Live videos and interview Juan van Emmerloot Drummer debuts with Burnin' the Rules Juan van Emmerloot released his debut album "Burnin' the Rules". The drummer who worked with respectable artists like Stef Burns (Huey Lewis and the News, Vasco Rossi, Y&T), Steve Lukather (Toto) and Snowy White, finally released his personal musical statement. The album features Hammond legend John "Rabbit" Bundrick (The Who, Roger Waters, Mick Jagger) and percussionist Martin Verdonk. After quitting his job at the conservatory in 2013, he started his own Academy / studio / store for all types of musicians called Beat Supplier. Watch and read all this new...

'Burnin' the Rules' features twelve tracks on which Juan plays a lot of instruments himself. On Four Horse Men Apocalyps he even plays all the instruments.

Does that mean we can consider you more a musician then a drummer?
"The way I see it is like this: I am a drummer and I love the drums, the energy they give and the way you can conduct a band playing them. But that doesn't mean I'm just a drummer. I learned this in my first band when I was 14 years old. When I was 15, I borrowed a bass guitar from the bass player because he never studied. Also took a guitar from the guitar player with me. Back then I made my first recordings in my bedroom with the old tape recorders. So I got into recording early and tried to figure out why some basic rules are so important. So the first real steps I made in music were in recording, and playing the instruments became a necessity.

Writing songs was a sort of natural next step. Until now I wrote and co-wrote songs for Snowy White, Stef Burns, the Jan Somers band and a lot of songs for myself. I just love the process of writing and recording, so I guess you can consider me more a musician, composer and producer than a drummer."

When did you decide to record "Burnin' the Rules"?
"There were a couple of things that triggered the idea to make an album. The most important one is that The Room Recordings, a Dutch record label asked me about my music that I used in my videos on YouTube. They contacted me through Facebook, giving me great advice and asked me if I had any more tracks. I sent them fifty of my songs and after a while the idea to put the music on record was there. This was just a little more than year ago, so I had quite a tough time finishing all the songs for the record. They were only basic ideas at that time."

How did you manage to get the recordings done with all these international artists?
"That actually just happened when I started and when producing the record. When working on a project, things can go really fast. I put all my energy into it and looked for the best and most creative solutions. One of the solutions for finishing the tracks was to contact a lot of people I've worked with and find the right persons for the right track. Over the years I met some great singers in Italy, always have a ball with John Bundrick, so the next logical step was to ask them to work with me on this. Snowy White is on it as well, but a lot more artists aren't because of time or other jobs.

But don't worry; most of them will appear on my next album!"

Did you produce all these moments, sessions and recordings yourself?
"Yes! The only thing is that I didn't have to go to England to record John Bundrick or Snowy White, or go to Italy to record Roberto Tiranti. The way it goes is that I sent them a mix without their instruments on it. Then I ask if they want to co-write or arrange the track - to keep the process open. When they ask for a starting idea, then I sent them the mix with my vocals, or keys or guitar parts.

I use this approach because I know the people I work with have all the skills, musicality and ideas that I don't have. This way I hope to get the best out of them and into the songs. That is why I still enjoy listening to the record, because there is a lot on it that I could never think of. Like vocal lines, solos or other great moments."

What was your most difficult moment during the recordings?
"This is quite a personal answer, but let's get it out there.

While I was recording I got into a huge fight with my former publisher. It comes down to that he didn't want to let me go. And during the production I knew I couldn't let all that negative energy be part of the music and the album. That is why we stopped the process for a while to take care of the legal stuff before it could influence the music. Being negative is very easy, but you don't want it being reflected in your music. We want positive rock!

The title Burnin' the Rules has many layers and this story is a big part of it. When I was going through the old contracts I was kind of burning all the rules mentioned in it."

Can you give us a funny insight that no one could ever guess?
"I didn't work for quite some time with Snowy White because I left the band a couple of years ago. Other than being just friendly, musicians just don't stay in touch for other reasons then a musical one. But when I was working on one of the tracks, I realized it was starting to sound like my old friend Snowy. And when I got stuck with it, I needed someone to give it his magic to get the idea back on track. Snowy was the obvious and only person who could do that, not in the least because it has the sound that he taught me.

I called him, and we immediately got back into our vibe of stupid jokes and having plain fun. But he was truly honored and sent me some rough guitar parts within a day. He nailed the vibe of the song with those first takes completely. Then I re-amped his sound, did some mixing on it, and returned them the same day. It is a classic one-taker, called: Mysterious Girls.

It is called Mysterious Girls because when I think of Snowy, I always think of all those mysterious girls everywhere and always, haha! He will kill me when he reads this!"

What was your best musical challenge or success during the recordings?
"The mixing process was one of the best ever. I took a lot of time for it. It became interesting because I had to approach it like a listener and not as a drummer. The steps in mixing were quite easy; once I had the right drum sound it was easy to mix the other instruments around it. Although it is time consuming, it was a great learning process. During that time I had to go on tour with the Stef Burns League. In the end it is best not to rush important stages like that. I even tried to master some of the tracks myself, just to learn more about it."

