Why Sensation Band vs a Standard Band?
Background - Sensation Band was created by highly acclaimed music producer Jason Silver. Jason has spent many years collaborating and touring internationally with Mark Ronson and a plethora of other megastars throughout the years. Much of our ‘stage-craft’ and know-how for producing stunning music at the highest professional level comes directly from this experience. Our high tech set-up, whilst being fairly unique in the private events world, is how top flight professional bands run gigs at large scale music venues (arenas, stadiums, festivals, etc). Audiences get to experience being fully immersed in their favourite tracks. Huge listener satisfaction is achieved because tracks sound and feel how the original track sounds when played at home, but with the Adrenalin fueled excitement and energy of it being performed live in front of their eyes.
The Challenge - Most well-known studio produced tracks will consist of a large number of layers, or ‘stems’. For example, a track like Valerie (Mark Ronson) is built up from over 20 'layers' of instruments; 13 piece string section plus orchestral percussion, 3 piece Horn section, 2 Guitars, Piano, Bass, Percussion, Drums, Vocals, etc. To perform a faithful rendition live to an audience, some of the original individual instrument stems are added into specialist live music software. That would otherwise require a 24 piece band for just 1 track, which is not always practical or cost effective. This method means each instrument and stem can go into the sound desk and be mixed individually to recreate something totally balanced that is true to the original without the need to have an extremely large band on stage to play each layer on the original track.
When performing live you can configure exactly which instruments are added to the mix based on the instruments present on stage. The unquestionable impact of what is achieved on the big stage formed our decision to continue to operate in exactly the same way for private events (using the same software). This gives our clients more flexibility to chose the band size of their choice without any of the usual compromises. With our 24 piece + bands, all elements are played live!
How is it done? - Each individual track, and each instrument on each track has been painstakingly recorded in our studio to build our enviable setlist over 300 perfectly formed tracks. Many thousands of hours of professional labour and studio time have been invested into creating this. This level of investment, attention to detail, and strive for perfection is totally unique in this market. The results are breathtaking. This is ongoing work with tracks being continuously added to cover the latest tracks and add depth to our repertoire.
“But it’s not Live…” - Sensation Band is always 100% live. Band sizes start from a 5 piece, and go all the way up to 28 piece. This includes our full horn & string sections with fully arranged parts for many of our tracks. We of course have the option of playing as a ‘standard’ band format, but we believe in delivering the best party we can every time, and our unique set-up and resulting sound is intoxicating. The sound we create with live instruments alone is class leading, and we are of course available to play without track. We are 100% confident that anyone who experiences us live will agree that adding more layers does not detract in any way from the live vibe of the band. Why compromise by having just a standard band when you can have an incredible band and all those integral extra instruments seamlessly enriching the sound. Listen for yourself.
So is it DJ Live? - No. Our method is a fully live band enriched on certain tracks by our own bespoke stems. The standard DJ live will typically consist of a DJ playing the commercially available original track with various instruments jamming over the top (often Sax, Percussion, Vocals). This means that live instruments are often doubled up with the original and the same seamless live feel isn't achieved. DJ Live is a fantastic option for certain situations. (Sensation Band offer our own DJ Live Product which builds on our tech & know-how to overcome these issues.)
Why Not Just Have a Standard Band? - When we decided to set up Sensation Band we were resolute that there was no point taking the easy route and being just another great band, it had to be a total game-changer. We knew how easy it would be to use our circle of top-drawer musicians and put together an unbeatable line-up, but it needed to be better than that. The pitfall of a standard band doing covers at a function is that despite some flexibility in guitar pedal sounds and different keyboard sounds, every song played tends to take on a similar sound - like them playing their version of that song. Being able to totally switch up the sound keeps sets much more dynamic and interesting and keep the dancefloor packed and bouncing all night.
Much of what listeners love about a song are the unique sounds, noises, effects, the sonics, the distinctive instruments, the claps, whistles, the powerful synthesized bass lines. With Sensation Band you get the UK's best musicians playing fully live so you get everything that any standard band creates, but enriched to give it depth, make it more immersive and give listeners the full excitement of having a satisfying version of the original played out live in front of them. This is particularly important as most music since the early 1980’s has been produced using drum machines and synthesised bass, these tracks simply don’t have the same power or vibe when played on stage with a keyboard, bass guitar and standard drum kit. This can leave tracks feeling lacklustre and guests feeling slightly disappointed.
Talent - Sensation Band is privileged to be one of the only function bands that’s roots lie squarely in the biggest stages around the world. With our lead singers & musicians active members of some of the UK’s most successful bands (Sigma, Disclosure, Basement Jaxx, Adele, Jess Glyn, Mark Ronson, Blur, Rizzle Kicks) we have unique access to the most exciting level of talent that is totally unrivaled. We still get excited about the outrageous talent in our line-ups before every event, we love that we get to create and share that excitement with all our clients.
What about Flexibility? - Sensation Band is fully live, and don't have a fixed setlist order. We benefit from being able to build a party by reading and reacting to the crowd all night on the fly as a DJ would. There is total flexibility to switch styles and genre to cater perfectly to the what the guests are going crazy for. Our wireless in ear monitoring system means the band leader can communicate with the musicians throughout the performance and call the right songs to build the atmosphere to total fever pitch.
Sound - To deliver our obsessiveness with attention to musical detail we always use one of our own professional studio engineers to live mix on the night. Extensive sound checks are carried out earlier in the day to get the sound mixed perfectly with the acoustics of the room. We operate only the highest standard of sound equipment and speakers (our standard set up is an £50-100k sound system).
We set ourselves apart in respect of our ability to effectively turn the band up or down without any detriment to the sound balance or overall mix due to the fact that without live drums and bass, the sound of the band can be mixed as a ‘whole’ rather than the need to be ‘balanced' with the usually loudest instrument i.e. the drums. With a standard band the drums can sometimes be the only instrument that can be heard from the stage when clients want the band to play quieter during a meal for example. Our way of working gives manageable, perfectly balanced sound in all circumstances. This is particularly useful when trying to manage sound levels or challenging acoustics in a venue.