THE PARKER MERIDIEN

kit1

The Parker Meridien: Bandcamp

1. First off, who’s in The Parker Meridien and how did the group come together?

Nathan Hubbard: Parker Edison and myself first worked together on the live video for his “Apefood” single. After that, he contacted me about putting together a group to perform music from his release “The Parker Meridien” EP, and Parker Meridien is the resulting group. Currently the lineup is Parker Edison on vocals, John Rieder on bass and myself on drums and production. As we rehearsed and performed this music, I started throwing hooks and music at Parker, he wrote verses and more hooks, and we started adding these to the set. So we ended up with a set that is one-quarter tracks from the EP and three-quarters original material. We spent most of 2017 working on recording this material, and the release date of our new album “Fists Like Gotti” on Nov. 1 [the record release party will be Saturday, Nov. 4, at Til-Two Club] will be almost exactly 24 months since our first gig.

kit3

2. Give me a rundown on your equipment? Was this the primary gear used to record the album?

After writing and performing this material many times, we decided a recording was in order, and decided to keep it “in-house,” so to speak, so we recorded the entire thing at my house. We recorded on an old Mac G5 using Pro Tools and an Allen & Heath board for the preamps. I had recorded all the samples, keyboards and background vocals when we were writing, so with those in place, we started by tracking drums in the garage. Rafter Roberts came over and gave me a few cool micing options, and I spent a bunch of time getting specific sounds, changing snares and hi-hats depending on the track. We used a 24” ‘60s Slingerland kick, a bunch of vintage snares, and hi-hats ranging in size from 12″ to 16”. I would like to say that a personal goal for me was to make this record with no quantizing/beat detective/sound replacing on the drums — an honest take on how I play. So there are two tracks that are loops of my playing, and all the rest is full performances – if a take had problems, rather than use digital editing to fix it, I would just do another take. The only exceptions are “Someway About It,” where we punched in the double-time section with a smaller drum-kit, and I did move one kick drum hit over a bit in “No Sequels.”

bass

Next we moved inside, tracking bass via a DI – no amps were used for this recording. John has a cool take on effects, so we spent some time getting specific sounds for each track, using a Moog FreqBox and Lo Pass Filter, a Zvex Wooly Mammoth and my old green Electro-Harmonix Big Muff. We did a bit of double-tracking the bass, either octave doubling or doubling with different effects, or in the case of “Someway About It,” we beefed up the Freq Box track by layering in a bass-ier sound underneath it playing a condensed version of the bass line.

parker4
Vocals were all tracked in my backroom; we built a little blanket isolation booth, and used a couple microphones – a hi-fidelity condenser for most of the tracks, a beat-up dynamic with a bit of squashed frequency range for “40 Foot Tall” and all the background vocals, and a homemade telephone mic for “New River” and “Dirty Blvd.” Parker has a strong, rich baritone range — so depending on the track, we used different mics to either amplify or modify those characteristics. From there, I mixed and cleaned up all the samples, layering in field recordings and re-tracked some the keyboard parts for a more unified sound across the record. I also added vibraphone and glockenspiel to several of the tracks. I wrote the track “No Sequels” specifically for Rebecca Jade to sing the hook and the ballad middle section, so the last step was getting Rebecca in to sing. Thanks Rebecca! From there, we made stems of the audio and took it over to Rafter Roberts to master.

vocal mics

3. That outer kick drum is massive. Give me the lowdown on why you’re using a setup like that?

After tracking drums for a few weeks, I wasn’t getting the kick sound I wanted on a few tracks, so I switched out the 24″ for a smaller 20″ Ludwig bass drum. That drum sounds great and is a bit more punchy, but lacked a bit of bottom, so I placed a 28″ Ludwig Scotch bass drum with no muffling in front of the other drum and placed a condenser very close to the front head. By blending the two mics, I got the punch from the 20″ with more sub-by bass from the 28″. You can hear that drum on “40 Foot Tall.” On a nice sound system, it pushes some air.

kit2

4. WTF is that weird can-looking mic? Never seen anything like that before.

The chili-can mic is a microphone from an old analog telephone; I wired it to an XLR jack and melted a garlic-chili hot sauce can to hold the diaphragm. I also modified an old mic clip to fit the can. It got used all over the recording, we used it as a hi-hat mic on the drums, on the piano for “No Sequels,” and most notably on the vocals for “New River” and “Dirty Blvd.” It has a super squished frequency range which really blended well with all the samples, making the vocals really settle into the mix. It has become such a defining sound of the group, we’ve been using the microphone on live performances.

