Friday, March 26, 2021

Alternative Drummer Profile: Dave Fankhauser AKA Parallax

Alternative Drummer recently got to ask experimental electronic musician and drummer David Fanhauser, AKA Parallax some questions. He not only answered all of our questions in detail, he also provided us with this amazing gear tour! 

Parallax is based in Switzerland and be sure to subscribe to his YouTube Channel here! Check out the full interview below!

AD: What got you interested in experimenting with electronics and drums?

Dave: I‘ve always been a big fan of musicians like Jojo Mayer, Zach Danziger, Mark Guiliana… those guys who dig into genres that are typically not in the realm of „normal“ drumming. It always fascinated me how they push the instrument with the way they approach it. I tried mimicking them in my playing, which was always more fun to me than playing along to, let’s say, „Top 20 Hits Music“. Besides drumming in my free time, I was also intensly listening to electronic music from artists like Aphex Twin, Four Tet, Flying Lotus, and so on… music that typically doesn’t have „real“ studio drums recorded. But that was not important to me. What interested and inspired me was the array of textures that this kind of music has to offer. 

 

The two entities (playing drums / listening to electronic music), though, were always separated. At a later time, I lost a bit of interest in the drums as a whole, started looking what else was out there in terms of instruments, and soon discovered the world of modular synthesis. I was watching loads of YouTube videos (basically by accident), and it became clear to me that I had to get a system. It didn’t take a long time for my modules to pile up, and my setup started to develop. So by falling into the deep, wallet-draining void called eurorack i really got in touch with the syntax of electronic music (literally, because turning knobs in a jungle of patch cables is more fun than scrolling through presets on a computer). Soon, my interest in drumming slowly started to set in again. But I always wanted to somehow link the two sides together. The problem was that i only have two hands, and in my laziness I deemed my vision impossible. It was only after my mind got blown yet again by a different musician, Deantoni Parks. I think he is the prime example of what I call a hybrid drummer, and he proves that your body can indeed serve as a link between two entirely different instruments. Of course, my limbs are nowhere near close the level of independence as are Deantoni’s, but it gave me the push i needed to get rid of that floor tom, replace it with my modular synth and start to play drums with my left hand and the synth with my right hand. Since then, my setup has changed a lot (and still does), and it also is not as strictly conceptualized anymore, but the core idea has always stayed the same: I attempt to encapsulate the sound of electronic music into a new framework whose essence lies in improvisation, real-time sound manipulation, and live-drumming. I call this process „Parallax“.

 

On a funnier sidenote, this „one-man-band“ setup was also just a necessary result of the lack of fellow musicians in my area who share my vision of music making.

 

AD: Would you mind providing a rundown of your current setup as detailed as possible, including software and hardware?

Dave: See video above!

 

AD: What is your experience as a drummer?

I started drumming at a relatively late age (about 11 or 12 years old), and my drumming journey has always been on a hobbyist’s level. Concerning the word „experience“, I guess i can break it into two factors that shaped me as a drummer (and person)

 

1. Experience with drumming in bands, recordings, etc.

 

My drum teacher had an annual event where we, the students, could get on a stage and perform a song of our choice with his tour band, which i think is awesome. I remember playing Baby Love by Mother’s Finest live in front of an audience for the first time, with my heart nearly exploding out of my chest. His lessons were always very groove- and fun-oriented, so this definitely helped me stay on track. Later on i started to get involved with different projects of my dad, who creates music for a living. I played drums on some of his albums, but our collaborations mostly resolved around live-performing with choirs. This collaboration is still going on today. Aside from that, I was always looking for bands to play in, but usually there were discrepancies in what i was hoping to find in the music itself and the people playing said music. Admittedly, I was a bit stubborn and narrow-minded during that time. Regarding genres for instance, i would have never agreed to a classic-rock gig back then, which is kinda dumb. Now, I’m more open. I eventually ended up in a „contemporary-christian-music“-band for a year, but my love for drumming started spiraling down during that time. I had to quit that gig for good. Other than that, I’ve never aspired to play Madison Square Garden with BeyoncĂ© or anything like that, but with the small resumĂ© that i can present, the tendency is clearly more on live performing than session recording.

