People often ask me how songs come to be. And I’m asked how I come up with drum parts for a song. So let me take a moment to describe how is usually works for me with The Silvers.
I start by listening to the ‘demo’ that is sent by the songwriter, in our case either Mick & Tom or Dain. While I’m listening, I’m thinking about the groove of the song. Is it a straight rock beat, a shuffle style, or maybe a swing style? That’s my starting point. I also listen to the words. That often gives me an idea of the mood of the song.
My goal is to come up with a drum part that fits and enhances the song.
I start by just playing a simple groove to the song on my drum kit at home. I don’t add any fills I just play a groove, usually with my eyes closed imagining the songwriter playing and singing the song. I’m trying to get the ‘feel’ that the songwriter is going for, as I hear it.
Pop songs are usually written in the 4/4-time signature and require a strong backbeat, usually on 2&4. So that and maintaining the tempo is the basis for whatever I do. There are exceptions such as Someday on The Silvers new album Oceans (soon to be released on Revlis Records) where only a tom-tom groove is used throughout the song. Then I listen for changes from verse to chorus and chord changes to see where a drum fill might be appropriate. Fills need to enhance the song. Too many will distract the listener from the song but without fills, and some cymbal crashes, the song will sound flat and plain.
At this point I usually record myself and listen back to see how my drum part sounds within the context of the song. Then I do it again and again looking for changes that will improve both my part and the song. On occasion I’ve scrapped a whole drum part and started over.
When I have something that I think works I make a recording and send it to the rest of the band members. I will include suggestions if I have any.
It’s an iterative process and may take several times to get the part right. When we meet in person to practice the song together as a group, I finally get to hear how it sounds with the rest of the band. Often, I make additional changes then too, but at least I have a good foundation.
My main focuses are:
- Serve the song
- Keep it simple
- Make sure what I add contributes to the song
I hope you enjoy our songs and my drum parts. If you have any questions please address them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Watch this site for more information about the SILVERS!