IMG_5503

5. Talk to me about the Moog FreqBox — what did you use it for?

John Rieder: You’ll hear the FreqBox in conjunction with the Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter on “Someway About It.” The FreqBox is kind of hard to explain. It’s not a typical synth pedal that processes the signal of the guitar but instead uses the input signal to trigger an internal oscillator. The result is very frenetic, and a little unpredictable, synthy goodness. I selected a sawtooth wave shape on the FreqBox and then ran this into the low pass filter pedal. I have an expression pedal controlling the cutoff frequency on the filter pedal, which helps me attain all the vintage Mu-Tron-type filter sweeps that you hear.

parker1

6. What’s a track off the new album that you’re particularly stoked on?

I really like the track “40 Foot Tall.” It was a hook I started singing to myself in the car driving somewhere, I sang it into a recording app on my phone, took it home and lined it up with a few samples, brought it to rehearsal and we jammed on it, realized we could go back and forth between the main groove and the more rocking half-time groove, and built it up from there. For me, it’s the track where we found a portal to what the possibilities for this band were: “Are we a hip-hop band? Are we a live funk band? Are we an over-driven rock band? F it, we are all of those things and more….” This was also the hardest track to translate our usual “sweaty, all engines on go” live performance into the sterile microscopic recording studio situation.

7. Aside from the record release show on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Til-Two Club, anything else coming up soon?

We have a 360 video of our full set from an AC Lounge performance a few months ago coming out via local production company Audioscope Radio. [Watch it here] This is a cool experience, with a phone or tablet you can turn the viewer to see both the band and the audience. With virtual reality goggles, its super intense, like you’re floating above the audience. Beyond the release concert, we’ll be performing in San Diego and surrounding areas well into the spring to support this album.

Advertisements

NAMM 2017: In Photos

We went, we saw, we conquered. Gear and Loathing in San Diego presents: Winter NAMM 2017 in photos. Many thanks to James Albers for his photo contributions (and for the badge!) — Dustin

IMG_6252

MICHEAL ALAN HAMS / HILLS LIKE ELEPHANTS & BOTANICA CHANGO

Hills Like Elephants: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / SoundCloud

Botanica Chango: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / SoundCloudBandcamp

Brian Ellis Group: Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud

1. You’re a drummer, what band(s) do you currently play in? 


Currently, I’m playing drums with Hills Like Elephants, Botanica Chango, and the Brian Ellis Group. I also do session work and pick-up gigs for a number of different musicians in town.

2. What’s the set up that you use most often?


I like to build my set to fit the sound of a specific engagement: for Hills and Chango, I love using my Premier kit with a Pearl snare; with the Brian Ellis Group, I typically use my ‘70s blue sparkle Slingerland kit. If I’m recording, then everything is an option, and I’m definitely a fan of the Frankenstein approach. As far as cymbals are concerned, I have a few Zildjians and Sabians, but my favorites are a bunch of Butterfly cymbals that my uncle, Michael Ranta, gave to me.

3. What’s the last piece of gear you acquired, and why did you want it?


Well, I’m always building something, or reworking something to fit the timbre I’m looking for, and don’t often find myself waiting in line to buy a piece of percussion. However, there are definitely items that are outside of my skill level in craftsmanship…one of those being my Premier set, which I bought last year. I knew I needed a bigger sound for certain gigs, and as much as I love my Slingerland kit, sometimes you just need the Beef, you know?

