Animals as Leaders – Mind-Spun Drum Cover

This is a cover of the song “Mind-Spun” from Animals as Leaders’ 2014 album, “The Joy of Motion.”

I covered “The Woven Web” a few months ago and have been meaning to cover more Animals as Leaders since then. Their music is groovy, brutal, complex, and so good! This song in particular is one of my favorites on the album and I hope I do it justice! I learned this song by writing the notation out piece by piece in Sibelius. That drum notation is available on the Transcriptions page.

Not much is new in terms of gear on this cover – other than an extra tom and the addition of a cymbal here or there. I’m still using CAD Touring 7 drum mics, with the exception of an Audix D6 on the bass drum. I also used two overhead condensers, one on my right pointing directly down at the bell of my 18″ Meinl Benny Greb Byzance Sand Medium Crash and the other pointing directly down at the bell of my 16″ inch Meinl Byzance Traditional Crash. The snare, rack toms, and both floor toms were miced on their batter heads with the remaining instrument mics via rim clips or, in the case of the snare, via a low mic stand.

I’m using a custom drum set made of Keller drum shells and Pearl lugs and rims. I worked with the maestros at Columbus Pro Percussion in Columbus, Ohio to build this bad boy. For cymbals, I’m using pair of 13″ Meinl Thomas Lang Signature Byzance Fast Hats on my left, a Meinl 16″ Byzance Medium Crash on my left, a Meinl 18″ Benny Greb Signature Byzance Sand Medium Crash on my right, a Paiste 18″ Signature Thin China on my right, a pair of 14″ Meinl Byzance Dark Hats on my right, and last but not least, a stack consisting of a 14″ Zildjian K Mini-China (with jingles drilled into it by yours truly) and a 10″ Zildjian A Series Brilliant Splash on my right.

Children of Bodom – Halo of Blood Drum Cover and Lesson!

This is a cover of the song “Halo of Blood” from Children of Bodom’s 2013 album of the same name.  I also created a video lesson, which you can check out on my lessons page!

I received a request to cover this song and I gladly accepted! This song rocks and is a ton of fun to play – despite the slight scowl I generally sport throughout (I can’t help it – that’s just my face, haha).

I knew this song would be challenging, but it was much more difficult than I expected. The long periods of blast beats and the quick spells of double bass really take it out of me, and I had to warm up quite a bit in order to play the song at full speed.

As for the mix, I moved mics around a bit compared to my last video (The Haarp Machine’s “Esoteric Agenda”), but I stuck with a fairly common set up. I worked on getting the snare sound right as well, so I hope that comes through. I’m still flying by the seat of my pants, but overall the sound is getting close to where I want it.

For reference, I’m using mostly CAD Touring 7 drum mics with the exception of an Audix D6 on the bass drum (pushed about 5 inches into the drum, pointing directly at the bass drum beaters). Otherwise, I used two overhead condensers, one on my right pointing directly down at the bell of my 18 crash, and the other pointing directly down at the bell of my 16 inch crash. The snare, rack tom, and both floor toms were miced on their batter heads with the remaining instrument mics via rim clips or, in the case of the snare, via a low mic stand.

…oh, and yes I am wearing two different colored socks 🙂

Please check out the the full drum set transcription on the Transcriptions page.

The HAARP Machine – Esoteric Agenda

This is a cover of the song “Esoteric Agenda” from The HAARP Machine’s 2012 album, Disclosure.

A friend recommended that I check this band out about a year ago, but I never got around to it until I stumbled upon Alex Rudinger’s video of his drum recording session recently on YouTube. After watching the video, not only did I immediately love it, I also immediately wanted to give it a try. Rudinger’s drumming is so precise, heavy, and effortlessly fast. I hope that I do the song justice!

As for the mix, I experimented with mic placement a bit on this recording. I won’t pretend that I know what I’m doing – I’m still finding my way with recording and audio editing – instead I simply wanted to see what things would sound like. For reference, I’m using the CAD Touring 7 seven-piece drum mic set with the following set up. One overhead condenser mic was pointed at the top of the snare; the other condenser was pointed between the underside of my right-side floor tom and the batter head end of the bass drum shell from about a foot and a half away. I had the bass drum mic positioned approximately 8″ inside the front end of the bass drum via a port in the resonant head. One of the instrument mics was clipped to the basket of my snare drum stand in order to capture the snares from below. And, the remaining 3 instrument mics were clipped to the rims of my three toms. I wasn’t dissatisfied with the result, but I look forward to further experimentation. Overall, I feel the snare sound in my recording lacks the power and fullness that I was looking for, but on the upside I did find my bass drum and tom sound was nice and beefy – and has been improving with each video.

Please see my transcription for this song on the Transcriptions page.

Warming Up: Next Steps

Gatts Drums Warming Up

In my previous post, I discussed the importance of a good warm up.  In a nutshell, warming up primes your mind for performance and reacquaints your body with the movements of drumming.  Although you can get by without warming up before a gig, you’ll have a harder time finding your groove early in your performance and you will be more likely to injure yourself.  Unfortunately, warming up isn’t always the easiest thing to do before a set, especially if you’re not used to doing it.  We drummers already go through a lot of work before each set as it is: we disassemble our drum sets, we pack our gear into the car, we drive it to the venue, then we unpack everything and have to set it all up on stage before we can finally play anything.  To most people, this would already qualify as a warm up in and of itself.  Nonetheless, we should still take the time to warm up properly before we play.

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Warming Up: Priming Yourself to Perform

Gatts Drums Warming Up

If you have ever performed in front of an audience, you know that there isn’t always time to properly warm up before playing.  This can be especially true when you are performing in a loud, crowded bar as part of a multi-band set.  Often, you’re asked to load your drums into a cramped space at the back of the bar and get out of the way until it’s time to play your set.  Depending on the complexity and speed of your music, this common scenario can promote anxiety, tense playing, and injury – not to mention a poor performance.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that your performance doesn’t suffer because of your situation.  As long as you can get your mind and body in the game, you will always have a chance of playing your best.

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