Drum studio build #7. Blood, sweat and coughing!

4 May

So, things with the studio are moving on slowly but surely.

All the plasterboard jointing was finished, then I had the joyous task of sanding it down! This is where the blood, sweat and coughing came in!

Firstly, I sanded my finger, it stung!

Soundproofing sanded finger injury


The ceiling was my favourite bit… not! I did however learn two useful things about plasterboard jointing that I’ll pass on to you though.

1) Use a bright site light so you can see what you’re plastering/sanding really carefully to get rid of any imperfections, then when you just have normal lights on, it looks damn fine (if I do say so myself)!

2) When sanding plaster, always wear a mask. Sadly I only learnt this after my first sanding session when I kept coughing up white stuff, nice! (you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t choose to photo this).

With that finished, it was time for ‘THE BIG CLEAN-UP’. Plaster dust gets everywhere….

Studio clean up

Tidying up and cleaning the floor.

I’ve just started on the floor, and will be using underlay that’s supposed to cut down a lot of structural sound (bass drum foot…). That’s my job for today, so I better get on and do it.

Last, and certainly not least, a big shout out to my Grandma who’s apparently been keeping up with the studio build by reading this blog. Hope you’re feeling better and enjoy your new kitchen 🙂

Drum studio build #6. Structural soundproofing done, get in!

20 Apr

Well, a few days ago we finally finished all the structural soundproofing and it’s actually starting to look like a room again! So, I have a new ceiling and walls (and some new muscles AND aches) filled with rockwool and covered with extra dense plasterboard. The floor was done some time ago (joists filled with rockwool, acoustic sealant between the boards and covered with soundproofing mat – remember?).

Plasterboard for drum room soundproofing finished

Plasterboarding done!

I’ve also made covers for the loft hatch and window by cutting mdf sheets to size and covering it with soundproofing mat, my idea, we’ll see if it works…..

Things are moving a bit slower now as I’m back into full swing with gigs, sessions and a bit of teaching so I’m having to fit in working on the studio around that.

At the minute we’re working on doing the jointing of the plasterboard with jointing tape and jointing compound. I’ve discovered that it’s definitely not my best skill and certainly not one I’ll be swapping my career as a drummer for! Fortunately my other half seems to be quite good at it so has been given that task ;-).

Such a fun job, not.

I’m also sorting out new web hosting for my website redesign. Wow, prices vary A LOT and I’m definitely not going to be staying with my current provider who wants to charge me 3 times what some other companies are offering!

Night off tonight, so am gonna play some Wii and get my pad together for tomorrow night’s gig with Pinstripe Suit in our monthly residency at Bar Nightjar, an awesome speakeasy style bar just off Old Street.

Drum studio build #5. Work, work, work.

13 Apr

Work on the studio has stopped for a few days as I’m busy tutoring on a wind band course and playing a weeks run of ‘Titanic’ the musical (the Percussion section has been demoted from the pit so I’m watching the conductor on a monitor, always joyous!).

We’ve completely finished doing the rockwool and plasterboarding the ceiling (was pretty tiring on the arms) and the wall plasterboarding is mostly done.

This weekend I’m intending to finish all the plasterboard and hopefully put up the double doors (chunky fire doors). I’ve never hung a door before, but have borrowed a mates plane in case I need it. Wish me luck!

The website redesign’s coming along nicely too and I’m starting to think about any extra bits of equipment I want in my shiny new studio, now we’re talking 🙂

Drum studio build #4, a picture says a thousand words!

7 Apr

All’s going well, but we’re absolutely exhausted, so I’ll use the pictures to speak for me (those who know me will tell you how unusual that is as I normally don’t shut up!).

We’ve done the studwork on the ceiling (time consuming to find the joists and don’t ever bother buying one of those joist detectors, waist of money!).


All the walls (forgot to turn the light on):


And are now chilling!

Bonus of the day – bought a site light to help us work later and have realised that it’ll be really good at helping light my drumming videos, sweet!

Drum studio build #3, nailing it so far ;-)

5 Apr

So, how is the female Online Session Drummer (with a little help from her friends) getting on with building her drum studio? So far, so good thanks! Here’s a quick rundown of the last couple of days.

We took up some strategically chosen floorboards, filled all the space between the joists with Rockwool (10mm RW3 if you’re thinking of doing it yourself!) and then put the floorboards back, replacing any dodgy ones with new ones (this all took considerably longer to do than to write….).

Floorboards up, Rockwool at the ready!

Next, and possibly the bit my back and knees appreciated least, I used acoustic sealant to fill all the gaps between the boards, joy…. and left it to dry for a bit.

Acoustic sealant

My best bit of acoustic sealant work!

Then we covered the whole floor in Soundproofing mat.

Soundproof barrier mat

Soundproofing mat

Today’s last act was to put the first bit of studwork timber round the perimeter of the floor ready to (hopefully) get the whole studwork frame done tomorrow, there, I’ve written it, we’ll see! (oh yeah, and then I’ve got a gig as well tomorrow night, should be a rest!).

I’m also in the middle of redesigning my website OnlineSessionDrums.com to hopefully coincide with the finishing of the studio, quiet times for the Brockster! Right, time to put my feet up, where’s that glass of wine?