What's up with that suit you have on the cover?
"Haha, the suit is actually hand made by a friend of mine. The cover shoot was a special moment. It was done in Antwerp, Belgium in an empty and old building. On the floor you see are many books that someone burned there. It was smelly, dirty, freezing cold and I was barefoot. So the setting and the gentleman's suit are the perfect illustration for the album title."

We miss your good friend Stef burns on the album. Is there a special reason to not include him on the album?
"We both wrote for 'Roots & Wings,' the Stef Burns League-album. And while I was working on this album I didn't think it would be a great idea to have Stef on it with 'Roots & Wings' just released. I called him up to talk about this and he said he was even too busy to work on this one, but still wanted to be part of it. We solved it this way: this album features Snowy White, and the next album will be with Stef Burns. My label wants me to make another album soon. Stef will definitely have a big part on it."

What is next for you in the two coming years?
"Staying focused. Focused on our new company 'Beat Suplier Academy'. The next three years, I do a lot of drum coaching and teaching there. Also, I got a great offer from an Italian booking agency that want to do a tour for this album. Right now I am putting the band together to perform at the 2014 edition of the Adams Drumworld Festival in Holland. As in the videos, the band is: Jos Kamps on bass, and Damian Corlazzoli on guitar - my main man for playing live.

And of course the Stef Burns League. We just shot the second video for the second single of the album and in July we will be touring Italy again."

We have to know about your gear as well. Which Sonor drums are you using most nowadays?
"On the album the only kit I had: the Beech Infinite. A remarkable drum set that I found hard to get used to. Now it has a great setup that works perfect for me. In combination with my black Artist series snare it is the best setup I have had in a long time.

I like the Sonor Infinite sets a lot. There are just a few of them but I also have the Birch Infinite Amber Shell. I will probably use that one more often. When that kit arrived...man, it was love from the first moment I hit it!"

What is your favorite cymbal setup?
"Good question, but a tricky one. With Stef Burns I only use two crashes, a ride and a hi-hat. A simple setup keeps me more focused. It takes me away from wanting to do more fusion stuff. We're a rock band, so no room for playing around.

I use the Paiste 20 series and I have a 22" prototype ride. There is only one cymbal made, but it is a great one. Furthermore a 20" crash and a 14" heavy hi-hat.

On my new videos I used the new Masters and -my favorite- the Formula 602 Modern Essentials that Vinnie Colaiuta developed with Paiste. Those cymbals are so f**k*ng great. So very well controlled and they fit perfect into any type of music. You will notice they make me play in a different way. When playing 'Burnin' the Rules' live, those will be on the stands."

Any drumstick changes?
"This answer has a yes and a no. Yes, I still the use the same sticks I designed for Pro-Mark, the Hickory 739 Wood Tip Dame Evelyn Glennie sticks. But since Promark is with d'Addario the company has changed the production. Now, there is an upgraded version of these sticks that I designed, but use the Dame Evelyn Glennie name. These new sticks are better for me now; they are a little bit thicker, a little bit longer and the shape of the tip is rounder and they sound great."

You have a lot of (mobile) studio equipment. Do you think (starting) drummers should know more about that in their line of work and interest?
"Oh yes! To all drummers reading this: the days that you were asked to come to the studio for a job are over. If you do get asked, you are either very good or very fortunate. If you want more opportunities to be heard, start recording your own drums. It's not rocket science; it is just a matter of doing it. For instance, the Zoom company has great and easy to use 8 to 16-channel hard disk recording system. You can make your own mixes and even use it as an USB interface. It doesn't cost much and some budget microphones are good enough to make your own recordings. It gets even easier than that: with only three microphones (bass drum and two overheads) you can already record your whole drum set.

But it is not only good to be heard. It is even better that you will learn how to listen to yourself and your playing, your drum sound and your tuning. Hence, your learning process will go much faster."

What is your love for guitars all about?
"Yes, I love guitars! I have a Gibson Les Paul and a Strat (Fender Stratocaster) - for me a must-have combination. Of course, I am not a guitar player but I do love the sound you get when combining these two guitars. Putting them together works very good in many ways. Like using the Strat for rhythm guitar and the Gibson for soloing, or vice versa. Even doubling rhythm tracks gives great results. It is as if the frequencies match perfectly.

The reason that I own this Gibson is because my uncle gave it to me two weeks before he passed away. He understood I wanted to learn the finesses of recording and this Les Paul is still one of my biggest inspirations in music. To be honest, if I had to choose between selling the Gibson or my drums... I would sell the drums without hesitation."

Alex van Halen is one of your all time drum heroes. What is his influence on you?
"I never really listened to Van Halen when I started playing. Back then it was all about playing songs of bands like The Police. A little later I got into fusion. At that time we already wrote our own music. I grew up playing my own music, most of it instrumental. I learned playing covers when I went to the conservatory in Rotterdam because I was told it was necessary to survive in the industry.

Alex van Halen came into my life in my mid 20's. When I heard Van Halen's songs 5150 the drums sounded not that great but the fun factor of those guys was so high. When 'Balance' (1995) came out the band really got to me. The fact that I like Alex van Halen so much is that you never know what's coming next with him. I love his snare drum sound and the juicy vibe he creates with his cymbals. The impact and power of this guy's playing is just so amazing. And again, it’s the fun factor of that band that makes it happen.

That's what it's all about... to have fun while playing!"

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