Chasing Ghosts EP Recording Session at Chapel Studios

Right before Christmas I was contacted by a newly formed doom/goth metal band by the name of Chasing Ghosts to book in a last minute session at the prestigious Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire. There’s an underlying Paradise Lost vibe to the three tracks that have been recorded but the finished work definitely has a sound all of it’s own.

Chapel Studios has a fantastic live room and with the expertise of producer Tim Morris I believe we’ve captured the best and most natural drum tones I’ve had to date. We really understood each others preferred approaches and I can honestly say that this session has been the most relaxed and enjoyable recording session I’ve ever worked on!

For the session we used my Premier Artist Maple kit in it’s usual configuration (10″ and 12″ toms, 16″ floor tom and 22″ bass drum) outfitted with Aquarian Response 2 clear drumheads on the toms and a clear Force I on the kick. The tuning process was as quick and painless as ever due to my DrumDial, Sleeved Washers and Tuner Fish Lug Locks.

We only tried one snare drum – my Flynn Drums signature model “Welly” – and didn’t need to try any others ( I’ve yet to write a full article on this incredible piece of craftsmanship but will do so very soon). The overall sound was simply amazing: outfitted with an Aquarian Texture Coated Power Dot this drum delivered a fat backbeat which cuts through distorted guitars with ease but still allowed for subtle ghost notes to come through with great clarity.

Cymbals were a mix from my collection of Murat Diril models – we used my 14″ Renaissance Regular Hats, 17″ and 18″ Renaissance Brilliant Crashes, a 10″ Renaissance Regular splash, my 18″ Renaissance Regular Thin China and 20″ Black Sea Megabell Gold Ride.

The songs have already been sent for mastering and should be back very soon, I’ll be sure to post some samples along with links to the band when it’s finally ready for release.

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DrumBeat World Record Attempt & Charity Fundraiser

On November 21st I’ll be taking part in DrumBeat at Event City in Manchester.

The event aims to bring together 1001 drummers to break the current world record for the “largest drumset ensemble” which has stood at just under 900 since 2012.

More importantly is the charity that each participant is seeking sponsorship for: The Brain Tumour Charity. Brain Tumours are becoming increasingly prevalent amongst the under-40s and research receives little funding  compared to other forms of cancer.

If each participant can raise £250 then they can each fund one full day of laboratory research – so if the event is successful we’ll collectively raise 1001 days worth of funds.

If you’d like to take part you can register here and if you’re interested in sponsoring me or sharing my fundraising page around online it would be both extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Any size donation makes a difference and goes directly to The Brain Tumour Charity if you use my fundraising page.

 

Endorsement Announcement: Aquarian Drumheads

It’s with great excitement that I can finally reveal that I am now an endorsing artist for Aquarian Drumheads! I couldn’t be happier to be involved with the company and the fantastic products they make and I’m so very proud to be able to say that they support my work.

Over the years I’d settled on one brand of drumhead but often found myself peeking at the Aquarian website and being rather blown away by the sheer scale of the product range – some models come in up to 4 different variations (with muffling rings, coating options, reinforcement dots and so on) and many heads that Aquarian manufactures have  no comparable model with any other drumhead company (they even make a snare head with a fully integrated triggering system). I always talked myself out of trying them as they can be harder to find in the UK but eventually gave in and tested out a Focus X Power Dot snare head – I couldn’t have been more blown away by the ease of tuning, the great tone and the incredible durability: this head has taken a level of abuse that would’ve left my previous choice of 2-ply snare heads “dishing out” in the centre and needing retuning or replacing and yet, after 6 weeks, it sounds as great as the day I fitted it and shows no signs of wearing out anytime soon!

But why does the brand matter? As a session player I place somewhat higher demands on the tools that I use then most drummers might. I change drumheads more frequently to ensure that the kit sounds clear and fresh for every session, I tune more often, I need a new set of heads to sound the way I expect them to based on the last set that were in use, I need them to tune quickly as time is often of the essence on a studio session and I always need them to be long lasting so that they can survive a session or series of live shows without breaking and without any degradation in sound.

