How do you approach writing your drum part?

Lunar Satellite Brian

Senior Member
No, I don't mean "how do you come up with a beat to a song?", I'm pretty sure most of us here are past that point, so how do you approach the song to encourage yourself to play creatively, and come up with a unique drum track?

My method seems to finally have found a shape and is usually how I approach writing drum tracks for my songs now.

first I play along to the track and dable with a wide variety of patterns and rhythms to get an idea what I like, then I pick out 2 or 3 of my favorites and practice with them, possibly merging them together or alternating every other measure.

Then I record them in their most basic form, so usually I use just the snare, bass and cymbals, no fancy tom work or anything, from there I'll listen to it and determine which parts needed to be edited, or completely redone.

So from my first recording I'll start adding in some more intricate melodical drumming to the patterns.

So here's the first demo of the drumming: https://soundcloud.com/lunar-satellite/turtles-take-1 , very basic, redundant, and really annoying. (the first 2 minuets or so should be enough to know what I'm talking about in the comparison)

And this is a video of the song being polished up a bit. http://youtu.be/Nk-gSTQbj6Y

so I'm sure you guys have plenty of interesting methods to write music, also how much do you find that drummers you like influence your own writing?
 

MLdrum

Senior Member
I think I usually go for sound and how much space I would like to leave the others with. I often find myself asking me stuff like this:

Where and when should I play?
HiHat or ride-type groove and open/closed/combination or lots of bell/no bell/lightly crashed?
Cross-stick vs normal stroke vs rim shot?
Where should I hit the snare? (usually after or while deciding the previous question)
Busy hands or almost not playing?
Lots of bass drum or almost no bass drum?

Very often it's something like this: "No, no, no, no, no, yes, no, no, no, yes, no, no, yes, no, yes, yes. I think I got it now. Hmmmm, maybe not. Yes, no, no, yes, no, yes, no, no yes.

Usually I find the sounds I like and find fitting to the music quite fast and then have to spend some time looking for some groove that matches. Of course, this process becomes shorter and shorter almost every time I do it. Sometimes I'm lucky and hear something awesome that the rest of the band find totally frickin cool when I play it. Other times I have to think about a riff/verse/etc for a week or even longer to find that exact groove that makes the song happen. It's a practice thing, you learn and come up with different types of grooves and how they fit in and affect with certain types of music.
 

x_25

Member
Since we keep a recording set up in my bands practice space, I will jam something out first, trying different things unitl I hit uppon some that I like. I then will listen back, see how they sound and try them again with other things next practice. Repeat. A lot of the time though, I will change it up again to suit the vocals after the vocalist settles on a style for that song.

As a side note, my band genneraly writes songs byt jamming and then taking bits we like, combining them or adding to them and then refining them. That, or plum forgetting parts and having to right new ones :p
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
Since I write the fundamentals of the song first, I have the chance to hear the whole thing without drums for a bit, and that allows me to dream up a basic sketch of the drum part. That becomes the basis for the first attempt, and then I spend a little time listening to it and deciding if I need to go back and redo it. The way I see it is: do a basic "scratch" drum track just to get the ball rolling, and then you can go back and fix things or re-record the part before you sign off on the final version.

Here's an example of a drum part in need of revision. Listen during the bridge/break. The drumming has a bit of a hiccup that says to the listener that I'm not sure of what I'm doing. Gotta do something about that!

On a tangent; I like that you used a 10" snare as your main, that you are using the same CAD mics that I use, and making some very original music. The improvement between the Soundcloud version and the YouTube is quite noticeable.
 
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