Drum Recording / Mixing

Can you talk about your drum recording / production on records like Jonsi, Frightened Rabbit and The National?

Hi, Sam! Thanks for the question. Though I must admit it is EXTREMELY broad. :slight_smile:

Bryan Devendorf (The National) is one of my favorite drummers ever. But although his drumming is truly unique, the recording approach was usually rather conventional. A lot of mics usually…

Kick in - Sennheiser 602
Kick out - EV re20
Snare top - Audix i5
Snare bottom Sennheiser 441
Rack Tom - 421
Floor Tom - 421
Stereo overheads - Telefunken m260s
Hi hat - Shure sm33
Mono overhead - RCA 44
Stereo room - Coles 4038s
Front of kit - Neumann U47
Mostly API 512 pres

Did I use all of those mics in the mix? Who knows? Probably NOT.

On Frightened Rabbit’s Midnight Organ fight, I definitely went for a more stripped down approach and relied more on the room mics to get a more “live” and raw sound. I think we achieved a pretty aggressive and scrappy sound on that album. Slick sounds would have been ridiculous. I also remember going for an especially resonant bass drum sound, achieved through a combination of proper tuning and compression.

Jonsi’s GO LP is an entirely different story. The very first day, Jonsi said “I’ve invited my friend Samuli from Finland.” Well, Samuli is an amazing drummer but he doesn’t play a traditional drum kit. He brought a suit case full of percussion instruments that he scattered around on the floor along with some other junk I had lying around and that was it. I recorded everything with two microphones. Placed quite randomly. But the magic happened when I started running them through a Thermionic Culture ROOSTER adding a pretty ridiculous amount of overdrive/distortion. Everyone in the control room freaked out with excitement but I had to warn them that there’s no going back. No DI! He also added bass drum on all the songs but it was played by hand with a mallet. So what was supposed to be a mellow acoustic album turned into a bit of a beast. But still one of my favorite records ever.