Jason Bowld – MIDI Triggering with V-Drums

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Roland artist and metal-drumming powerhouse Jason Bowld has played V-Drums for a long time – it’s fair to say he knows them inside out. He’s using the Roland TD-30K V-Drums in some pretty inventive ways too. Jason explains how he’s MIDI triggering with V-Drums and playing samples of his acoustic drums, using the TD-30K.

MIDI. Interface. USB. Not all terms that the drummer thinks of when it comes to playing the kit. In fact, they seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum to wood, bronze and skins that we are so simple… and so familiar with drums. As unfamiliar, maybe even intimidating as these functions can be, they are all things that allow drummers to keep the things simple and concentrate on the most important part of playing the drums… the drumming!

Let’s explore the concept:

  • It’s possible to model your own sounds within a V-Drums module (meaning you can recreate your own sound within V-Drums) and even capture the same dynamic performance of your acoustic drums thanks to SuperNATURAL technology. Because all our sounds within V-Drums start out as professional recorded acoustic drums, you get a great acoustic sound out of the box – as simple as it gets
  • Quite often as drummers, we’ll go into the studio and record our acoustic drums. For a demo, an albums – mics are placed on our drums and our sound is captured
  • Occasionally, you might want your actual kit sounds, your own drums, but played using the quiet performance that electronic drums can offer
  • By using the MIDI connection present in all V-Drums modules, it’s possible to load your own recorded sounds (individual hits of each drum or cymbal) into computer software and play them when you hit the V-Drums.

Pretty simple so far then eh? Of course, the sound you get is only ever going to be as good as the drum sound you recorded (that’s why the standard Roland sounds in the module are so playable and accurate). Be warned though – if the sound you recorded is anything less than perfect, that’s what will play out when you hit the V-Drums. That’s where Jason and a team of professional studio engineers come in.

ToonTrack are a company well-known for producing software for making music. EZDrummer2 is a piece of computer software containing drum loops and professionally recorded drum samples – meaning it’s possible to create drum tracks without the need for recording an acoustic kit. If you don’t have the studio, the mics or the knowledge or the time, this is a great solution. And Jason’s just recorded a set of sounds (known as an expansion pack) using his acoustic drums for Toontrack.

When it comes to playing those sounds, Jason uses the V-Drums TD-30K kit. By simply connecting the TD-30 module to the computer using a standard USB cable, the module becomes a MIDI (or audio) interface and allows the V-Drums to trigger the acoustic recorded sounds within the EZDrummer software.

Obviously Jason doesn’t want any delay from hitting the pad to the drum sound within the software coming out. This process needs to be to super-fast. This is known as latency – the lower the latency figure, the faster the process. That’s another reason Jason uses V-Drums – Roland’s SuperNATURAL technology has the lowest possible latency time ever available in electronic drums (2.9ms to me exact – quicker than you can blink).

Visit the Toontrack website for more details on Jason’s ‘Made of Metal’ expansion pack for EZDrummer2