Drums Q&A


Toontrack presents: Studio Pass


Lesson Info

Drums Q&A

The other thing is you've built your own studio and you built a drum room I built a lounge and we record drums in it yeah this is it's actually it's funny how it happened because I really didn't set up to build a drum room but the funny thing is it actually sounds quite good as a drum room it is not a huge room right but it is it's very accommodating to drums yeah I'll play a little bit of the drum room right now because uh you know you don't have to track drums in a huge room all the time that john wanted to know since metal is close mike does the size of the room matter can you at cad on beyonce a river it's it's uh you know the size of the room doesn't matter in that sense but the room matters and whether whether it sounds good or not like it doesn't have to be a big room to sound good but if the room sounds crappy and not as like if the three ambience that you're recording but if the if you have like problems within the room that makes the drum sound bad in like a frequency that ye...

ah I think there's something yeah there's like standing waves and like a really low stealing like mrs with symbols and it's just stuff starts flying around funny in there and like it bounces off him back into the mikes again and that could definitely make a difference but the actual size of the room really is a preference of what it is you're trying to do as I said in my room is twelve by twelve which is really not huge is just barely big enough for jeans drum kit right and mike stands and I have to place the mic stand's strategically said the door still opens up you know um but I have angled walls and a high ceiling and that really helps and confuse the sounds yeah because it just keeps it's bouncing the sound around and there's no standing waves that build up which means that like the sound wave goes to the to the opposite wall and comes back exactly the same way where you build up like you double up the frequent like us the length of the room decides which frequency you have nodes and or build ups so you could have a spot where you have a super loud one k noah sound or it can like completely disappear on you and there's actually the funny side story had had one on one studios there was a mark in the floor of where not to put the snare that's because there was this weird thing where you talked into a corner the way was set up you could not hear yourself that's at all is the weirdest thing and they think that telling a found that spot when they when they like it and it would make sense that you want to put the drums right there because there's kind of the center of the room and you put that thing in there and you talk into that corner and you could not hear yourself right in this room is really weird and so weird things that happened in the room, so you have to, like, find a place where the drum sound best. I've noticed one other thing just in far as far as the kind of room the size of the room and the drum sound because we recorded we record the first to death clock records and galactic on and what do you call it? Ah, downtown in the bomb shelter bomb shelter, which has a big room, and I think there were some slower songs, and the thing is, I think you can kind of utilize the room a little bit more if you're something, you're tempos a little slower, but for super fast songs with a lot of fast sons on death out in three where the snappy nous of that room the way stuff reflected off that wall just very immediate and it really kind of helped the sound of the faster songs I think tio it was just really present really there and it sound faster tempos, smaller room, I don't know slower tempos spin room, john bottom swimming pool whatever one mike slow you know, its space, you know, we don't have space for things than you can use that the white noise that snaps back if you have a slower tempo that can kind of be part of this long a little bit more part of the breath of the song so that's another thing I thought oh, yeah but you were about to play this thing that was supposed to play this is this is this is the sound of ah twelve by twelve room of my twelve by twelve room you can tell it's not a huge room but if you were to listen to that you like this is not a small room, you know is a is a pretty decent says room so it's all what you do with what you have and that really is like a philosophy thing to like you're not litton like your bass sound get in the way of putting down your base idea right? You know what I mean is like I need to what's the perfect microphone I get that question, I was too perfect prem's off the perfect microphone is the one that's in your hand when you have the idea, you put it down because by the time you're looking for like the perfect microphone if the guy still remembers the part, you're lucky but most of time at least the vibes gone yet and you're just like all right let's start over whatever it is having a meeting so another microphone actual microphone question for me is is the fifty seven the ultimate mike for the snare I think the fifty seven is the ultimate mike in the world is like that and duct tape will make the world go around in the music business that's a good lesson for everyone to learn though is that the fifty seven is not an expensive mike it just grabs a frequency that we like to hear with our human ears cars basis on vocals on snares, itt's an incredible microphone for an incredible price and I have no ties to shore whatsoever um and if there wasn't like a hawk would be much more expensive one probably right? But I have