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Metal Drum Programming

Lesson 6 of 7

Step 4: Add Finishing Touches


Metal Drum Programming

Lesson 6 of 7

Step 4: Add Finishing Touches


Lesson Info

Step 4: Add Finishing Touches

Let's talk about adding the finishing touches and uh you go through a few concepts and then we'll get our guest on. So any, uh any final questions on anything anything from the chat room you guys wantto talk let's? You know, there was just a lot of people who are saying like this part of the metal sound guy this part was really cool give me more musical outlook on black sweets and held on not to make them boring yes good. So you know a lot of people uh really enjoying what's happening killer and see uh steve regarding variations how much is natural and say eight bars when we're talking in eight bars? Yeah. Um well I mean, it depends on who right uh this is where the active listening uh, comes into play because I don't even know what he likes what he what he's referring to what eight bars he's talking about? So if you want to know how much variation is natural, pick your three favorite blast beat drummers and analyze what's going on for eight bars and then you'll know there's your answe...

r um anything else? Uh let's see again uh this might actually be better for tomorrow, but the metal sound guy quick question about the over complicating things is it possible to under complicated as in leave it to empty yeah if you don't have you need the vibe established if your vibe is not established, then you under complicated things. Um, if you don't know where to bob your head, if that's not obvious, if you're not making the next part exploded, the music is not hitting where it needs to hit then yes, you under complicated things, and that should be the that should be kind of the the guiding light at the end of this really dark tunnel is that you should always refer back to how the song feels doesn't feel right or not like, is it accomplishing what it needs to? If it's not, then you might have under complicated or over complicated it depending will think it's the same answer in both directions actually makes sense a medal do just says thanks for doing more on velocities keep it up. I do a lot of during a lot of creative fills I was run out of ideas and complain more creative on a set, but with programming, I feel more boxed in. Well, you know that what I say to that it's one of you learn how to program the fills you would play on your set, and then you won't be limited if you khun doom or fills in real life. We'll learn those specific fills and that's actually something we're going to go into next it's, how to take advanced drum concepts and apply them to the drum set, but yet that's what I would recommend doing has learned those pills on the, uh, on the piano roll a swell perfect all right, let's give you a cool finishing touches. So now you you got your vibe, your vision, you got your arrangement and your structure, the whole song, your find each part to kind of have exact, you know, to tell you where the where the feel is and what's going on or kind of part it is now you add the finishing touches to make this bad ass and sound really for lack of a better term like it doesn't until you do this a lot it's not going to just come out that ass right away, you have to go through a process and the only thing that differentiates guys who need to do these four steps and guys who don't is how much they've already done this. We've already done this a lot. You don't need to go through this process because you already naturally do this stuff, but the less you've done it, the more you have to do exercises and things like that uh, this is definitely what takes you from a plus this is not what takes you from zero to a song. This is what takes it from a good song to a great song. Good drums to great drum's. Uh, you should already be. You should already have a basic rough dumb skeleton for ah, for what you've got. And this is all the subtle stuff that makes all the difference. The listener this is what's going to make it sound like something you want to listen to versus something that's got more crappy programming. Or you know any of those bands that hit you up on facebook, chat all the time to listen to their stupid ass youtube videos? What horribly programmed drums. This is what will separate you from them. Um, now, here's one, this is more of a thing for song writing, but, uh, it's really important? Most great songs. Unless if it's like an elektronik style music or industrial music, most great songs shift on the click a lot. And I know that in metal it's very, very attempting to stay toe one metre no marking one b p m but don't do that. And you know what I mean by that is lots of times drummers will speed up and fills you program that shit in like actually do it speed of your fills if you go to a break down, slow it down on by ten or fifteen bpm like actually feel it in the tempo changes programming in the subtle tempo changes will make all the difference. Sometimes when you go to a chorus, bump it up three bpm you should have a particular range in mind that you're willing to bump things up or down and experiment with them. But sometimes all you need to do is bump things up or down and will change the field to exactly what it needs to be. If things feel too mechanical, try this and see what happens to me. This is oftentimes the solution to something feeling stale and only thing a little side note I just want to tell you guys is you will need to re record any guitars and a bass and possibly vocals if you do this after the fact, so try to do this early on in the process um, and another thing is the other thing that adding subtle adding dynamics with subtle variations. It is very effective in that if you have the same part going twice and this goes back to his question about how much variation is natural innate bars well, if it's the same beat for eight bars by adding dynamics through subtle variations in velocity or subtle variations in like