Drums: In The Studio

As a drummer, any time I listen to a new record, the first thing I hear is the percussion. Every recording has its own flavor… snare drums can pop and honk, kick drums can punch or boom… with drums the sonic possibilities are literally endless. When we strive to achieve a sound, we often use adjective like “dry” and “dusty” or “tight” and “close.” Adjectives that only make sense to us. For me personally, I have certain flavors that I prefer, and I’m always working to refine my sound. I am on what seems to be an endless journey to find “my sound.” I listen to records – tape up my heads – listen to more records – throw a t-shirt on the toms – listen to more records – swap my cymbals… it never ends. If you can relate, then you might find this blog post useful. I’m going to attempt to detail what we did in the studio to achieve the percussion sounds on our latest EP. I’ve always wished more drummers did this, so hopefully someone out there will appreciate the drum sounds on our record, and benefit from this info.



How We Know


Of the five songs on this EP, “How We Know” is the closest thing to a “pop-groove” format (for lack of a better term). We kept the setup relatively straightforward on this one, although we stuck with the goal of capturing a dry and open drum sound.

Kick: 22″ Maple Pearl with Evans EMAD batter head and REMO reso head – hand tightened with a half-turn of the drum key for slight punch. We used a small sheet inside of the drum for a little bit of dampening.
Snare: 1968 14″ Ludwig Acrolite – loose/open tuning with extra wide snares.
Kit: Hybrid Pearl Masters/Pearl Session Custom/Late 60s Ludwig Vistalite.
Cymbals: 19″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash
Hats: 20″ K Custom Dark Ride/20″ A Custom Ride (bottom) – both very cracked and trashy

The end of “How We Know” features a percussion break out. We recorded four drummers all standing over floor toms and snare drums, playing together.


Greatest


For this song, I wanted to stick to the natural, fat flavor of the drum kit, but with a little more crack on the snare drum to accomodate the anthemic feel of the driven chorus.

Kick: 22″ Maple Pearl with Evans EMAD batter head and REMO reso head – moderately tightened. We used a large sheet inside of the drum to get some punch and kill the excess resonance.
Snare: 14″ Ludwig 75th anniversary special edition brass snare.
Kit: Hybrid Pearl Masters/Pearl Session Custom/Late 60s Ludwig Vistalite.
Cymbals: 21″ Zildjian K Constantinople light ride with rivets, 19″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash,
Hats: 20″ K Custom Dark Ride/20″ A Custom Ride (bottom) – both very cracked and trashy with a tambouring sitting on top


Darkness Falls


Darkness Falls is played lightly, using rods.

Kick: 22″ Maple Pearl with Evans EMAD batter head and REMO reso head – loose tuning. We used minimal dampening, and the drum was played lightly to minimize attack while capturing the body of the drum.
Snare: 14×7 Ludwig Classic Maple. Very open/loose tuning.
Kit: Pearl Session Custom Maple.
Cymbals: 20″ Zildjian K Custom Medium Dark ride, 19″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash
Hats: 14″ K Custom Dark Bottom Hat/16″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash Top Hat

Heartbeat


This is where it really got interesting… we utilized three different drum setups for various parts of this song. I am really happy with how it all turned out.

Kick: 18″ Pearl Masters Maple Floor Tom/22″ Maple Pearl Session Custom. The floor tom was used as an open, boomy kick until the second chorus, then we switched to the more traditional kick drum sound. The 18″ top was also played with a mallet to create the “heartbeat” sound heard throughout.
Snare: 14×7 Ludwig Classic Maple with a t-shirt and shaker on top of the head. At the second chorus we removed the dampening.
Kit: Pearl Session Custom Maple/Early 80s Pearl Masters Maple/Late 60s Ludwig Vistalite
Cymbals: 20″ Zildjian K Custom Medium Dark ride – cracked – with a tambourine on top
Hats: 16″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash Bottom Hat/19″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash Top Hat

Revolving


Revolving is a powerful song with a larger than life drum sound.

Kick: 22″ Maple Pearl Session Custom, tuned to have some punch.
Snare: 14×7 Ludwig Classic Maple.
Kit: Pearl Session Custom Maple/Early 80s Pearl Masters Maple 18″ Floor Tom
Cymbals: 20″ Zildjian K Custom Medium Dark ride/19″ Sabian HHX Dark Crash
Hats: 20″ K Custom Dark Ride/20″ A Custom Ride (bottom) – both very cracked and trashy with a tambouring sitting on top

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