Los Angeles-based Rooftop Revolutionaries have relied on Addictive Drums from their very first demo all the way to their recent full-album, RESOLUTE. In this inteview producer/guitarist/co-writer Brian Marshak talks about how he built incredible drum tracks from the ground up, inside the box, without recording a single acoustic drum.
What made you use Addictive Drums instead of recording live drums?
I wanted to create beats and patterns that I heard as unique in a hard rock context. Often times, I would imagine what some of my favorite drummers would do, and then tweak those ideas to make them work for these songs. The elasticity of Addictive Drums makes it possible for me to actually do this. Since I didn't have to worry about capturing a perfect take, I could quickly build the perfect beat instead of spending hours piecing something together. I could tweak the drums as much or as little as I needed until I had a performance that was right for the song.
I felt that with RESOLUTE, I wanted an album that I would be proud of today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life. Addictive Drums gave me the flexiblity and control I needed to make it happen.
I could get the drums to do exactly what I heard in my head, without having to explain every detail to a drummer or spend hours in the studio trying to get 'that take.' I never had to compromise my vision.
It would have been incredibly time-consuming and expensive to do this on real drums but Addictive Drums made it easy.
What ADPaks and MIDIPaks did you use?
I used the Metal ADpak a lot. I also used the Heavy Rock MIDIpak. Interestingly enough, I found myself using the Indie and Retro ADpaks as well. Having the power to instantly change a kit or an indvidual instrument that is really great about AD. It makes experimentation easy.
I really like the preset “Poison Bite.” We used that a lot on RESOLUTE. Straight out of the box, without messing with the EQ or dynamics, it reminded me a lot of producer Rob Cavallo's work on Green Day and Shinedown, some of my favorite modern drum sounds.
This preset is very powerful, cuts well in the mix – punchy without any mud, clear and crisp highs without being piercing. It's bold yet incredibly versatile. Despite the name, the Metal ADpak is not only useful for hard rock. I have used it on several different genres. It's just a great sounding pack!
How do you feel your songwriting and production has changed with AD?
In terms of songwriting, it's allowed me to be more creative and less bound by limitations. I write a lot of songs on my own, and then bring them to a band or singer. AD allows me to bring a complete package to the table, ready for broadcast, ready for performance.
Before Addictive Drums, I used to play to a single repetitive drum beat--basically a glorified click track--and create demos with that as a foundation. I'd often play guitar busier just to fill the space and the whole thing would be lacking, just because there weren't proper drums.
Being able to build from authentic sounding drums has not only allowed me more freedom as a song writer, it's made me a better song writer, and made me always conscious of what the drums are doing for the song.
On RESOLUTE, we have a wide range of rock songs, from incredibly heavy 'Complicity' and 'Folk Devils' to softer ones like 'Run Away' and 'Gotta Move On.' AD's sounds are so tweakable and versatile, I don't need to spend thousands of dollars on 10 different drum kits or studio time in different rooms. I just click to choose a different preset. I can now create entire songs for licensing, production and artists/bands without ever leaving my studio.