4. In terms of equipment, gear, or instruments, is there anyone you look up to or admire?


My first, and still my biggest inspiration is my uncle, Michael Ranta, who is a percussionist living in Koln, Germany. He actually lived here, in San Diego, back in the ‘60s, as a member of Harry Partch’s ensemble. Both of those two have been instrumental in my own journey through sound. I love composers and performers who are adventurous in the tonal spectrum: Hermeto Pascoal and Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil; Evelyn Glennie, a deaf percussionist who is one of my musical heroes. Glenn Kotche, Joey Baron, Brian Blade. Locally, there is Nathan Hubbard; and now formerly local, David Hurley, who lives in Detroit.

5. What do you have in the works? 


I recently released my own solo album, Knockout Bell, at Verbatim Books in North Park (I’ll be releasing it online too). The album is the audio version of a story I’ve been writing for awhile, but…music comes quicker to me than fiction, so I’m not rushing that version of it. I’m almost done with the first draft, though (just a few more pages…), and plan on obsessing over it for at least a few months, haha…it’s getting close, but still needs a pretty thorough editing. I’m moving to New York in a couple days, and am very excited to get into the jazz scene there, as well as the more modern, avant-garde music that has such a strong presence on the east coast. I have about a dozen stories and film ideas that I plan on exploring, it’ll be interesting to see how location plays into that process. I’ve also been writing a series of percussion music, both structured and improv, that I will be finishing once I get to Brooklyn, and then hopefully I will find the musicians there that can help bring it to life.

Hills Like Elephants play their final show — and release their last record, “Tacet” — on Friday, August 26th at the Whistle Stop, with Botanica Chango. The show is free. Get more info here.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

 

SCOTT BARRETT / SICK BALLOONS

Sick Balloons: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. How would you describe your process and the music you make?

I usually mess around on guitar, just strumming away. Sometimes I riff on a chord or a melody for awhile. I might sit on that for a week, other times it’s ready to go in the moment. I usually record straight to Garageband. I still have a digital 8 track and a nice vocal mic, but i find that out of necessity, it takes too long when racing through inspiration.

After that, I either add more instruments like bass/drums/Rhodes, or just write to the guitar track and finish up everything else later. A lot of it is done on the fly, though. These things become demos that mostly get fleshed out with the band later, who quite honestly make it sound better.

2. What’s your current setup?

Standard S101 Tele-style guitar. I’ve written most of everything on that guitar since 2005. Previous to that, I used a Slammer Hamer standard Chaparral bass, which was the basis for all my earliest songs. Back then, I played that into an ASR-10 sampler and looped everything up.

I’ve inherited a pieced-together drum kit from my friend, Jason aka Glynnisjohns (former bass player and founding member), that we used on our previous records. It’s sort of a Frankenstein built kit. I’ve got a a Memphis electric guitar that sits mostly — that one gets out of tune often. Rhodes Piano for some melodic sprinkling and lastly, a Devi Ever Vintage Fuzz Master pedal. That is my one and only pedal purchase. It’s got a nice clean setting and then a wonderfully mid-fi white noisey fuzz to it.

All of this is for home demo’ing purposes, I don’t play any of this live. I leave that to the professionals like my bandmates and friend’s bands.

I’m the biggest layman you have ever met. My friend Matt once asked me what kind of guitar I play. I told him, “a red one.” Jason bought me a tuner for one of my birthdays. I can barely tune a guitar, but I know enough instrument-wise to make songs. I’m pretty good at handclaps though.

3. Do you remember the first piece of gear you owned?

The aforementioned Slammer bass guitar, on indefinite loan from my sister, who encouraged me early on in my guitar adventuring. She also bought me my S101 aka the ‘red guitar.’

4. Your next piece, what will that be?

Some kind of small practice amp. I like to keep things charmingly lo-fi, or home-fi as we call it. A Moog would be nice too.

5. What projects are you working on?

Sick Balloons is on the cusp of releasing our fourth full length album, Telescopes (on) Parade. It’s the first ever studio, full-band recording, produced by our good friend Dave Matthies of The Gift Machine. Other than that, we have a new interim EP out now, called Pillow Fig, which also features my sister. You can find our stuff on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes and all those other jazzed up streaming platforms.

