Drum kits of the pros: Ryan Jenkinson
Reverend & The Makers drummer Ryan Jenkinson has just stepped off a tour with the Brit indie upstarts and got in touch to fill us in on the acoustic/electro hybrid kit he's been using.
"I've been with Sonor Drums since the age of 17 when their former artist rep Ian Croft saw a poster in Kerrang! of Liam (singer in thisGIRL – Ryan's old band) doing a handstand on my Sonor S-Class kick drum! It was awesome press for them and when he saw me play he couldn't believe the energy the band had on stage. My first ever drum kit was Sonor so from the S-Class I went straight to the De-lite until Sonor hooked me up with a Designer Series that Thomas Lang had just finished a clinic tour on. I've toured that Designer for the last eight years or so and it still sounds as amazing as it did on day one.
"As the shows I'm doing with Reverend & the Makers are a lot bigger than anything I've done before the Sonor dudes have blessed me with my own custom spec SQ2 series kit. It really is the most unreal piece of drum equipment I've ever seen. The engineering, the finish and most importantly the sound are all (in my opinion) unsurpassed. I went for the birch shells as I like to keep the shell size small but the projection and volume loud - just ask our FOH engineer!
"It took some time to really get my sound right as the kit tunes so differently to any other kit I've had. My homie Tony at Drum Tuna sent me the very latest version of the Flip digital tuner and it wasn't until I popped that on the head that I realised the SQ2 rims are so sturdy that you can basically tune the drum from just two lugs. Now the Flip has become a huge part of how I get my sound because I know I can have the drum sounding pretty much the same every night.
"As for sizes I use a 10"x8" rack tom, 14"x14" floor tom, 22"x20" kick drum, all 12ply birch with a 13"x7" Amboina Artist series snare. I could talk for days about how much I love that snare drum and it's so versatile that I've managed to sneak it into my set-up for every band I've ever played with. I like to tune it quite high and snappy but at smaller shows every member of the band always thinks that it's too loud. What does 'too loud' mean anyway?! In any case I have to be seen to be protecting my fellow musicians' hearing so I use the Evans ST Dry or Edge Control Batter head to try and chill it out a bit. My second snare is a 13"x5", 27ply Beechwood Artist Snare. The shell has to be seen to be believed. At 28mm thick it's like hitting a tree with a hole in it!
"On the cymbal side I use all Meinl Byzance series but my favourite cymbals in the world are their 13" Traditional Medium hi-hats. I've been with Meinl for many years and when they first created the Byzance series Norbert sent me the original 13" hats and I still use the same pair to this day. It's something about the tone of them that is so special. For me it's the perfect blend of the older dryer sound with just a hint of new school brightness. I'm massively into the Dark finish too and I use the 20" ride for Reverend & The Makers but stick with Traditional finish 17"/18"/18" Crashes/China as they really have the projection I need.
"When I joined Reverend & The Makers and heard the new record it was clear that I'd need some help from the Roland dudes in order to build the live show that the MD wanted. The album was made entirely using electronic drum sounds and the band wanted me to blend those triggered sounds in with the sound of my acoustic kit to create a monster sound. The new record is heavily inspired by dance music culture and as a result the pulsing rhythms and basslines would make up the largest part of the FOH mix. I had a word with Blunders [Craig Blundell] and he helped me find my feet with the Roland V-Drums to put together a perfect hybrid set-up for the gig. Basically I had a USB key full of kick drums and snare drums off the album from the producer. I plugged the key into the SPD-SX, created patches for each song in the set and then set the RT10 triggers on my kick and snare to trigger the samples when I hit the acoustic drums. Easy right?!
"Once I had that down I set upon loading samples onto the nine onboard pads which I'd be able to hit during the set to set off all sorts of madness. At the minute I have claps, bells, beeps, sirens, subs, sidesticks and fills all ready to rock at the hit of a pad. I then needed to have a set-up ready so that I could ditch the acoustic drums and play an entirely electronic setup during certain songs. That's when the FS-5U and PD-85 came in. I spin to the left, use the SPD-SX pads for hats, cymbals and toms, the PD-85 for snare and the footswitch to trigger the kick drum.
"I really want to big up the Roland dudes and Blunders for their help getting me started with electronics. I'm now pretty confident in triggering and sampling and I'm going to be helping Roland by going out and doing in-stores to share a bit of knowledge. Paying it forward…
"My sound wouldn't be complete without my Vic Firth sticks to hit everything with and the Protection Racket cases to get everything safely to the next gig. I've had some amazing support from everyone over the years and I really can't thank them enough!"