Dave Schoepke continues to bring in international praise for his recent solo release Drums on Low. If you are fluent in French you can find his most recent review in Music In Belgium here. For those that don’t read French, we have the translated review here for your convenience.
Today’s column chronicles a very special project in the career of drummer Dave Schoepke. The latter, used to stages as a tour drummer and studios as a professional drummer, will one day decide to record a complete album of percussion and rhythms articulated mainly around the beautiful instrument that is the drums.
So we have various instrumental pieces, presented as a musical experience where the search for sounds is essential. A huge research, especially around the sounds of snares which are very present in the album.
Some songs in the album will have more “open” tones where the snare drums will be used without their timbre. These pieces will then be based on rhythms around the snare, toms and bass drum. These sounds will often be deep and with little or no presence of cymbals.
In contrast, other pieces will use stamped snares. However, without going crazy, Dave Schoepke’s snares offer us soft and dark patterns bringing a more typical “classic drums” atmosphere.
As we can hear on this song “N’ging”, our percussionist seems to appreciate the downtime as well as the snare drum bearings.
This track is crammed with little accents from left to right. We will go through small flasks with the snare drum until more specific and sometimes forgotten sounds of conventional drummers. In particular, it brilliantly uses the harmonic tones that we find when we strike on the edge of the snare skin.
In addition, to enhance his snare sound, he uses just two (I seem to be listening). One deeper and drier, and the other more acute with more harmonics. He plays with the sounds of both by mixing the two sounds. It also varies the striking material used to strike or ring the skins and cymbals. This will again give the sound a different color.
The drum sound is very “fat”. He will also express on his cover that this is a choice rather than a constraint. It may be silly, but it seems necessary to clarify that its snare drums, toms and other drums are very well adjusted and sound great. For my part, I have a more trouble with the fat sound in general but especially at the level of the bass drum preferring, subjectively, a drier sound. But this is just a matter of subjective taste. It goes without saying that having a more open and deep sound was undoubtedly sought after by the artist himself, especially given his past with Jazz from which he draws his influences.
Other percussion elements (bongos, bells, etc.) enhance the sound and give a side that reminds me of a fanfare sound. So here we have a very complete sound mixing the drums and its particular tones, the variety in the material coming to strike, creating the sound on the various elements of the drums, but also other percussion instruments which complement the sound and enhance the musical experience that is “Drums on low”.
To finish, I recommend this album for initiates to drum / percussion sounds or anyone looking to discover this through a particular and calm album. It is quite pleasant and relaxing to listen to and especially when looking to focus on a job.
The musician :
– Dave Schoepke
1. War Of The Grasshoppers
2. Which One ARE You?
5. The Throw
6. Sound On Low
7. Eleven Three
8. The Thing From The Darkness
11. Four Twenty Six
Home studio product
Released on 07/15/2019