Gavin Harrison here!

szokematyi

Member
Hi Gavin!

My first question is about approaching music/playing/drum parts. Previously you gave me an advice about not being afraid to play the simplest things if the song requires it. To be honest, it's sometimes hard to me. I also realized, that my playing in odd times is quite a bit rigid, jerky. So lately I started gravitating towards "smoothing out" the more complex, or broken rhythms, to make them more... digestable. Is this area (the "smoothing out") covered from the basics in your books? I'd like to start from scratch, to understand what I'm doing. I believe that should be partly the overriding-concept, isn't it? So that would be the... Rhythmic Illusions? And can you suggest other materials too for this type of practice? I'm also interested in smoothing things out through creating a different pulse/beat/groove, and not just overriding, if possible.

Secondly: I'm not sure that I can explain this in english, so bear with me! :)

Lately my first band to listen to is an australian band (Karnivool), and their drummer sometimes breaks the groove, or even starts to play a totally different pulse for (at least i thought) no reason. Than I started to break down the songs, separating the 2 guitars, and I realized: he sometimes changes his main pulse to follow, from one guitar to the other. Sometimes it's great, in other songs... to me seems unnecessary, maybe even bad.
I also know that my own playing style is a bit too dependant on the guitar pulse, I'm always trying to complement the pulse/pattern. The old-school approach. Maybe because my friend/guitarist is probably the only guitarist who I ever had a decent musical connection with, and we're playing together in various bands for the better part of the last 15 years (we're now 30). But because of this, I think my playing became... limited.
I still believe that within a barline (or rather: within a tune), the most accentuated notes of the guitar should be together with my accented drum parts (because these are the main notes that create the feel/pulse of the song, so I want to highlight those notes inside the melody), but in between those accentuated notes, my playing should be a lot more flexible. Even "moved away" from the guitars pulse if the song allows it. How could I practice that? Is that even possible to practice that?

Cheers,
Matyas
 
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BrianBjur

Junior Member
Hey Gavin!

Thank you for being so patient with everyone on this thread and continuing to participate in this extremely useful forum.

I actually have somewhat of an unusual post here, as it relates maybe a little less to most people. Your approach to rhythms are something that I find very relatable. Simply put, rhythms and patterns are how my brain processes life. Attached is one of my many tessellations I have drawn on simple graph paper, something I've done since I was in high school. Maybe you can make some sense of this? 😊 Most people see them and have a hard time identifying the patterns or what shapes are used to make them, and then proceed to ask what is wrong with me haha. To me these are like rhythmic blueprints. Some have very visible square shapes, which I would consider a "4/4" type of pattern, while some are barely identifiable, more complex rhythms. I also wanted to show you this because I understand you look to things like architecture and art for musical inspiration, and I hope that this might help! (I have plenty more if you would like to see them.) Thanks for reading, hope you're having a great day! -Brian
 

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tamhewittbaker

Junior Member
Thanks Gavin,

Written music is something I am only just starting to learn about so this will be a challenge for me.
It can be frustrating but hopefully I will get there!
On this subject does any one have any idea of where I can get resources that might help with transcribing and understanding of written drum sheets?

Thanks,

Tam.x

p.s. great drawing brian!
 

crystalfunky

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

I don't know if my question has already been discussed here,
but anyway I wanted to know if you have like a philosophy of setting up your drums.
Can you tell me how you approach ergonomics and easy playing?
Thanks Gavin and greetings from Hamburg!
 

humberto

Junior Member
Hi Gavin

I Have some questions for you

First: Tell me more about your new book and if is possible i get a sign one ... and where i buy

Second i was watching this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fsHqYZyk90 and ... which music is this??? did you recorded this album??

Last
What albums do you recommend to listen like this music and maybe like Routes by Ed Poole or something...

thank you
and greetings from Brazil
Humberto
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Timzy

Talking of 5s to get these to groupings to land in friendly places,starting on beat 4 seems to be the order of the day.( or on a 3 to land on a beat 4). That brings me round to the topic that is the most baffling at the mo(now that ive got 5/16 and 7/16s note loops going all over the place )where to start them and where are they coming out at ?the (1).2.(3).4.5 type of feel i can hear,the rest are a bit freaky.

