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  #41  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by BertTheDrummer View Post
Honestly, I think the main reason for pop songs not having drums is simply convenience, it takes a bit more effort to record drums.
In some cases, that's certainly true. But you're discounting the bigger picture, which remains: what serves the song best? It doesn't matter if the song is a commercial throw-away or whatever, there's still a conscious decision (on the part of the writer and/or producer) as to the best way to reproduce the song that's in their head.

You have to allow the writer/producer/artist the freedom to do a song the way they want. Nobody is going out of their way to put musicians out of work. Nobody is slyly wringing their hands because they saved $383 by not using a live drummer.

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  #42  
Old 10-21-2017, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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In some cases, that's certainly true. But you're discounting the bigger picture, which remains: what serves the song best? It doesn't matter if the song is a commercial throw-away or whatever, there's still a conscious decision (on the part of the writer and/or producer) as to the best way to reproduce the song that's in their head.

You have to allow the writer/producer/artist the freedom to do a song the way they want. Nobody is going out of their way to put musicians out of work. Nobody is slyly wringing their hands because they saved $383 by not using a live drummer.

Bermuda
I agree that there's an artistic decision involved. But it is interesting how often the recording features a programmed drum part and yet there's a live drummer on the tour playing the same songs. I do think the aesthetic of having a full band on stage is part of that. But the sound changes, and apparently the artist is okay with that.
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  #43  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:09 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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The links are to different songs. Closer studio and Paris live. Great songs, but what are you all comparing? Not surprised that nobody here likes them. No Supra or Acro to be heard so it must suck. Stick to your guns guys. Hey, it's gotten you all this far. Love these songs. Funny thing is that I love the music you love too. Life is forward. Not digging your heals in as hard as you can. Sorry to be a pain in the ass, but you guys sound really old and kinda out of touch. To think that a real drummer would have made these recordings sound better? That the artist and producer are just clueless or mindless robots? I say that if they had let you produce this to your liking, then it never would have been a hit and therefore you'd have nothing to bitch about... and we wouldn't have this conversation.
Ah yes, the ole 'SunDog flame-out'.... every Saturday. I can set my watch to it. I think we all get that its sounds, music and personal opinion.
No need to be 'sorry for being a pain in the ass'. Its your opinion. Contrarianism is needed. But really, the only guy 'bitching' here ...is you.
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  #44  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
I agree that there's an artistic decision involved. But it is interesting how often the recording features a programmed drum part and yet there's a live drummer on the tour playing the same songs. I do think the aesthetic of having a full band on stage is part of that. But the sound changes, and apparently the artist is okay with that.
Part of that is the "show" aspect of a live performance. The artist wants bodies on stage, and some are aware of the backlash of vocal tracks being used (coughcoughBritneycoughcough) and are out to prove that the people are actually playing and singing.

But there are rap artists that stay true to their art, and rap to tracks and a DJ (who's really there mostly for visual effect.)

But in general, the ethic for a recording (that has to stand the test of repeated listening and scrutiny) and live performance (where there's a one-time visual interaction plus the vibe from fellow concert-goers) are treated differently by most artists. There needs to be added excitement in a live performance, so that people don't simply buy (rather, download/stream) the songs, and that's the end of the relationship.

It's why my boss plays and sings the songs pretty much like the recordings, but adds video, costumes, and lighting for added excitement and experience. That's the reason people repeatedly come to our shows. It's something different, added value, that can't occur at the original recording level.

That's why a recording differs from a live performance. I would venture to say that the recording has to be more enticing, so that people will want to see the artist live. Of course, the live show has to go a step further. Those who can't at least live up to their recordings will have a short career.

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  #45  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I digress. As far as computers go, it's just the nature of the beast. I do drafting for a living. I was trained in hand drafting, much like you were trained in music. To be a good drafter back then, you hand to be good with the tools of the trade in order to produce accurate and presentable drawings.

But now, with the advent of the computer, we don't use any of that stuff. It's mostly forgotten skill, much like music literacy and using old school tools. I don't need a drumset or a drummer to produce beats.
Interestingly, the tools for drafting and composing a score are the same. would run into drafters buying the same supplies as me when i was in college for composition.
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  #46  
Old 10-21-2017, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by SmoothOperator View Post
I think it is kind of ironic, that the people that are belly aching about this are the very same ones that created this race to the bottom in the first place, Beatles. It's not like they are arguing that big bands are better, musically speaking. They are arguing "The Who" hoping on stage and ripping stuff up are more musical, Nay!

