Why to jam with a DJ, what to add to complete tracks?

It’s about energy, it’s about interaction, spontaneous improvisation that leads to a unique experience, it’s about traceability, it’s about adding human factor, it’s about uniting acoustic and electronic approach, it’s about sweating and funk (contrary to Kraftwerk’s ideal of an electronic performance with drummers that don’t sweat), it’s about teamwork, it’s about the moment („im Präsens zu Hause sein“), it’s about energy!

And for us drummers it’s about opening the ears, about being totally concentrated and focused, about reacting, about learnig how the counterpart thinks, about flowing togehther, about anticipating things, about being risky, about being brave, about sometimes fearless taking the helm, about letting go… and above all: it’s about making music together.

We have a lot of vocabulary in our backpack that we could add to enhance the story and we just can think of some strategies in advance. Here some thoughts in relation to my jam with the Soulphiction mix:

– usually I would play a lot of four on the floor to this kind of tracks. But the kick pulse is already existing, so maybe I also consider playing around the programmed bass drum and double it only on selected parts.

– to tune the acoustic kick higher would also help not to compete with the bass frequencies of the playbacked music.

– thinking in frequencies also helps with your other instruments

– thinking of patterns as well: do I double what I hear (whole groove or some accents only) or can I fill some gaps of the existing beat? Complete drum groove or overdubbed percussions (or hybrid combinations of both ideas)?
According to the four on the floor question: do I need a backbeat all the time?
Or in a more radical way: beat or texture?

– thinking of attitude: flowing with similar shuffle degree or behaving like a complete different breakbeat that is layered on top?

– think of colours: what sound possibilities do I have? Only acoustic options (different sound zones, preparations, various stick materials) or also electronic instruments?
[I also like to using a full e-drum kit when jamming with a DJ, as I can route my output through his mixer and be nothing different than „a third record“ that he could tweak.]

– In my exampled I had the following sound options:
A. Four different cymbals: a main hihat (14“ Meinl Byzance Jazz), a deep and rough second hihat (18“ Anika Nilles Deep Hats) that also work as a beautiful ride, a thin crash (18“ Byzance Vintage Crash) for accents and swells and a 22“ Sizzle-China (Byzance Jazz China Ride) for textures or flow.B. Wood and dual sticks (with felt on the back side, VicFirth 5a and 5adt), (VF heritage) brushes and rutes (VF Remix Brushes), plus additional shakers (Meinl Caxixi & Luis Conte Shaker).
Meinl Waterfall and Chimes for special transitions. A cardbox clap for an optical „what’s this?“ effect…
C. Preparations. To dampen and reduce overtones: Meinl Waterfall on top of the hihat, BFSD Donut and Little Muffkopf for the snare drum: Meinl Dumbal for more electronic vibes on the snare. Last but not least: play with the snare strainer and put wires on and off.
D. Electonics: a Roland SPD:One Electro (for typical claps or noisy efx with a long reverb tail), Boss RE-20 for additional groove layers or dub effects. Both boxes can be tweaked intuitivley

– be aware of the arc of suspension (of the DJ, of your playing over a track, of your playing over the whole set), of breakdowns and drops, of pauses and silence, of air to breathe…

With both videos you get a full insight in my realization and you can watch me drumming and follow my brain working 🙂

My advice: grab a nice DJ mix, have fun while drumming along (and record your performance to analyze your trip with time distance) .
General advice from Billy Heart: »It’s not how many things you know, but how many ways you can play one thing«.

Hey and if you want to support the master’s family: the „go fund me“ page for Soulphiction will be continued until the weekend.

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