Musicians are often excited about new software acquisitions, but Paul Patto’s wild enthusiasm for Deskew Technologies’ Gig Performer is something different. Patto’s elation is rooted in the fact that Gig Performer enables him to perform live, which, being disabled, he could not otherwise do.
After his career as a pastry chef was ended by the onset of multiple disabling conditions, Patto, who produces under the moniker Bluewolf, turned from layering strudel to producing music, racking up credits ranging from urban dance music and Christian artist Rahn Anthoni and R&B pioneer and Motown alumnus Sidney Barnes to bassist and film composer Sean O’Bryan Smith and doo-wop legends The Dells.
Performing live, however, seemed out of reach. “I am a disabled person, I should be in a wheelchair by rights,” Patto states. “For me to get out and gig was an impossibility with the amount of gear I had to carry.” Patto thought he might be able to make live performing work if he could base his performing rig around a laptop computer, but the plugin hosts he tried just didn’t work. “One of those systems was simply a nightmare, and another took a whole lot of messing around just to route signals,” he bemoans.
Then Patto discovered Gig Performer. “Once I purchased the program and started working out the patching, I thought ‘Man, this goes way beyond what I was expecting,'” he recalls. “So I went on an endeavor to make Gig Performer run the whole live system: mixing, vocals, keyboards, guitar…everything.”
He didn’t find it difficult. “Gig Performer is self-explanatory; I’ve never come across something so simple to use, yet so powerful,” Patto marvels. “If you have a basic knowledge of audio and MIDI, you can jump in straightaway and get your setup going.”
Patto piled on the plugins on his Windows 10 laptop, including Spectrasonics Ominsphere, Native Instruments Kontakt, iZotope Nektar, Reveal Sound Spire, Nomad Factory equalizers, and more. “That’s a lot to load into 16 GB of RAM for a live performance, but you know what? CPU use is next to nothing, so I’m getting no dropouts or crashing” he brags. “I have no doubt that I could run a whole band through it without a problem. Another thing is that, if you’re using a program like (Atomix Productions) Virtual DJ, you can run it as a VST plugin and add DMX capability, so you can run lights out of Gig Performer, as well.”
In addition to his musical performances, Patto says he also will rely on Gig Performer as he launches Dreamsphere, a live “silent disco”-style show of binaural meditation music performed for an entire audience listening over headphones. “For Dreamsphere, I’m going to use Gig Performer to drive the headphone outputs. The Silent Storm Silent Disco system lets me run as many headphones as I want off one interface output, and it runs flawlessly with Gig Performer. If I was using a speaker system, I’d have to use backing tracks, but with all the power Gig Performer provides, I can do everything live, so the show will never be the same twice.”
Gig Performer has also become a crucial part of Patto’s studio system. “I might get sounds set up on three virtual synths and save the composite sound in Gig Performer, making it a synth in itself. It becomes like a librarian; it’s a very integral part of my studio now,” Patto explains.
The result of all this is an excitement that sets Patto to gushing. “I’m cynical as hell about gear, but I just can’t find anything wrong with Gig Performer. It is the most inventive thing that has come through the music industry in 20 years, and what Deskew has created is a revolution for people who have disabilities. I think it’s very important for people with disabilities who believe they can’t play live anymore to realize there is something out there that lets them still live the dream if they want to.”
Patto insists that the impact of Gig Performer on him has been nothing less than transformative. “It’s opened up a door, it’s exciting for me,” he says. “Gig Performer is an integral part of my studio, of my live setup, and of my upcoming Dreamsphere binaural setup. It’s changed my life, in that a little fellow like me with a major disability has the ability to go out and still do what I enjoy the most and thought I’d never be able to do again, which is to perform music live. What more could I ask?”