Hi friends, many of you will know that I grew in a little place in Hampshire called Crookham Village. The nearest town was Fleet and I would cycle or walk to School (when I had a flat tyre!) surrounded by fields and farm land. Looking back it was an idyllic life, I was truly blessed. I used to sit in my bedroom looking at the back on album covers dreaming of the music, the studios, the far off cities and countries that these incredible pieces of music were recorded at. But most of all who were these musicians, engineers and producers? One of these albums that was extremely special to me was ‘There and Back’ by Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck’s beautifully fluid and expressive guitar playing had been introduced me by Olly Alcock, Olly was my musical mentor, an aficionado of all things guitar had incredible taste!
Staring at the back cover of ‘There and Back’ I saw these names, Ken Scott, the Producer and Engineer behind my favourite Bowie Album ‘Hunky Dory’, Keyboard players Jan Hammer and Tony Hymas, session great, bass player Mo Foster and this guy Simon Phillips who turned out to be one the best sounding drummers I ever heard! Simon could play the simplest part or he could play the most complex feel ever, both with an undeniable groove! Listen to a song he co-wrote, ‘The Pump’ to hear his incredible feel!
I was excited when Mark Loughman introduced me to Simon, I knew Simon’s reputation was one of being an amazing guy and wonderful musician, but the promise of visiting his studio and learning some of his drum recording techniques was incredibly exciting!
So here it is, a nearly two long conversation that could have gone on far longer! (I had a session I was running late for or else it would have!) The conversation on Ken Scott was worth the price of admission alone! Check out the video and please let me know what you think, once again special thanks to Mark for introducing me to Simon and of course thank you, Simon, for letting us take a peek into your studio and hear so many incredible tips on Drum recording!
If a bunch of you great producer/musicians got together and made an album how awesome would that be? The question is, however, would it ever get finished? For a dozen reasons up to “We don’t want to stop, this is too fun”, it might not. I suspect finances would be the final rain on that parade. (cue scene at end of very long jam session when the power goes out. “Guess it’s time to get back to work guys!”)
I seen and commented on this video before so I’ll just say, “The journey is the thing. So, sojourn on!”
Hi @l_scott_knight:disqus Haha I imagine that would be right! But it would be an amazing time working with the best of the best! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
That does it! I’m going to have to break down and take some notes.
I just watched again for the 3rd time, and realized I still have not absorbed all of this most useful information..
Hi @3rdstone:disqus Haha I hear you! Simon rules! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Me too 3rdstone, As a drummer myself, I felt a real connection to Simon. I have aspirations of being a drummer/engineer and producer, what an awesome opportunity to see such an amazing interview!
Hi @plap-disqus-aa942ab2bfa6ebda4840e7360ce6e7ef:disqus agreed Simon is a wonderful guy!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
I heard Simon telling you that he uses the “Transient Designer” on his ambient mics when he’s mixing the drums (I presume this is the SPL Transient Designer). In what way does he use it? Does he use it to increase the length of the drum strikes? Or does he use it to tighten things up and get more of a “pop” from each drum hit?
For what I’ve understood he uses it as a “sustain potentiator” if you know what I mean… This way causing/enhancing a roomy/reverbish sound (avoiding artificial reverb) … Interesting technique… Simon is awesome!!!
I imagine he may also use it as you do a compressor on room mic’s while tracking,i.e. using a fast-ish (tune by ear) attack time so the snare doesn’t eat up the whole sound,then using release to hold the Overheads
Hi @haydenmyhill:disqus Definitely, however for me I usually only compress my room mics that I consider to be ‘special effects’ such as a mono room mic for a trashy energetic sound. My stereo mics I leave clean going in and then compress when I mix. Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Hi @disqus_S3S716aG7P:disqus Yes quite a few drummers I know that record themselves use the SPL Transient Designer to control their room mics. Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Hi @disqus_O1gaaZ0Wzm:disqus Yes it is the SPL Transient designer! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Thanks to Simon and Warren for sharing all this unique inside Information – can’t stop watching it all over again.. I can feel an upcoming addiction 🙂
Hi @gbdrums:disqus Thanks very much!! Yes Simon was extremely kind to share all of this amazing information!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
I love how the, how can I say; ‘finely-aged’ engineers/mixers are every bit as creative as the writers/singers/musicians. We’re in such a cerebral/ analytical age where we’re focusing on tech & not technique. (Not that I’m anti-tech… in fact I may have ordered an Elysia xfilter 500 thanks to this heheheh) Stuff like a stereo ambient pair facing a wall, close together facing outwards or a paint pot in a bass drum! Reminds me of how me & mates used to record acoustic jams – sat in a circle with a cardioid dynamic mic in the middle pointing upwards & lean in when it’s your turn to solo 🙂 Did the trick! These studio tours are so immersive, Cheers
Hi @plap-disqus-daca41214b39c5dc66674d09081940f0:disqus Agreed! Simon is a master, someone who has recorded, written, played, produced, engineered and mixed so many incredible things, his acquired knowledge is second to none! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
Hi @plap-disqus-b2eeb7362ef83deff5c7813a67e14f0a:disqus Thanks ever so much!! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
The best 2 hours I speeded on the internet. I like to hear the different approaches of every engineer to record so you can either copy their techniques or to shape your own techniques and sounds, be original. I just want to go to the studio to record everything!
Hi @alexguillermohurtadovillala:disqus wonderful! So glad you enjoyed the video with Simon, he’s a great guy, I had an amazing time! Have a marvellous time recording and mixing, many thanks Warren
That was great. Thank you. Of course, I’m going to try the paint can.
What really made an impression was the concept of a drum kit as a multi-resonant instrument, so to speak, whose character is dependent on the various proximities and interactions among the pieces. Then the recording strategies. Also, being “microphone friendly” – which probably mostly means “practicing” our instruments a lot and “playing well”, lol.
More seriously, great insight hearing about Simon Phillips’ workflow, signal chain, attention to detail (lol!), and the fascinating history. Even better, the very articulate explanations of the reasons WHY a particular strategy is employed or a specific choice has been made in the service of a song. The integration of insights from different areas of expertise, technique, and musicality is profound. Staggering really. Great stuff.
I keep missing the brand/model of the headphones he uses. can anyone help me out?