there's all these kind of clauses with a show like that they need to be prepared for, you need to be prepared to fade out right away, not stop it abruptly if someone tells you to do something like that. So really it's just programming the show in a way to offer all of these options to whoever is operating the show.

Darwin: Yeah. I think a lot of people when they see these shows and they don't recognize the fact that there has to be all of these variables in play because sometimes the hydraulic arm just doesn't work and you have to be able to be fast enough on your feet to keep the show seeming to run seamlessly even when things are falling apart in the background.

Laura: Absolutely. I mean it's very complex and people think, "Oh, it's just some music being played back." And meanwhile I stayed up for three days not sleeping in the very beginning of that I was doing some programs, but you know, it's definitely a brain twister. It's a brain teaser as well because they'll ask you to do certain things. Like for instance, with the Elvis show I was working on, this music wasn't recorded to a click. Then they say, "Well, we got to loop this section..." and you don't want to tinker with that original music. You got to figure out really creative ways to do that. So it's like every show is different. Every time artists or musical directors have some different kind of demand or different ways they want to do it and you just have to figure out a solution - and there is no like, "Oh no, we can't do that!" It's like, "Yes, I will find out!"

Darwin: I'll find a way. Right.

Now, when you're working with musical groups that are doing shows and stuff, do you find that that they're trying to replicate their "comfort studio" when they go on the road or do people really make gig-specific rigs? You know, I'm trying to think like when you set up, I don't know, pick whatever group you work with, but you set them up, are they trying to basically take their home studio or their preferred studio setup on the road with them? Or are they trying to maximize the efficiency of doing this particular gig?

Laura: I think it definitely depends. I think it really just depends on the artist. But I think a lot of younger artists, especially in the pop world, they just want their music to sound like the record, you know? And so it's a lot of tracks, and a a lot of playback, and then other artists that are a little more established or a little bit more creative, musical directors that want to a little bit more, that's where it gets more interesting. And there's more gear on stage and bigger things like that. And I think initially a lot of acts, a lot of artists will want to recreate a studio kind of setting because that's all they know. They've never done a live show before.

Darwin: Yeah, that's what got them the hit. Right?

Laura: Exactly. So they bring in all this gear from the studio that you know, it doesn't necessarily work for live. They bring their studio engineer out, who doesn't know about how to program a show for live. And I see that all the time. It's like people want their studio engineers out on the road. The studio engineer gets out there. It was like, "Wow, I really don't know how to make this happen live..." It's a completely different skillset and there's some crossover, but it is very different. So you know, it really just does depend on the artist and the kind of vibe they're going for. Now there are certain artists that want that studio feeling on stage with them. They've got all the racks and all the gear that that sounds good, very expensive. Especially when you know you're doing flight dates. Like if you're on a tour and you've got a tour bus and you've gota truck and the whole thing, then it's fine. But it gets very expensive to add more and more gear and more equipment on stage, so it's nice to strike a balance between having it be light, streamlined, road-ready, not breakable. Very tough road cases, things like that. And your creativity. And we find the balance in between that for artists.

Darwin: Yeah, I'm guessing that that sort of ends up being a big part of your consultation is talking them through the process of what do you need on stage to be artistically comfortable. Cause let's face it, sometimes specific pieces of gear exists just because that's your comfort zone, right? Sometimes there's a favorite guitar or a favorite keybed or "I just happen to like this cymbal" or "This microphone always makes me sound great!" - or whatever. You know, some of those things are just the things that make you relax and be able to have a great performance. And so I imagine that you have to go through a fair bit of counseling to suss out what those pieces are.

Laura: I mean it's a combination of education and counseling for sure. Especially with teams. You know, oftentimes the artists has a new team, especially with starting out and everyone's trying to figure out what this is, you know, what we actually do. And then people think, "Well why do we need a playback engineer?" - or a programmer. And it really just comes down to when an artist is moving beyond a two track, right? When an artist is moving beyond having a DJ on stage with Serrato, when an artist wants to have a band and they want to be able to hear different things in their in-ears or they start using in-ears, they want to create different transitions from songs. They want to play different types of medleys night after night. They want to switch it up and play different remixes or they want to pitch things up cause their voices doing better one night, or pitch it down.

All of those kinds of things they're not able to do with a static DJ two-track file setup as well as you can't sync the video and the lighting without set up either. So that's where we come in. It's just literally like their right hand, and help them to create what they're hearing in their head. And it's an important position because we're tactical, but we also have to be creative and musical at the same time - and have great communication. I think most of what it is is 95% communication, I say.