Do you feel the same about a group of 3's? Probably not. Work them out in every position so you can start them wherever you want and don't lose track of 4/4 underneath it. Then you can find a way out of them by adding or subtracting small amounts to come back to the downbeat.

when they head off into triplet format i need to get my pen out : /

absolutely. Write them out in triplets - and starting in different places.

last question the 3 over ride on the 7/8,did you write that out at first or just feel it ?

initially I wrote it out to see where all the beats relate to each other.

Hi szokematyi

My first question is about approaching music/playing/drum parts. Previously you gave me an advice about not being afraid to play the simplest things if the song requires it. To be honest, it's sometimes hard to me. I also realized, that my playing in odd times is quite a bit rigid, jerky. So lately I started gravitating towards "smoothing out" the more complex, or broken rhythms, to make them more... digestable. Is this area (the "smoothing out") covered from the basics in your books?

I cover the Overriding concept in the DVD Rhythmic Horizons.

I still believe that within a barline (or rather: within a tune), the most accentuated notes of the guitar should be together with my accented drum parts (because these are the main notes that create the feel/pulse of the song, so I want to highlight those notes inside the melody), but in between those accentuated notes, my playing should be a lot more flexible. Even "moved away" from the guitars pulse if the song allows it. How could I practice that? Is that even possible to practice that?


sorry but I don't really understand the question.

Hi BrianBjur

I actually have somewhat of an unusual post here, as it relates maybe a little less to most people. Your approach to rhythms are something that I find very relatable. Simply put, rhythms and patterns are how my brain processes life. Attached is one of my many tessellations I have drawn on simple graph paper, something I've done since I was in high school. Maybe you can make some sense of this?

I can see the relation to rhythm and visual patterns. Interesting stuff.

Hi tamhewittbaker

Written music is something I am only just starting to learn about so this will be a challenge for me. On this subject does any one have any idea of where I can get resources that might help with transcribing and understanding of written drum sheets?

are you having drum lessons? A good teacher can guide you well with this and once you have a good grasp of it you should start to make transcriptions and have a teacher check it.

Hi crystalfunky

I wanted to know if you have like a philosophy of setting up your drums. Can you tell me how you approach ergonomics and easy playing?


seek the path of least resistance and put everything within easy reach. There's no point wearing yourself out unnecessarily and wasting too much energy. Everyone is different - so try to make yourself comfortable for your size, height and reach.

Hi humberto

First: Tell me more about your new book and if is possible i get a sign one ... and where i buy

follow my posts on FaceBook. It's not available yet.

Second i was watching this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fsHqYZyk90 and ... which music is this??? did you recorded this album??

No - it's just a track that my friend Gary Sanctuary made for me - in the style of Steely Dan.
If you're not familiar with Steely Dan then go and check it out. Donald Fagen's solo albums too.

cheers
Gavin
 

euphoric_anomaly

Senior Member
Gavin, or anyone really,

I came up with this 12 stroke fill during one of my jam out sessions. I have never transcribed anything before, but I was wondering if I even came close to getting it right. I recorded this on my Yamaha DD-65C electric kit.

I apologize for the amateur photo, but I have no transcribing software, or the patience to learn it at the moment.

Attached is a sound clip of the fill, and a picture of my hand drawn transcription.

Thanks for your time / input :)
 

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Mitchdrums

Senior Member
Wow this is incredible! Gavin Harrison! You are incredible! You are in my top 5 drummers of all time, massive fan of porcupine tree! Not everyday you get an opportunity like this, however I have no questions for you as you let your drumming do the talking. You have amazing groove (being a metal drummer striding to become a prog drummer), it is what I'm working on now and adopting your style with Steve Judd (Karnivool), Danny Carey (Tool) and Lucius Borich (Cog) has helped me a LONGGGGG way but of course am still learning something everyday about groove, I love your chops! Your flavour is so unique and incredible, I find it sometimes challenging to create something 'new' but it seems like creativity is no problem for you, also a massive fan of your double bass work (reminds me a lot of Tomas Haake). Anyway I'm a massive fan (hopefully the biggest in Australia) and you're a massive influence on me, keep up the great work!
 

euphoric_anomaly

Senior Member
Hi euphoric_anomaly,

Here is a transcription of your fill. I wrote it in 3/4, but maybe your "feeling" was different.
Hope that help !

