Gavin Harrison here!

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi sahilsarin


My question(s) are regarding your studio. I have been learning about acoustics for a while since one of my goals is to build a studio for myself, to make professional recordings at home.


Questions:
>Did you design/treat your studio by yourself or hire an acoustician? In the hindsight, would you do it any differently?

Yes I did hire a studio specialist who came round (22 years ago) and measured the reflection times of all the frequencies (he used a program called MLSSA) and then he sent me a plan on what sound panels I should build and exactly where to place them.

here's a photo of one corner...
Big Room.JPG

>Leaving aside all the gear, what do you consider are the most important elements (ceiling height, room dimensions/shape…) of your live room that is key to your immaculate drum sound? From your experience of playing in so many world-famous rooms, do you miss anything in your live room acoustically?


It's kind of hard to say. My big room has a certain sound that I've learnt how to deal with in terms of where to place the mics (AKG C414) and how to treat the room sound inside the mix with compression and EQ etc. I've been recording with it for over 20 years now so a lot of experimentation has happened over that time frame. However I haven't used it on every recording. When I'm in other studios I miss what I know I can do with my big room sound.

>What is an optimal room-size for your kit & dynamics?


I don't know what an 'optimal room size is'. My drums are in my control room and I play with the massive sliding doors open to the big room (where I have the AKG 414s set up to capture that ambience). The control room size is about 5m x 6m and a ceiling height of about 2.5m and it's pretty 'dead' sounding in there.

>Can you recommend any book(s)/ other sources to acquire more knowledge about acoustics especially for treating live rooms?

I don't know of any - but I'm sure there's lots of them out there.

Hi Warrenoids

Did you make the switch from AKG to Earthworks? If you did, I think you'd also like their preamps!

No not really - I'm trying them out on some of the drums. I've still got all my AKGs

cheers
Gavin
 
Hei, Gavin!
I remember the moment when my best mate and I listened to Sam Bronwn's "Stop!" album the first time in his father's recording studio. And then we listened again, then again. And countless times in his or my car, just driving aimlessly around Vienna, Austria, noting and discussing your drum parts that were at that time quite the most sophisticated example of intelligent drum arrangement we've heard to this date.

Apart ftom the compositions with their quirky and humorous, but always deep little details in the arrangement there was always your presicion and little gems - often in the fade-out part of the songs.

I have a load of questions about this production, but I'll keep it precise:

- how did you prepare for this recording project? Did you work with finished tracks and "just" added your parts separately, or did you discuss this with the project band?
- how much time did you have to "get into" the recording's mood? I mean, it's Pop Music after all, but it's very intelligent music, wonderfully arranged, quite a bit minimalistic, so the drums really had the opportunity to shine.
- THE BREAKS! How much of your really ingenious drum breaks did just "happen" because you already had a good personal drum break "vocabulary", how much of it was planned in advance?
- as far as Wikipedia and other sources go, "Stop!" is one of the definite milestones in your development as a musician. You did great tracking work before (hard to find sometimes, the internet was not so rich in detail as it is today), and "Stop!" really is a big step up. How did it come to pass that you were selected? Was there an audition? Did they call you?
- David Gilmour is named as producer and did some characteristically deep and rich guitar atmospheres. How would you describe working with him? Was he a big influence on the project? Or did he just give his sanctus to the finished project?
- Drum setup and sounds: "Ball and Chains" shows a lot of quirky unusual soundscape for a drum set. Is some of this triggered? Did you hang your drumset with various noisy appendages?
- Some songs, especially "High as a Kite" show very controlled and high skill double kick work - I have not heard this before in your work catalogue (at least what I could find online). Is this something you decided to step up especially for the project or did you need double pedal skills before?
- How was it? I always try to imagine the situation in the studio when I listen to a record. How was the atmosphere, did you get along well? Did you discuss the lines you all recorded, or did everybody deliver separately, probably from his own personal studio?

There's lots more, but I don't want to overdo it :)
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Karen Columbo

- how did you prepare for this recording project? Did you work with finished tracks and "just" added your parts separately, or did you discuss this with the project band?

We rehearsed as a band for a week in a studio in London. Myself, Jakko Jakszyk, Ed Poole and Sam (playing piano) and I think Margo was there too.

- how much time did you have to "get into" the recording's mood? I mean, it's Pop Music after all, but it's very intelligent music, wonderfully arranged, quite a bit minimalistic, so the drums really had the opportunity to shine.

we pretty much worked out what we were going to play during those rehearsals. I taped them on my cassette player so I could feel comfortable with the arrangements by the time we got into the recording studio.

- THE BREAKS! How much of your really ingenious drum breaks did just "happen" because you already had a good personal drum break "vocabulary", how much of it was planned in advance?

The breaks (fills) were improvised on the day. It wasn't hard to feel inspired as I really liked the music.

