"Modern" Punk Rock Drum Sound

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A National Acrobat
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"Modern" Punk Rock Drum Sound

Post by A National Acrobat » Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:53 pm

Is the short answer 'triggers and sound replacer' in order to get that Bad Religion sound?

Keeping in mind that the drummer ain't gonna be the next Josh Freeze so do I really have to resort to quantizing in order to get 'that sound' for the drums?

Feels so...dirty.

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Post by jonathan » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:30 am

yeah replace everything. thats easy but annoying.

yeah quantize, itll get you that sound...

or

have the drummer play.. put the bass player in front of his face.. and have them play together. i reiterate, make them play together. tell them, play together... watch each other. move with one another....

make them sweat and have the drummer play everything with happiness and excitement...

that will get you your best result. and probably only in afew takes.

if the dude isn't good... then your record will only sound so good anyways.

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Post by losthighway » Thu Nov 20, 2008 6:56 am

Well there are two answers. If by modern you mean NoFx then I would say triggered kick and gated snare/toms. If by modern you mean Against Me! then I would say good rock drum sounds, decently compressed, with the right mics through really nice preamps, in a good sounding room, with ample room mics to mix in for reverb.

I like the second approach better. I'm not sure Against Me! has never used any canned sounds, I'm just suggesting that punk rock can still be recorded like rock and roll as opposed to black metal.

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Post by A National Acrobat » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:13 am

losthighway wrote: I like the second approach better. I'm not sure Against Me! has never used any canned sounds, I'm just suggesting that punk rock can still be recorded like rock and roll as opposed to black metal.
I'd like to think so as well. It's just a matter of the drummer not being as 'consistent' as pro punk drummers so there are going to be missing snare hits from time to time, extreme volume fluctuations not to mention I'm doing my best to dissuade the drummer from using this dead, dry piccolo snare drum.

It almost seems inevitable to have to sound replace to get that NOFX sort of drum sound.

Thanks again for your insight.

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Post by chris harris » Thu Nov 20, 2008 7:54 am

I'm pretty confident that the "Bad Religion" sound can be achieved without samples and editing.

but, if the drummer sucks, the drummer sucks. you might suggest some practice.

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Post by A National Acrobat » Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:01 am

subatomic pieces wrote:I'm pretty confident that the "Bad Religion" sound can be achieved without samples and editing.

but, if the drummer sucks, the drummer sucks. you might suggest some practice.
Well, he doesn't 'suck' per se, but he won't be playing to a click track, that's for sure.

When I asked them about the sounds achieved on their previous outings, they mentioned triggers, etc. and it just goes against my entire recording philosophy, especially for punk rock.

Just hoping I can get a beefy enough sound for them to forget all about that new-school drum sound and be happy with the way their drums and drummer actually sound.

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Post by SonicReducer » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:56 pm

The #1 problem with recording punk drums is that most of the time punk drummers dont have good kits and/or dont like to take good care of them. They are rarely in tune and they rarely have good cymbals.

I dont mean to generalize, but if theres one genre id say ive done the most its punk, and this tends to be the trend. And of course, we all know you cant polish a turd (although they proved that idiom to be false on mythbusters... thats another convo for another time).

That being said, if the drummer has a good set, then consider yourself in a better than normal position right off the bat. If not you should look into getting hold of a good set in anyway possible.

The key to the punk kick sound is boosting the slap that can be found between 1 and 5k, and of course getting rid of our old nemesis 500Hz. Ive had great results with a beta 52. Also, heres a little trick I came up with for that- put a pzm next to the beater on the floor. Not only does this get a nice crisp slap to blend in, but you get some bottom snare in there too. Or you could always mic the beater with a 57.

for the snare, you want a really tight pop, so make sure before mics go anywhere near that drumset that the snare sounds tight and dry by itself.

Focus the most on the kick and snare sounds, and getting really good isolation in case you do have to replace them

The only other thing id stress is the hi-hat. Make sure its as un-trashy as possible before recording. Put tape on it, use ribbon mics, eq out some high mids on the way in, whatever it takes because if he uses the hi hat like most punk drummers do, youre gonna spend a lot of time listening to open hats crashing. Better to add some trash later than be stuck with tin cans for the rest of the mix... i learned that one the hard way

I think those are the most important elements of the punk drum sound, aside from good use of compression, but that always applies. As a matter of fact... when it comes to punk drums, compressors can be your best friend. I dont know what you have available, but if possible, use distressors on everything. If you end up having to compress the shit out of the snare, nobody is gonna say 'oh listen to how compressed that is' theyre gonna say 'oh, typical punk drums.'

:P 8)

EDIT:
Also, if you want a good reference of "modern" punk drums, check out the album "Oh Calcutta" by The Lawrence Arms. Its a great drum sound for what it is.