I think the best part of this is that if you have a musical idea you can record it, which is making the industry much more diverse. People aren't limited to samples from three cymbals and five drums.

People do eventually play these tracks. Trent Reznor played "A Copy of a Copy" live for example.
Well, i don't know that it's a race to the bottom. In certain respects the technology has democratized composition. One used to have to gain a lot of specialized knowledge to have one's music disseminated to the masses. Or, like Irving Berlin, pay someone with the specialized knowledge to transcribe your songs for you. Now that isn't strictly necessary and for many people the recording is the song, not the score.
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  #47  
Old 10-21-2017, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Mike Stand View Post
The sound of acoustic drums is my first love.
This may bring us closer to the spirit of this thread, "Why don't pop songs have real drums?"

Is it the drum sounds at issue, or is it playing vs programming? That is, if a track is programmed with pure acoustic drum samples, is that okay? I mean, the sounds are real, and a good programmer can easily make a sequence feel quite live (I've been fooled many times.) Or, is it the lack of a live drummer that's an issue? In that case, would a live drummer whose drums were sound-replaced be permissible?

Just trying to get at the heart of the question, since the thread is taking the usual tangents.

Bermuda
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  #48  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Ultimately the answer is: Because people buy it.

You do not want to release a song that has depth, complexity, or lasting impressions and has people listening to it over and over again. You want people to hear the song, like it, forget it, and buy another song.

If you sell only durable goods, you're limiting your revenue because there will be fewer subsequent sales. You want to produce and distribute goods that are disposable, with a finite lifetime, so that consumers will buy next year's model.
Yeah, just ask the Beatles. Wait a minute...
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  #49  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

sure feels like everyone is ignoring the elephant in the room. Why spend money on real drums on a song, when nobody is buying records / CD's any more. This is probably the high point for recorded music, it's going to get much much worse IMO.

I did laugh at the person who brought up In the Air tonight as an example of real drums. Lol, the whole main beat is a drum machine. That's the whole vibe of the song.
Tons of stuff in the late 80's was programmed, and that was 35 years ago. This isn't a new development.
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  #50  
Old 10-21-2017, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Is it the drum sounds at issue, or is it playing vs programming? That is, if a track is programmed with pure acoustic drum samples, is that okay? I mean, the sounds are real, and a good programmer can easily make a sequence feel quite live (I've been fooled many times.) Or, is it the lack of a live drummer that's an issue? In that case, would a live drummer whose drums were sound-replaced be permissible?
It's not sound or feel or even the "parts", it's that I want to hear an actual performance-- somebody making his own sounds and creative decisions (cooperative w the producer of course), playing a song basically from start to finish. I'm really interested in listening to Phil Rudd, and not at all interested in the exact same performance faked by a machine. The process is completely different, and there's just something fraudulent about using advanced technology to fake sounding like a human knucklehead.

I get why people do these things-- it expedites production, pop is about producers and not musicians now, the expected level of sonic polish is higher, etc. It just doesn't really interest me as someone trying to learn how to play the drums-- and as a listener/consumer I mostly like music that sounds like it was made by humans.
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  #51  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:01 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
This may bring us closer to the spirit of this thread, "Why don't pop songs have real drums?"

Is it the drum sounds at issue, or is it playing vs programming? That is, if a track is programmed with pure acoustic drum samples, is that okay? I mean, the sounds are real, and a good programmer can easily make a sequence feel quite live (I've been fooled many times.) Or, is it the lack of a live drummer that's an issue? In that case, would a live drummer whose drums were sound-replaced be permissible?

Just trying to get at the heart of the question, since the thread is taking the usual tangents.

Bermuda
Nine times out of ten it's a head room issue, toms being the biggest culprits, by the time the are compressed and noise gated might as well use some other sound. This is why drums(and bass) get programmed first they take up the most headroom, it's easier to start with the loudest most audible sounds and work down.

The other time it's that people can adapt a wider variety of sounds and effects either synthetically generated or more likely than not sampled and processed. Shakers, noise effects etc.
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  #52  
Old 10-21-2017, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Just trying to get at the heart of the question, since the thread is taking the usual tangents.
The simple answer at the heart of the question is, simplicity.