Alex P.
Awesome! I always wanted to see what it looked like tabbed out with the normal staff and notes. Thank you!

I was playing along to a song programmed on the kit, I usually threw that fill in for a 4/4 space, however, I might have started it a quarter note too late... haha It's frustrating when you can't figure out what you did because you were just "feeling it" at the time.
 

Blwr

Junior Member
Hi Gavin!

You are hands down my favorite modern drummer and one of my favorite drummers of all time. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

Apart from your amazing technical skills, one thing I have noticed in your recordings and live performances is that your set always seems to be mixed to perfection. I don't know how much mixing you actually do yourself, but any time I hear a recording of you, the drums always have such a flawless and unique sound. As a multi-instrumentalist and aspiring composer/audio engineer, getting drums to sound good on recordings is one of my biggest challenges. I am sure a lot of it has to do with the equipment and mics, but apart from that, do you have any drum mixing tips?

Also, as a completely unrelated question: some people say that success in the music industry comes partly from talent, partly from networking and connections, and partly from luck. Do you agree, and if so, how much of each of those would you say contributed to your success and career?

Anyway, whether you get to my questions or not, I just wanted to say thank you for making such great music. I actually got to meet you briefly before the Deadwing release concert in Los Angeles. I was probably only 10 years old then, and my dad introduced me to you and the other members of Porcupine Tree. At the time, I simply dug the music and was happy to meet the musicians. Had I known how big of an influence you and that band would be on my overall growth as a musician, I would have cherished that moment so much more. Hopefully I get the chance to see you play live again in the future.

Thanks so much, and keep making awesome music!

-Bennett
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Mitchdrums

Wow this is incredible! Gavin Harrison! You are incredible! You are in my top 5 drummers of all time, massive fan of porcupine tree! Not everyday you get an opportunity like this, however I have no questions for you as you let your drumming do the talking. You have amazing groove (being a metal drummer striding to become a prog drummer), it is what I'm working on now and adopting your style with Steve Judd (Karnivool), Danny Carey (Tool) and Lucius Borich (Cog) has helped me a LONGGGGG way but of course am still learning something everyday about groove, I love your chops! Your flavour is so unique and incredible, I find it sometimes challenging to create something 'new' but it seems like creativity is no problem for you, also a massive fan of your double bass work (reminds me a lot of Tomas Haake). Anyway I'm a massive fan (hopefully the biggest in Australia) and you're a massive influence on me, keep up the great work!

thanks for the kind words

Hi Blwr

Apart from your amazing technical skills, one thing I have noticed in your recordings and live performances is that your set always seems to be mixed to perfection. I don't know how much mixing you actually do yourself, but any time I hear a recording of you, the drums always have such a flawless and unique sound. As a multi-instrumentalist and aspiring composer/audio engineer, getting drums to sound good on recordings is one of my biggest challenges. I am sure a lot of it has to do with the equipment and mics, but apart from that, do you have any drum mixing tips?

The trick is - you have to mix your drums as you are playing them. I quite often record a song and then listen back and ask myself what could be better - maybe the ride is too quiet or the hi hat is too loud. I'll record the take again and try to fix that in the way that I play or maybe change the cymbals. When I listen to just the overhead mics - the mix of the drums should pretty much be there already. Sure - there are things you can do with the balance of the mics - but it's not as good as getting it right on the drums and the way that you play them. I normally hate when engineers re-balance my drums by moving the faders all over the place - it's not representative of how I played them.
I realised that I play pretty hard - I recently did some recording masterclasses where all the students got on my drums and recorded the same song. It was very interesting to hear the difference in sound - even though we all played the same drums with the same mics and left the mix faders in exactly the same place when we listened back. It turns out that after 160 different drummers (during several sessions) that nobody played the drums to anywhere near my volume. That was a big surprise to me as I didn't think I was a particularly loud drummer. I hit the drums at that volume for the sound and internal balance that I feel is right.

