Lauv is the stage name of singer, songwriter and producer Ari Staphrans Leff. Born to parents of Eastern-European heritage, Lauv chose his stage name as a deliberate nod to his family background.
Lauv translates roughly as 'lion' (lauva) in Latvian, as does his birth name Ari (which is the Hebrew meaning of lion); additionally, his star sign is Leo, adding to the multi-symbolic significance.
Lauv began playing guitar and writing songs from a young age and went on to graduate from New York University with a degree in Music Technology. Initially focussed on producing and writing songs for other acts, such as Demi Lovato, Lauv soon found himself with the desire to front and perform his own compositions.
It was 2017’s breakthrough single, “I Like Me Better” which brought Lauv’s romantically tinged blend of hip-hop, R&B and pop music to the mainstream. Lauv’s music quickly gained global airplay with major tours following suit.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Lauv and his Musical Director Rob Ernst just as they were announced as the main support for Ed Sheeran’s tour of Asia. At this exciting time Rob was kind enough to take the time to walk us through Lauv’s live rig, which features exclusively iConnectivity audio and MIDI interfaces.
As is the norm for pop acts nowadays, Lauv’s show uses playback tracks along with live musicians, in order to deliver a tight, exciting show for his fans. Musical Director, Rob Ernst filled us in on why they use playback.
This is a pop gig and we have to make things sound pretty close to what the record sounds like. We have to get that record sound that all the crowd is expecting and used to, but we have to give them something new on top of that.
When it came to designing and building a playback rig, Rob turned to iConnectivity for all their audio and MIDI interface needs. When we caught up with the show in London, they were running a full redundant playback rig based upon the PlayAUDIO12, as well as an iConnectAUDIO4+ as an audio/MIDI interface for additional softsynths.
Two MacBook Pro laptops running mirrored Ableton Live sessions are connected to the PlayAUDIO12 to form a redundant failover rig. Should one computer fail during a show, PlayAUDIO12 automatically switches to the “B” computer.
Additionally, MIDI patch change and controller data is handled by the PlayAUDIO12 over a networked Ethernet connection. iConnectMIDI4+ interfaces sit at Rob’s drum riser as well as the keyboard riser, making show control and soft synth control easy.
Previously, Rob used to have a stack of computers next to him on his drum riser. Nowadays, he uses an iPad running Lemur, which is connected to an iConnectMIDI4+ via lightning connection. The iConnectMIDI4+ is connected to the Playback rig via Ethernet, meaning Rob can stop/start tracks remotely using just the iPad as a controller.
The adjacent keyboard riser also has an Ethernet connected iConnectMIDI4+ which is used for patch changes of the keyboard player’s keyboards, as well as a signature part of the Lauv show.
Songs such as “I Like Me Better” have distinctive samples which form the song’s hook. These samples are triggered on-stage by Lauv via an MPD pad MIDI controller which is connected to the iConnectMIDI4+ USB-MIDI host port. The MIDI commands from that pad then triggers samples from the Ableton track rig.
Everything on-stage is plugged in and it’s simple… we can just concentrate on playing the music which is, ideally, the most important thing! Not worrying about all the tech stuff is amazing, so thank you iConnectivity for that!
We’d like to thank Rob Ernst and everyone on the Lauv tour for letting us see behind the scenes of this sold-out pop show. It’s always a pleasure to see our interfaces being embraced and utilised to their full, night after night, on stages around the world.