What a difference a drum makes

What a difference a drum makes, or should I say a drummer.

It’s seemed like ages waiting but yesterday was drum recording day at last. Now, I’ve had some great drummers in the bands I’ve been in but they’ve never been the most organised of people, so when Harry emailed to say his car had failed its MOT and he couldn’t drive down it all seemed to be drummer business as usual.

However when we finally got him to the studio and he asked for a music stand for his hand written sheets of drum music and detailed notes for each song, I realised he was taking it pretty seriously.

I would like to say a massive thank you to Harry for the time he’s put into learning the songs, working on the drum parts, and giving up his weekend to record them. His professionalism belied his relatively young age and he can definitely go a long way with that attitude.

As I have mentioned before, having him down for the drumming was a bit of a leap of faith, I hadn’t really heard him play for 4 years (when he was 14 or 15). But I had heard enough good things to think it wasn’t too much of a risk. Nonetheless when we finally got the kit set up and I played the first track to his headphones for a practice run I was nervous to hear what he had come up with. The nerves lasted all of about 30 seconds and within a minute I was sitting in the control room with a huge grin on my face, it sounded awesome.

The drum machine vs drummer debate is an ultimately one sided argument in my opinion, despite the fact that a drum machine will never forget it’s sticks or turn up drunk to a rehearsal, there’s just no comparison for this type of music. There are clever people who can make programmed drums sound very close to the real thing, but I’m not one of them, no matter how hard I try.

So, to demonstrate here are two audio files. They are both the end section of a song called Healthy Distance. One is the version I sent Harry, with my drums to show him what I was after. The other is Harry’s version from yesterday. Only demo’s again at this stage, I’ve only spent 5 minutes mixing the drums but you should get my point nonetheless.

Hopefully that shows what a difference recorded drums can make, even just on a rough demo. If you only listened to one bar you might be fooled but over a whole section, Harry’s drumming adds so much!

Basically, the songs that I loved, I hoped the drums would help them live up to my expectations, and they did. The songs that I wasn’t yet 100% sure about, I hoped that the drums would bring them to life, and they really have.

So now the real work for me starts as I can start working on building the tracks up and doing some serious recording. Watch this space.

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