A HUGE majority of the public doesn't know or care about the drums in a song and it's easier, cheaper and more flexible to have fake drums on this type of music.
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  #53  
Old 10-22-2017, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Real music that is played by humans with passion and sincerity is increasingly only found away from the mainstream. It's akin to fossicking for gemstones on an urban building site.

There's no point having real drums on most pop today, just as there's no point in having real bass, guitar, piano, horn or strings. Just get one of the programmer's on the company's books to program 'em up and away you go.

No worries about micing, charts, setting up, musicians' pay, availability, reliability, briefing, meal breaks, toilet, seating and studio space, egos, tastes or aptitudes.

Fallible human musicians physically playing their instruments are increasingly being thought of as a liability in commercial pop. At best real musos in the mainstream will be a quaint anachronism for future generations, perhaps with periodical "retro revivals" before they fizz out into the mainframe. Buying human music will be akin to buying a hand made vase from a market, as opposed to the usual purchase of a machine-made object from a department store.

Even vocalists are being replaced by machines. That, at least, is a blessing :)

Note: I like machines in some contexts and still use them at times, and I programmed enough drums on my old TR707 in the 80s to be offered work, knocking up drum tracks for demos (which I turned down because programming that much without composition bores me). I am just observing.
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  #54  
Old 10-22-2017, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
It's not sound or feel or even the "parts", it's that I want to hear an actual performance-- somebody making his own sounds and creative decisions (cooperative w the producer of course), playing a song basically from start to finish. I'm really interested in listening to Phil Rudd, and not at all interested in the exact same performance faked by a machine.
If it results in the exact same performance, then what's the difference?

Let me convey a little story. On one of Al's recent albums, there's a particular original song on which I played the drums live. I have to brag here, I did a particularly excellent job, and there's not a moment where you'd think "that's a live drummer." It was that tight and even and solid, and the song lent itself to that vibe, so it was perfect.

But I still wonder why I spent the time playing it when I could have just programmed it for the exact same result. I don't think I was trying to prove something, but I know I ended up working harder behind the drums than I would have behind the keyboard. Note: I get paid the same either way. :)

Just saying, if the result is the same, then what's the difference?

Bermuda
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  #55  
Old 10-22-2017, 03:05 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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A HUGE majority of the public doesn't know or care about the drums in a song and it's easier, cheaper and more flexible to have fake drums on this type of music.
Agreed about the audience, a bunch of musicians are obviously going to have a unique discussion compared to the target audience of pop songs.

But I disagree about a sequence being used s a money-saving ploy, except possibly by unknown musicians cooking up tracks at home (which rarely see the light of day anyway.) In the big leagues, even though music really isn't selling, the product is still held to a fairly high standard of production and (potential) marketability.

As for flexibility, as long as a track is on the grid - live drums or not - there are good editing options.

I'm not sure what you mean by "fake drums"... as in not a live drummer? Or not traditional acoustic-sounding sounds? There are already plenty of live drum sounds that are affected beyond their acoustic origins, and we tend to accept them. Times change. Production and tastes change. I'll bet drumming heroes/pioneers like Bonham and Moon would be appalled at today's real live drum sounds. Buddy and Gene are undoubtedly spinning!

Bermuda
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  #56  
Old 10-22-2017, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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If it results in the exact same performance, then what's the difference?

Let me convey a little story. On one of Al's recent albums, there's a particular original song on which I played the drums live. I have to brag here, I did a particularly excellent job, and there's not a moment where you'd think "that's a live drummer." It was that tight and even and solid, and the song lent itself to that vibe, so it was perfect.

But I still wonder why I spent the time playing it when I could have just programmed it for the exact same result. I don't think I was trying to prove something, but I know I ended up working harder behind the drums than I would have behind the keyboard. Note: I get paid the same either way. :)

Just saying, if the result is the same, then what's the difference?

Bermuda
Only because Al is a nice guy.

In most other pop situations, they'd just program the drums themselves and not pay any drummer anything. Saving $$ and getting a perfect take without all the hard work.
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  #57  
Old 10-22-2017, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Only because Al is a nice guy.
Only because I'm a better programmer than the writer/producer (Al.)

The truth is, it's always about the final product. Saving money is fine, but never at the risk of the music.

Bermuda
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  #58  
Old 10-22-2017, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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But I disagree about a sequence being used s a money-saving ploy ... In the big leagues, even though music really isn't selling, the product is still held to a fairly high standard of production and (potential) marketability.
Come on, Jon. I understand your points but you can't claim that the use of sequencers in lieu of musicians isn't a money saving ploy.

