Karl Brazil goes Hybrid with Roland

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As Robbie Williams completes three sold out dates at the London O2, UK session drummer and Robbie’s drummer of choice, Karl Brazil, talks us through his drum set-up for the gig.

Karl Brazil using the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad live with Robbie Williams

In the world of the modern professional drummer, playing the drums and playing them well is not enough to land a gig on the scale of the recent Robbie Williams three-night residency at the London O2 Arena. While acoustic drums have the presence and noise for stadium shows, drummers need to access a range of sounds and textures, as well as samples and backing tracks.

The live stage is all about packing a punch and creating a show that can wow the audience with both looks and sound, which is why today’s Musical Directors (or MDs) who create the show often want to use the actual sounds from the album, such as kick drum and snare drum samples that feature on classic Robbie Tracks such as ‘Rock DJ’ and ‘Millennium’ and his latest number one hit ‘Candy’.

Robbie Williams live at the London O2 Arena with drummer Karl Brazil

Going ‘Hybrid’: acoustic and electronic percussion fused together

So, the drummer needs more textures and sounds, but without using an 80-piece kit. There’s also a need to use the sampled sounds from the original studio session, or electronic sounds that complement the track. That’s where the SPD-SX Sampling and Percussion pad comes in. Any audio can be sampled into the SPD-SX by connecting it to a computer or even by sampling directly into the instrument by line-in or microphone. The samples can then be triggered using any of the nine velocity-sensitive pads on the SPD-SX, or by connecting pads, cymbals or RT-10 Acoustic Drum Triggers. There’s even a broad repertoire of internal electronic sounds to use.

Here, Karl Brazil explains how he combined his acoustic drum sound with Roland electronics to help create the ultimate show-stopping performance.