nothing I have done and I don't have any a connection to the weather but that is whenever I put that on the guitar cabinet that was a little later we'll do later on because we're going to show you everything but fifty seven on the snare fifty seven on guitars uh I use them sometimes rhythm ever use about china's ism on a lot of things you know? They're just yeah it's not again it's not really the price of things sometimes you know it's ah it's the it's what you do with things and write people going well you know what do you have all these great cares like give me twenty fifty seven's in a mackey yeah and I'll make you a great record and and this is not saying that any of that stuff is bad right in saying is it's not what regarded as the be all and on the holy grail of gear it's not a need board that's not that doesn't have like the marquee values right? But it gets the job done. You could make an awesome record though yes no not don't blame the tools you know exactly get this get it done well happen and anything that happens with a guy like you use that you do a b lots of microphones over the years or something I'll send you something and you check it out with the other thing and either you've already you were already married to this other thing or you swap it out and I have never tried a fifty seven over here but let's see what that sounds like? What do you know what it was better? Yeah there's that and uh one thing that happens when you have your own studio and your own gear is that you have the tendency to do everything the same way again on the on every album right which can lead to things sounding the same right? And I'm very much a fan. And of having each record even from from the same band, have its own identity, right? Um on bit's literally a snapshot in time uh, it's it's, especially from from the old school days when you would take a band into the studio and use the gear that was there. And you, you wouldn't go stop a session because I only have two eleven, seventy six is instead of three or only have, you know, I don't have a favorite overhead microphones and like, well, what do you have, what you use for overheads around here and use that and you, you have, like this one unique in combination of things that gives that one album its own uniqueness, and that kind of goes away with people having their own studios. So my my approaches, I always want to try one different and new things, every album that's the chose to experiment and not fall into the trap of doing the same thing over and over again, right, which is easy to have because you, you know, especially if you you are limited but microphones or preempts or whatever. You I kind of have to do the same thing again for the next project not everybody is fortunate to have, like for racks and racks of gear um yeah that's that's definitely concerned especially also with the amps like would you have any am stairs like yeah what they're my am's I want to start with your am's right because it's your record and your sound not mine right are people uh uh questioning anything that's going on there I think they're definitely questioning things way the idea of us being here wait do you have a question about the tuning of the drums and whether or not that plays off the acoustics of the room into you tune drum do you ever tune drums different means jean ever tuned drums different based on the size of the room or room kissing I drum tuning is is like an art in and of itself and it is hard the important thing is to tune them to the to the shell you know to the size of the shell and into the head and uh and into the pitch relative to one another um and you know to him in a way that that they sound good to you and don't have weird overtones and and ringing in the rumbles and whatever else you want to call these things that happened when you when you have the drums yeah the one thing and this this doesn't pertain so much too a death clock record um although it could uh when you isolate when he when he tracked drums separately from all the other instruments you don't have uh like instruments other instruments like bleeding into the drum kit on dh basically when you have when you track a live band there's a base of the left of the kid in the guitar to the right our whatever even in an all night even if they even if they're tucked away like they rumble through like the doors and what have you and there's like a frequency that agitates the drum shell so the drum shell actually resonates in the key of the song and if you track that separately that goes away and so there and you actually end up with uh like when when when it goes back to drum programming and just simply program drums sounding separate from the rest of the music I think it has something to do with that like it's not like it's not humming and in the same you know in the same frequencies in the same key and it's just not agitated the same way well, I mean it's a minor thing but it ties into it. You know, I know that people do to their drum kits to I actually didn't know that they would send them to certain keys I would always think they would tune them relatively but I saw that movie whiplash recently and the teacher ordered the students who tune his drums to be flat which makes sense it's a jazz key um but jean hoagland tends tio have big shells the resound in there booming and they are in a typically poppy um they don't sound like some of the other kids that really do punch through butter like a lighter sound like even michigan's kid I think is that is that ah higher pitch junket jeans is low and that was not a thing