Darwin: Right. I'm curious... You would have had to learn about 5 million things to get to be effective at what you got, the things that you're able to bring to the table. What was the hardest for you given your background as a musician and, and learning the technology through passionately being involved in digging in deep into it. Once you started working on big shows and stuff, what was the thing that was hardest for you to latch onto or get used to or get control of?

Laura: Well, yeah, there are so many things. I mean, just emotionally, first of all, it's very draining. And it takes its toll. And when you don't have a proper place to sleep night after night and you're not sleeping well and you have the stress, which shows it's really, you know, kind of a lot. I would say probably just dealing with all of the politics of an artist, crew and teams, you know, because you know, worked with various artists and they've got a vision, and their manager has a vision - a different vision. And if they're not all on the same page about the vision, then the show can really get screwed up. And the communication, you know, because all these people are talking one-on-one and not everyone's in the same room and just a lot of miscommunication can happen. I mean I just remember doing shows and being told three different things from three different people and it's like, well we're losing track here!

Darwin: Yeah. Who's got their hands on the wheel, right?

Laura: Yeah. So I think that's just the leadership thing. Not just a lot of people kind of are in and out, and you have got brilliant ideas and pop in and tend to screw things up for the rest of us. And I remember being at Glastonbury, getting ready to do a show with Kanye, the biggest festival show in the world and people coming in right before the show: "Change this! We should do this!"" It's like "Shut up, go away!" That's where this stress comes from. Well you know, you try to plan as much as possible. You try to get everyone on the same page as possible. And I felt like I was really good at that because I feel like I'm good at communicating. I would try to get everyone in the room and discuss, "Okay, this is the plan, this is the set list and what we're doing." And then to have some random person coming in and just throw it all away - just infuriating.

Darwin: Yeah. Right. And they throw a grenade in the middle of the room and you're supposed to say thank you.

Laura: They don't realize what it takes to make even small changes like that. Like at the last minute when the show is about to go on, it's impossible to make all the edits and to make all the changes and have the guest artists come on stage and be able to take the their verse out of the song or the chorus of the song or take their guitar out a song or change the format of the song. And it's definitely a lot. Yeah, that's fine. At the same time, I mean, I live for just pulling it off. I mean, when you're done, it's just the greatest feeling in the world cause you're like: Wow, I just did that. I rose to the occasion and made it happen and it's a good feeling, you know? It's a really good feeling.

Darwin: Yeah. That's awesome. Now, one of the things that that's kind of interesting you mentioned before about putting together some online educational efforts, and one of the things you talked about particularly is the Transmute thing, which on your website is identified as Transmute Accelerator. What it looks like is it's an opportunity for you to work with small groups. Now is that particularly focused on putting together a performance environment or a performance set up or what is the specific focus of what you're doing with that effort?

Laura: Yeah, so with my company, Electronic Creatives, we've got our Master Track program, which is live in person, and that's for people to learn how to do playback engineering. So that's, you know...

Darwin: That's that behind the scenes thing, right?

Laura: More technical. And the other side of me is the artist that does the performances and the violin and all the crazy technology. And so a few years ago I had the idea to host a retreat and I called it the Transmute Retreat and it was a week long program in Florida - and people flew in and we all worked on our live shows and we did a lot of yoga and meditation and it was fun. And then, from there I had so many people asking me to work with them and I thought, "Well, why don't I just create an online program for live performance and just open it up to anyone in the world?" And so we launched it last year. We've had two iterations of it and we're actually getting ready to launch the third one in May. And basically it's like a two-month intensive live show design course with me and 10 to 15 other amazing artists who are around the world.

Laura: So it's a very intimate atmosphere. It's basically every little tiny tip and trick that I've learned throughout my years. I've put it in this course, it's just a lot of stuff. And, we go through envisioning your show, to designing your show, working with the technology, doing tech support on your show. I'm building out your stage parts and your riders to actually performing online - we do online performances and we give feedback and critique you during your performances online. So yeah, it's been a really cool program and I've had people from Singapore and Australia and Slovenia and Barcelona and just a lot of people from the US, of course. And it's been a really great outlet for me to share my knowledge and share what I've learned over the past 20 years of performing and doing this.