saves on the first course on the hat second chorus sits on the crash or first verses a close, high second verse it's open those subtle variations will ad dynamics and will make your songs feel more interesting and lots of guys do that kind of stuff. It's not always just a copy paste of verse one inverse to course one in course, to always try to be adding dynamics of the part by changing those things up and accents. Thie accents are are something that I was just showing you guys about what the black dahlia murder the accents are the difference between a blast be just sounding like ah pummeling wall of typewriter versace, something really cool and groovy, brutal and catchy. So, um, I'm going through this real fast because we're going to cover this stuff in detail when I get evan on skype. Um, little goes a long way, all right? No, an odd time signatures you want to really understand time signatures better and polly rhythms and stuff like that should watch my songwriting class in the last segment at john brown from moments there and weigh talked at length about this, but the one thing I will say is that lots of times when you think you're listening to an odd time signature, you're not you're just listening to a policy with them. And uh I was going to put something from a sugar but I decided not to so that we could get evan quicker but they're the perfect example of the hands being in four four b at the kicks being in something else but still the music is in fort for it's not an odd time signature and then lastly you add some phil's um this is definitely hard for non drummers because because it takes actually thinking like a drummer to do this right but basically phil gets you from one part to the next it adds a lot of tension at the end of a part to release it into the beginning of the next part but the one thing I'll say is you might know needs many fills as you think you should aim to put them at just the right spots with that I think I want tio bring in my friend evan sammons so hopefully he's available to talk with us he sure is he is on screen as we speak a heaven you know, just hanging out here doing this uh this thing just telling everybody about how did not suck it programing drums so I wanted to have you on with me because you actually are drummer in real life as opposed to me and uh or andy our last our last guest and you also happen to program drums so I figured that you would be the perfect choice to go over some of the advanced topics with and maybe you could help me translate this into normal people speak because you help me understand this a lot better as well so uh I just wanted to talk about real quick about your background so you play prague like people know you for your prog metal band but you're basically just a really really accomplished drummer um how long have you been playing for oh he's probably fifteen years ok, so you've been at it for a while and how did you start? Uh my family that has musicians and I my dad place that are my sister played a lot of instruments growing up um so it was just kind of a natural thing up on the drums jam with my dad a little bit from time to time what made you take it from just being like a normal kind of drummer too like seeking out the more technical stuff like what what was the uh you know why? Yeah, some kind of like uh teenage like he'd go challenge stuff probably like I was attracted to medal at first because it was, you know, super physical and then the technical aspect of progressive music just kind of added to that same things like almost like a physical and mental challenge of it so really so it is very athletic and that's what I was talking about like uh earlier with superb last beat drummers like it's almost like an olympic sport on the drums uh playing that kind of music because it's super physical but it's also very mentally challenging I think yeah I mean alex rooting her has got a like you said he's got a practice that stuff every day and he does for hours to keep those tempos of you know the and its power yeah that that goes away that goes away if if you don't work on it constantly it goes away much like when you're working on your down picking on guitar if you don't work on that every single day uh you're done like I noticed that within two days of not working on my down picking it's gone we're not all the way gone but it is pretty bad that's not where it wants wass I've noticed that with double bass playing especially yeah even more so than with your hands with double bass blind so how much do you practice or how much did you practice when you were getting getting drums? I'm probably teo for five hours a day when I was at the peak obsession okay and how did when did drum programming enter your life? If if you were already a drummer like how does how does why why would you start programming or why did you bother to learn this if you could already do it on a drum set basically the right songs um writing in arranging songs and coming up with different ideas for drums uh see if they would sound good um it was always easier to just program it out quickly especially if I don't have access to my trump said trump's air not the most portable of instruments no definitely not the most portable and you don't own a vehicle do you or did you when I was in college I did for a while so I could like keep practicing how do you feel about people using tickets for this kind of stuff I think it's cool um if you're it's a great way to get a good sound recording and you connect clued your drama more so why not fair enough and uh now that you're not so active and touring you're pretty active in this studio um and you do session drums for a lot of people as well as you help me with drum programming and drum you know everything drum related eso you were telling me that you get people's many so often times as a session drummer and you have to then play it uh how how does that work for you? Typically when it comes from, say, a guitar player well the idea's air pretty unrealistic a lot of the time usually there's