I've been using a lot of my Spring Break to finally create the necessary performance files for Maybe Bomb. I'm going to try to put this as simply as possible:
I create all my songs using the built-in synthesizers of Logic, a music-making computer program. This makes manipulation and control during the writing process ideal. However, because I build the sounds in the computer, I can't just store them to a keyboard to use them live. So, in order to actually play the sounds, and not just have the recordings play them back, I need a computer to access those exact sounds.
Initially, I thought I was going to need to run Logic live and try to use the program to both play the recorded backing tracks (because there is no way I'm going to be able to have enough people to perform all of the tracks) and play the rest live (an enormous risk, considering how taxing the program is on my computer as it is). MainStage, however, has really opened the possibilities for performance.
At the moment, I'm figuring out what sounds should be played live, by whom, and if a single keyboard should play multiple parts. In the picture above, you can see how the middle keyboard has four sounds that can be played simultaneously. The left side controls two sounds in unison while the right side controls two completely different sounds in unison. Something as simple as this is huge, and it just scratches the surface of what the program offers.
An additional bonus of using the two programs simultaneously is that it (theoretically) promises a perfect performance mix. If I set the levels of the individual tracks to be where there are on the finished songs, they should sit exactly where they belong in the final mix live. That's the plan anyway.
This video about the way that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails utilizes the program really opened my eyes to the possibilities that MainStage offers.