Sick Balloons play the Pour House in Oceanside on Thursday, June 23rd, with Mirror Travel (TX) and Scruffles. The show starts at 9pm and it’s free.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

BRETT PATTERSON / THE WHISKEY CIRCLE

The Whiskey Circle: Facebook / Website / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

Comment below, on the Gear and Loathing Facebook page, or email gearandloathinginsandiego@gmail.com to be entered to win a pair of tickets to The Whiskey Circle’s EP release show at the Music Box on June 23!

1. Tell me about your current rig: For example, why do you use the gear you’re currently using? Best parts? Worst parts?

I guess it all depends on which rig we’re talking about? My main project is The Whiskey Circle with my wife Leanna, but I also play my upright bass for some local bands when needed and produce instrumentals with my brother in a project we call “Dream Queen.” For The Whiskey Circle, I play drums and keys at the same time. I’d prefer to just have separate people playing their own instruments, but at one point The Whiskey Circle was just a 2-piece and we felt the need for something more than guitar and drums. I was inspired by Shovels & Rope for the basic drum kit and keyboard combo.

For the most part, the drum kit I use is a Gretsch Catalina Club that we refer to as “Beetlejuice.” However, the 26″ kick in that Gretsch kit takes up too much space on the road and my Roland Juno kept falling off the top of it. So now I use a 22″ kick that came with a no-name, made-in-Japan kit that I scored off CL for $5. When I play live, I never play with more than a kick, snare and floor tom. When we record, I’ll mix the two kits together (13” and 14” rack toms and 16” and 18” floor toms) and make a 6-piece kit with the 26″ Gretsch kick to get that boom. When we play live, I always use small cymbals (Paiste 13″ hi-hats, 14″ thin crash and 20″ light ride), when we record I like to add a second ride and stereo crashes. My goal when playing for The Whiskey Circle is to always be quieter than Leanna’s vocals and let her be the focus of the song. When there’s a voice like hers in the band, it should never be drowned out by the instruments.

For the “organ” part of the rig, I currently use a Roland Juno Alpha-2 with a Behringer reverb/delay/echo pedal and a Marshall overdrive pedal through an Acoustic B20 bass amp for the low end. The pedals help the Juno not sound like a 1985 MIDI synth (which it is and why I originally bought it), but more like the organ on all of our recordings, a 1976 Kimball Entertainer.

Another cool thing about The Whiskey Circle is the other guitar player, Collin Webb, and I switch between drums and guitar throughout the set. The whole musical chairs thing started back when Daniel Cervantes was playing with us and he wanted to play drums on some tracks (if you didn’t know Dan is a drummer too then you’re missing out). It’s also really hard for me to sing the songs I wrote on guitar while playing drums and organ. Collin and I combine our pedals (although most of them are his) to get what you see in the picture. A lot of cool delays, shifters, modulars, fuzz and most importantly that Boss tuner. Collin plays that red Fender tele and I play Leanna’s daphne blue Mustang. Collin and I both play through his 12″ Fender Blues Jr.

Lastly, you’ll see the two fender basses and the Orange 1×12. Bass is my first instrument and my first love. I’ve recorded the bass for all of The Whiskey Circle tracks in the past and was playing bass in the band originally. My main live bass is the white reissue Fender Musicmaster with new Seymour Duncan pickups. My other bass is a P bass that was pieced together from CL parts: Squier P bass neck, MIM body, DIY surf green pick guard and pickups out of a 1971 American. This is the bass that has been recorded on all of The Whiskey Circle tracks. It needs some TLC as some of the higher frets are not quite right, but if you know how to make it work, then it’s the best thing ever. The Orange amp is a newer 1×12 Crush that was upgraded to 100w, new Jensen speaker and a 3″ tweeter installed to pick up some of the highs when we use the Bass Muff. It’s plenty loud enough to compete with the 12″ fender blues amps we all play with. This is the amp that our bass player uses live.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?

This is the demo version of one of the tracks off the new High Deserts EP called “Beaches.” It’s a song about everything I love: Leanna, CA, decriminalizing weed and riding bikes/motorcycles. It’s the first track that I’ve engineered and recorded everything on. Every piece of musical equipment that we own was recorded on the track (all three guitars through the Fender Blues Jr.) and also a Fender Champion (not pictured since we never use it live), the P bass and the Musicmaster (yes double bass tracks are the shit), and the Gretsch kit. It was definitely a pain multi-tracking by myself, but in the end, I think the track has a really nice “if the Velvet Underground hung out with The Blank Tapes in OB” sort of vibe.

