“DRUM PROGRAMMING AND CREATIVITY MASTERCLASS”
During Tech-Fest a number of workshops were taking place. As an ex-drummer, I thought it would be rude to pass on an opportunity to go to a drum clinic featuring Voyager’s Ash Doodkorte.
Ash opened up by saying that this was his first ever drum clinic, “I feel so exposed, normally I am hiding behind the drum kit at the back of the stage”. But instantly the crowed warmed to him… how can you not like a smiley Australian guy with a majestic beard!? haha
Ash’s background was that of a typical drummer but Voyager’s writing methods were a shock to the system! He explains, in a traditional band scenario, you would turn up to practice as a collective and learn a song together and practice over and over until you were happy with what you had produced.
In Voyager technology played a massive part of the band’s writing process and it was possible to write material without other members present. Ash soon discovered the limitations of a traditional approach to song writing, which become apparent during the recording of their album “V”, as a result of this, parts were rushed and there were parts that he wasn’t entirely happy with.
Drum programming not only became a way to communicate ideas, but also a tool for practice and pushing boundaries of playing.
By programming patterns/grooves, with a click of a button different sounds could be triggered, it is possible to shift or add beats in places extremely quickly, to see if the musical theory works in practice. Due to the brain not having to think about playing, it allows you to be more musically creative not worrying about how to physically create something.
Ash goes onto demonstrate a section of a song that transitions from 4/4 to 5/4, not being a fan of cut off transitions he wanted to incorporate some of the 5/4 part into the lead in. He programmed a crash on every 5th ¼ note on top of his already complex groove. The end result created a very interesting layered, yet seamless transaction between the two time signatures. This is where programming really starts to excel… when the program was created, it could be used as a tool for learning, basically replicating what was programmed.
Ash gave a few more demonstrations of creative thinking using programming, followed by a Voyager song play through and there was a little time at the end for some Q and A.
As far as drum clinics go, for the short time he had and his first drum clinic, I think Ash did a fantastic job! If I was still playing drums, the way he was describing his writing process and how programming became a key practice tool, it made total sense to me and I would have definitely done more research into drum programming and tried to adopt this method into my own playing.
The only critique I would give, the clinic was a bit too advanced for someone like myself who has absolutely no idea how to approach programming drums. So it would have been nice to see the physical process and what tools are required to get started, but this could have been time limit related.
Ash came across extremely well in the clinic, he managed to keep the audience’s attention and his thorough but simple explanations made a very complex topic enjoyable and easy to follow. With a bit more time to delve into the actual programming side this would be a top notch drum clinic.
I would highly recommend checking him out if he holds a clinic near you.