Seb's Guest Blog
02 October 2013
I'm quite new to the Premier camp and just been asked to do a guest blog, so wanted take the opportunity to say hello properly and tell you what I've been up to lately. Also, i'll give you an idea of what sort of set-up I normally use.
I've had a quite busy summer divided between, Welsh/Greek artist, Marina and the Diamonds, UK based duo Goldfrapp, and the Danish Indie queen Fallulah. Most often, my diary doesn't allow for that many artists simultaneously, but somehow date clashes have worked out and allowed me to bounce back and fourth between these three amazing front women.
Marina's North American tour in May was the last leg of her campaign promoting her second album 'Electra Heart'. We had a few months break before that, so everyone were well rested and ready to give everything for he last stretch. We managed to do both coats of North America and a bit in between in the 4 weeks we had. We had played around 80 shows in the campaign when we started, so there was a quite relaxed atmosphere. This also gave time for sight seeing and also to experiment with arrangements of some of the songs. When we came to do Conan O'Brien in LA, we therefore had a new and more mellow version of her song, Lies – you can check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBOAzPn762Q
I also had a great time hanging out with Charli XCX and her band who were with us on the tour - including fellow Premier artist 'Wilkie' (Andrew Wilkinson) on drums.
When I came back in June, I only had a few days off before starting with Goldfrapp – this was a new gig for me, so I had quite a lot to check out from their five albums of back catalogue. Besides playing the drums, I also do the programming of their live production, so there's a lot of stuff to keep track of. We had the chance of showcasing it during the International Festival in Manchester in July together with a string orchestra and a choir. It's definitely the biggest setup I've played with nearly 40 musicians on stage - the sound of it all was unbelievable – a very beautiful moment.
In August, I've managed to spend some time with Danish/Romanian artist Fallulah. She is a bit of an indie queen in Denmark, and has somehow managed to make her quirky, balkan inspired wonky pop go to the top of the charts, block the radio, and rake in awards left, right and center. Being Danish myself, it's a welcome opportunity to explore the major festivals of my home country and being able to see my family too. The highlight was probably playing the beautiful historical Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen which on the night broke their record for attendance with 28.000 people. It's a classic funfair garden which I've visited often as a child, so great experience to play there too.
I use a Premier Series Classic maple kit with the sizes 13” 16” 22” and a 14” x 5 maple snare, all with coated emperors on top and ambassadors on the bottom, so nothing crazy or fancy there. I really like big punchy drums and normally have them all tuned quite low - they sound truly amazing with that kind of treatment. Despite the sizes, it's still possible to get a brighter tone if necessary. For example on Goldfrapp's shows with the string orchestra, I'll tune the toms quite high to get a more orchestral feel and also stay away from messing up the low end space where the basses and cellos sit. I love the way the drums respond to being tuned higher than what the dimensions would normally suggest – a bit like a vintage jazz sound with lots of character and body.
As I mainly play pop music, I often use samples with the acoustic kit. Normally with a Roland SPD-SX as the centrepiece. I also like to combine it with triggers on BD and snare if the live kit-sound needs a bit of the production flavour used on the record. A little trick I sometimes use is to cut off a little of the attack of the sample. This makes it possible to layer the acoustic and electric sounds easier without taking everyone's head off when you hit a drum.
I'm currently om my way to Denmark again to finish off the festivals with Fallulah. When thats done, the new Goldfrapp campaign starts. We're going to be in NYC for the release, playing on The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon and in the Beacon theatre the day after, again with a string orchestra. For the rest of the year, we'll be touring in Europe, UK and Australia, so should be great fun. Hopefully see you out there;-)