- as far as Wikipedia and other sources go, "Stop!" is one of the definite milestones in your development as a musician. You did great tracking work before (hard to find sometimes, the internet was not so rich in detail as it is today), and "Stop!" really is a big step up. How did it come to pass that you were selected? Was there an audition? Did they call you?

We (Jakko, Ed and myself) met Sam two years before when she was invited as a backing singer to be in Jakko's band for the recording of a TV concert (I've never seen it on YouTube). Then sometime later Sam called us and invited us to play on her album.

- David Gilmour is named as producer and did some characteristically deep and rich guitar atmospheres. How would you describe working with him? Was he a big influence on the project? Or did he just give his sanctus to the finished project?

I wasn't there when David Gilmour recorded and unfortunately - neither did I get to meet him.

- Drum setup and sounds: "Ball and Chains" shows a lot of quirky unusual soundscape for a drum set. Is some of this triggered? Did you hang your drumset with various noisy appendages?

None of it is triggered but the drums had a lot of mics on them - including some 'contact mics' stuck onto the toms - so probably that's what you're hearing as 'triggers'. I did have a "Pete Engelhart crasher" which I used on that song (and maybe some others). If you ever want to give yourself tinnitus - get one of those !

- Some songs, especially "High as a Kite" show very controlled and high skill double kick work - I have not heard this before in your work catalogue (at least what I could find online). Is this something you decided to step up especially for the project or did you need double pedal skills before?

I had bought my first double pedal about 3 years before that session so I was just coming to grips with it. Previous to that I had played two bass drums for a few years.

- How was it? I always try to imagine the situation in the studio when I listen to a record. How was the atmosphere, did you get along well? Did you discuss the lines you all recorded, or did everybody deliver separately, probably from his own personal studio?


I can clearly remember recording the song Stop (and maybe another one) at RAK studio in London. We all played live together and I think Danny Schogger was playing piano. Sam was great fun and it was a blast. Later we went to Power Plant studios in another part of London and recorded the other songs.

Cheers
Gavin
 
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bananers

Junior Member
Hey Gavin :)!

Just wanted to say - I received my copy of Versions of the Truth box set this morning and I absolutely love it, great songs, beautiful artwork - really impressive :)

I'll dive into the alternative mixes tomorrow, can't wait to hear those! Looking forward to seeing you all next year, shame it's so long to wait now! :cry:

All the best,
Alannah
 

bananers

Junior Member
Hi Gavin!

Sorry quick silly question - I was listening to "The Game" from the new album, is it just my ears or are you using some funny stick thing to do those snare rolls in the beginning?

Sorry for the question, I was just curious 😁

Best,
Alannah
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Alannah

I was listening to "The Game" from the new album, is it just my ears or are you using some funny stick thing to do those snare rolls in the beginning?


No - I do actually play them with a normal stick - but the dynamics are exaggerated by a compressor plug-in. I drop the stick and let it bounce a few times - but instead of it getting quieter towards the end as it naturally does - the compressor brings the final notes up in volume so it sounds a bit strange.

cheers
Gavin
 

bananers

Junior Member
Hi Alannah

I was listening to "The Game" from the new album, is it just my ears or are you using some funny stick thing to do those snare rolls in the beginning?

No - I do actually play them with a normal stick - but the dynamics are exaggerated by a compressor plug-in. I drop the stick and let it bounce a few times - but instead of it getting quieter towards the end as it naturally does - the compressor brings the final notes up in volume so it sounds a bit strange.

cheers
Gavin
Ahhhh, I see! That makes sense, cool technique. Thanks for that!

P.S the alternative mixes are great, really different 😁 Also "The Swell" has become one of my favourites, it's an incredible track, even though it isn't on the main album 🤔

Cheers
Alannah
 

Doraemon

Active member
Hi Gavin!

I just got the deluxe box, it was the 1st time I listened to a (non live) album in 5.1 first, and I love it. I also keep listening to the 5.1 live ones (TPT and PT), they mean so much now, being able to feel like I'm there at a show (with eyes closed), I even asked someone to step on my foot to make it real. :) I love the new surround mix especially for the marimba bouncing around!

Your alternative mixes are amazingly unique! I was totally shocked at first. Love the 80's vibe here and there. How did you learn to play the marimba so well? And please could you play a song on it live? At least on a remote live, maybe when the band gets together? I know it's difficult since you'd need to be at two places, but maybe someone could step in to drum, or play the recorded drums with live marimba? It would be so cool to see!

I also love the pictures next to the tracks, they match so well as if they were made for each song! I wonder how these look like in real, could you show or describe? Are they made of stone or metal?

And a 3rd question about the book, on page 35 there is a pic of a crowd under some shiny arch, what's that about? Thanks!

Dora
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Dora

How did you learn to play the marimba so well? And please could you play a song on it live? At least on a remote live, maybe when the band gets together?

