Friday, 25 March 2016

Endorsement News

The big news is that as of today I am endorsing these three fabulous companies:

North Custom Drums
Since their inception in 2013, North Custom Drums have quickly built up a reputation for making some of the most beautiful looking and sounding shells in the UK. What really caught my eye was in April 2015, when they announced that they were starting to build shells in-house. For me,
this set them apart from the vast majority of other custom companies and I knew I wanted to be involved with them. After some dialogue with Andy, I was humbled to be invited on as an endorsee and we quickly began chatting about sizes, wood selection, drum hardware, finish and all the other variations and possibilities that there are. I had always loved Bubinga kits, every one that I had played had everything I wanted in sonic qualities. Size wise we went for 22x18 kick, 12x8 Rack tom and 14x14 and 16x16 floor toms; 7 ply for the toms, 10 ply for the bass drum. We also agreed on Maple re-rings all round. I had always wanted a kit in silver sparkle and Andy suggested they try a laquer rather than a wrap. Once this was all in place it was just a case of waiting a few weeks for it to progress. There were some hold ups along the way (getting the finish right was a bigger task than anyone had anticipated) but Andy kept me in the loop on the building process all the way through. Once it was ready for construction, they invited me up to their factory in Burnley to put it all together, see the building processes and to also hang out for the weekend. I was a little nervous seeing it for the first time, but it came out perfectly. The laquer finish was unbelievable and the shells were flawless. It surpassed my expectations no end and once constructed we just couldn't get over how good it looked. With Evans G2s on the top and G1s on the bottom, the toms sung and the bass drum was thunderous, none of us could stop smiling. Whilst there, I picked out a gorgeous 14x5.5 Beech snare drum that complimented the kit perfectly. Getting it back to the studio and setting it up has been amazing, I can't speak highly enough of the job they have done and I'm so excited to get it out on the road.

Amedia Cymbals
Amedia cymbals are a company based in Istanbul who use traditional Turkish hand-hammering methods to create truly stunning cymbals. A few people had recommended them to me in the past and I got the opportunity to meet them and try out their cymbals in person at the London Drum Show last November. It was one of those moments where I just fell in love with them, both the cymbals and the ethos behind the company. They are no big brand, mass-produced, conveyor belt run company feeding the masses. These are one off, lovingly hand crafted pies that are truly unique. I left that show with two crashes and vowed that I would get more. After a few discussions, I was humbled to be asked to join the Amedia family and to pick out my wares they offered to come to my studio in Norwich with their latest shipment of 80+ cymbals to try out! They were kind and generous enough to leave them with me a couple of days so that I could spend time picking out what would work for me in live, studio and teaching settings. It was a hard choice, I would have been happy with the majority of these, although it did cement my personal dislike of crashes under 17" and 13" Hi-Hats. Bigger is better in my personal opinion! I eventually whittled it down to the final 12 cymbals (for now) that I felt were versatile enough to cover all the bases and the more time I spend playing with them, the more I fall in love with them. Each one has it's own complex voice and character and I couldn't be happier with them. I would like to thank each and every person involved with Amedia for the trust, support and above all the incredible cymbals that they produce. It is really worth watching this video of the beautiful process of the production of an Amedia cymbal and you can also get more information from their website here.

Balbex drumsticks are finally in the UK! These Czech Republic made drum sticks are just outstounding and I'm so glad that they have secured UK distribution. Over my 20 years of playing (eek) I have tried every major drumstick company out there but had never quite found the 'right pair', until now. Balbex were kind enough to send me over some Hickory 5A sticks to try and they just felt right in my hands straight away, they were weighted perfectly and the dual grip finish meant that not only did they stay put in my hands, but the durability of them was crazy. 8 gigs and 40+ hours of teaching and I was still on that first pair, crazy. For those of you who haven't tried Balbex sticks yet, you really should as you won't regret it, trust me. They may not be a big name yet, but if they continue making such magnificent sticks then one day they will be rivalling the market leaders. For more information go to their website here and for UK distribution and ordering click here.