that I really liked about him is that his frequencies run a lot lower they're not as bright you know they're still really punchy and the frequencies I'll come out but it's a lower frequency and you could hear that like crazy all over they sound a little bit higher in two thousand three but but that may be the room a little bit too well the other extreme is terry bos eo and it has the whole drum kid tuned to like pleasing like a keyboard basically has twelve kick drums all all tuned to a different note different it and you know I guess that's that works for him I'm not sure that was weird for everybody one fives and all that stuff you khun teo but for the most part now we don't unless jeans doing something we don't know about you know it's just make it sound good to the year you know that's gonna what it boils down to um but I do I do recorded tom's differently now then I then I used to back in the analog days and I don't miss the analog days by the way it's just like you know lining tape machines and d magnetize ing that has and all that stuff in the morning it's just no fun but um the uh although you know there's some nostalgia factor exposed um I don't really compress the tom's anymore I don't cue them anymore I clean them up afterwards and like an un compressed tom is easier to clean up than a squash tom but the symbols squashed in there but will you compress after the fight I will compress africa's annually according on compressed yes because I know what I'm going to do with them afterwards and what you gonna do with him I will get to that in segment is that segment the next second six I believe basically I'm done what happens at this point is that gene gets like a full ruff makes us a cz good as it can be that I have a bone and he might come back the next day and decides that he can do better and we get to do the whole thing again or he would decide that he would just want toe like change the drums and one section of the song or just a few fills here and there and we'll go punch that in and go through the like fixing the kicks according to the new parts that have been done question cdw lee won wanted to know this got three votes and the questions tab how long do you in jean spend finalizing the drums in the studios? You're talking a little bit about making changes but yeah I mean, you have sort of ah, this is how long we'd like it to take a cz a general rule for death on one two three it took us uh to it we did two songs a day basically that then that's from walking in working out the parts, tracking the parts and doing the the bulk of the editing not not the complete fine tuning of the the fine tuning stuff sometimes happens over days afterwards while everybody recovers from from drumming yeah, but yeah, that was about that's about two songs per day s o you know about a week for drums weekend days depending on how many? Yeah, yeah, we've done like uh you have done seven days for drums sometimes before sometimes five like depending on how or like on this last run over here and we had a way four days, three days we have for the drums on doom star yeah, we did only did twenty songs and two days yes so we don't know that but that's because everything was already worked out that's what I was saying the first three right here was different from the doom star only I mean in a perfect world I mean doom star had again it had no choice we were animating to this stuff that timeline has already been decided so it had to be that we couldn't stretch out a second who fall from its p r t on dh they're technically not twenty songs there more like twenty sections exactly it's not not each one of those like two to four minutes and some women like a minute fifteen, five seconds and these little bursts of things but it's a lot of territory to cover on that amount of time and you have the idea that wants to get in and get out but there are moments there's a song on on death album three called starved which is war most things I had two different sections off and I had this beginning of this idea this riff and jean and I uh got together and started grooving and started adding ideas like what if we do this okay what if we do that? What if we do this and there's this big crazy syncopated groove that we don't normally get to do that was more of like a michigan style anything we're kind of like playing around with that and playing around lots of time and that's where we get to spend a little more time being creative the last thing we didn't it's creative but we didn't get to go outside and going on a search on a journey like that so and when it comes to like a groovy section I don't ordinarily grid right like that the drums because the you know, the feel of a drummer a great drummer like gene is amazing and you really don't want to like detract from that on so even though we do and with most bands I don't go in and do this heavy oven editing thing andi even if we do play to a click he's not necessarily on a pushes and pulls a little bit and you're going into a phil or going into course or what have you andi look at the click as more of like the yellow line in the road it's there and it guides you but yeah, he went over a little bit but you know no accident everything's cool we're on track we're doing good some of the best music in the world the tempo is questionable even like you go back to steely dan oh absolutely well like I remember I temped in a steely dan song and I had the grid something to make do a sound alike where there's an episode in season forward nathan explosion is trying a new style of music and he's scatting over something