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Post by A National Acrobat » Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:42 pm

That's exactly what I needed to hear, thank you for your time and insight. Luckily the drummer has a great set but his snare is the ultimate problem. It's a piccolo and has no balls at all. I'm trying to convince him to use my Ludwig Supraphonic but we'll see what he thinks.

The mic on the beater is an excellent idea and will definitely use it. I wish I had some distressors but alas, just a UA 2-610 and an Avalon 737. I'm just going to focus on getting the best sound possible upon tracking and then mess with my compressor plugins once all the drums have been tracked.

Again, I appreciate the tips as I have always frowned on triggers, sound replacing, etc. I want to give the band the best possible authentic representation of their sound.

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Post by squaresteve » Fri Nov 21, 2008 12:43 pm

+1 on watching the hi-hat!

Honestly, many of the punk drummers I get at my place have their hats incredibly far open and they just wail on them. I will usually have them close their hats until they're just barely far enough away from each other that they aren't touching. It still sounds like they're "open" when played, but they're not as trashy. There is still a distinct difference betweeh open and closed this way, the washy-ness is just minimized a bit.

If the hat is really a problem you can mic it up, don't record it, but send it to the drummers headphones REALLY loud, and they will naturally back off of it.

Also, have the drummer raise his hi-hat stand so that the hats aren't right on top of the snare. It will help with bleed, and usually just sounds better.

Some other random thoughts:
- New heads are essential, muting rings can be super helpful as well.
- Try putting the kick mic inside the drum. It will give you more click, less boom, and less bleed.
- If you're tracking on carpet over concrete (like in a basement), put the drums on some plywood or something, and it will help the drums sound brighter naturally.
- Tell the drummer to go lighter on the cymbals, and heavier on the drums.
- Transient designer plugs like Bitter/Sweet or Transient Monster can really be helpful in bringing out the attack of the drums.
- If worst comes to worst, replace everything EXCEPT the snare. Whatever you do, try to get a good, useable, snare sound from the beginning.

Hope some of that helps,

Steve

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Post by losthighway » Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:35 pm

squaresteve wrote:+1 on watching the hi-hat!

Honestly, many of the punk drummers I get at my place have their hats incredibly far open and they just wail on them. I will usually have them close their hats until they're just barely far enough away from each other that they aren't touching.
I was listening to Bad Religion's 80-85 collection the other day. Such great punk rock songs. Rough production. Mostly charmingly rough, except the Hi-Hat swish nearly takes over the mix something fierce. Yuck!

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Post by A National Acrobat » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:06 pm

losthighway wrote:
squaresteve wrote:+1 on watching the hi-hat!

Honestly, many of the punk drummers I get at my place have their hats incredibly far open and they just wail on them. I will usually have them close their hats until they're just barely far enough away from each other that they aren't touching.
I was listening to Bad Religion's 80-85 collection the other day. Such great punk rock songs. Rough production. Mostly charmingly rough, except the Hi-Hat swish nearly takes over the mix something fierce. Yuck!
How interesting, I was just listening to How Could Hell Be Any Worse today and thinking, 'I like this production so much better than anything else they did'. I know that sounds insane but I just like the way the whole band sounds on that; just super raw.

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Post by punk » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:23 am

Use triggers on the snare and the toms but only use them to open the gates you have placed on the toms and snare.
this way when they are wailing away on the hats or when they insist on having the cymbals sitting on the toms like an idiot you have a little more control.

I would also get a few separate "clean" hits of each drum and consider sound "enhancing" not replacing when its needed.

most drummers say things like "i don't want to trigger my drums man", but then give you a reference disk of someone obviously overtly triggered.
dont be scared to do it if its needed and what they want.

all that said, i would much rather have the time and money and the good room that money would buy to do it the right way.
check out this stupid band im part of.
http://www.bloodduster.com

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Post by mattwhritenour » Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:30 am

punk wrote:Use triggers on the snare and the toms but only use them to open the gates you have placed on the toms and snare.
this way when they are wailing away on the hats or when they insist on having the cymbals sitting on the toms like an idiot you have a little more control.
+ 1 on samples to trigger gates. But when it comes to toms get in there and cut all the bleed out manually.

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Post by casey campbell » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:37 am

for the classic punk sound:

a. have a poorly tuned (if at all) drum set.
b. make sure the drummer has no shirt on while he tracks with a mohawk and tattoos.
c. the lead singer must sing slightly flat the whole time and in his nose.
d. make sure the snares are very loose.


:D :D :D

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Post by lionaudio » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:43 pm

if his snare sucks that badly, I would suggest recording him playing with his snare then record the same song with your snare.. if he has any sense and can swallow his pride a little he will pick your snare for the recording.. i run into that problem alot with people who are stuck on using their gear and the only solution is to A/B mine with theirs so they can hear the difference and choose.. it's not our job to convince the people who we are recording that our way is better, but it is our job to give them the option of sounding better than they thought they could

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