Internet gig for Norfolk musician

A Norfolk musician is set to play at a prestigious festival in America this Sunday - without ever leaving the comfort of his spare bedroom.

A Norfolk musician is set to play at a prestigious festival in America this Sunday - without ever leaving the comfort of his spare bedroom.

Andy Butler will push the boundaries of technology when his 50-minute performance is streamed via the internet from his Norwich home to the appreciative audience at the Live Looping Festival in Santa Cruz, California.

And, as if that was not enough of a feat, the guitarist will also have to sync with wind synthesizer player Ted Killian - who will be more than 5,000 miles away on stage at the festival.

Though fraught with potential problems, Mr Butler believes it could prove a blueprint for the future.

“I have never done anything like it before. Last year I went to the festival and played in Santa Cruz and I was invited back this year but it is a long way and it is better for the environment if I can stay at home,” said the 45-year-old semi-professional musician.

“However, we all know technology can break down and the internet can go wrong.

Most Read

“Also it doesn't happen instantly and there will be a delay that means we hear each other one bar later which will make it hard to play. But it is certainly a way of getting the music out there.”

Using the internet to showcase music is becoming something of a British institution - with the likes of Sandi Thom, the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen building their reputations online.

But Mr Butler will have to use his 30 years experience as a musician and a decade live looping - where a phrase of music is recorded and repeated and fresh layers added on top - to make sure his festival performance goes as planned.

“I have played in bands and also done my own material. I got into looping when the technology became available,” he said.

“You take a phrase of music and record it and then layer other phrases over it for effect but it is all done live.”

The mesmerising result is almost a one-man band.

“The technology never does quite what you expect and in a sense you have to fit the music around that in the same way a classical composer has to fit their work around the rules that govern that type of music,” added Mr Butler, who lives with his supportive partner Peta Leeder.

“Live looping does not have to be expensive. You need an instrument, a computer and a looping device which can cost under £200.”

The two-day annual festival will be attended - either in person or via the internet - by more than 50 artists from around the globe including Europe, Japan and South America.

The Y2K6 line-up features guitarists, cellists, trumpet players, solo singers, fusion bands, avant-garde musicians, circuit benders, abstract electronica artists, even comedians and spoken word artists.

During the show Mr Butler hopes to add a third element with singer Tim Bowness providing improvised vocals from what would be the spare bedroom room - if it were not given over to various guitars and technical equipment.

“It will be different not playing in front of an audience but I still get the feeling of communicating with other people.”

For details of how to listen to the performance, which starts at about 8pm, visit www.andybutler.com.