The Deadlocks are currently recording a few tracks for Matt Herriger’s upcoming film Winter’s Wind. I can say that this is my first official studio recording session on drums. I’ve recorded myself playing guitar a bunch, and the majority of my live performances and rehearsals over the years have been recorded, and I’ve even jammed a few times in different studios, but this was a distinctly different experience. This is the first time where I felt the pressure of recording.
Maybe it’s because all those other experiences were on guitar. I think I felt more pressure this time because I was drumming and had to keep the time. In live performance I make a lot of mistakes, but it doesn’t really matter as long as the overall groove stays intact. But when you’re recording, everything matters. During this session I played the drum kit on a few songs, and my Wavedrum on a few others. On the Wavedrum I used mostly the conga and djembe settings. It records really well. If I recorded a real djembe, then swapped in the Wavedrum, I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference on tape. The Wavedrum is one of the most amazing instruments ever made. I’m surprised they’re not more popular.
I kept things as simple as possible. As we practiced a few songs, the other guys kept telling me to do less. Do less. The recordings sound sparse as a result, but that’s really good. Recording the drums wasn’t much different than what I have always been told when recording guitars – keep the effects low and simple and preserve the space. By keeping the hits simple with short attack, and not doing things like dragging the sticks on the snare (which sounds great live), we were able to add some delay to the drum kit and get some cool sounds.
The jams were long though, and simple beats are really hard (for me) to hold and keep accurate for long periods of time. I have a harder time keeping a simple boom-chick going than something with fills, double bass and accents. I don’t know if this is just me, or all drummers. This is where my inexperience and general lack of technical skill come into play.
It was so much quieter than our practices! Everyone wore headphones and kept the amps low. That was nice. It made every articulation I did on the drums stand out more without me having to pound the skins into oblivion. For a few songs we played to a click track. Some of the guys didn’t want to do it, but we tried it on one song and the results were great. Everyone just felt more comfortable. It made it easier for me because for those particular songs I was playing the Wavedrum and it’s hard to set a beat for a band without a distinct snare or bass hit for people to follow. With the click track running, I could get a little more creative with the conga sounds and not throw people off. It should also make overdubbing later a lot easier.
Overall, it was an interesting experience, especially coming at it from a drummer’s perspective for the first time.