Stewart Copeland’s Echodrums

>>Instead of having masses of drums, Stewart opts for effects. He’d rather have a Roland Chorus Echo than masses of drums anyday.
„I use the echo on stage – it affects the rhythm. I plug it in and get a rhythm out of it and play with that rhythm. I’ve got a foot switch next to my hi-hat so I can switch it on and off.“
„It’s got different speeds and different kinds of echo and I set it all up before a song. It’s great because you can do on-stage dubs just like reggae records. There’s a million ways of using it.“
„For example, I’ve got two mikes on the snare drum. One goes to the PA and the other to the echo machine. But you don’t hear the beat on the one that goes to the echo machine, just the echo. It comes through my monitors and then through the PA as well. Because the two signals are separeted they can be made into stereo, which has a great effect going from one side to the other.“
„Beat Instrumental“ Sep 1979, Interview by Tony Horkins

>>I first started using echo with Eberhard Schoener. […] Then when we were touring in America and making the customary “English band in New York” stop in Manny’s, I got a Roland Space Echo and an amplifier. I had it on tour with me, waiting to get home to play with it with my guitar. But it was frustrating having it sitting in the truck and never playing with it. So I pulled it on stage during a sound check and had it sitting right behind me. As I was using the echo, I figured I’d put my snare through it, so I got another microphone, stuck it on the snare, put it through the echo to the amplifier sitting right behind me, and immediately, a new device was born. I’ve developed it since.<<

The Police „The Bed’s to big without you“ (Live in Los Angeles 1980): Echo einschalten – Tempo abnehmen und los

>>The Roland has three inputs and I can put three microphones into it and add three microphones to the drumset and it goes into the echo and into the amp. It’s very simple. Jeff took it a lot further than that when I was able to afford a drum roadie. He knew his stuff and really went into it. He’s got two digital delay units, really sophisticated, where you can just punch in the exact delay that you’re requiring, you can switch back and forth, and you can go into repeat and hold. I’ve got an array of foot pedals next to the hi-hat which I hit with my heels to click them on and off. Sometimes I’ll leave them in for a song with just an echo on one of them like a hi-hat or something, and sometimes I’ll have the whole drumset in, but just click it in and out for specific moments. I do that with the different foot switches.<<
Stewart Copeland (Interview in Modern Drummer Oct 1982, by Robyn Flans)


>>He plays through digital delay and presently, we’re using Delta Labs (DL-4) and a memory module. Originally, he played through a Roland Space Echo and the quality of that is good, but not when you’re dealing with frequency ranges from cymbal to bass drum. The Roland Space Echo is fine in sort of a limited range and when I first suggested a digital delay, he said he’d check it out. He liked it because the digital delay reproduces your frequencies from your lowest to your highest. The Roland Space Echo had terrible top and there was no bottom because of the size of the tape, which was small. The digital delay has no tape change.<<

>>For a while we also used another digital delay which also harmonized called an AMS DMX-1580 made by an English company. It’s a digital delay that can also be used as a phasing device and it also can harmonize. The Delta Lab gives you more of a punchier sound, though.<<
Copelands Drumtech Jeff Seitz (Modern Drummer Oct 1982, by Robyn Flans)


Was it difficult for you to get the hi-hat and cross stick intro to work in time with the delay?
>>Not at all. In fact, the delay was a chance discovery which made cool hi-hat stuff really easy. It was a simple trick which is a one repeat delay, so it doesn’t have multiple delays and it doesn’t build up, it’s just one repeat and that makes it much more crisp and with different settings you can get different rhythms. The basic one, which turned into a guitar technique that you can hear all over not only Police albums but U2 albums as well is the dotted eighth note, or quarter note, delay. What that means is, when you go ‚chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk, chunk,‘ the delay of it is a repeat of the one before the last chunk that you played so the result is ‚chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga‘.<<

And this was an accidental discovery?
>>Sort of. One afternoon when we got a pay day, we were touring in America and one day we were in New York with money in our pockets and we went down to Manny’s Music store on 48th Street, a dream of many musicians to go down to Manny’s. We just picked instruments off the wall. Sting and I both bought Stratocasters, loaded up on Roland amplifiers as Roland was the brand of the day. We got every Roland device they made – Sting and Andy each got a set of bass pedals, amps, and delay lines. The Roland Space Echo, Andy got one, so I wanted one too and I got me one.
The next day at soundcheck out in Long Island, we brought all our new toys, arrayed on the stage. They’re trying to get the sound together and we’re playing with all our new toys! With my new Roland amp and my new Roland echo device, I’m sitting there playing my drums and I haven’t got a guitar but I want to play with my echo, so I put my snare drum through the echo. Within seconds, ‚whoa! This is cool!‘ And so we spent the afternoon in an orgy of repeat echo and totally f**ked up the gig that night with repeat echo and that was the beginning of it. It became more refined. I had a foot switch where I could switch it on and off so I could have it for the verse and then switch if off for the chorus when I don’t want all that clattering going on. There were other ramifications where sometimes I could feed the kick to it and other times it’s on the snare drum and other times on the hi-hat.<<

When you used the delay live, was it difficult to stop it feeding back?
>>It was only one repeat, that’s how you stop it feeding back, except that with monitors, the whole thing would come out of the monitors one way or another and that would go back into the system, so yes there is a danger even with a single repeat just because of the monitors. That was before they invented earwigs. In-ear monitoring didn’t exist at the time.<<
Rhythm Magazine, Feb 2014 („Classic Drum Sounds: ‚Reggatta De Blanc‘ Stewart Copeland on recording the pioneering Police track“ by David West)

>>The echo gadgets I use on stage have done a lot towards improving my consistency of tempo.<<
Musicians Only, Oct 1980


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