Here at Time+Space, we’ve had the privilege of meeting renowned metal drummer Dirk Verbeuren several times when he’s been showing off his incredible drum skills to demonstrate Toontrack drum software at various music shows.
A drummer for numerous bands including Soilwork, Scarve, Bent Sea and others, Dirk’s playing is stunning, hypnotic in fact, and as Toontrack’s infamous Metal Month gets underway, we caught up with him to find out what he’s been up to and why he chooses Toontrack over and above all the competitors…
Hi Dirk, how’s 2012 been for you?
Hello Mel! It’s been a pretty eventful year for me. I’ve been recording drums for a lot of different bands in my Toontrack-powered Die Crawling Studio. I’ve also been touring in Europe and China doing drum clinics for Meinl and Tama. I recorded and played some shows with Minnesota thrashers Powermad and I’ve been writing music for the second release of my grindcore band Bent Sea.
Last but not least, Soilwork is always busy… So I haven’t had time to get bored.
Back in August, Soilwork announced they were working on a new double album The Living Infinite – how’s that coming along?
Magnificently! Right now we’re in the midst of mixing and creating a song order for this monster. The workload was huge but it’s all worth it. Having 20 songs on a single release is super exciting! The entire band stepped up to the plate and the results sound massive. I’m eager for The Living Infinite to come out so we can play some of these new songs live.
Your Die Crawling Studio celebrated its first anniversary earlier this year, what gear have you used to kit the studio out?
I use a Roland V-Drums e-kit with Toontrack’s Superior Drummer. The drum sounds come from various Toontrack kits such as Metal Foundry, Avatar, etc. I run everything on a custom-built Rain Ion workstation. The ease of use and efficiency of this setup are nothing short of phenomenal! Die Crawling Studio allows me to record drum tracks for artists all over the planet with guaranteed top-notch results. And that wouldn’t be possible without Toontrack’s amazingly crafted products.
Metal Month is back for it’s third year, being an official Toontrack endorsee November must be one of your favourite months of the year – what does it mean to you as an artist?
Metal is a musical force to be reckoned with and Toontrack’s Metal Month is a perfect tribute. During my clinic tours I frequently meet metal musicians who enthusiastically use EZ Drummer or Superior Drummer for their demos and recordings. My own Toontrack MIDI packs, the three volumes of the Library of the Extreme, are popular even among established bands like Katatonia, Nile and The Project Hate MCMXCIX. As an artist, I couldn’t be happier about Toontrack’s focus on my favorite genre of music!
How did you get involved with Toontrack in the first place?
Through Fredrik Thordendal of Meshuggah. We knew each other from touring together (in 2005, Meshuggah invited my first band Scarve to open for them in Europe). He asked me if I was interested in recording some MIDI for The Metal Foundry. That was my first experience using Superior Drummer, and it was love at first sight.
Why do you choose to endorse Toontrack and Superior Drummer instead of other virtual drum brands?
That’s simple: because Toontrack makes the best drum software and drum sounds out there! It’s impossible not to be impressed and hooked by Superior Drummer. My Die Crawling Studio sounds like a million dollars. Even after several years of using this gear I still have to pinch myself sometimes. Folks, just try it for yourself and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Toontrack have a range of Metal-based expansion packs for EZdrummer and Superior Drummer, including the Metal Foundry SDX which you were involved with. Which of the expansion packs do you find yourself calling on the most and why?
I mostly use the Metal Foundry and Avatar. They both feel very comfortable to play and are flexible and practical to record with. But it really depends on the project. Recently I used the Metalheads EZX for one recording, which turned out great as well. The EZX/SDX expansions are one of the most awesome things about Toontrack’s products. The choice of sounds among them is so vast, it’s nearly impossible not to find what you need, no matter what style you play.
Is there anything on your wishlist for the next generation of virtual drums?
I’d like e-drums that feel more realistic and that I can hit as hard as acoustic drums. On the software level, I guess the drum sounds and the way they interact can always become even more true-to-life. This being said, Superior Drummer is so amazing that it’s hard for me to imagine any massive improvements.
What’s in store for you in the last few months of 2012?
Lots of drumming! Soilwork is part of a metal cruise called Barge To Hell which takes place in early December. Imagine a huge luxury ship packed with 40 extreme metal bands and 2000 crazy fans from Miami to Nassau and back… Should be a blast, right? Other than that, I have several recordings on the menu here at Die Crawling, including a new Scarve album. My first Bent Sea release, an EP called Noistalgia which I recorded in my studio, just came out on cassette via Tankcrimes Records.
Finally, how will you be celebrating Metal Month?
I’m gonna check out all the cool new Toontrack stuff and probably add some of it- if not all of it- to my growing recording arsenal. And I’m gonna blast some awesome metal records!
See Dirk in action in this video challenge…
Photos © 2012 Hannah Verbeuren – www.hannahvphotography.com