"[...] So, when everything is said, there is that one thing you have to nail: the song. Know that it is all about the sound you need. My first choice to make is whether I use sticks or brushes. I have a set of really thick and full Vic Firth brushes that differ just enough from regular sticks to give a song a completely different angle, sound and intension.
I also brought Eric van den Bovenkamp on keys, because drummers are always dependent on the people that they are playing with. If you go around your drums, playing all the impossible fills in triplets or 6/8, you do not get anywhere. Even if you can play them all, no one can follow you, or even understand you musically. On the other hand, Eric is a guy with ears... he follows what I am doing, haha!"
What I encounter often is drummers telling me: 'Why are you on that record? I am much better then you.' Of course that is true. There are many, many drummers better then me. Being a professional musician, you have to understand what it is all about; if you cannot read a song from a music sheet, or when you do not truly grasp the meaning of a couplet, a pre-chorus or even a refrain, you are not fit for the job. It is all about feeling, and experience. The first thing I always try to figure out is: how does a song evolve. Where is the climax of the song, and how are we going to get there musically. I always check first where the climax in the song is."
"Really, it makes no sense trying to compete with the great sounds of drum computers nowadays. That is why I look for a drum sound with 'air' around it. Maybe that sounds a little bit strange, but it makes sense on several levels. For instance, I have a lot of distance between my microphones and my toms. When mikes are too close to the toms, you will get more hit then sound. Meaning: not the sound you hear in the room. So, make sure your mikes are not to close to the toms. It kills a lot of tone.
Also, my cymbals are part of my drum sound. Most important for me are the kick, the snare, and the toms. Cymbals are an addition to that, but must be an extension of my drum sound."
"I am glad those 14" floor toms are disappearing to the background the last couple of years. Drummers use bigger drums nowadays. Those are harder to play, but these drums have much more definition when you compare them to all those smaller and -in-between-sizes like 10", 11" toms or that 14" floor tom.
As a drummer, you have to create a sound that is substantially different from any programmed sound you can find or create. That is where you start making a difference."
"I used to be afraid of my feelings on this. Nowadays, I passed that, and think different about the use of a click track. Simply put, I know it is there and I know it is important, but I can have a different feel towards the song. To be honest, I do not really care about it that much anymore.
I am a fan of using big Hihats. I often use a 16". Did you know you can cheat a little in time keeping with bigger hats? The bigger the size, the less interference there is on the snare drum. The pitch goes down a little bit, but you get more low from the hihat, and the attack is less hard."
"This groove is my all time favorite. It is four on the floor, on every count the kick. One that is timeless in music. Daft Punk and Pharell Williams use it, all taken from the older tracks they grew up with, learned and used in a different era.
If you want to make a step forward in music, you have to take a step back in listening where this all comes from. A lot of the music you hear now is stealing the grooves from the old days. It all comes back. I think it is best to learn the original music to understand what kind of feel fits best to a song. Of course, it is older, but it is authentic. Look at John "J.R." Robinson, who plays with Barbra Streisand. You can call it old school, or even an old guy, but he has a groove that no one else has or will have. That is why he is also on the latest Daft Punk album. He doesn't have to create or even fake it; he is that groove - and having success with it for decades until now."
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