Darwin: So what I'm curious about though is, I'll make a joke here, but please bear with me. I mean, how would you not just say, "Okay, step one is learn to play the violin. Step two is meet George Clinton son and get into the studio..." You know, how do you work with people and help them maximize their stuff?

Laura: Yeah, that's a great question. Well, so I want people to be able to take the shortcuts, right. I don't want them to have to go back to it, you know, because for me, I was figuring it out along the way and I was largely self-taught. So I wanted to provide a shortcut for people to learn what I've amassed in a shorter period of time and to really get out there and start performing. And that was what I envisioned with the program. So I mean, yes, obviously having the background and an instrument or voice or something like that definitely helps. It's not required to do the program. But it's really just every individual has got their own unique spin on performance and what they want to achieve with it. And we just help them step-by-step throughout, through the process. And I mean, it's incredible to see what artists' shows look like at the end of the two months; we've had some well known film composers in that have taken Transmute. And this had some incredible artists that are just really blossoming and out there performing. And now doing a lot of online performances as well. So yeah, it's very cool. It's very cool to see where people were at the beginning of the two months versus the end.

Darwin: Well, it's kind of interesting you talk about it being shortcuts because what it sounds to me is you're trying to help people to maybe have fewer stumbles then you had to go through in your process, right?

Laura: Absolutely. I mean, it was a lot of trial and error and just a lot of figuring things out on my own and, and in Transmute, I very clearly lay out that if you want to do this and watch this, watch me do this and try it on your own and now I'll hold your hand and we'll walk you through it.

Darwin: Well, I also think that there's something valuable about this, particularly in talking about live performance because I think it's actually pretty difficult to get good feedback on your live performances. Because your friends will want to make you feel good about the performance you just gave. People who are "fans" are going to feel like, "Well that's something I could never do, so that's really cool what you did there!" And getting a critical view in saying, "You know, you never actually look at the audience and so it kind of is a little off-putting." Or "You look like you're more interested in the E-flat key than you are in the fact that there's people watching you perform." These kinds of things are the kind of feedback that most won't get just by shooting it out there and then seeing what your friends will say.

Laura: Yeah. I mean, it's my goal to really help people get out of the laptop, get their faces out of the laptop and have it become muscle memory to be able to perform their instruments and controllers and be able to engage with the audience. And not have a karaoke show. Just cause I've seen so many instrumentalists and performers, they're pressing play and they're singing over their lead vocals, or they're singing over a mix that doesn't sound good and they don't give the front-of-house engineer the ability to control the different levels. And so it sounds muddy and so there's just all different little tweaks you can do to improve your performance. But really, my goal is to help artists to be able to express themselves in any way that they want to onstage and using technology or not.

Darwin: Right. Well and now it seems like kind of a good time to hone some of those skills, right? Because we can just put the Oprah Winfrey show away for a little while and work on your performance. It seems like a good time to get some of that stuff pulled together, right?

Laura: Yeah. I mean I definitely think so. And you know, in this time we're adding a lot of content based around live streaming. And performing right in your own studio at home. And it's really putting a lot more content around where we're at right now in this time in our lives. We will be able to perform again in the future out in the world. But for now we're here. So you know, we've got a lot of content around that and so it's a fun group. It's definitely great. And, I just really enjoy, I really enjoy facilitating it in Transmute.

Darwin: Cool. Well, unfortunately our time is up, but before I let you go, why don't you fill people in on where to go to learn more about some of these educational opportunities you have as well as where people can go to see more of your performance recordings.

Laura: Oh, amazing. Yeah, it's been so great. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, so I'm a lot on Instagram at lauraescude and just by my name on YouTube as well. Facebook, all the places, but I do have a lot of stuff on Instagram and YouTube. And the Transmute Accelerator is at So all the information about the programs there and we are launching that in May - May 4th - and we have got some openings for people that would like to join us doing that. And yeah, doing a lot of masterclasses things. So, if you want to check out my website ( under the events page, there's a lot of replays that I've done and upcoming events that are things that I'm doing in the next couple of weeks.

Darwin: And you're pretty active on social media site. I'm sure people can track you down and kind of catch what you're up to there as well. So it's cool.

Laura: I urge anyone to shoot me a message if you have a question about something that I'm doing or want some more information.

Darwin: That's fantastic. Well, Laura, I want to thank you so much for your time and let you have the rest of your day. Thank you.

Laura: Thanks Darwin. Take care. Bye.

Copyright 2020 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.