 

 

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy?

I want everything in this video, but most importantly Jack Bruce’s Gibson EB complete with still-lit cigarette burning on the headstock.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

Gear-wise, I would say Kurt Vile.

Music production/badassery-wise, I would say Dave Grohl. He’s from the DC area like me (we had the same HS PE teacher) and he played drums in 2 of my favorite bands, Scream and Nirvana. Not to mention his philosophy on drumming, like my favorite drummer (Ringo), is the best thing ever.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

We are about to release our High Deserts EP via Wiener Records on June 17 with a music video and tour to help promote. [INFO] Our official EP Release Show is Thursday, June 23, at The Music Box with Jimmy Ruelas, Bad & The Ugly and Gary Hankins & the Summer Knowledge. [INFO/TICKETS]

GLENDON ROMETT / QUALI & RECYCLED DOLPHIN

Quali: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

Recycled Dolphin: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud

1. You’re primarily a drummer, right? What bands are you playing in at the moment?

I only have time to work on one project at the moment, and that’s Quali. I like playing drums in Quali because the music caters to my personal style, laggy and apathetic. When I had more time, I would play in other projects that were different from my personal style, to challenge myself to get better. Working in Quali is especially awesome for me because Isaiah (guitars, vocals) is a drummer first. When he writes a song, he has an idea of what he wants for the drum part. He allows me to be creative in my own right in the band, but if I am ever having trouble writing my own part, I can have him show me how he would play the part and pull influence from there. His drumming style is a lot different from mine but we have a similar approach to feel so it’s easy to communicate how he wants the song to feel and I can make that happen.

I’ve been fortunate to play with bunch of bands since I moved to San Diego including Primitive NoyesBruisecaster, Paper Forest, and I performed live with Indoor Cities, who made one of the best records I’ve heard come out of San Diego since I’ve been here, so I want to shout them out. When I can, I also make electronic music under Recycled Dolphin.

2. What does your current setup look like?

I have a ’71 Ludwig Blue/Olive badge kit with a pearl white finish. It was a gift from my amazing partner. My drum kit was stolen in the fall of last year in North Park. It was a ’76 ludwig Blue/Olive badge that had a fake wood vinyl finish. The dimensions were really unique: 24”, 18” and 14”, so if anyone sees it out there, let me know. I hope to get it back one day.

The kit that was gifted to me is exactly what I would’ve gotten myself. I feel really fortunate my partner took it upon herself to get me this amazing kit ‘cause honestly I was considering quitting. So many people went out of their way to support me when my kit was stolen. I feel blessed because as much as it sucked, I understand that the world is a tough ride for everyone and people are going through a lot of tribulations daily. Me losing my drums is not a big deal. Musicians around town were offering to float me kits, pitch in for a new one, and I was gifted new cymbals. It was really supportive. Thank you.

3. Outside of playing drums, you also program beats — what pieces of equipment do you use for your electronic stuff?

For my electronic music, my main instruments are a modded Gameboy with LSDJ tracker cartridge, a Yamaha Portasound PSS-470 digital synthesizer that I found at Amvets for $12, a Numark DXM06 DJ mixer, and various field recordings on my iPhone or a tape recorder.

I will usually start with a loop that I make either from a field recording or on the synth and build from there. I can’t really make the music that I hear in my head. I’m better at building on an atmosphere that I like and then just adding layers and layers until I have an ample amount to work with and then editing the shit out of it in Ableton with in-the-box plugins. Once I have the structure of the song how I like then I try out new melodies and rhythms track live over it. I keep going until my newer ideas don’t stick to the original. This could take months. When I feel I can’t add any more elements, I start to get into really trying to mix the song. And then…Ozone! Cause I can’t afford to pay a mastering engineer (hope to one day).