There are sometimes stylistic choices, but it's mostly about money - a money saving ploy, as was said. A lot of it is disposable pop. If there is any concern about standards aside from slick professionalism I'm yet to see it.
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  #59  
Old 10-22-2017, 05:43 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "fake drums"... as in not a live drummer? Bermuda
Yeah, I meant fake as in programmed. EIther way, Im open to any kind of technology. I generally don't care what kind of percussive sounds are on a recording but I would rather see someone banging on the drums in a live show.



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Times change. Production and tastes change. I'll bet drumming heroes/pioneers like Bonham and Moon would be appalled at today's real live drum sounds. Buddy and Gene are undoubtedly spinning!
Maybe but, who really knows? Sometimes even people change :). Being at the top of the top of the heap with nothing to prove, they might have had a more open mind.


And, I wouldn't say that sequencing as a ploy. Having a string and horn section on a flash drive is just a tool.
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  #60  
Old 10-22-2017, 06:14 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

Today's pop music has no staying power. It was concocted by producers using a recipe that makes them money. Programmed drums are just part of the recipe. I bet a hundred years from now the Beatles will still be relevant, whereas Blurred Lines and Get Lucky will not. Heck, who even plays those songs anymore? But people will still be singing Strawberry Fields forever.
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  #61  
Old 10-22-2017, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Come on, Jon. I understand your points but you can't claim that the use of sequencers in lieu of musicians isn't a money saving ploy.

There are sometimes stylistic choices, but it's mostly about money - a money saving ploy, as was said. A lot of it is disposable pop. If there is any concern about standards aside from slick professionalism I'm yet to see it.
I would counter that the choice is sometimes about money, but mostly a stylistic choice.

Also, is slick professionalism a bad standard?
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I would counter that the choice is sometimes about money, but mostly a stylistic choice.

Also, is slick professionalism a bad standard?
From my perspective it seems like in the past it was more of a stylistic choice, and now it's more about saving time and money. Previously programming or using electric sounds was well, harder to do at a high standard. Now days the software and devices are so good that you can produce "fake" drums that will easily fool the average person, and they have a complexity which is pretty impressive.
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Old 10-22-2017, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Today's pop music has no staying power. It was concocted by producers using a recipe that makes them money. Programmed drums are just part of the recipe. I bet a hundred years from now the Beatles will still be relevant, whereas Blurred Lines and Get Lucky will not. Heck, who even plays those songs anymore? But people will still be singing Strawberry Fields forever.
I think some pop artists today will still be remembered later on, like Bruno mars, Taylor swift, john Mayer, ed sheeran etc. But definitely not on the same level as the Beatles. (It'd also be interesting to note that in a lot of the songs by the artists I named they had real drummers recorded)
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  #64  
Old 10-22-2017, 03:20 PM
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I think some pop artists today will still be remembered later on, like Bruno mars, Taylor swift, john Mayer, ed sheeran etc. But definitely not on the same level as the Beatles. (It'd also be interesting to note that in a lot of the songs by the artists I named they had real drummers recorded)
I couldn't even name even one song by Taylor Swift. :)
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Old 10-22-2017, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I think some pop artists today will still be remembered later on, like Bruno mars, Taylor swift, john Mayer, ed sheeran etc. But definitely not on the same level as the Beatles. (It'd also be interesting to note that in a lot of the songs by the artists I named they had real drummers recorded)
I used to be a Beatles enthusiast, but their material has a lot of weaknesses **cough** "White Album". I think there was a point where many of the British bands thought they could get away with turning out rubbish, because people hadn't heard something sampled backwards before. Most of the recording gimmicks are gone.

I don't understand the defeatism so prevalent in rock. People are creating new sounds and styles different aesthetics, just imitate them already and move on. Though I think they kind of deserve it for cutting off their nose to spite their face.

I think that is one of reasons I liked Jojo Mayer in the first place, though the high pitched cymbal/piccolo snare/jungle bass are just one style of electronic music that can be imitated. There are many different effects and sounds to be adapted, just like electronic musicians have many samples to draw from, it's a big world and acoustic musicians have a huge palette of instrumentation to adapt.
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  #66  
Old 10-22-2017, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I used to be a Beatles enthusiast, but their material has a lot of weaknesses **cough** "White Album". I think there was a point where many of the British bands thought they could get away with turning out rubbish, because people hadn't heard something sampled backwards before. Most of the recording gimmicks are gone.
Sorry for going off-topic a little.