 

2. Experience with drumming as a form of refuge from the outside world

 

This is an entirely different aspect, but in my opinion one that involves a whole new type of experience - i.e. an introspective one. For me, spending time drumming has always been super intense and insightful. There were times in which I would play the most simplistic three-note pattern like K/R/L for two hours straight, only allowing myself to change the tempo, voicing, subdivision and so on… just to force myself to be creative with those „gears“. If you do something like that for hours, you eventually fall into a trance-like state, where something like a „quintessential particle“ of your Self presents itself to you. I know that sounds pretentious and new-agey, but in a nutshell, it’s just a form of meditation. Spending time in such a state is highly addictive, and for me this has always been a way to shut down the noisy and hectic outside world for a bit.  

 

AD: What are your future e-drum / hybrid drum plans?

Setup-wise, I don’t have any specific plans. My setup is always changing, and it also depends on what I’m working on at the moment. 

Project-wise though, I’d like to combine my „modus operandi“ of music making with other forms of art, for instance visual or other performance art. I feel like that is the way to go, since the whole „band situation thing“ has never really been fruitful. At the moment there’s something in progress with a friend of mine who is a dancer. Currently we’re working with prerecorded material, but my preferred next move would be an actual live and improvised performance of us in the same room, communicating with each other through our way of expression. Art is communication after all. Hers is through dancing, mine is through „parallaxing“.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Rhett Randolph, Drummer of Emilia Ali goes into details of his hybrid drum setup and backing track rig!

 


Though Rhett claims " I don't go into extreme detail on everything in my setup" he actually does an amazing job of explaining all of his gear in this video and how it all works together! This one is highly educational. 

If you were ever wondering how to combine backing tracks, with acoustic drums, with external triggers, with a Roland SPD, with your own personal in ear mix, this video lays it all out perfectly. 

With a Macbook, a small mixer, audio interface, and a small footprint kit, Rhett has created one amazingly cool and versatile setup! Check out his awesome YouTube channel here!

Rhett has performed at Lollapalooza, Bumbershoot Festival, and worked with artists such as Jagwar Twin and Avril Lavigne!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

How did Jay Weinberg (of Slipknot) make the drum sounds on his Youth Code drum cover?

 If you've seen Jay Weinberg of Slipknot's awesome drum cover of Youth Code's track Puzzle, you might be wondering what patch he was using on the Roland TD-50 to get that awesome drum sound. That's exactly what I did when I heard it. I thought to myself, hmmm, I have a TD-27, does it have those samples?

Turns out this isn't a TD-50 patch at all, and you could get this same exact drum sounds using not only a TD-27, but even with a $379 Alesis Nitro kit, rather than a $5000 Roland TD-50 (though I'm sure the feel of the Roland would be much more realistic). 

Check out the video then read below for the details on how to get the sounds!


The way Weinberg achieved this sound was though a drum sample library by Kurt Ballou called 'Room Sound'. 

The way that this works is you purchase the sample library through the website above ($89), then load it into Kontakt 6. Kontakt 6 is a sampler plugin that runs on Mac and Windows, and they also offer a free version called Kontakt 6 Player that you can download and install on your computer. After you have purchased the Kurt Ballou Room Sound library, you can load it into the Konktakt player and control it using your e-drum kit via the USB MIDI output on your drums!


This is not the only drum software out there, but I thought this drum sound was really good especially the toms, and especially for heavy music or metal. Plus at only $89 bucks, that's even cheaper than buying EZDrummer 2 (which is also great).

Anyway, I just found this interesting and thought I would share with you all out there who were curious. 

Be sure to bookmark this site for more Alternative Drummer content!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Josh Dun's of Twenty One Pilots Hybrid Drum Setup

 


Josh Dun is the solid drummer behind the duo Twenty One Pilots. He plays an important role in the band since they are only a two piece with a lot of live sequencing going on via Ableton Live and Josh is the one starting and stopping all of these during the set without ever touching a laptop. 


What is really cool about this setup is it's compact(ish) but he's doing quite a lot with it. The basic acoustic part of the set is a 4 piece drum kit, but you'll notice 3 Yamaha Silicone pads, a popcorn snare, a Roland SPD-SX and an iPad. There's no laptop next to the kit, because he is mirroring the screen on the iPad to his left. All the controls are done with pads and footswitches. This can all be configured within Ableton, which even though it is backing tracks, you still have control over them while playing drums. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

How to trigger your kick drum on a recording with no trigger

 

Did you know that you don't even need a trigger on your bass drum to trigger a sample with it?

In fact this is what first got me into hybrid drumming before I ever setup my hybrid set. 

There's a couple ways of doing this, but the way I am going to talk about in this post is with drum replacement software. 

