Brian Lane's Brand New drum setup in pictures
From the catchy hooks of Your Favourite Weapon in 2001 to the sonically daring, densely-layered Daisy in 2009, Brian Lane and Brand New have grown from pop-punks to alternative rock craftsmen.
Hailing from Long Island, New York, the band has resolutely followed its own path. Instead of riding the pop-punk/emo wave, they moved in new directions, building their own studio and embracing the chance to create complex alternative rock that can be abrasive and angry or melancholic and introspective.
Whatever the music’s mood, Brian has a gift for crafting memorable and musical drum parts to fit the song. Live, he is joined on stage by his drum tech Ben Homola whenever a song requires an extra pair of hands on percussion to recreate the rich sounds so carefully honed in the studio.
Rhythm sat down with Brian before Brand New’s sold out show at the Roundhouse in London. We bring you pictures of his live kit, plus snippets of that interview, which you can read in full in Rhythm issue 203. Or you can subscribe to Rhythm Magazine to read interviews with the world’s top drummers each month.
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Next: The kit
C&C Custom Drums: 24x16-inch bass drum; 13x9-inch tom; 16x16-inch floor tom; 14x6 1⁄2-inch Ludwig Supraphonic brass snare
What’s your live set-up?
“I’ve been playing C&C. I was turned on to them through a mutual friend in a band called Hot Rod Circuit who we used to tour with in the States a long time ago.
“With C&C you’ve got Bill, who owns it, and his son Jake who runs it now basically. They own this little music store in Kansas City and they built one or two sets and Mike Poorman from Hot Rod Circuit had one and Ryan from the Get Up Kids had one. It was a local thing.
“I think I was the third person to get in with them before they had a shop, they were just doing it as a hobby almost and now it has grown to such a crazy level it seems like everywhere I turn they are doing stuff.”
Zildjian: 16-inch K Light hi-hats; 20-inch Z3 crash; 24-inch K Light ride; 20-inch K ride
What’s the key to your sound in the studio?
“Mike [Sapone, producer] has this big room upstairs, it was like the living room of this house and has all these angles everywhere. We experimented a lot putting the drums in different places but now there is this one place where we know the drums sound the best. He knows the room really well.
“We recorded The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me in Longview Farms which is up near Boston. It’s this old barn with stables that are 40ft long. You’re able to experiment so much with that. We learned a lot about what mics are good in different places and you can use the room to put a mic 40ft away which you don’t have the luxury to do everywhere.
“I always want to try new things and I think that is the best part about it otherwise things get stale. We know where to place the microphones and we know the [Sennheiser] 421s will sound good on the toms. There are the obvious ones but there are a lot of microphones I’ve discovered. Those Josephson E22s are unbelievable on everything - toms, guitars.
“One interesting thing that we went through recording The Devil And God... was on this song ‘Limousine’. We wanted to capture a very-small-room, in-the-closet drum sound. We built this pillow house over the drums where I had to crawl in and there was just enough room to play. It was such a great, closed sound, it was really fun.
“We never do the drum tracks all in a row so we just set up where and however we need to for what suits the song, whether it be outside, inside, under the pillow house, it doesn’t matter, we’ve got to figure it out.”
DW 9000 series pedal; Gibraltar hardware; Vic Firth 2B wood tip sticks; Remo heads - Clear Emperors on toms batter side, Ambassadors on resonant side, Powerstroke 3 on kick, Emperor Vintage on snare
Why do you have your tech Ben playing with you live?
“You can be more percussive with other drums, it doesn’t need to be a whole other drumset but you can add another part. You overdub an extra floor tom or an extra beat to elevate a part.
“I guess that started happening on the third record where I had a lot of time on my hands. It was like, ‘I’ve got an idea for this.’ When that happened I was like, ‘We have to do this live. I can’t just ignore the fact that there are two other things happening,’ and that’s when Ben started playing with us.
“Also, aesthetically it looks great. A lot of people are doing the double drummer thing now. I think it looks really cool to see two drummers play.
“I like Blue Man Group. They have 19 drummers at once. I love very theatrical drumming and that’s how I think about it a lot now. I think of drum parts in tribal or theatrical terms at the moment. I think about Cirque Du Soleil and Blue Man Group, I don’t think about rock music. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. A lot of those tribal things are simplistic beats layered over each other.”
Meet Ben Homala...
Ben’s gear: 18x16-inch floor tom (x2); 14x7-inch DW maple snare; 16-inch Zildjian A Custom EFX stacked with a 14-inch Trashformer; shaker, tambourine
Meet Ben Homala...
Ben Homola pulls double duty as Brian Lane’s tech and as percussionist, adding parts on stage when Brand New’s music calls for that extra rhythmic dimension. He has been touring with the band since 2006 and was the natural choice to handle the double-drumming duties.
“When there were more drum parts Ben was the dude who was on the tour and Ben’s a great drummer and that’s how it worked out,” says Brian.
“We used to do two kits facing each other but that’s when he used to follow me a little more and we could play off each other because we could see each other. We did that because it looked cooler but none of the parts required two drumsets.
“Now he has two big floor toms and a snare and we layered some effects cymbals together to get another cool accent out of it.”
Ben just jumped straight into the role, there was never any lengthy rehearsal period with Brian and the rest of Brand New to figure out individual parts. They quickly found their groove.
“I think that it was a trial and error thing,” says Ben. “It was pretty smooth. When I play with Brian I don’t have to focus on him because it’s so natural.”
“I think it just worked out. There was never a learning curve,” adds Brian.
“We were just able to click which was fortunate because I’m sure that doesn’t happen that often. We were able to work it out pretty easily. At this point when you’re playing with the same people so often for so long - as with any band that plays together for a long time - you feed off each other and you know that person’s next move before they even do it.”
“For me it is the best of both worlds,” enthuses Ben. “I get to tech and to play. Anytime that I’m out there playing along with them on anything, that’s my favourite moment.
“It’s a lot of fun. From playing in a band as the only drummer on stage to playing with another drummer, they are two completely different worlds.”
Now check out Rhythm’s current Issue 204 for a world exclusive interview with the legendary Vinnie Colaiuta. Or subscribe to Rhythm here for a monthly dose of new gear reviews, kit buying guides, pro drum lessons and all-star interviews.
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