With Aquarian I am able to have all of that quite easily – the head design allows each drumhead to sit flat on the bearing edge before I even place the hoop back on with allows for solid and extremely responsive tuning that is stable and the heads are not only incredibly consistent but they are exceptionally resilient to even the hardest of hitters! The drumhead collar also contributes to tuning stability by locking the drumhead film firmly in place.

A common misconception that’s easily found in online reviews is that Aquarian heads don’t sound as good as the other well known brands and this is not true in my experience at all.  The use of a slightly different mylar film creates a sound that is often a fraction deeper or darker than many players are used to and I can fully see why this may make them suspicious on their first try – on changing my tom heads I’ve found that I now have more low-end punch than I ever had before but I still have a focused sound with plenty of attack and even the resonant heads have made a big difference in the overall sound.

So why’ve I moved from a brand that I’ve used for around 8 years? Because in the last year or so my personal tastes in sound have changed due to my increasing session and studio experience – I’ve come to find that certain things that I felt sounded great no longer met my needs or could simply be improved upon to create an overall better sound / voice for my setup. In short, the voice I wanted had changed but my equipment wasn’t capable of letting me achieve it. My cymbal sound is now darker and fuller and less abrasive in the mix and allows me to offer a wealth of sounds to my clients, my choice of sticks gives me incredible flexibility to use just one model for all styles and now my drumheads allow me to offer a full and defined drum sound that can adapt to any situation and still be my sound at heart.

Setup.

I’ve chosen the following heads for my setup but Aquarian offer many models that I’d love to experiment at some stage:

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Snare Drum – at the moment I’m using either the Focus X Power Dot (for a full and defined snare sound) or the Hi Velocity (for even more articulation and durability). The Hi Velocity may well become my go-to head for touring due to it’s increased thickness and extra large Power Dot. The resonant head is the standard Classic Clear Snare Side.

Toms – I’ve started off with the clear Response 2 and have found that they bring out incredible low-end in my drums while still providing plenty of attack to cut through the mix. They’re also very consistent from one size to the next so I’m able to tune each in exactly the same way and be sure of how each will respond. In time I’d like to test out the coated version, the extra punchy Performance II and perhaps even the Response 2’s beefier brother the Force Ten. The resonant heads are the Classic Clear Gloss Black model purely for their visual impact on my white kit.

Bass Drum – I’ve always sought a very dry and defined bass drum tone to allow every stroke to be heard and have chosen the clear Force I as it delivers amazing punch while still having a really full tone that will lend itself very well to dual-mic situations both on stage and in the studio. So far I’m finding that this head, when used with the double kick pad and felt beaters, rivals the punch of my old bass drum head when using plastic beaters and I look forward to letting the plastic beaters loose at it very soon for even more definition. The resonant head is it’s companion model, the ported Force II in Gloss Black.

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I’ve already said it but it’s worth saying it again – I’m honoured to join Aquarian and integrate their fine products into what I’m proud to call MY sound!

The fine people of The Music Shipping Company deserve huge thanks for making the introduction to Aquarian, bringing all of this together and for the fantastic level of support they’ve shown me since I joined the Shaw roster last year.

 

Endorsement Announcement: Murat Diril Cymbals

So this announcement has been a long time coming and is something I’ve been hinting at since an important meeting at the London Drum Show last October. I can now officially disclose that I’ve signed an endorsement agreement with Murat Diril Cymbals and have joined their family of artists!

Each cymbal is totally handmade from B22 Bronze on the coast of the Black Sea in Samsun, Turkey and I couldn’t be more proud to be incorporating them into my overall sound.

