K-Bo continues his series with Thomas Lang. This time talking about timing and time signatures…
Timing and Time Signatures
Q: Let’s talk about your use of time signatures. How you select the right signature for a particular song?
A: My approach is a natural approach and a linguistic approach. I don’t count the words of a sentence and I couldn’t tell you how many words were in the last sentence I just spoke but, I will say what I have to so that my point is made. Same thing with music. If a phrase works in 4/4 good; if it also works in 5/8 that’s also good. It doesn’t matter. If it feels like it makes musical sense I’ll do it and that what I do in stOrk. We don’t try to overthink matters and make songs overly complicated for the sake of doing so. But, in some cultures like Middle Eastern music everything is an odd time signature and a lot of African music is too. To them if feels very natural and that’s because only odd time signatures have a middle and that’s called the rhythmic center. That’s different from Western culture. They count—in 5—from the 3 to the 3 or from middle to middle. That’s not the way we think of 5. We think of it as 4/4 plus 1. Again, I just want to play stuff naturally. I have no ambition to play odd signatures if they don’t work.
Q: You’re well known for complicated and quick double bass patterns. Talk about how you approach incorporating double bass into your music.
A: The bass drum is the largest drum in the drumset and it deserves the same attention and the same dynamic approach as the snare drum which is the most commonly used drum in the drum set. So I took snare drum rudiments and hand technique and transferred it to the feet. I practiced out of snare drum technique books and I tried the same patterns with my feet. I always wanted to be completely free to mirror what my hands were doing with my feet. I wanted to play patterns—not just 16th notes without any dynamic changes or variations or simply play fast. That’s boring. But, if you listen to someone play a really cool marching pattern on a snare drum with rolls and accents, that’s neat. I wanted to do the same thing with the kick drum.
Check back for the fourth part of this series where Thomas will talk about solos and his project stOrk.
Missed Part 1 and Part 2? Check them out:
Originally posted 2011-12-14 07:36:26.