It’s been awhile. I hope you guys are keeping safe out there!
It gives me great pleasure to share with you the new album by singer-songwriter, Thomas Willemsen.
Like on his previous studio album, Sentimental Ride, which was his debut studio effort, it was highly enjoyable from start to end working with the same band. The bass, drums, basic keyboard and acoustic guitar parts were done in a single 8 hour session for 8 of the 9 tracks that had drums on it. We convened again some two weeks later to record the last track on the album.
Shout out to Tony Go of Greenroom Suite who did a wonderful job capturing the performances with a superb microphone selection, a classic analogue mixing desk, and his deft skills with Pro Tools. He truly brought brightness and clarity to the mixes in his own unique way. I can also truly say that I did some of my best recording work up to this point at his studio.
Hope you enjoy this album! This album is for sale at Apple iTunes and all proceeds go straight to Thomas himself.
Imp Act is a newcomer to the more progressive sector of the Singapore Rock and Metal scenes. Consisting of Eugene Ng, Willie Lyou, Jayash Prakash, Benjamin Hwang, Nivian Chia, and Qush Abdul, they released their first single, Another Life, also available on their page at Bandcamp.
Round about early to mid July (or mid to late July, I forget now..) Eugene, who is also very talented recording engineer and producer, called me to consider the possibility of replacing the original drummer in Imp Act. I could not do it, but offered to session for the band till they found a suitable replacement. It didn’t take long for them to find one in Jayash Prakash, and I’m glad that things worked out for them quickly. In the interim, the band approached me to assist them with writing and performing the drum part for their latest single, Island of Alsocanla (Singaporeans and Malaysians will get the last word, lol!), and we recorded the drum track on 19th September.
The drums were done at Mr. Tony Goh’s excellent recording facility, Greenroom Suite, overseen by Eugene, and assisted by a capable two-man team, Mark, and Ray, who also mastered the single. It was also the first time I met the music veteran, Mr. Goh, himself. On the very kind referral from Eugene, I subsequently worked with Tony for one of his clients on an album project which I share more details of below.
Drums used on Island of Alsocanla consists of:
Ludwig Accent CS Custom kit with Ludwig Supraphonic LM400 snare.
In the same drum tracking session, Eugene produced me on providing sounds from my kit for a sample pack, which is also available on their page at Bandcamp for SGD 2.90.
It was fun working with the entire band and recording team on this track, and I extend best wishes to everyone involved during the session. I’m personally happy with how the whole track came out. This is a testament to the creativity, talent, and excellent skill of the band and recording team. I hope you feel the same when you listen to it.
2. Thomas Willemsen’s Sentimental Ride
This was another fun project to work on. Thomas Willemsen is a talented songwriter who counts The Beatles, and in particular, John Lennon, as his key musical and songwriting influences. Being a Beatles fan myself, it was an easy process for me. Special thanks to Tony for trusting my ability to play this music after only seeing me on the Imp Act drum tracking session, which is whole different world stylistically. If I’m not wrong, he went on Eugene’s word, that I could play the classic 1960’s and 1970’s stuff, and I am very grateful. As with Eugene and his team, I also learnt a lot by observing as quietly as possible how he works during a session, the microphones he used, his choice of outboard signal processors, amps, and his commitment to capturing the old school “whole band in the studio playing the music together” feel.
Drumkit used on this project were a hybrid of the following:
Ludwig Accent CS Custom rack tom and floor tom
DW 18″ Bebop bass drum with the front head off
Omar Hakim Signature snare by Pearl and Ludwig Supraphonic LM400 snare
A Custom Ping Ride, A Custom 16″ Crash, and K Dark Hi-Hats by Zildjian.
We also experimented with the classic Beatles drum recording technique, famously known as the Tea-Towels-On-The-Kit (literally) technique. You can hear this type of drum sound on The Beatles’ albums from 1968 to 1970. It made sense to Tony and me to employ this type of drum sound for Thomas’ music.
I wish to thank Thomas for his very clear musical directions, which made it very easy for me to provide him what he needs from the drums on his songs, which are very personal to him.
Also thanks to the other band members, Matthew, Jack, Colin, I-Shyan, David. Although I didn’t track together with David and I-Shyan, the string players, I appreciate their excellent contributions on top of the basic rhythm tracks. It was indeed very easy to work with Matthew, Colin, and Jack, who are all very experienced at this stuff.
Sentimental Ride is available for purchase at the iTunes store. It will make a great Christmas gift. The YouTube link above is a slightly lower quality audio sampler of the album. Get the paid version! The recording and mixing quality is great!
It’s with great pride that I announce the release of a newalbum that I worked on between the fall of 2014 and May of 2015. It’s called Mystic String and it features a diverse set of 10 songs which run the gamut from Pop to Rock to Jazz to even abit of World Music.
Working on developing the song arrangements with the band and producer as well as recording the drum tracks are certainly two of the greatest highlights in my career so far. I learnt so much more about recording with greater precision and consistency from working with a grammy-nominated producer, Duke Purisima, who presided over the production of this album; and grammy-nominated recording and mixing engineer, Jerry Chua, who designed the sound of this album. Jerry is also a very well respected drummer, thus alot of scrutiny was naturally placed on my performances!
