Tag Archives: recording

Online Percussion Tracks and the One Woman Percussion section!

24 Aug

As the title of my blog cunningly suggests, a lot of the sessions I record are online. It’s not all about drums though, I’ve been recording a lot of percussion tracks recently too. I love they way they can add colour and feel to a song. Whether it’s in addition to drum kit or instead of, the different sounds available offer so many options.

Recent percussion tracks I’ve recorded include muted floor tom and tambourine for a U2-esque track, shakers for an acoustic track and guiro and congas to go alongside some drums in a shuffle track. Choosing the right instrument/s for each song is part of the fun and I own a couple of boxes and shelves full!

I wanted to record a video to show some examples of the different percussion instruments I commonly use so decided to become a One Woman Latin percussion section! Here it is:

Enjoy and see you soon. x

How I became an Online Session Drummer plus gigging on a chair!

4 Dec

I get a lot of people asking me how I got into doing online sessions, so I thought I’d tell you how it came about.

There I am in 2010, a drummer whose CV included playing for Robyn (Island Records), Ex-‘Sneaker Pimp’ Kelli Ali (One Little Indian) and American Blues Guitarist Carvin Jones (check him out on youtube, he does crazy stuff like playing the guitar with his feet!!). Then I did something really clever….. I was abroad staying with family for Christmas and it was lovely and snowy. It turned out not to be such a good idea to go sledging (big sledge, sanded metal runners!) down a big hill on Christmas day. I managed to break my right ankle (bass drum foot), clever for someone who earns their living playing the drums. Plus, it REALLY hurt.

Forced to sit at home with my leg up for weeks, I had time to do some thinking, dangerous! As a drummer, I was very reliant on other people to get me work (bandleaders, agents etc.). I was always one step removed from the client/ customer/person with the money. I wanted to be in control of my work more directly and was prepared to work hard in order to be doing the things that musically I really enjoy. I’ve always enjoyed the creative process, sharing ideas with other people and I love being in the studio. Then I saw something online (thanks Tim) about Online Session drumming and everything clicked. Something where I didn’t have to rely on others (my success/failure was entirely in my own hands), could be creative, collaborate with people and spend lots of time in the studio, perfick 😉

I started out by buying a few mics and an audio interface. I set up my website (luckily discovered I like SEO and website building, although I’ll admit my first site was a bit basic) and recorded a drum cover of Star Wars to show my wares!

What started as a steady flow of customers in early 2011 (and my basic knowledge of recording remembered from my Uni days) has grown rapidly in 2012. I’m finding myself busy recording/mixing drum tracks most days and I can feel myself slipping dangerously into the murky waters of studio geekery!

Along the way I’ve accumulated lots more gear and there’s been the small matter of building my own studio. Equally importantly I’ve found out how much I enjoy finding out about other people’s music/projects, the ideas they have and becoming friends with many of them. Early on I realised from my clients that everyone’s different so they have different needs, so I try to make my service as bespoke and personal as possible and go the extra mile. For me it’s not about settling for average results and doing it just for the money, I really enjoy helping people make their song the best it can be. It’s really worth it when someone sends you a glowing testimonial saying how delighted they are and how I’ve helped improve their music – always brightens up your day!

In fact I’ve even got my own band that I record remotely with. We used to all live in London and had released stuff through a couple of small labels, but then our singer/piano player moved to Canada. Instead of stopping, we now all record and collaborate via email/file sharing from our own studios across the world. Far from holding us back, we’ve found this way of working really productive and enjoyable. It works a treat and we’re currently writing our next album. My clients appreciate having a creative person to bounce ideas off and opening their emails in the evening to find the latest drum tracks recorded, and I enjoy contributing to loads of different musical projects and different players all over the world.

So in short: break ankle, decide to start Online Session drumming, move house, build my own studio, record lots of drum tracks, enjoy life!

The incident with the chair!

Thought this might amuse you to finish with. Through no fault of my own, I ended up playing a snare on a chair for the first few numbers of a recent gig (lots of brush work!). It’s funny now, but wasn’t at the time!!!

Chair doubles as drum stand...

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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