Arejay Hale: 5 drum tips for hitting hard

Halestorm monster on how to whip up your velocity

Arejay Hale of Halestorm
Military millinery: "When I hit the snare I won't just stop when I hit the drum, I'll try to follow through to the floor"
(Image: © Amy Harris/Corbis)

Arejay Hale co-founded hard-touring, fast-rising heavy rock outfit Halestorm with his sister Lzzy Hale while they were still at school, and have been paying their dues since securing third-place in a local talent contest when they were 10 and 13 respectively.

Having toured at a reputed rate of 250+ shows a year, the band's hard work is paying off, with a steadily rising profile and two hit albums to their name. They're about to head into the studio to record number three, but Arejay took time out to give us some hard-hitting hitting hard tips.

1. Learn technique

"I believe my drums sound way better when I hit them really hard. One thing I learned growing up though was proper technique, the Moeller technique, which is playing in a whipping motion. You want to start from your shoulder and build from your arm to whip so you can hit hard. You don't just push your arm down into your drum, you want to use your entire body and throw your weight into your hits and your kick drum."

2. It's not just strength

"For a rock band, I think rock drummers sound better if you're hitting hard and you're using your instrument to its full potential. There's more to it than strength though. I'm a skinny, weak dude! It doesn't take muscle strength. You can get a lot of power from using proper technique and using your body weight to your advantage."

3. Follow through

"I relate it to a golf swing or a footballer, when you hit you follow through with your kick. When I hit the snare I won't just stop when I hit the drum, I'll try to follow through to the floor with a good wind up and a good swing. That helps get a good crack."

4. Think dynamics

"It takes its toll on heads and sticks. But it's worth it because it means you're hearing the real sound of the drum. We don't play with tracks or triggers, everything you hear is real. It's easy to get a consistent sound if you're triggering, but I prefer the natural dynamics of the drum. It's important to know when to hit hard and when to back off. You need good dynamics."

5. Warm up

"A good warm-up is important. I'lldo some single and double stroke rolls. I'll start soft, get loud and then play soft again.I might do a double-stroke roll into a single stroke without changing the sound. That is really good for consistency and also timing between hits. We come out swinging so I need a good warm-up because hittinghard is very physical and it does take itstoll on you."

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