JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL ON DRUM TRIGGERS
This is a follow up to Vince’s blog on drum triggers. I’m with him.
There’s definitely a misconception out there that to trigger is to cheat. I’ll get this out of the way early: triggers are like any other tool. You can use them correctly, or not. Water can be used to give life or drown a person. Triggers can be used in a musical way for a style that demands them or they can be used to cover up a shitty drummer’s inability to hit consistently or like a man (no offense to all you female drummers out there).
There’s one thing we hate in DAATH. I’ve also noticed that a lot of bands I’m really into hate this as well. It’s a phenomenon among drummers we call “tappers.” The drumming equivalent of what Emil and I refer to as “Pussy Fingers” on guitar. These tappers, which seem to be a staple of the tech death or deathcore genres, seem to have traded in the art of hitting their drums properly, accurately, and hard for blinding speed. These guys typically look like they’re barely even hitting the drums. Barely even moving. It’s so fast you can’t even tell if it’s accurate. Lots of time’s these guys will trigger their entire kits or snare and kicks and the huge sound of the trigger makes up for the pussy sound of their drumming. So that’s one way to misuse the triggers.
But understand this: you can’t just sit down with a drum set and a trigger module and immediately have the triggered sounds come out the way you want them. If a dude sounds like a mechanical typewriter on crack, it’s because he decided to. You have to program these modules to do what you want. So when you hear a drummer that sounds that way ask yourself, is he into that sound like, say, Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel, who is absolutely untouchable and triggers his whole kit, or is he just a chump that is using triggers because his hits are so undefined that he would sound like an complete mess without them?
Funny thing is, triggers pop through the mix so much that they actually will bring out how bad a drummer is. The truth will be revealed much more quickly with triggers on a kit. Shitty drummers of the world, DON’T TRIGGER!!!! We will all know you suck way easier than if you stick to plain old microphones.
Now about the proper uses. Here’s one I can think of. Let me illustrate a situation. DAATH is on tour right now in Europe. The financial realities of this tour did not allow us to afford a sound engineer. First time we’ve ever toured without one, but this tour in particular has been incredibly expensive. Anyways, no sound guy means that we are at the mercy of the house sound guys. Some of them are great, some of them are shit. It varies from night to night, and you never know what you’re going to get. We have a drummer who knows how to play double bass with or without triggers, but unfortunately there’s a PA, which needs to translate that to the audience. Do we have a guarantee that the sound guy knows how to properly EQ, compress, mic, and gate a kick drum for metal music? No, of course we don’t. Its luck of the draw. If they don’t know what they’re doing with kick drums, then they will get lost in the mix and just sound like a low rumble. Double bass is a big part of what we do (like most metal). Losing that is losing a big part of our sound. When you give a sound guy a pre-packaged kick sound, you at least know what you’re going to get on that end of things. Does it guarantee that he’ll get the rest of the mix right? No, of course not. But at least our kicks will sound like our kicks.
Use your pussy fingers to go visit Daath on MySpace.