Hardware: Salt Cathedral’s Simple Live Rig Makes Their Ethereal Sound Pop

Hardware is a video series that takes a closer look at our favorite musicians’ rigs. Some artists talk about their live shows while others give us a chance to peep their home studios.

Salt Cathedral is an electronic duo from Colombia currently based in Brooklyn. Members Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada have created a portable rig that provides an intimate setting to experience their mellow set wherever they go. Although it may seem like a simple setup centered around a laptop and a sampler, Salt Cathedral is currently the condensed version of a five-piece band. In order to recreate that feeling and energy, the duo has shrewdly combined both studio and live sound techniques.

A lot of Salt Cathedral’s set is actually being sequenced through Ableton, but they understand that to engage audiences, they have to make sure some surprises are left for the live show. They perform both vocals and guitar over the backing tracks. Ronderos’ vocals are given the studio treatment with a few TC Helicon pedals, which add presence and provide doubling and harmonizing elements. She also uses a SP-404 to trigger arrangements, which has turned her voice into a multi-faceted instrument. Losada processes his guitar through Ableton and a simple reverb setup. His live arrangements are minimal, but central to the songs.

The duo’s live set tends to be on the mellow side and that can be a tough sell at a noisy bar or venue. To set the mood and get audiences in the right frame of mind, Salt Cathedral has integrated a reactive light show using a DMXIS interface and software projected on two large circular screens. Details like this are what have allowed them to blow audiences away with such an austere setup.