The Blues EZX drummer Hans Lindbäck talks about recording Toontrack’s latest EZX

The Blues EZX boxThis week sees the release of Toontrack’s seventeenth expansion pack for their EZdrummer and Superior Drummer software.

The Blues EZX comes complete with two full drum kits plus vintage Zildjan cymbals and extras including a suitcase and calfskinned tambourines to deliver a warm and characteristic sound to your tracks.

We got in touch with the drummer behind the recordings, Hans Lindbäck, who has over half a century’s experience of playing drums, to find out more…

So, lets start at the beginning, can you tell us about your musical background?

Hans_Lindback

I got my first drum kit at the age of five and started playing gigs with a pop band three years later. Those first years my dad had to take me to the gigs because I was too young to stay out that late on those places. Later studied classical percussion and went on to Academy of music, worked with teaching for some years before becoming a timpanist in Norrlandsoperan Symphony Orchestra. Parallel to that I have been playing rock and blues drums all along.

How did you get involved with Toontrack?

They first approached me three years ago about making a blues midi library that became the “Blues MIDI” pack.

The Blues EZX InterfaceThe Blues EZX features two kits – a 1970s Gretsch and a calfskinned Swedish Levin set from the 1940s, what were the reasons for selecting those particular kits?

I have played the Gretsch kit live for years and I can make that kit sound exactly the way i want them.

When I started out as a kid those Levin drums were the drums of my dreams but there was no way I could afford a Levin kit back then. This kit was given to me a few years ago and I have carefully restored them and put calf skin heads on them like back in the days. That kit really came out great.

Suitacase Sampling

Sampling the Suitcase

And the suitcase?

The suitcase was actually Toontrack’s idea. We tried a few different things for alternative sounds and settled for the suitcase and the old calf skinned tambourines. It works well for things like country blues or just for getting an alternative sound.

Where did the recording sessions take place? What was the choice of venue based on?

It is recorded in a small theater. The goal was to find a space that had a lively sound with a sort of raw flavour to it. This particular theater is also wall-to-wall neighbor with a recording studio, which made the technical sides of it a lot easier.

Gretsch_Kit

The Gretsch Kit

What did you find to be the most challenging aspects of the recording sessions?

Patience. (laughing) Sampling is a slow process and you have to stay totally focused. The absence of musical context makes that a lot harder. We also spent quite some time tweaking, listening, deciding and making sure every single drum sounded it’s best.

To coincide with the release of Blues, Toontrack have also released a separate pack containing the MIDI from the EZX, how does this pack differ from the Blues MIDI released two years ago?

The first pack is a bit more shuffle oriented than the EZX-midi. Also the new EZX midi is based on 8-bar variations while the first pack is 12 bar variations.

Snares setupWhich genres of music, other than Blues, would the sounds in this EZX particularly suit?

I think it is useable for any kind of music there you want a “naked” and live-ish drum sound.

What’s your impression of the Blues genre today – is it increasing or declining in popularity?

There is a faithful audience that always seems to be out there. Hopefully there is a lot of great blues music yet to be created.

Hans Lindback recordingWhat would be your top tip for someone producing Blues music (other than buying this EZX!)?

It may be a cliché but I would say go back to the roots, listen to whatever inspires you and figure out what “makes it tick”.

Thank you Hans!

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