4. How does your approach towards playing drums differ, if at all, from making beats?

My approach to playing drums in a band, as opposed to making beats, is very different. In the band format, I love being supportive. My goal is to be a compliment to the song. If you’re writing songs and you have a vision of how to make them a reality in a band format and can communicate that with me, I think that I can be very helpful in making that happen, especially if I dig your style. I’m an introvert, so when I perform, I want nothing to do with front of the stage or talking to the crowd. I just want to close my eyes and try to get in the pocket with my bandmates.

When I am making beats, it’s totally different. I create atmospheres through field recordings and synths, and also program beats. Once the initial feel of the song is established, I’m off and running with the rhythms. I will program beats on beats on beats. Then, I will setup to record drums live and just make loops. I’ll set the BPM, feel, atmosphere and then just fuck the rhythms up by playing live over top of it so I have a bunch of live drums on top of the initial ideas. Then I take those and create loops in Ableton, and match and mix them to my liking.

A good example of that is in “The Yearning.” I created atmospheres over a drum break I played then built the composition of the song around that. I took samples of me playing drums, chopped them and ran them through filters. In the middle of it all there is even a short live drum solo. The song ends with an ambient blend of field recordings with me playing live drums over top of it.

Another example of a way I make beats is, if I like another artist’s feel, I will try to make a song with a similar feel in my style. I really like the Gold Panda song “You” and wanted to make a song with a similar feel. So I picked a BPM and recorded myself playing a 4-to-the-floor beat on drums in a variety of ways. Cut up my drums then built a song around that rhythmic feel. The result is “Don’t Die Alone.” I don’t know if I nailed the feel down or not because my goal wasn’t to copy another artist’s song, it was to create a similar feel, mood or pocket based off a piece I really like.

5. What new projects are you working on?

Right now, the only project I’m working on is the new Quali album. We are almost done tracking and I’m happy with the results so far. It will be the follow up to The Familiar and the Other [Listen/purchase it here]. Quali was founded by Isaiah Nery when he lived in LA. While recording the first album, he moved back to San Diego, and started to pull together people to play live with him. We’ve been really fortunate to receive a good response around California and have been able to connect with communities like OCDiy and Dirty Rabbit Records in SF. It’s been really fun to get out of town and play and I hope that we can continue to meet different creative communities with the release of the next record.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

ANDREW MONTOYA / ALE MANIA, THE SESS & BEATERS

Ale Mania: Facebook / Bandcamp

The Sess: Facebook / Twitter / InstagramBandcamp

Beaters: FacebookBandcamp

1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos:

In the photos are a mountain of steel: maple, birch, mahogany, acrylic, brass and aluminum snares collected over the course of 20 years or so. All based on tone and nothing but tone. Appearance is always secondary but it’s on the plus side if something sounds as good as it looks. I own many kits that get used a lot in the studio and on stage. There is never a shortage of tonal possibilities here at the studio [Pandemonium Recorders]. Aside from the snares, there are also a plethora of Remo roto-toms, Tama concert toms and miscellaneous percussion items.

The Pearl kit is from 1973 and is made of 100% fiberglass in standard sizes. This is the loudest kit I have ever played. It gives you so much sound per stroke of velocity. This is the kit I like to use in live situations especially when drum mics are not available. And they will cut through some of the meanest amps including Tommy’s [Garcia, from Mrs. Magician] extremely loud Satellite amp or Jeremy’s [Rojas] 2,400 watt bass amp. In the studio they have this natural brightness that works well with faster music such as metal or similar styled faster-paced music.

The Tama Imperial Star kit is from 1979, it’s made from 100% mahogany with an interior sealer. Its the mellowest, darkest and yields the most bass response naturally. They have a lot of low-end in recordings that help some of the lower tuning’s on slower tunes you might encounter. The hardware on this kit is well over-engineered to the point it is very heavy but also very dependable, not fun to load in and out on a constant basis unless your roadie is a bouncer on the side. Although a basic kit is displayed, an entire set of 8 concert toms, 5 standard double-headed toms and two floor toms are composed of this kit and available in all sorts of configurations depending of what is ordered.

