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Laptop Live: Seabright Brings Analog and Digital to the Mix

In Clubs, Music
Seabright

For a year and a half after he started his one-man electronic band Seabright, San Jose’s Justin Morales was writing and recording in his bedroom, turning down every live gig offered to him. Finally, in 2007, he took the leap and played his first show at On the Corner Music in Campbell.

“It wasn’t a great show, but it was a start. I figured out what was possible,” Morales says. More specifically, he figured out what wasn’t possible. He’d overwhelmed himself during that first show trying to do live looping and re-creating his songs just as they were recorded. He decided he needed to scale back when playing live.

But still, it wasn’t until last year that he started to feel like his live shows were any good. The turning point was when he sat down and watched footage from his shows.

“I saw that my guitar playing was tame and a bit boring. I realized I could be more exciting. I was just trying to get through the shows and not make mistakes,” Morales says. “It’s such a weird thing to do a show with a laptop and a guitar and that’s it.”

He began to look for more creative ways to show off his skills. Since Morales is a proficient guitar player, unlike most laptop artists, he incorporated a lot more guitar solos in his songs. He also started utilizing more live filters and started live-mixing his music with different knobs and pedals. The audience began to respond to how he was transforming the music in real time, performing distinctly different renditions of his songs at each show, sort of like a rock band, and not simply pressing a button on the computer.
“That’s what you have to do as one person, put on a show and show something spectacular, show something that people have never seen before,” Morales says.

He’s still recording in his bedroom, though, at a remarkable pace. His goal has been to put out two albums every year, a feat he’s succeeded at since he released his first record in 2010.

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