I’m forever moving my drums around to keep my mind thinking about new stickings and different ways to play my parts in interesting ways and myself out of my comfort zone.
So much so that I copied the drum and cymbal brands that Chad Smith had at the time. I thought that having the same branded equipment as him would improve my playing and make me sound better. Which is definitely not true.
It’s taken me nearly 10 years of experimenting with different drum sticks, skins and cymbals to find a starting base for my drum sound. I’m not precious about it but it’s a good starting point for any project I’m working on to help me find the right sound.
I’m a big believer in keeping an open mind when working on anything creative, whether that’s your project or somebody else’s. You should always leave your ego at the door and don’t take feedback and people’s opinions as a personal attack on yourself.
You’ll learn a lot more and grow a lot faster if you are open-minded, thoughtful and considerate. But also never be afraid to speak your mind if you believe it’ll benefit a project and help improve the outcome.
MY CURRENT SETUPS
FORTNIGHT IN FLORIDA
When I play live with Fortnight In Florida I use a hybrid drum kit. I trigger electronic sounds from my SPD-SX sample pad with acoustic triggers on my bass and snare drums. Most recently I’ve also been using a more stripped back set-up. This consists of an electronic bass drum pedal, SPD-SX sample pad, acoustic snare drum and cymbals.
As a band, it took us a lot of trial and error through live performances and rehearsal time to get such a simple, gig-ready, fast & easy to set up rig that worked for everyone. And it’s still not perfect!
As a result of our experimenting, I now control the backing tracks, backing track vocals and click track all with the push of a single button/footswitch.
At the same time, I can also trigger extra samples and loops within my sample pad.
These audio tracks can now be individually controlled by the front of house sound technician giving them greater control of our overall sound.
This gives me and the rest of the band the freedom to concentrate on playing our parts without being distracted by laptops and other over complicated technologies.
My current setup makes me think about drum fills and grooves in different ways as I have the high tom setup to the left of my hi-hat and a sample pad in the high tom position.
This forces me to think about my drum fills and patterns differently because I don’t have a smooth transition to run up and down the toms that you get with a traditional setup.
This also helps me strengthen my ability to lead fills with my left hand rather than my right.