All in all, this album captures some of my best drumming in the studio so far in terms of creative drum parts, versatility with different styles, time, feel, and consistency. I certainly look forward to doing another album with this band and this production team.
Here’s the link to previewing the album online and purchasing it as a digital download:
Hope your start to 2015 was a great one. If it wasn’t, have faith, keep pushing in your chosen direction, make adjustments if necessary, believe in yourself, and things will get better as the year progresses.
I’m excited to announce that Black Monolith’s first album will be due for completion by end of March. We’ve also just done one gig for an Arts-event which was very well received. We have another gig coming up, an acoustic one, at Lasalle College Of The Arts.
I’m currently in the midst of another recording project for a Pop/Rock outfit called the Ninth Order. The band comprises:
Sunny Deo – Lead Vocals / Principal Songwriter
Kevin Mikhail – Lead Guitars
Sean Rezel – Rhythm Guitars
Bobby Chan – Keyboards
Muhammad Sultan – Bass
Yours truly – Drums, Percussion.
These guys are another great bunch to work with. Its a very relaxed and fun atmosphere – two things you need to make great music.
This project marks the first time that I’m working with an established producer. He’s none other than Mr. Duke Purisima, who’s a 2013 Grammy Nominee for his work on Arun Shenoy’s album, Rumbadoodle. It is a great honour and privilege to work with someone of those credentials, and it gives me both security and confidence in my contributions to the album. His advice helps alot in improving the drum parts and my performances that have been recorded so far have been above even my own expectations.
Here ya go, folks…A new, hot one fresh from the Rock n Roll oven. This is personally one of my favourite tracks to record my drums on and I really like the results. It’s also a song I can connect with deeply on a lyrical level, thanks to the simple yet moving lyrics by lead singer, Zed Tan.
The Black Monolith will be rolling out it’s debut album in April this year. Be sure to watch this space for updates! It’s been a very nice experience working with these guys, and here’s to more.
I have been checking my readership stats recently on this blog and it’s rather pleasantly surprising to see that this blog has reached to those far away from where I come from. To these readers, I extend my deep appreciation. Please feel free to leave a comment or two on any of the posts. A Question or an opinion is highly appreciated.
With that said, I am pleased to update you guys that drum recording sessions for The Black Monolith album is going well. We used TNT recording studio down at Peace Centre on Prinsep Street, SIngapore. That studio has a slightly over 20 year history run by a gentleman who goes by the nickname, “Ah Boy”. I wished I knew his actual name…
In my first session for this album which was booked yesterday from 10am to 2pm, we managed to lay down 5 drum tracks within the span of 2 and a half hours including settting up the drums, tuning, and getting levels. This has reinforced in me the importance of going into the studio TOTALLY prepared. Studio time costs alot of money, and the people who are hired to do recording sessions on a regular basis are those who can learn the songs quickly, quickly figure out a part that fits the song, and has enough energy and focus to deliver the take as quickly as possible.
I look forward to the next recording session next Thursday to record 4 remaining tracks for the album.
Thanks so much once again for stopping by to read my blog.
It gives me great pleasure to report that rehearsals for the Black Monolith recording project have been going great. We have a solid power trio lineup going, the songs are well arranged, and it’s all just going to kick ass. I’m also grateful for the amount of creative space I’m given to stretch out on my chops within the songs and I’m taking every step to ensure that every note I play on the album has a strong reason to be there. I’m also putting in more thought into the construction of my fills – something which is heavily inspired by Neil Peart – than I normally would.
This is going to be an exciting rock album made in Singapore! More details to come!
Just to update all the good folks who have stopped by to check out my website that I have a new recording project coming and songwriting sessions are underway. This project will tap on my roots as a drummer/musician – straight-ahead Hard Rock. If you like your Rock the way Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, and some of the best 80’s Glam bands like Motley Crue did it, then be sure to look out for this band.
The Black Monolith, as the band is called, and I am not sure if that is the confirmed name, will comprise Damien Ng on lead guitars and he is the principal songwriter, a bassist, a lead vocalist, and yours truly on drums and throwing in my 5 cents worth to the arrangements. I have to say that I really enjoy the stuff that Damien writes – he knows his roots as a Rock musician and he can write great riffs that evoke the vibe of all the classic Rock groups both of us grew up listening to.
We plan to hit the recording studio in June and may also go out on the road to bring the spirit of old school Hard Rock to the masses the best way we know. This is certainly a perfect time for me to bring back my heavy-hitting chops after more than a year of playing with a lighter touch and restraint on volume, which is also an area of drumming skill I am proud to have improved on and I still work on it.
Here’s how: 1. Go to http://www.joota.com/jootaverse/decks/15883 2. Find “December” on the page 3. Click on the person icon to cast your vote 4. Sign up for a Joota account (quick and painless!) Make sure you only click once, as a 2nd click would cancel the 1st. That’s it! Please help spread the word among your family, friends, colleagues, pets and imaginary friends. THANK YOU in advance for the support!