Drum Tracks

With record label budgets as a thing of the past, I am thrilled to be offering professional quality drum tracks at “indie band budget” rates from my studio in Van Nuys (Los Angeles), across the street from the legendary Sound City studios.

Major record labels, budgets and studios are disappearing. Most bands and artists have become 100% “indie” and DIY. Unless you are Elton John or The Rolling Stones, you are probably going to be recording your next song or album at home, or at a project studio. With the amazing developments in recording equipment technology over the past 10 to 15 years, anyone can now own an affordable recording setup and produce a professional sounding vocal, guitar, bass or keyboard track at home. However, drums have always been, and will always be, the most complicated instrument to record. To record a drum set properly, you are going to be using multiple microphones (usually more than ten). This sounds easier than it is. Microphone placement, isolation, phasing issues, drum tuning, a good sounding room… Not to mention a drummer who can play well and consistent. Recording drums is a science in itself that no one would be able to master overnight at their home-studio. Despite the  affordability of recording equipment per channel these days, a professional multi-channel recording setup for drums is still a big investment. If you want it to sound good.

Next to playing the drums, audio engineering has been a passion of mine since the day I started playing the drums. Recording such a complex instrument has always fascinated me. Over the past 25 years I have honed my skills as a recording engineer through a combination of working at many major and project studios all over the world, as well as my own studios in The Netherlands, New York City, and now Los Angeles.

 

A great recording always starts with a great sounding drum track. 

 

A lot of famous, big studios are still available to the public and you can certainly rent studio time at a renown studio to track drums. However, you would be paying the drummer, an engineer, as well as for studio time. When only tracking drums, you are renting a facility that was built for doing much more than just tracking drums, and paying for space, equipment and personnel that are not needed. A day at a major facility, including engineer and drummer, can quickly run well over $1500. I am offering drum recording sessions at a fraction of these kinds of rates because I do not have the overhead of a large facility, superfluous equipment, and personnel. I am the drummer, the engineer, and the studio owner.

My recording setup closely approaches that of what is used at the average large studio to track drums. My setup is compact because it is focused solely on recording drums. This means you will not find the bells and whistles needed to track a full band live, or mix a finished song arrangement. Imagine pulling only the basic equipment needed to record drums out of a large studio, and you’ll end up with my studio setup. My drum room is medium-sized, but sounds great with its 13 foot ceiling.

My setup is permanent and always ready to go. All we need to do is pick the right drums and cymbals and maybe change out some microphones and adjust placement to get the right sounds. Unlike other studios, I will not bill you for 4-6 hours of setup time or dialing in sounds. Setup time is FREE, whether you are having me record a single song or an entire album. Additionally, I do not charge a per-hour rate. With an hourly rate inevitably comes a time restraint to keep the session within the budget. I do not believe in this way of working. A recording is done when it’s done (within reason, of course). I charge my clients per song. Optionally, and depending on your budget, I could do a couple of different takes with different grooves or feels, or add a few isolated fills that you would be able to splice into the session if needed, just to have options.

I offer the flexibility of recording songs one at a time, or perhaps a couple at a time, without the pressure of a big financial investment at once. You can spread songs out as you have the funds available, or as you finish each song. I take setup pictures and meticulous notes for every song I record, making it easy to replicate sounds later on if needed. In doing so, you are ensured sonic continuity even if you were hiring me for one song at a time to do an album over the span of as much as a year. Best of all, you can hire me regardless of where in the world you are! I have worked with people from all corners of the globe: US, Canada, Israel, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Italy, France, Austria, UK, Portugal, Mexico… the list goes on! You are certainly welcome to be present at the session(s) if you happen to live in the LA area or want to fly in. However, I am able to track drums for you by myself and upload rough mixes for approval which makes scheduling extremely flexible, especially when when we are each in a different time zone.

I record my tracks with plenty of flavor and coloration to achieve my sound, as well as a great sound. However, it is not my place to make significant mixing/sound-shaping decisions. I may apply minimal amounts of EQ and compression to shape the basic recorded sound, but will leave the tracks otherwise only colored by the drums/cymbals, mics, preamps and natural room reflections. When you drop my tracks into your DAW and simply apply some panning and fader levels, you will have a fantastic sounding basic drum mix, from where you can apply processing to taste to fit the music and overall mix. I do utilize preamps that are known for having a forward sonic fingerprint (such as the BAE 1073, which is an exact replica of the famed Neve 1073), and optional tape emulation. Just like tracks recorded at renown studios of yesteryear, this offers great advantages as to how the tracks will sit in a mix.

 

Let’s talk about your music.

 

I am always more than excited to talk to you about your music, what you are looking to do and have done, and how I can help take your production to the next level by adding killer drum tracks. Drop me an email any time and we will discuss the options and your budget. Check out the music page for samples of various songs I’ve recorded over the years.

 

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