That's funny because the White Album is my favorite, but I hardly ever listen to Revelution #9. It is rubbish, as you say, but the rest of the album is brilliant. That's when Ringo (and Paul) was at his best.
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  #67  
Old 10-22-2017, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

OK, now I just checked out the two recordings.

Whilst we're having our umpteenth discussion about acoustic drums vs "computer drums", doesn't anyone want to take issue with the real problem here?

The studio recording is of course done in a way to make the lead vocals have presence and depth and actually sound as if they're coming from a singer.

The SNL live version of course reveals the sad reality that the "singer" probably got his job more because of appearances and visual marketability rather than any musical prowess.

This is by far the greater let down and it really is to the detriment of the song. Would I like it with a better singer? Probably not, but there are examples of songs that were "saved" by the singer (and a more tasteful musical production as well).

Just one: I'm Coming Out, sung by Diana Ross. Not a song I would consider an all time great by she carries it off.

As opposed to Beyonce, who just tramples all over the song and delivers it in a comparatively crude and over-cooked manner.
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Old 10-22-2017, 05:14 PM
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Mike Stand Mike Stand is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by williamsbclontz View Post
I think some pop artists today will still be remembered later on, like Bruno mars, Taylor swift, john Mayer, ed sheeran etc. But definitely not on the same level as the Beatles. (It'd also be interesting to note that in a lot of the songs by the artists I named they had real drummers recorded)
Veering off topic but nonetheless related so I'd like to reply.

I think that each era will have it's representative artists, those who not only were commercially succesful but also stood out slightly, or a lot, from the rest.

The musicians you mention might be singled out for special attention in the context of their era. However, in a distant future I don't think that people will necessarily seek out the "best" music from each era or generation. When people seek out music from the past, and especially from the distant past, they do it because they are interested in finding stuff that is truly great, regardless of when it was made.

No matter how highly some of the above artists are currently rated, in 500 years time they will have to compete with all the rest of music history. Will people choose to listen to Taylor Swift or Beethoven, Debussy, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Led Zeppelin, etc.
Even the "assembly line pop" of the past is arguably of a higher musical calibre than the modern day equivalent. Just think of all those great Motown hits.

I'm not excluding any of today's music from standing the test of time and finding a future audience. I just think that the examples you cited are rather weak contenders.

Just think, a music lover in the year 2500 won't care if a piece of music came from 1967 or from 1987. That will be a negligable detail to them, much in the same way that the difference between 1457 and 1477 is hardly relevant to us today. What will matter to them is if the music is great!
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Now days the software and devices are so good that you can produce "fake" drums that will easily fool the average person, and they have a complexity which is pretty impressive.
Quite true, and most drummers are fooled as well.

So, if programmed drums achieve a "real" sound and feel, is there still a problem with 'pop songs not having real drums'? Is this really about sound, or just a continued resentment that a drummer didn't get a gig?

My thread about which programmed songs would have been better with a live drummer instead, didn't yield any examples. I believe that backs-up my assertion that programmed or live drum parts are chosen for their merit to the song at hand, and that those choices were correct.

Here are the basic reasons a live drummer doesn't get to play on a track:

The part is too complicated for a drummer to pull-off smoothly. This was prevalent in the '80s as producers began exploring (exploiting?) the capabilities of machines. "Who's Johnny" (El DeBarge) comes to mind (check the kick & hat in particular - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA9WhYnsD_4) No idea how they pulled that off live, but I'll bet it suffered at the hands of a live drummer.

The feel, such as a straight dance track, doesn't require a live drummer's interpretation or creativity. Bringing in a live drummer is just a mercy gig, and takes extra time to get the feel exactly like the sequence, assuming it ever gets close. This isn't about expense, it's about everyone sitting around the studio wasting time.

The tracks were created by the producer/writer, and no live band counterpart exists. It's not a deliberate decision to put live players out of work, it's a musician perfectly capable of creating and playing the parts they envision for the song. Let's say Bruno Mars plays live drums on his recordings. Is this okay, or still a problem because the artist didn't hire another drummer?

The sounds required aren't acoustic drums, and having a live drummer play in order to sound-replace everything is a lot of extra coordination.

