Sit down, relax, and try and play like you would at a gig. You don’t need to worry that you might be making too much noise here. If playing loud is appropriate for your genre then hit the drums as hard as you can – they’ll sound better that way.
Don’t stress about being in time with the click as we can fix this afterwards, what we can’t do is make an unconfident performance sound like a confident one. Everyone speeds up through their fills. It doesn’t matter. No-one plays double-kick drum perfectly. We can fix all this.
Cymbals can take as long as 10 seconds to decay, and toms almost as long. So don’t put your sticks down with satisfied grin until the cymbals have decayed or the engineer says OK. We’ve had drummers put down their sticks, drink their tea, take off their headphones and come in to the control room while the cymbals are still ringing!
You may have noticed in most modern records that drums sound perfect – each kick and snare hit sounds fantastic as though it was hit in exactly the same place, and no-one ever goes out of time. This is not because the drummers have spent years recording their parts. Drums today are typically subject to editing, where every beat is put perfectly in time, and triggering. This is where each hit of a particular drum is augmented or even replaced by a sample. Here at Mad Hat we do use triggering frequently, but we like to use the samples from your own kit. After you have finished recording all your takes we will ask you to provide a number of samples for this purpose. By blending samples with real audio and using alternating samples in fills, at numerous velocity levels, we can achieve polished but still natural sounding drums without the dreaded ‘machine-gun’ effect. Best of all it will still sound like your kit – because it still is!!
It’s worth pointing out that it is no longer necessary for drums to be recorded first, although this is still how we do things most frequently. If needs be we can provide natural sounding programmed drum beats for everyone else to record to, then real drums can be put on last if necessary.
Are you done? Can you do percussion? No sugar in my tea thanks!!