The Ludwig Classic is from 1971 and is made of 3-ply maple and poplar with reinforcement rings. This the quietest kit with the best tone for general recordings from rock to jazz. With single-ply heads, these are the most musical sounding drums to record with, they have this distinctive tone that can only be associated with the Ludwig name. I can’t put my finger on it. The bearing edges are very irregular, untrue, uneven and hard to tune, however; I believe this accounts for that great classic tone you can not achieve with perfectly machined modern drums.

The Ludwig Vistalite is from 1972 or so. The shells are made of 100% acrylic Plexi-glass made by Cadillac, yes Cadillac – their plastics division manufactured these shells for Ludwig. The sound is very bass heavy, more bass than mahogany with similar loudness to fiberglass without the brightness. With coated single-ply heads on the tops and the bottoms, they become this very musical drum in the studio. Clear two-ply heads typically kill the musicality these drums are capable of. The bearing edges are not perfect but with a little patience, you can dial in that tuning and of course they leave nothing to hide of the drummer as their clear shells reveal every aspect of the drummer who usually likes to hide behind his kit. This is my favorite kit to play in general.

The 1984 Black Ludwig S/L kit is somewhat of a unusual American-made kit. It was manufactured during an era when Japanese markets were dominating the drum industry and killing companies like Slingerland, Camco and Rogers. They are nothing short of typical Ludwig American quality. The shells are made of maple/poplar with an interior sealer similar to that of older Tama shells. The hardware on this kit is very heavy in that it’s the same kind of solid core fittings found on their marching drums. It has that great Ludwig tone yet is very dry and dark with similarities to it’s Japanese counterparts. The bearing edges on this kit are perfect when compared to their older Ludwig siblings from the 1970s.

2. What song of yours (or any of your bands’) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? There is not one song that can sum all of that up for you; you have to spend some time listening to a few of records I have made over the years to really understand when and why. When you have nearly 30 years of drumming under your belt, diversity is really the only thing to keep you interested in what you do.

 

3. If money was no object, what’s the #1 piece of gear you’d buy and why? An API 1608 console to mix drums and music on.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Keith Moon, for his style and sound. As easy as that question is, its always hard to choose just the one. Although drums are my fuerte, there are plenty of other other instruments that kindle my interest in music. I have always admired good musicians who are good at their instruments and for certain talents in the many fields of musicianship and performing.

5. What is your current favorite piece of equipment? Ludwig Vistalite, because they sound and look awesome!

6. What do you and your bands have coming up that we should know about? I am currently recording a new record with a new band named “Teach Me”. It’s a power trio that is exciting and bit harder-sounding compared to some of the music I have been involved with over the years. Its very fun to play and an easy relationship within the band as the three of us exercise certain musical powers. More details on this project will be revealed as the record slowly simmers and manifests into fruition.

On May 15th, Ale Mania is playing a huge benefit concert called Hardcore Matinee at Bar Pink for the new Swami Records compilation. [INFO]

On May 21st, The Sess is playing at Soda Bar in support of the Mrs. Magician record release party of Bermuda. [INFO]

IAN PARKER / ONE I RED

One I Red: Facebook / Twitter / InstagramSoundCloud

1. Tell me about your current rig: Why do you use what you’re using? Anything special?  From the first time I saw John Bonham playing Ludwig Vistalite drums, I knew that I had to own a kit like that someday. One of my favorite drummers of all time, Chris Robyn from Far, played a multi-colored Vistalite kit, which only furthered my interest. So when the opportunity to purchase a vintage clear Vistalite kit from the early ’70s presented itself, I jumped on it. I loved the look of the acrylic shells and also the huge sound that the drums produced. One particularly rare thing about my kit is that all the drums have matching badges and serial numbers (except the snare, which I purchased separately). The drums have all the original hardware, including the internal dampeners which I currently only use during recording sessions.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? Out of our currently released material, I would say that the song “We Want It” is a good portrayal of our music and my drumming style. We have a video for this song that’s a compilation of our live shows.


3. If money was no object, what’s the #1 kit you’d buy?  If money wasn’t an issue, I would love to own the Ludwig Vistalite Zep kit (re-issue) in amber.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now? The first piece of musical equipment that was purchased for me was, ironically, a guitar that was a birthday present from my parents. I tried to learn how to play it but it just didn’t hold my interest. That’s when I realized that I was a drummer, not a guitarist.