at least a basic feel that I can adopt and like keep that feel the same but make the part something a drummer would actually play uh rather than kind of, like an insane idea and this is like, especially with pills and stuff, it seems like well and that's what? We're basically going to talk about his fills and a ghost now, so I think that one of the one of the things that people should read up on is I think that non drummers should buy a drum rudiments book and learn their rudiments, and I think that they're really good things to learn on on guitar as well. You can buy a drum rudiments book and use it is picking exercises, I've done that a lot, and I know of a lot of guitar players that do that, but if you actually learn some drum exercises the way that drummers do, you understand how this works a lot more? And also the great thing about rudiments is you're training your right and left hand on howto work together and how to have tons of variation and what you're doing, and it will help you understand what's possible and what's not, uh so I do, you know, any just offhand and he drum rhythm in books you would just recommend for a non drummer right off the bat um, I know I'm just we have you under the bus here, yeah, uh, I think, uh I have one on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember or did this, I think it might even be something really simple, like sticking exercises like there's, a book called sticking exercises that there you go, so stuff, um, and I think I think people should learn how to do these with their hands, but at the same time, I think they should just program these in to their piano roll, because if they learned with what we're about to talk about, if they then learn a bunch more, they'll be able to come up with all of the phils and beats that they could ever want to. I think I know that I can now, thanks to this stuff, so I think we should just, uh, get going, and first thing, we're going to talk about the single strokes so right, left, right, left, and one thing I entered through out there most of the time, I have the same exact rift playing the reason being is that once you get used to how this rift sounds, you're going to realize the riff itself is a pretty crappy rift. But when you put the right beat under it, it's not so bad, and if you change the beat up slightly, it changed the feel of the rift completely, um, so keep in mind again this is not riff of the year material at all but it actually by the end we will start getting pretty cool once you get some pretty detailed concepts and side note is if this is too much information we've got a lot of examples here um so let's start with student single strokes right left right, left and uh is there any way to describe that besides right left right left all the rudiments and most metal drumming is based on it okay? And uh you know what let's define one thing linear and non linear for fills the way and I'll tell you what I think it means and you tell me if I'm right the way I think about it with the linear playing linear fills is that on ly one limb is ever hitting at once and non linear means that multiple limbs air hitting at once so like if it's non linear you know it would be like sneer sneer, sneer sneer tom tom tom tom tom tom tom tom tom tom tom tom you know, the dumbest fill that everyone programs and nonlinear would be if you start with the crash and a kick at the same time and then you know snare singers singers there tom tom tom crashing kick tom tom tom whatever it is that it I got it okay, so it's like yeah if you're playing a linear pattern none of your limbs forever hitting at the same time non when your stuff sometimes you might have a high hat and a snare together something like that okay? And I just wanted you to find that stuff because we're gonna talk about linear and non linear patterns and fills so first when we've got a single strokes right left, right, left and what we did is we put one of them on the ride and the other on the snare because if we just did it on the snare with you know you won't be able to tell the difference and so what we're going to do is we're going to start with the basic idea of single stroke right left, right left and this is the same concept that we're going to apply throughout just about every exercise is start with right left right left start with the basic idea and get that down then add velocities to it then add accents and then you finally start adding kicks like you build it in stages anything else you want to say about that about the process not that's basically it ok cool so what can you tell me about what? Let me play this real quick I'll play it and uh now keep in mind that riff sucks right now um I'm gonna mute these guitars and just let the, uh, pattern be heard okay, I'm removing this up so that I could navigate more quickly. Okay, so yes, it's a high hat. Second. Okay. Says you guys can see velocities are maxed out and it's literally just hat snare left, right, left, right, left, right and that's. How you would play that on the kit. Just whatever. Yeah, maybe cross. And that was a question where you are, but you wouldn't play that on the kid. Yeah. Is that you would start doing it on the kid? That's not how I would I'm not. How would you do it? Um, maybe starting a little closer to what the next example is when we actually have some velocities start to establish a natural feel. Ok, so the next step it was we brought the velocities down to a more reasonable level goes yes, ari doesn't sound his crappy and bring the guitars back in. And then the next step, once we have that was to add the hat velocity and make the half velocity go down on the up beats. So you're getting the strong hats on the dead ends and that creates its own groove already. So check this out so I'm gonna play the snare velocity down one and then the hat velocity down and you see that same exact riff nothing's changed in the actual notes that air there with the drums is all velocity change but suddenly you're starting to feel like there's a groove