At the bottom of the list, there are financial considerations:

A drummer capable of taking direction, playing exactly what the producer wants, and getting tracks in a minimum of takes, may charge too much for their time. Another drummer who takes up more time and may bring a certain amount of frustration to the process may be vetoed in favor of a sequence.

Some artists don't want to pay for a studio that has a drum room, and opt for a less-expensive production room with a vocal booth. That might even be in someone's apartment.

Some independent artists just can't cough up basic scale (up to $400 for 3 songs) for a live drummer. Usually, they're not far enough up the food chain to ever be heard from anyway.

I may have overlooked something, but those are the primary reasons.

Bermuda
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:52 PM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Quite true, and most drummers are fooled as well.

So, if programmed drums achieve a "real" sound and feel, is there still a problem with 'pop songs not having real drums'? Is this really about sound, or just a continued resentment that a drummer didn't get a gig?

My thread about which programmed songs would have been better with a live drummer instead, didn't yield any examples. I believe that backs-up my assertion that programmed or live drum parts are chosen for their merit to the song at hand, and that those choices were correct.

Here are the basic reasons a live drummer doesn't get to play on a track:

The part is too complicated for a drummer to pull-off smoothly. This was prevalent in the '80s as producers began exploring (exploiting?) the capabilities of machines. "Who's Johnny" (El DeBarge) comes to mind (check the kick & hat in particular - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA9WhYnsD_4) No idea how they pulled that off live, but I'll bet it suffered at the hands of a live drummer.

The feel, such as a straight dance track, doesn't require a live drummer's interpretation or creativity. Bringing in a live drummer is just a mercy gig, and takes extra time to get the feel exactly like the sequence, assuming it ever gets close. This isn't about expense, it's about everyone sitting around the studio wasting time.

The tracks were created by the producer/writer, and no live band counterpart exists. It's not a deliberate decision to put live players out of work, it's a musician perfectly capable of creating and playing the parts they envision for the song. Let's say Bruno Mars plays live drums on his recordings. Is this okay, or still a problem because the artist didn't hire another drummer?

The sounds required aren't acoustic drums, and having a live drummer play in order to sound-replace everything is a lot of extra coordination.

At the bottom of the list, there are financial considerations:

A drummer capable of taking direction, playing exactly what the producer wants, and getting tracks in a minimum of takes, may charge too much for their time. Another drummer who takes up more time and may bring a certain amount of frustration to the process may be vetoed in favor of a sequence.

Some artists don't want to pay for a studio that has a drum room, and opt for a less-expensive production room with a vocal booth. That might even be in someone's apartment.

Some independent artists just can't cough up basic scale (up to $400 for 3 songs) for a live drummer. Usually, they're not far enough up the food chain to ever be heard from anyway.

I may have overlooked something, but those are the primary reasons.

Bermuda
Many years ago when electronic drum machines were first invented I had the feeling that I should learn a different musical instrument,
or learn to sing. I guess I should have pursued that idea.


.
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Old 10-22-2017, 07:04 PM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Many years ago when electronic drum machines were first invented I had the feeling that I should learn a different musical instrument,
or learn to sing. I guess I should have pursued that idea.


.
Learn to sing backup and play cowbell or bongos.
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  #72  
Old 10-22-2017, 07:24 PM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by SmoothOperator View Post
Learn to sing backup and play cowbell or bongos.
If you play the coconuts on bongos you'll sound just like a drum machine.
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  #73  
Old 10-22-2017, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Many years ago when electronic drum machines were first invented I had the feeling that I should learn a different musical instrument,
or learn to sing. I guess I should have pursued that idea.
.
Singing is always a plus, any musician who sings is automatically more valuable.

The thing about machines is, when they became prevalent by the early '80s, the smart drummers bought and learned to use them. Not strictly as a self-preservation tactic, but more about adapting to the state of the art. I was slightly late to the table, I got my first machine in early 1985. My reasoning was, I'm the drummer, and I'm responsible for drum parts, whether I'm playing, or pushing buttons. That's my job. I wasn't concerned about being replaced, I just had a sense of responsibility. Soon, machines were passť and computer/midi programming and "sound design" turned into a real art, often far more challenging than simply laying down a live groove.

I never feel like more or less of a drummer based on whether the parts are programmed or played. They're my parts either way, and I'm equally proud of them.

Bermuda
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Singing is always a plus, any musician who sings is automatically more valuable.