5. What do you have coming up?  We are currently working on finishing our second full length album titled Sea of Stones, which will be released within the next few months. We’re excited to be playing a show at The Merrow this coming Tuesday (April 12th) presented by 91X and Halloran with Dark Water Rebellion and the Heather Nation Band. We’ll be playing a lot of new songs from our upcoming album as we prepare for our CD release.

DANNY KING / THE PALACE BALLROOM

The Palace Ballroom: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your stuff: I’m currently playing a 2014 Maple Classic Ludwig Black Oyster finish drum kit. Sizes are 24×16 kick, 14×9 tom, 18×16 floor. I use a 14×7 custom maple Vessel snare drum (awesome local company). I use Zildjian and Paiste cymbals. DW hardware and Tama Iron cobra pedals. Vater 1A sticks. Roland electronics. My favorite part, if I had to pick, is the 24-inch Giant beat Paiste ride I use. The cymbal is dark and washy. I can beat the hell out of it and also has decent ping on the bell but not too much. I don’t like my rides to be super pingy. I need to be able to crash on them.

2. Got any specific faves?  My favorite piece is a beechwood 1980’s Phonic series drumset that I bought off drummer Kellii Scott of Failure. He used the kit on their iconic Fantastic Planet album.

3. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of the particular sound/style you’re after?  I think “Descender” is a a great representation of our sound/style. Very brooding and yet catchy. I like the way it sounds kind of like a Cure or Depeche Mode song. I love the way rhythmically it just chugs along in 4/4 with the hi-hats closed tight.

4. If money was no object, what’s the “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  A 1970s Bonham-style Ludwig clear Vistalite kit: 26×14 kick, 14×10 rack tom, 16×16 floor, 18×16 floor and a 14×6.5 Supraphonic snare. Also have to have a Black Beauty snare just for good measure.

5. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise and why?  I really like Kellii Scott from Failure’s sound. He has been a huge inspiration to me growing up. He plays a Gretsch kit right now and just makes that thing sing. He has great dynamics and knows how to get the best tone out of his drums. I also like Marc Trombino’s (Drive Like Jehu) sound. I love his frenetic drumming and use of odd time signatures. Not to mention the drum sound he got while engineering Inch’s album This Will Fall on Dead Ears. That has to be one of my favorite drum sounds on a record ever.

Be sure to see The Palace Ballroom, The Mondegreens and Grizzly Business at Soda Bar on Saturday, April 9th. For more info, go here.

ANDREA MATTHIES / THE GIFT MACHINE

The Gift Machine: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your rig:  My current rig is a vintage 5-piece Pearl drum kit that I am “borrowing” from my brother in law, Darrin. It’s a funky old kit and I love the Ringo vibe it carries.

2. What is your favorite piece of gear?  My favorite piece of gear is the paper guitar, which is basically just a small acoustic guitar (in my case, I use a First Act guitar for kids) with a piece of paper woven through the strings. The paper mutes the strings in a way that you don’t hear notes, but you hear the sound of a snare hit. This is a Johnny Cash trick that I cannot take credit for. I love the travel-ability of this piece of gear. I used to play nothing but a paper guitar and a bass drum when I started playing with The Gift Machine.

3. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  My current favorite song to play is “Pillar of Salt,” as it is one of the more rocking-out songs of our set list. When I first joined during the “Goodbye Goodluck” era, we were a bit quieter and more mellow. “Pillar of Salt” was one of the first songs where I was actually playing a whole kit and able to rock out.

4. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?  I am actually completely satisfied with my current drum set, however, some of it is somewhat jerry-rigged together. I suppose if I could replace the improvised sections of the kit, such as the legs for the bass drum, and maybe a new metal fork that the toms are mounted on .. that would be great!

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  We are currently working on recording a new album and have a show coming up on Friday, April 22 with Dani Bell & the Tarantist and Madly at the Pour House in Oceanside, as well as two shows at The Merrow: April 3 with East Cameron Folkcore and Ash Williams, and May 18 with Low Hums from Seattle.