1) Be the foundation:
As drummers we are the backbone that keeps the band together. As they say the band is only as good as the drummer. Our goal is to lock in with the bass to create a solid base in which other players can build on.
2) Don't Overplay:
Be a song player, there is nothing worse than a drummer who overplays a song that doesn't need it. Adapt you're playing to suit, whether it may be a four to the floor or a complex double kick pattern.
3) Learn the parts:
Learn the format of the song. What are the current drums doing, is it straight forward or is it a little more complex. Are there any fills, if so what type are they. All this goes through my mind when listening to a song for the first time. This I find is the most interesting out of the list. Usually in the studio, I play what the artist has put on the record/demo. This is the foundation of the song, learn the parts by scribbling the format down and then add in your own creative inflections if required like ghost notes, hi hat parts etc. But never forget tip 1 & 2 that is key to never take away from the music. I have drafted this section in more detail here if you are interested.
4): Hybrid Drums:
Most modern music today uses samples or triggers that fire a clap sound or 808's. 90% of all modern music has these sounds incorporated into the track. Acoustic drums are great for certain parts of the song but some sections may require that magic that's on the record - whether it be a tight electronic 909 snare or a booming 808. These are a must if you want to get the sound as close to the record. Have a look at my hybrid setup here where I talk in-depth about the gear, and how I incorporate it into modern music.
5) Have Fun:
If you're anything like me, music is in your blood. You think of it everyday. It doesn't feel like work, I just love it and when people watch/listen they can see that. People want an experience whether it be watching a live performance or listening to music with AirPods. Our goal is to make that experience even better as musicians not just drummers. I believe that when you have fun it comes across in the sound, feel and vibe in the room.
So there you have it guys, there is my top 5 tips for becoming the best modern drummer you can be. I hope it was of use to you and I'll see you in the next post.
If you need any help or want to have a chat about drums or a project you have in mind don't hesitate to chat with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,