St. Vincent is doing some amazing live shows, so it’s little wonder that a look inside the software rig and approach to computer-enhanced performance got some attention Friday. Eagle-eyed readers, though, weren’t only satisfied hearing from the band about the role of Ableton Live and Reason. That expansive rack of stompboxes, including some of my personal favorites from New Jersey-based maker Eventide, clearly matters, too. In comments, there’s a full explanation of what you’re seeing. As Dan writes:

Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada (formerly Nice Rack NYC) built that board for Annie. The MasterMind provides switching for the analog pedals and the Eventide Pedals take program change, tempo, and MIDI CC [Control Change] through some midi jacks on the side.

Toronto, feel NYC envy no more – some Maple Leaf pride for you, courtesy Nice Rack Canada.

Sure enough, you can read up on all the details on the Nice Rack NYC blog, complete with loads of photos.

Annie Clark of St. Vincent recently came into the shop with a list of criteria for a new pedalboard system.
1. Fly as checked luggage, doing lots of fly gigs this year with a new record coming out.
2. End the tap dancing routine and focus on playing guitar, singing and interacting with audience.
3. Must Sound Great
4. Be easy to set up, no full time guitar tech on tour.
A week later Annie picked up her new rig comprised of a Z Vex Mastotron, Death By Audio Interstellar Overdrive, Boss Super Shifter, Eventide PitchFactor & an Eventide Space. The effects are wired in True Bypass Series, Routing via a RJM Music Mini Effects Gizmo, controlled by a RJM Music MasterMind. Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Power Supply. Custom System Interface, Silent Tuning Option & Tap Tempo Switch by Nice Rack NYC. Annie re-purposed a Moog Expression Pedal that she liked the feel of.
With St. Vincent using an Ableton Live Rig to playback ambient sound effects and percussion, I was able to take inbound PC messages from Ableton into the MasterMind. Making the pedalboard respond to incoming preset messages freed Annie to focus on playing and singing while letting go of the memorized & stressful pedalboard tap dance routines for each song.
The entire rig is set up in under 3 minutes requiring only 5 patch points.

Behold those beautiful results:

The Mastermind is a beautiful MIDI foot controller for around US$300.

Eventide has St. Vincent herself walk you through all their tasty effects in the video at top. It’s terrific hearing her insights into these sounds, though someone went a little crazy with the filters in Final Cut, it seems.

Part two of the video is available, as well, with embedding disabled. (Result: far fewer views. Uh… Eventide, we love your stuff; cut out the weird old-timey filters and allow embedding, please!)

Thanks, everyone, for filling in the details. That should provide plenty of inspiration for artists getting their footboards together – and to hit the practice rooms hard, too.