I’ll be heading into the studio and out on tour with the following “core setup”:

14″ Renaissance Hi-Hats

17″ and 18″ Renaissance Crashes

16″ and 18″ Renaissance Thin Chinas

10″ Renaissance Splash

20″ Black Sea Megabell Gold Ride

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If you’re curious about what Murat’s cymbals can bring to your playing, head on over to www.muratdiril.com

A January Update – East of Eden, new October File record and more…

Last autumn I covered a few dates for an upcoming hard rock act from the Black Country called Audio Disease while they got their new drummer settled in – I had a great time working with the guys but completely forgot to blog about it as I had a lot of recording sessions to get through immediately afterwards and totally forgot to post!

At the very start of the New Year, the band’s manager called me with a bit of an emergency on his hands – the band’s replacement drummer who took over after the shows I did had left the group rather suddenly after a lot of bookings had been secured for the Spring. In the space of 2 days I refreshed all the old material and learned 5 new tracks and headed over to rehearsals with the band as the very first gig was less only a week away when I’d been contacted!

So for the last 2 weeks I’ve been rather busy playing with the guys (who’re now performing under the name East of Eden and can be found by searching for “EofE Official” on most social media websites) and I’ve had a great time seeing the fantastic response that the band get from their growing fanbase!

There’s a lot more East of Eden dates in the pipeline and I’m officially booked to handle them as far as April at the moment –  that includes a trip to Wales for Hard Rock Hell’s AOR Festival in March so I’ll be sure to get some good photos to post up here and on my website.

In other news, the Christmas charity single I recorded at Shane’s Recording Studio with a group of local musicians from various bands and projects managed to raise almost £300 in the Grantham area for CHICKS.

Also, starting on Monday I’ll be down in London at Orgone Studios to begin drum tracking for the new October File record – the album is slated for release via Candlelight Records at the end of May and more details will be posted on the OF Facebook page as we progress through the recording process.

There’s one other piece of really exciting news that I’m still sitting on but that will have to wait just a little longer before I can make a proper announcement.

July Update – EnkElination Album Session and More…

It’s been awhile since I last wrote a straight “update” post and quite a bit has happened in that time.

Firstly, I’m proud to announce that next month I’ll be tracking drums for EnkElination’s debut album over at Fractured Sound Studios in Scunthorpe. This will be my first operatic metal session and I’m most looking forward to it – I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos and try to capture some of the session on video if I can.

Secondly, I’ve got another album session in the works for an old client along with an EP for a duo looking to get their material out there for the first time. So it’s all rather busy at the moment.

Also, I’ll be performing at Candlelight Record’s annual Candlefest with October File on Saturday the 25th of August – tickets are available online for anyone interested.

Additionally, I’ve got space to take on a few more drum students but I’ll write a separate post about that soon.

On top of that, my Demon Drive finally came home from The Netherlands after a trip to Pearl Europe for some maintenance and and replacement heel hinges – everything feels far more solid now and I’m finding them far easier to work with than before.

Oh, and many thanks to those who took the time to read my Tuner Fish Lug Locks review at the start of this month – this blog’s traffic was up nearly 1000% on the day of publishing.

October Update

So far October’s been quite a busy month, what with the London Drum Show last weekend and all!
So I’ve seen some brand new gear that’s on the market (I’d been waiting a long time to finally test the Pearl Demon Chain pedals!), some custom pieces that aren’t on the market and some downright peculiar new products that don’t really make a lot of sense.

It’s been a great opportunity to chat with some of the manufacturers whose equipment I depend on and meet some new and interesting companies too – like the chaps at Murat Diril Cymbals,  Neil at Tiki Drums and the gents at Bullet & Kitch with their rather unusual Joggle Board Pedal!
It was great to finally meet Dean at Protection Racket too – I’ve been an endorsing artist of his fantastic drum cases for years and it’s taken until now to meet him in person as we never seem to manage to run into one another.

Additionally I’ve been working on a new session all this week – one that I’ve been hinting at for quite some time and it’s been great to finally record it. It’s not been easy by any means and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so critical of my own work but I’m rather excited to hear the finished tracks as I’m very proud of what’s come out of this session.