The thing about machines is, when they became prevalent by the early '80s, the smart drummers bought and learned to use them. Not strictly as a self-preservation tactic, but more about adapting to the state of the art. I was slightly late to the table, I got my first machine in early 1985. My reasoning was, I'm the drummer, and I'm responsible for drum parts, whether I'm playing, or pushing buttons. That's my job. I wasn't concerned about being replaced, I just had a sense of responsibility. Soon, machines were passť and computer/midi programming and "sound design" turned into a real art, often far more challenging than simply laying down a live groove.

I never feel like more or less of a drummer based on whether the parts are programmed or played. They're my parts either way, and I'm equally proud of them.

Bermuda
Good points. If I wanted to learn to program drum parts, where would I start?
What software program is the latest and best one to learn?


,
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Old 10-22-2017, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Only because I'm a better programmer than the writer/producer (Al.)

The truth is, it's always about the final product. Saving money is fine, but never at the risk of the music.

Bermuda
But your situation is very unique.

The average pop singer doesn't need what AL needs.

There are plenty of bands out there that just don't have a drummer, period.
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
If I wanted to learn to program drum parts, where would I start?

North Phoenix? I'll have you up and running in 30 minutes.


Quote:
What software program is the latest and best one to learn?
I'd suggest starting with the easiest, free one in order to get a basic understamding. If you want to prohress to a more versatile program with more samples, it would be a matter of finding the best program and learning it's basic functions.
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  #77  
Old 10-23-2017, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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Good points. If I wanted to learn to program drum parts, where would I start?
What software program is the latest and best one to learn?


,
Good advice from New Tricks, start simple and work your way up as needed. Probably a midi-based software/app to learn constructing beats, adjusting velocity and sample length, etc.

While there are libraries of great sounds available, you should also get familiar with a capable audio program to manipulate & create sounds on your own.

I started with machines, and soon graduated to working with midi in ProTools, which I felt was very easy (some people said I was crazy for using that!) I had a short experience using Logic (which has a STEEP learning curve and isn't very intuitive) and eventually eased into Acid (Garage Band for Mac) to essentially lay out parts as they would appear in the studio.

The current protocol is to supply the entire audio file for each drum, in 24/48 or 24/96 resolution. So you need to be able to easily generate those files, which any current software should do. You then upload the files to a dropbox or similar sharing service (WeTransfer, etc.) This is how record-at-home drummers supply their tracks.

Bermuda
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Old 10-23-2017, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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But your situation is very unique.

The average pop singer doesn't need what AL needs.
Believe me, if Al thought he could program better and save the money, he would! As for Al's needs, the only thing different about him is the lyrics. Musically, we're doing everything the top musicians and producers ion the business are doing. We get major props from major pros for our work. One famous, FAMOUS drummer told me after seeing our show, "I couldn't do what you do." Flattering words indeed, maybe my gig is harder than it seems to me?

Quote:
There are plenty of bands out there that just don't have a drummer, period.
True, although that alone isn't a reason to default to a sequence. The song always dictates the method used to record it. There's no shortage of independent players (formerly known as studio musicians) who are called upon to cut tracks, and some may even go on the road if the money's right. they don't even have to live where the studio's are, they're such a commodity, it's no problem to fly them in. Now, that's obviously not a money-saving proposition, but as I've said, saving money is not the primary reason that a sequence is used in place of a live player.

Bermuda
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

I took up the drums for the very reason I hate fake drums, machines, sample replacement and all that. It's actually sort of stupid on my part I suppose.

But I do think it's a shame that drummers have been sort of antiquated by technology (most pop music sounds like the 80s to me, so ironically all that stuff seems dated, imo).

The pop music I like is all old, and the more I learn about drums, the more respect I have for all the great drummers from the past...as well as all y'all keeping the whole art of drumming alive today.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Why don't pop songs have real drums?

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I took up the drums for the very reason I hate fake drums, machines, sample replacement and all that. It's actually sort of stupid on my part I suppose.
If you truly enjoy playing, then it's not stupid at all.

Quote:
But I do think it's a shame that drummers have been sort of antiquated by technology (most pop music sounds like the 80s to me, so ironically all that stuff seems dated, imo).
I don't think drummers have lost their value at all. There are just styles and genres that emerged which are better served by a sequence. I never took that personally, but I stay involved in both sides. It's just part of being a modern drummer.

Bermuda
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