I am a marimba owner - I certainly wouldn't say that I can play it well at all. I do enjoy making up melodic lines on it and messing around - but that's as far as I go. Same with piano, guitar and bass.

I also love the pictures next to the tracks, they match so well as if they were made for each song! I wonder how these look like in real, could you show or describe? Are they made of stone or metal?

Some of them are etchings - so the image is scratched onto a copper plate - and then with a process involving ink (that I don't actually know) the image is pressed onto paper. The 'background noise' is just the tiny dots and scratches on the surface of the copper - which looks a bit like stone when it is printed. Some are charcoal drawings. None of them are stone or metal.

And a 3rd question about the book, on page 35 there is a pic of a crowd under some shiny arch, what's that about?


That's Jon standing under a huge shiny metal sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park.

cheers
Gavin
 

Warrenoids

Member
Hey Gav.
I was listening to "Live in Toronto" for the seventh time this week, and one particular song always stuck in my mind. How do you manage to split the beats between you, Bill (or Jeremy) and Pat (eg. VROOOM)? Do you feel where the snare should be? Or do you play to a click in KC?
 

bananers

Junior Member
Hey Gavin,

I know this isn't a question but:

Thanks for the DrumHangs chat, it was such a great atmosphere from everyone involved! It really made my day 😁

(Sorry about the stupid motorbike that tore past!) Thanks for being ever so patient to answer questions, you're awesome 🤘

Best,
Alannah
 
Hey Gavin!

I went on a trip recently, and I figured I'd give the Pineapple Thief album Dissolution a good listen, and first off, I have to say that as a long-time fan since the PT days, your drumming has only gotten more creative and imaginative. The bit you do in the breakdown of "Threatening War" is incredible, and it's something that I never would have thought to do there.

But anyway, the drums on that album sound absolutely fantastic. It's very modern, but it sounds so natural and airy. I was wondering that if outside of "normal" production in the way of compression, gates, and plug-ins you're using any MIDI to enhance the attack of the drums. And would you say you tune your toms at around a medium/medium-low range?

Thanks in advance!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Warrenoids

I was listening to "Live in Toronto" for the seventh time this week, and one particular song always stuck in my mind. How do you manage to split the beats between you, Bill (or Jeremy) and Pat (eg. VROOOM)? Do you feel where the snare should be? Or do you play to a click in KC?

It's a simple displacement. When we get to that section of the tune Pat continues straight (kick on 1 and 3 - snare on 2 and 4) Bill played an 8th note later (kick on 1& and 3& - snare on 2& and 4&) and I join this a 16th note late (kick 1e and 3e - snare 2e and 4e). I believe further on in the tune we do a similar thing but in reverse so I play a 16th early and Bill played an 8th note early. Myself and Bill always keep in reference to Pat.

Hi LeftySlammer92

I was wondering that if outside of "normal" production in the way of compression, gates, and plug-ins you're using any MIDI to enhance the attack of the drums. And would you say you tune your toms at around a medium/medium-low range?


I didn't use any gates and don't have any MIDI enhancing the drums. Tom tuning wise I suppose they are generally in a 'medium' range and with no damping on the heads.

cheers
Gavin
 

Botiarazman

Well-known member
Hey Gavin!

Quick question here: what was the snare used on "In Absentia"? I love the snare sound on that album. (And the fill from the beginning of the outro of Gravity Eyelids is one of my absolute favorites of all time!)
 
Just a last question concerning the "Stop!" album :) In "Sometimes you just don't know" there's this beautiful end fill. Did you play the row of 16th single strokes on the snare just before the final two crashes with one hand or did you alternate?
- at 2:54
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Botiarazman

Quick question here: what was the snare used on "In Absentia"? I love the snare sound on that album. (And the fill from the beginning of the outro of Gravity Eyelids is one of my absolute favorites of all time!)

Thanks. The snare drum on that album (and pretty much all of the ones I did until about 2013) is my old 1982 Yamaha 9000 14" x 5" snare drum.
It's an absolute beauty!

Hi Karen Columbo

Just a last question concerning the "Stop!" album :) In "Sometimes you just don't know" there's this beautiful end fill. Did you play the row of 16th single strokes on the snare just before the final two crashes with one hand or did you alternate?

definitely alternating hands.

cheers
Gavin
 

bananers

Junior Member
Thanks. The snare drum on that album (and pretty much all of the ones I did until about 2013) is my old 1982 Yamaha 9000 14" x 5" snare drum.
It's an absolute beauty!
Is it this snare on the Insurgentes album? Because particularly on "No Twilight Within The Courts of the Sun" it sounds ridiculously good !!!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
HI Alannah

Is it this snare on the Insurgentes album? Because particularly on "No Twilight Within The Courts of the Sun"

Thanks. Most of the album was my old Yamaha but actually on that tune it was a late 90's 12x5 Sonor Designer.

cheers
Gavin
 
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