How to make a track taste good

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Yes, that's a metaphor.

Flavor is what I say is by far the best thing to have in any drum track, solo, anything. If there's something in there that makes the playing worthwhile, then that's all you need.

I've recently become engrossed in finding what gives my playing flavor, or what I can do to a fill or something that makes it that moment in which you think "Ahh, that was cool/groovy/f-ckin' rad".

What is DW's finding on this subject?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm home chillin!

My take is we don't exist in a vacuum, there are other people involved, and it depends on the vibe that day. If you're playing with really great players then hell yea it's easy to add flavor, but if the others are just so so then there's only so much you can do. Can't polish a turd ha ha. If you try and compensate for "less than" on the others end....well it always made it worse for me anyway.

So what I'm saying is the more you're inspired by the others playing, the easier it is to find that creative zone.

I totally tailor any fills, accents, and nuances to what I'm hearing. If I can predict where a soloist is going, I can really make a complimentary drum part that works with their ideas. If I can't predict where they're going...I just keep it straight and even though it doesn't feel that inspired, you usually can't go wrong by keeping it straight.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I agree with Larry that the answer is "it depends".

Steel, do you have any examples of songs where you feel the drummer got the track feeling great?

Let's try a few from my end. Bernard Purdie's half-time shuffle with all the ghosts in Steely Dan's Babylon Sisters comes to mind. Or Steve Gadd's ride cymbal accents in Stanley Clarke's Silly Putty.

Charlie's cowbell in Honky Tonk Women.

Art Blakey's building buzz roll in Moanin.

Simon Kirke's big beat in Bad Company's Can't Get Enough of Your Love.

Bonzo and When the Levee Breaks (nuff said)

Moe's "temple drum" in Venus in Furs.

Attractive sounds, accents and ghosts in just the right place for the song ...
 

BassDriver

Silver Member
I agree with Polly's last line...

...and when it comes to putting things in bigger perspective, making sure every note has meaning is really what your looking for...

...but also it is the subtle things; the solid-ness of the groove, the positioning of the pocket, the slight idiosyncratic swing in one's phrasing...

...these things really matter because they add up...

...because really, drumming is almost nothing without all the other musicians, we try to make something that complements the rest of the music and contributes to the greater good of the whole musical experience...

...and try to preserve as much bit of soul and organic-ness in your drumming tracks as possible while still keeping it tight.
 

thiscocks

Member
For an example of taste I would nominate the track 'Confide In Me' from 'The Offbeat Of Avenues' by manhattan transfer. Mr J Porcaro's playing really ticks all the boxes discribed by BassDriver: "every note has meaning and is really what your looking for...the solid-ness of the groove, the positioning of the pocket, the slight idiosyncratic swing in one's phrasing...."
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
I agree with Larry that the answer is "it depends".

Steel, do you have any examples of songs where you feel the drummer got the track feeling great?
Hmm... I have one or two examples.

Constant Motion by Dream Theater(when it's done by Mike Portnoy, it's expected to sound great)

Diary Of Jane by Breaking Benjamin

Diary of Jane isn't necessarily the greatest song in the world, and the track isn't god-like, but the drummer occasionally adds these tiny little fills that compliment the song nicely. It gives the track flavor.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hmm... I have one or two examples.

Constant Motion by Dream Theater(when it's done by Mike Portnoy, it's expected to sound great)

Diary Of Jane by Breaking Benjamin

Diary of Jane isn't necessarily the greatest song in the world, and the track isn't god-like, but the drummer occasionally adds these tiny little fills that compliment the song nicely. It gives the track flavor.
In Dairy of Jane the drummer's adding a bit of colour with his toms and the bell of the ride.

Didn't like the Dream Theater one enough to listen for long :) ... but he's using some trashy fast-decaying cymbal to add colour to the accents. A splash stack?

Another example of a drummer adding spice to a track is Ringo in Getting Better. Love the little hats crashes in the verse. I always wondered who thought of that and how they did it.
 
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