Also, as a completely unrelated question: some people say that success in the music industry comes partly from talent, partly from networking and connections, and partly from luck. Do you agree, and if so, how much of each of those would you say contributed to your success and career?

I really don't know - it's a mystery to me. I never did the networking thing. The more I practised the luckier I got.

cheers
Gavin
 

crystalfunky

Junior Member
Also, as a completely unrelated question: some people say that success in the music industry comes partly from talent, partly from networking and connections, and partly from luck. Do you agree, and if so, how much of each of those would you say contributed to your success and career?

I really don't know - it's a mystery to me. I never did the networking thing. The more I practised the luckier I got.

cheers
Gavin
Wow thats really interesting. What do you mean with your last sentence?
Can you tell me/us a bit more about that? people didn't just came into your practice room right? ;)
 

Rítmico

Junior Member
Hi Gavin!

It's always good to read your posts. Thank you!

My question is:

Do you add a compression effect in your snare drum?

If yes, could you share your settings (attack, release, etc...)?

I always be impressed with the sound of your ghost notes (even when you are playing on loud situations with PT). I always can hear the ghost notes and they are very clear sound. Is this due the way that you play the snare and/or the mixing settings?

Thank you again!

Marcos
 

AllenS

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

First, thank you so much for graciously answering questions on this forum, and for providing such thoughtful and humble responses. It really means a lot to me, and I'm sure it's similar for many others here!

My question is simply this: At what point in your musical career/journey did you feel that you really started to develop your own individual voice and personality on the drums, in a way that made you and other listeners say, "Wow...this is Gavin (as embodied by the music resulting from the drums)!"-ie, when did you feel confident and mature enough to go beyond emulation of your heroes (we all have them, and we all need them!) into developing your own distinct sound and style?

I think that it's great to have people who inspire us to get better, to emulate and even copy at some level, particularly in the initial stages of musical development; but IMHO, the people who truly stand out are those who can synthesize their influences creatively into something different. And I think that you are one of the best contemporary examples of that mature, musical, innovative, creative drumming.

Thanks!
 

K_HiHats

Member
Hey Gavin! I had a couple questions at some point, but I can't remember them now. Instead though, I recently discovered "Peace for 4." The metric modulation in that tune is really compelling. And then I heard the fill section... and suddenly gained the urge to transcribe it. So I did. For anyone wondering how that part around 2:08 is notated, this is what I came up with.

The notes highlighted in red are ghost notes. And the one above the staff shaped like a rhombus is a china hit. Also, all four cymbal hits in the beginning should've been specialty crash-chimes and bells. Happy listening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoAfOpf6t00

Cheers --Peter
 

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euphoric_anomaly

Senior Member
Gavin,

When you first started playing live gigs and such, how did you deal with criticism? If you played a groove that you were proud of and somebody said "that was complete rubbish!", did it ever make you feel discouraged or even angry?

I guess it would really depend on childhood factors, personality type, how sensitive one is to others approval/acceptance.

It's just a question I've been pondering for sometime, and to be honest, I was always very nervous and self-conscious when I played the few live gigs that I did. I still had fun, but I was riddled with anxiety on the inside. I'm always thinking that the audience can hear every mistake, so I go overboard trying to concentrate on NOT making a mistake, and then I lose the "feeling/groove" of the song. Would you say that's a normal feeling for the first couple times you play live?

Thanks for your time Gavin
Eric
 

Christian Beck

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

I just bought your Signature Protean Snare Drum from Sonor. I was not able to test it yet, cause I'm travelling for business at the moment but I can't wait to try it out. When I had the chance to play it, I'll post my experiences here!

I read an article of you on the SOS Homepage about your studio, your equipment and some stuff about your recording techniques. You mentioned that you use a gate on your second snare drum mic (bottom), so that you can turn it quite loud to hear all the ghost notes. It would be really nice if you could be a bit more specific regarding the settings of the gate (treshold, ratio, attack). My guess is that you control it over the attack controller. Am I right?

Thanks in advance!

Best regards

Christian
 
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