and I had I had a steely dan to in there and I had to grid that to to what? Because I think I scattered over a steely dan song and then I had to go and find something I had to go make music that sounded like that that wasn't that and I found that their tempo was not perfect you're holding old van halen it's not perfect sounds great it that is perfect because they actually were just like four people in a room plane exact music whatever happen that's the best sound you listeninto everything from you know from the misfits to soundgarden to whatever they bend with the band together that's the thing they're bigger than the sum of their parts you know and that's what makes him sound huge every time from sabbath on perhaps that is is a is a bigger reason why old records like sound better to us it's not actually that that they were recorded on tape it's because there were actually people in the room making music together interacting to one another because they you know, the tape had to rewind for a minute before they could play again, right? They actually somebody had to say something and communicate as opposed of looping a section for like, you know, three hundred times exactly which it goes on now and she actually need to like take that break in that perspective, you know? But but you're talking about the writing process as opposed to recording process writing and recording and the thing is another reason that this is so great id is because we are uh we are I guess following some of the rules of modern metal exact that's part of what it is like but you go and listen to an old anthrax record or you they they forgot because you know forget you can do this you can change your temple whenever you feel like it you know you khun just you can go dean dean dean dean did you start going into that part of the song you going like thrashing weird parts and you listen a answer actually did that all the time or j that was how they wrote the song it was each section was tempo driven in that way so it's really interesting to go around related this is this is just kind of like a signing the times will change again maybe it won't but the studios need to be able to also have isolation and to have eye contact and all that stuff. My buddy brian beller right now who plays on a lot of these death clock things he played on the song blazing star he's in another band called the aristocrats with guthrie govan who's this um amazing guitar player and I know that he's hunting down studios in los angeles right now trying to find the ultimate isolation were three different people can be in contact with each other and play all the songs live and it's interesting that he his ultimate studio that he found for that ended up being sunset sound no sure which was where van halen record all those things and that's where a lot of that sound happened to absolute but he saw this got fantastic isolation that if we need to go and edit afterwards well over double change do whatever reform at the song we can but we are completely um we're engaged we're in a scene together we're acting together where behaving as humans together in room which we don't always get to do yeah that's ah it's cool it's a real luxury we have you know you know your part it's a different style of music too because the metal is so intricate so fast it is really has to be so precise yes it if it isn't that it sounds like just a gigantic mass it sounds like dog garbage cans yeah that's anyone yeah it sounds sloppy it sounds like it off if you're going in a certain tempo you and then there can't be a charm to that dependent like it but it'll be more punk you know like and it's a different thing you know like it's this precision stuff but if you're if you're if you're running a metal album and ends up being charming, you haven't done your job you know if it doesn't upset parents kind of this is charming what's this is the new cannibal court this will be mad at me well that's how you know that that pretty really it was then they're not charming. There's just a scared as ever if you listen to this record yeah, yeah, good. Any more questions? Well, we've got a few requests to listen to this song, but tomorrow we're going to actually gonna unpack a debt clock and yeah, actually, right, what we're gonna do is we're going to this song, isn't it becomes something that we're going to kind of study throughout the whole thing because you can use this as a kind of, you know, how we're going to keep talking about how we do this? Because every song kind of functions in one way or another by this logic of how this is recorded and this is really cool because this is, you know, bass, guitar, drums, uh, this has I don't know if this one has any keyboards, but the cool thing about this is what we know about the orchestra we're gonna have to do is we have to make room for the vocals, make room for the guitar solos, make room for the rhythm guitars and the drums all live in the same world, then we're going to take fifty instruments and put them all on top of this whole thing and wedge them all and so you can hear what you need to hear because this song sounds right now, like it's going to sound like a james bond theme song meets the death clock song, and that was kind of the ideas. How do you I put the whole thing into one thing, uh, harmonically and realistically through recording. And how do you make it make sense on how to make it something that you care about and want to listen to more than once, which is ultimately what a song begs were listening me more than once, please s oh, that is so we can play the drums. I