Drum replacers usually run as an audio plugin that you use in conjunction with your DAW such as Ableton or Pro Tools. They are really useful actually, especially on a particularly troublesome kick drum or snare drum. 

They way that they work is they use the incoming audio signal from say.... a bass drum (though you can use any drum) then uses the sound it's self to trigger the sample. You can usually blend the natural sound with the triggered sound as well. One of the most popular and best drum replacement plugins is called Drumagog!

I used it on a lot of my album Earth Asylum. Actually on every song except one. When I was recording that album I was using a Tama Imperialstar Kick drum that was only an 18". It sounded good actually, but the mic I had I the time for my kick lacked the nice attack or 'click' sound of the bass drum that makes it cut though loud distorted guitars. 

I was able to use Drumagog to blend a sampled sound with my real kick sound to give me the attack I liked to make the kick drum cut through the mix. The result sounds 100% natural and was the only sampled sound used on those songs. 

My song Rock From Home is an example of the hybrid kick drum sound I made using Drumagog. 


But what if you don't want to spend $100? Well fortunately there's some free options out there as well. Though they might not be as robust or full featured as Drumagog. 

KTDrumTrigger is probably the best free option out there. Though it will take you a little more work to get going as well as sourcing your own samples. The way that it works by using very detailed eq filters to hone in on the sound you want to trigger your sample. Then it sends out midi notes corresponding to your selections.

You then could route the midi output to something like Ableton Drum Rack (or another sampler plugin) and essentially you're doing the same thing as Drumagog, just with a bit more manual configuration. 

Anyway, hopefully you found this post helpful! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have a question. Also, be sure to bookmark www.alterativedrummer.com!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Brendan Buckley's Insane Hybrid Drum Setup with Shakira

 Thanks to Drum Magazine for uploading this amazing clip of drummer, Brendan Buckley and his completely mind boggling hybrid drum setup he was playing with Shakira on her 2018 tour. 

I can't imagine how crazy it would have been for the drum techs getting all of this set up every night and making sure everything was working fine before the gig. Seems pretty stressful!



In the video Brendan explains how he uses Battery by NI for all his sounds. I would have liked to have seen maybe a bit more setup details in that regard. Like what kind of interface he's using, buffer settings etc... 
Oh well, still a very cool video, whether you're a Shakira fan or not!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Welcome to www.alternativedrummer.com!

 


Hi there, welcome to my new website alternativedrummer.com! You might know me from YouTube and my moniker Demonic Sweaters. The reason why I'm making this page is to profile drummers who are doing things a little bit differently. We are the drummers that like using triggers, electronic drums, weird miking techniques, DIY recording setups. In the future I hope to provide interviews, drum setup details, and other unique content to help inspire and create!

In case you don't know who I am, as I stated before I am the YouTuber/Musician Demonic Sweaters. I've been a home recording artist since the late 1990s when I got my first 4 track cassette recorder. I'm a multi-instrumentalist, but mostly love the drums. I play or played drums in the bands Lincoln, Kukim, FRAME, Hums, Echoscape, and many many others. I'm a drum instructor, and a music producer. I release music under the names Demonic Sweaters and Manasota.

I've always had a strong DIY attitude about my music. In the 90s I would use minimal microphones with my 4 track to record my drums and other instruments. The results were fun, and sometimes decent but things really changed in the 2000s when technology started to level the playing field for the home recordist. Ever since I got my first computer, I realized there was no reason to really pay someone else to do what I could do myself. Microphones started getting cheaper, computers got better, and I found myself becoming obsessed with making music at home. 

In 2015 I turned my attention to YouTube. I found it to be the best way to connect with people and the greatest outlet for my creative expression. In addition to that I found it to be a great way to share and gain knowledge. I started gaining a fan base because of my tutorials, which have racked up millions of views at this point. This has also helped my music. Since naturally if so many people are listening to you talk, some of them want to hear the music you make as well!

More recently I got into the world of electronic drums, and more recently HYBRID DRUMMING! Which you can tell by the all caps how excited I am about this, haha. The video below I'm using my hybrid setup of Tama club-JAM Mini with ddrum triggers and a Roland TD-6 module. 



Anyway, I hope to make this a really fun, interesting and educational blog, and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

Hello world

 


Alesis Nitro Missing Manual updated links!

 Since I migrated over to my new website, some of the old links were dead. The Nitro Missing Manual post was one of those, so I've fixed...