Greenie's Guest Blog
09 July 2013
Hi Greenie here, I'm just sipping a nice cup of tea and grabbing some downtime from recording as I write this.
It's a pleasure to be asked by the wonderful people at Premier to contribute a blog, 2013 has been a busy one so far!
I am currently at Sonic Vista, a residential recording studio in Ibiza where I have spent a lot of this year living and drumming in sessions for different projects.
My main sessions have been with Andy Taylor (ex Duran Duran guitarist) which has involved recording drums on a movie soundtrack he is involved with as well as re-recording drum parts for some classic songs from Andy's back catalogue to put towards future projects which will be announced in due course.
He has been producing these tracks to be played and recorded exactly as the originals so it was great to find out how these drum parts were originally laid down from a production and performance point of view. I learned everything from original tuning ranges, dampening techniques, mic placement to playing style, overdubs and equipment used.
It was especially interesting and a big challenge to emulate the drummers to the most precise point..no comping or editing was used, just real live drum takes..old school! :-)
A very educational few weeks of sessions and a pleasure to be playing a style of music I am very fond of!
A change is happening in Ibiza at present where the "real musician" is starting to be put to the forefront after a long history of DJ's in the spotlight..When I ask people why this is happening it seems Daft Punk have been a big influence, using session musicians instead of sequencers, plugins or drum machines on their new album, as well as the Ibiza Rocks nights and the new Hard Rock Cafe being all about "the band" (this could be a good time for the musician).
I have had the opportunity to work with some top DJ's and beat boxers while out here..both playing live and in the studio.
I was grateful to be given free reign over what I wanted to play, so it was great to jam around the tracks..The electronic drum tracks with my acoustic kit on top brought a really cool hybrid sound to the table..Not to mention the beat box verses drum kit jam offs!!
I have some sessions lined up over the coming months to work more on this and hope to build a decent enough project to take further.
After several years of recording in busy London or urban areas where distraction is everywhere I have grown to love recording in Ibiza more than anywhere else.
Apart from the obvious benefits (i.e. the weather!) you really can find the space here, switch off from everything else and totally get in "that zone".
Whether I'm writing music, producing or recording drum parts for a session, I get a real source of inspiration from the island with its laid back but hardworking approach.
My own musical project 'GK Rhythm Section' has been busy on several projects between Ibiza and the UK recently, (GK Rhythm Section is a session rhythm section team between me and my good friend/top bass player, Will Kontargyris).
As well as working for other artists and producers we have been hosting our own session musician master classes at a few Colleges in the UK.
These have been a total joy and really nice to pass down what knowledge and experience I have gained so far about the realities of the industry and playing to up and coming kids.
So next for me is a return to England where I look forward to getting back to teaching my students (I have been teaching via Skype while away though much prefer the one to one approach).
July will involve drumming at several UK Festivals with another band I play for, 'Little Comets', we then tour the USA in August to support the US/Canadian release of our 2nd album 'Life Is Elsewhere'.
On a technical note, I have recently adapted my set up with Little Comets.
As well as my 4 piece Premier Elite Series kit I am now using the mainstage programme on a laptop for my backing tracks and clicks, I have looked for a sturdy road worthy system for a few years now and think I have finally found it with mainstage.
Backing tracks and clicks are an integral part of Little Comets live show so I like to know I am in safe hands!
I have also upgraded to the SPD-SX drum trigger pads, I play a lot of synth type sounds and weird effects on the SPD-SX in our set..A new challenge but highly enjoyable :-)
I will be writing another blog on the USA tour which will be a bit of a road trip diary, lots of photos, videos, tour of my drum kit set up etc..We start in New York and drive right through to LA so there should be plenty to cover!
Thanks for reading and all the best :-)