think the first step is the drugs were going too slowly. Parse out this thing to you over over the today and tomorrow, and show you exactly how everything again drums more of his philosophical thing. We're going to get into the actual miking of the guitars, how to how all right attacks according a base and the right vocal mike. And when I go away into and come back and give him, too, make him go crazy with all these track these things might be ableto will be actually digging into this song. Yeah, but I got back, so this is going to be kind of a temp we'll have some other stuff, too, from galactic on the show, but but if you want to I don't know I'd say I'd like to hear just kind of what the drum sound like on their own just for a little while I'm sure here the one question from john do you ever intentionally leave hits off the grid to keep you deal yes what's your sort of criteria for that is it just feel there's it's it's it just has to sound right you know what I mean? Like the you gotta use your ears too like make this decision especially when there's like tom fills like triplet trip of tom phil's going over over like straight kicks that can that can get messy and tricky see just have to like it doesn't look like it's on the grid or did should be on the group but it isn't or whatever and they just have to like make it sound right and if even if that means for like an entire small section two get off grid to tie in again properly afterwards you just have to do that there's no like the again the grid that's that yellow line it's there but if if you need to go over it if you need to like it make it happen, you've got to make it happen you know there's no no other way around it um and uh like sometimes believe when you get to into into a slower section you khun you can let it breathe more it doesn't you might only like a line uh like the downbeat of of each bar oh are you or maybe just only like half bars or something like that as opposed to like each sixteenth note kick you know I mean and again like if there's if there's a room sound that you need to something we just move the room sound off of the kick along with it or you don't or you leave to kick and you know interesting you have to make that decision that's why beat detective doesn't work because beat the testicles like I got every transient I'm going to do something with it and it'll do the wrong thing and you'll have to go in and fix it anyway for years using if it logically sounds okay then it sounds ok but it's going to be up to the tempo of the song often times I think if you're going something I mean because we have some pretty what's the tempo of this on uh way is no actually I think is one sixty okay so this is one sixty I think which is I think originally established from the original horn thing that I beat out they would eventually be played by real french horns in the string section and all that stuff so was it one sixty one sixty okay so that's so that's what that is and that's that's a good speed to play sixteen double kicks um fourteen, virginia virginia is nothing but yeah, let's. Ah, listen to a little bit of this. Drum this drum take as it is right here, master. Yeah, but it's got a lot of the signature. Jean hoagland hey, has a lot of the and beats um accented by some of the bells, sometimes the right, uh, the whole ride itself, and sometimes the china's. But I think that's all throughout that's a big part of just the way that it breeds the whole beat breeze, but it's it's ah, listening it alone and not knowing the song as much is probably probably interesting and musical enough because it is it's building off its own momentum it in its own logic as a pattern, but it makes a lot more sense and it sounds a lot better. Those kicks by themselves always sound like again. It sounds like an old con for movie, you know, like when they're all the sound effects could use but but that locked in with the frequency of the guitar and the bass and these are temporary kicks, you know they will be changed in the mix, they ok, they are here for us to track. The rest of the music to you going weaken. The reason we're using this one is because we'd be got off. Attack. Enough. Low end and we can hear you can hear what they're doing here. So that's, that's. A lot of things listening, hearing, what's going on.

Class Description

Adult Swim's Metalocalypse is a cheeky parody of metal culture — featuring the shenanigans of a cartoon band called Dethklok. In Toontrack Presents: Studio Pass, you'll get a closer look at the creative process behind this mesmerizing metal powerhouse-turned-TV-series.

Brendon Small is the creator and primary musician driving Dethklok’s music, including its four full-length albums. In this installment of Studio Pass, Brendon and producer Ulrich Wild (Pantera, White Zombie, Slipknot, Deftones) will show how they compose, engineer, and mix the music of Metalocalypse – explaining the recording techniques used for Dethklok’s drums, bass, guitars, vocals and effects.

The music behind the hilarious spectacle that is Metalocalypse is no joke. Join Brendon and Ulrich for Studio Pass and learn about the unique creative process behind the music of Dethklok.


Aaron Thurtell

Being someone new and looking into recording songs, I found this class very informative and in a way essential, the idea of recording seemed over whelming and I had no idea where to start, being a fan of Brendon small and Ulrich Wilds work on Dethklok and Galaktikon I found it very enjoyable and must for any fans of Brendon small looking into how he goes about making a record