Tom Waits, Mule Variation, Recording, Drum Sound, Inspiration

Soundcheck: Tom Waits – Big in Japan

„Big in Japan“ is the opening track of the album Mule Variations (1999). The seed of the song is this distorted riff the song starts with. This riff inspired me to play something on the drumset which has a similar distorted and forward moving vibe to it. The kit you can see in the picture is mixture of three different manufacturers: I used a 22″x14″ Gretsch Kick, wide open and without a hole in the resonant head. The snare is a 14″x8″ Ludwig Pioneer and I used two Rogers toms (13″ and 16″). These „Frankenstein“ kits are very often the result of a certain notion of a sound on one hand and laziness on the other: In that case used the Ludwig Pioneer because of it´s old and dry character and  I didn´t want to detune the Gretsch toms because I used them earlier that day for another session and they sounded good.

I did the „first layer“ of compression and distortion with these two guitar effects:
Boss Compression Sustainer 3 (you can buy it here)
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini (that one you can get here)

I love working with guitar effects because they can be recorded (and simultaneously monitored) without any latency and they can be operated easily and intuitively.

The „second layer“ I added in post production with these plugins:
FabFilter C2 compressor (get it here)
Soundtoys Devil-Loc (get that one here)

Happy new year!


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