and we don't even have kicks in yet and s o evan when you were playing on a kid so you would naturally start at this point already um I probably it might even be the next part where there starts to be a louder snare accent in there um I mean, I've been playing a long time so I'm not gonna go through this follow these steps this is almost more in terms of programming that's all stuff burger and one shot with programming ok perfect with adding the accent on the snares so basically the difference between these two examples you can see the groove is starting to establish itself on the this this example first I'm going to play all that's different is that the velocities air down on the up beats in the hats and then on the next one all we did was add a stronger snare on the end of three so on the end right now is to maintain it okay being up that year uh pattern the whole time so we're still don't have anything hitting at the same time it's just the right left right left, right left just constant yeah I think that that's amazing that this is still just you know, because the first one sounds dump this is still that same idea the only thing that's different is velocity if you speed that up a little this is more of a realistic tempo coming up you start to see that this actually how this actually is applicant hold toe music it's the exact same thing that we've been doing like there's nothing added uh this right here sam thing is this difference right there is the tempo and the fact that there's velocities and accents um I think that's pretty amazing honestly saying the next one we made it non linear you talk about that a little bit there beat onto uh the two in the four I believe so it's uh dan tactic was that so it's just in a standard backbeat place and we're taking out the go snow that would typically be on the eighth note right before it because most drummers aren't really gonna play that it's like it would be like doing a real quick light hit and then a really quick hard hit with the same hands consistently which is in what most strummer's we're going to do some people can do that and some people yeah if you're mike mangini you can do that but they're most people can't and I think that's really important to keep in mind when programming this stuff it's like for every one of these things where we say most drummers can't do it someone will find a drummer who can do it but they're just being an asshole because most most drivers can and that's not what we're not doing this for people tio find the example of the one guy who was a freak, my most drummers can't do what what evan was just talking about, which is have a really light hit on a really hard hit really close to each other? Um, so all right, now, I think adding the kick makes all the difference in the world here now, suddenly, it's a beat to think is which I think is amazing. You start with something that sounds completely non musical, just tweak a few things, make sure that your beats him, that your group is in the right place at a kick and you said, I only have a riff um now anything you want to say about adding the kick in ah, in terms of the kicking that since we're still just doing single strokes it's, uh, you'll notice there's never two consecutive tickets, and they're just for the sake of the example, showing how much you can do with just single strokes and we'll get two doubles later. We're just on singles right now, so let's talk about an awkward example this right here, it's much more of what I'm used to hearing from non drummers. It just feels like shit to me, that's the best way to put it, it just feels nonmusical it's awkward, it's clunky and it doesn't feel like anything that I would actually hear a real drummer play but this is what drumbeats come in, like from non drummers all the time is they're trying to overcomplicate things. Um, do you have any insight as to why this beat feels so weird too? That particular example, it was about making that beat that was linear and felt good and, uh was non one year and felt good into aa linear beat for no reason, so basically took out random notes where, uh, things were hitting at the same time and then it just doesn't, it just doesn't feel get anymore. Yeah, um, that's that's a perfect example over complicating things for no reason. It's like, I like the idea of playing a one year beat, so I'm going to make it that for the sake of doing that rather than this needs to happen because it's what actually musically works? Well, that's the same exact attitude that I see with so many people who go on a forum read about a piece of gear, and then they buy that piece of gear and they argue for it without even knowing what it does because they read somewhere that that's. What they need to have. And I have noticed the same thing with over complicating things musically, people just do it because that's. What they think should happen.

Class Description

Wanna learn how to program metal drums the RIGHT way? In this half-day class, you'll learn exactly how to do it from producer Eyal Levi of Audiohammer Studios (Whitechapel, August Burns Red, JFAC).

Eyal will show you how to program fast, slow, and mid-tempo beats (and yes, that includes every kind of blast beat under the sun), fills, accents, and more. You’ll also learn the art of varying velocities and timing so your programmed parts sound realistic and natural. Plus, you'll hear from Eyal's special guest Andy Marsh (Thy Art is Murder).

If you want to sharpen your drum programming skills, this class is for you.


Michael Nolasco

First off, great class. I have wanted to learn and know how to make my programmed drums feel like what a real drummer would do, which is basically the approach Eyal takes with programmed drums. Feel free to take this down if it's not okay, but I found this site to help with learning drum rudiments:


Eyal!! Thanks for the insight on drum programming, truly enjoyed the course and definitely got something out of it. Highly recommend

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