The most effective drums are real drums. Some of the greatest real drums on some of the best albums ever were created by session drummers. That lay down iconic drum recordings one undertaking at a time.
You may know the myth and the lore of session drummers.
However, what are session drummers and how do they actually work?
And more importantly, how do they work, how can they match your projects. And how can you hire them to give you the crispy drum tracks of your dreams?
In this article, we will learn all about the ins and outs of session drummers. And the way they can provide your projects the drummer’s touch.
What are session drummers?
Session drummers are drummers for hire contracted on a short-term basis by bands, artists, and producers. Session drummer gigs include drumming in a backing band on tour or recording drum tracks for single songs or albums.
Traditionally, session drummer gigs like these comprise a large amount of what session drummers do, however, the rise of online gig platforms for musicians has helped expand what kinds of projects session drummers work on, and the place they can collaborate from.
What do session drummers do?
Session drummers can play many different roles depending on the needs of this project.
Some of the most popular roles of session drummers include:
Studio drummers provide specific drum recordings for a complete song, some parts of a track, or across a whole album.
As the name studio drummer suggests, this kind of session drummer gig is usually needed during the studio recording process of musicians, producers, or bands who need drum accompaniment during studio sessions.
Traditionally drummers would spend time in the studio with the producers or artists making their drummers. However, remote collaboration has allowed session drummers to work remotely on these kinds of gigs.
Backing or touring drummers
Backing drummers, often known as touring drummers depending on the project, provide services as a part of a backing band or ensemble that usually plays in a live setting.
A player who offers all or some of the drum recordings for a studio session or album will double as the backing drummer in lots of cases.
However, while an album or project may include many drummers that change across songs, a backing or touring drummer will typically play many or all of the drum parts for performance.
The advantages of hiring a session drummer
So why is hiring a session drummer helpful? Especially when programmed drums and drum samples dominate popular music?
First of all, recording and tracking your drum parts with a session drummer gives you unparalleled freedom to do whatever you want creatively and collaboratively.
Sampled and programmed drums always include a ceiling and are often hard, difficult, and time-consuming to edit, program and comp.
An actual drummer provides you with access to no-compromise drum tracks that fit exactly what you’re hearing in your head.
Moreover, recording and tracking your own drums is one of the hardest aspects of recording.
A professional drummer will often bring technical know-how to your project and can even give tools like overhead mics, suitable spaces for recording drums, and cleaner overall recordings you’d never be able to achieve on your own.
Hiring a session drummer shouldn’t imply recording a complete project either.
A session drummer gig could be as simple as recording some drum break samples to cut up later or providing some alternate fills on a song you’re already working on.