“When he left Death Row, Dr Dre was going to do an all-black heavy metal band, and I auditioned for it”: Trevor Lawrence Jr and Lauten Audio on getting hip-hop drum sounds from an acoustic kit

Trevor Lawrence Jr. plays drums in Studio 606
(Image credit: Lauten Audio)

Lauten Audio has been going hard with video lately. First with insightful fly-on-the-wall shorts of producer/engineer Darrell Thorp talking through snare sounds with the likes of Brad Wilk and James Gadson. But now, the mic brand has dropped another video titled, In The Room, featuring drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr. where he and producer/engineer Alex Pasco explore the world of live hip-hop drum sounds, created with an acoustic drum kit.

In the video, filmed at Foo Fighters’ Studio 606, Lawrence and Pasco set about creating crunchy, organic-sounding grooves and sounds that if you close your eyes, could be lifted from old vinyl or a drum machine.

Throughout, Lawrence Jr (accompanied by the Clap Stack which he developed in collaboration with Istanbul cymbals) shows how he goes about achieving suitable sounds using a combination of tuning, muffling, and processing. The latter including feeding his drums through a guitar pedalboard to add distortion, delay and more to the acoustic drum sounds.

Along the way, Trevor Lawrence Jr. fills us in on working with Dr Dre, revealing that the hip-hop mogul once looked set to start a metal band.

“I met Dre in ’93, right when he was gonna leave Death Row. He was gonna do an all-black heavy metal band, and I auditioned for it and got it. But then everything happened and it kind of just went away.

“A couple of years later, he was doing Saturday Night Live and he remembered me, so he called me to go and do SNL. That was like, ’96. In ’98 we did it again because he’d released Chronic 2000…

“Then there was a 10-year gap of just random sessions, and in 2008 I’d just done my boy Everlast’s album and I was gonna MD him and go on the road. Then Dre called me for some sessions and was like, ‘Yo, what’s your availability?’

I was like, ‘I’m here for a few weeks before I start travelling.’, then it was sort of like the movies, I tell this story a lot. I went in the office and they literally put the cheque down, like ‘No. What’s your schedule?’.

"So from 2008 I was there as a producer, started making records with him and was in the control room. And then I never left.”

“There’s a drum machine mentality [towards acoustic drums]. A lot of times, Dre especially would love if there was a way to have total isolation with live drums. There’s a lot of gating and things, because he really likes everything to be isolated.”

Of course, Lauten Audio microphones are used throughout, and you can download the Pro Tools session from the video to experiment with Trevor's grooves yours

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.