Drum studio build #2, Fun with floors

1 Apr

So, everythings’ s been measured and ordered. Wickes.co.uk, studiospares.com and soundservice.co.uk are all several pounds better off thanks to me! Yesterday saw the first day of work. Here’s the studio before I started (note the ‘special’ colour of the walls):

Online Session Drums studio build

Studio before

Plus a special message (I’ve always wanted to graffiti a wall that I own!):

Wall graffiti

Shortly after,  I’d taken up both the laminate floor and underlay and was ready to take up the floorboards:

Floor up!

Only at this point did I realise that I actually had no idea how to get up the floorboards without damaging them, one call to a builder friend and a trip to my local DIY store later and I was sorted!

I’ll outline the next steps in my next post, so far so good, and I’m having fun (no hammer or splinter injuries to report!).

Drum studio build #1

28 Mar

So, if you’ve read my other blog posts, you’ll know I’m about to build a home studio to record my drums in. The house is bought, the room chosen and I already own the recording gear. All systems GO!

I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time researching the best way to do it (for the space and budget I have) and all the possible products (I swear they double the price of EVERYTHING when the words ‘acoustic’ or ‘soundproofing’ are involved).

Tonight it’s time to get out the measuring tape, do some calculations and then order exactly what I need, easy ;-). Building starts next week (with the help of someone a little more experienced with studwork/plasterboard/rockwool than I, ie. my Dad!) and I’ll keep you up-to-date with the process and any scrapes and injuries that happen along the way. Maybe if you’ve got a studio build in mind you can learn some stuff that works and quite possibly some stuff that doesn’t!


New additions, whoops….

18 Mar

It’s been a busy week of drumming in lots of different styles, but there’s also been a new addition!

As a drummer there’s ALWAYS something else you want, be it another cymbal that gives a different sound or will suit a certain style, a new snare or any number of other bits and bobs you simply can’t live without, it’s never ending. I recently discovered that recording gear takes this to a whole other level of madness, it’s infinite! I’ve got loads of extra bits to buy lined-up for the new studio, but in the meantime I’ve accidentally bought another drum kit 😉  This one will be for live work and means I can have my favourite kit set-up and mic’d in the studio all the time, so I can get a great sound quickly. That’ll leave the new kit for gigging and one for jazz (either studio or live) – see, I definitely didn’t have enough drums before!

Have a good weekend, just off to watch the footie!

New drums

Upwrapping my shiny new kit!


Er, please Sir *raises hand*, what’s an Online Session Drummer?

28 Feb

I’ve had a pretty busy last week or so. What with the minor thing of moving house (how can two people have SO much stuff?) and gigging in Amsterdam. The best thing about the move is that I can now build a studio at home – much more about this to follow in the next few weeks.

While I was away in Amsterdam, as well as doing a really fun gig and having very little sleep (late night, early airport pickup…), I managed to get chatting to a few people about what I do and they’re now interested in getting some drum tracks. One thing struck me whilst talking to them though, not everyone knows that Online Session Drummers even exist, let alone what we actually do. So, I thought I’d take a few sentences to explain to the uninitiated what I do as an Online Session Drummer (OSD). Who knows, it might be exactly what you’re after!

In short, I record custom drum tracks on acoustic drums in my studio (soon to be new, purpose built fancy studio at my house!). This means that bands/musicians/songwriters who are recording songs but for some reason don’t have a drummer (don’t know one, don’t know one that can play in time…..) can get top quality drum tracks for their songs. Even better, it’s an affordable option as you don’t have to hire a drummer and a studio separately.

People email me an mp3 of their song and we discuss any ideas they might have for the drums. Sometimes that might be by telling me what drummers or bands they like, sometimes I copy midi drum tracks and sometimes I get to use my creative genius to come up with the whole part all by myself!! Every project’s different which is great.

I then listen to the song a few times and probably jam to it too, trying out different beats before recording the drum tracks (I’ve got various different kits/snares/cymbals to get the right sound).

I’ll do a basic mix of the drum tracks before emailing a demo mp3 over for a listen (this demo’s free, people only pay for the tracks when they’re happy). Usually they’re blinded by my skill and musicianship and want to snap up the tracks right away ;-). Occasionally they want something done slightly differently so we make a few adjustments.

I send the finished drum tracks to people as individual raw wav files (if people fancy doing a bit of mixing themselves or are going to get it mixed professionally) or can do a stereo mix of the drums with EQ, compression etc. that can be imported straight into a DAW and you’re ready to go, whichever people prefer.

So that’s what I do as an Online Session Drummer, record bespoke professional drum tracks – and people don’t even have to leave their houses to get ’em, you can’t go wrong!

Ta for reading, Brockster.

Does exactly what it says on the tin……

15 Feb

Welcome to my new blog. As the name would suggest, it’s a diary about the weird and wonderful new world of Online Session Drumming – more specifically, MY world (OnlineSessionDrums.com).

What I intend this blog to be and what it might become are quite likely two different things, but the intention is to give you an insight into, you’ve guessed it, my life as an Online Session Drummer (or OSD for short)!

Whether you’re thinking about getting some drum tracks, are a fellow drummer or just plain curious about what an OSD does, there’ll be a little something for everyone.

From exciting projects, gear, tips and general goings on to how to make the perfect cup of coffee (crucial in any studio), get following.

Thanks, Claire (aka Brockster)

P.S. For those of you not from the UK, thanks to Ronseal for the catchy title of this post.

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