Ilan Rubin's Paramore drum setup in pictures
Rhythm Magazine has met plenty of the UK’s most gifted young drummers over the years.
These players are our great drumming hopes, the future of our craft and the guarantee that the art will continue to evolve.
These leading lights exist outside of the UK too, and we’re sure that you’ll be hearing a lot more of Ilan Rubin. The young drum star from San Diego is blazing a serious trail across the pond, and shows no signs of breaking his golden streak.
Touring professionally from the age of 14, Ilan got his first major break in 2006 joining a flourishing Lostprophets, and spent three whirlwind years recording and playing shows around the world.
He was plucked from the Welsh valleys by Trent Reznor and hit the road with Nine Inch Nails. He’ll be rejoining the resurrected band when they tour this summer too, at Reznor’s personal request.
The last couple of years have seen him work with Blink-182 alumnus Tom DeLonge’s Angels & Airwaves, and to cap it off, Ilan has just recorded his first film soundtrack [Oblivion] and is tirelessly active with his own band The New Regime in which he drums, plays guitar, bass, keys and sings. Did we mention the guy is yet to celebrate his 25th birthday?
When we meet Ilan he is in town with Tennessee pop rock hitmakers Paramore, having just played drums on their fourth smash-hit number one album.
Here we bring you pictures of his Paramore touring kit, along with excerpts from his Rhythm interview, in which his discusses his auditioning advice, his new Q drum Co. venture and more. You can read the interview in full in the June issue of Rhythm.
Q Drum Co., copper shells with maple reinforcement hoops: 13x9-inch (or 14x10-inch) rack tom, 16x16-inch and 18x16-inch floor toms, 24x16-inch bass drum (usually 26x16-inch), 14x6 1⁄2-inch brass snare
You’ve done a few auditions in your time. What’s your process in the run-up?
“Learning the songs backwards and forwards. When I say that I truly mean it, because you can’t rely on anything other than your knowledge of the song.
“There have been instances where I’m going in to audition with a band, and they haven’t played the song I’m going in to play since the last tour - that’s been with quite a few bands, so you almost have to know the songs better than they know them at that given time.
“You can’t depend on vocals or guitar parts or any sort of crutches, because you really should be able to break down the structure in your head: ‘how does the song go - verse, chorus, pre-chorus, chorus? Is there a second pre-chorus?’, etc.
“When I’m learning these songs by myself, I’m almost quizzing myself while I learn the song. When I’m playing verse one I’m thinking, what’s the bridge like and how does this song end?
“You don’t want to get to a part and have to worry about what’s next; it’s a terrible feeling, and who wants that? You have to confidently steer the ship. You can know the song but if you’re not owning your performance, you’re not instilling that in the rest of the people you’re playing with.
“Nobody wants to be worrying about the drummer. When you give off that confidence, you instil that in everybody else and allow them to focus on themselves.
“On the flipside, I’ve auditioned drummers where you’ll be playing a song and the first verse is going well, the chorus is going well, then going into the bridge the drummer doesn’t know what’s going on.
“We get halfway through the song only to make a trainwreck of a mistake. It really does seem like common sense, but there are levels of knowing something.
“Of course different bands also like to do breaks or accents. You need to know they’re coming and anticipate it to really give it its true push or dynamic. Quiz yourself on every aspect of that song, especially before you get in a room to play with anybody.”
Zildjian - 24-inch K Light ride, 15-inch K Light hi-hats, 20 or 21-inch K crash ride or 20 or 21-inch K Custom crash ride
As part of an audition would you also expect to be ‘interviewed’ by the band?
“That falls under the ‘making sure the guy’s a cool guy’ thing. You always have to play songs, then either you hang out in the room for a while, or go to lunch and hang out and talk.
“It’s a very sterile thing, where you walk into a room to play songs with people you don’t know, playing songs they’ve played a thousand times more than you have, stuff that you just learned and you want it to go as well as possible. You have the playing side of things then the ‘how you get along with the other guys’ part.”
Remo - CS Dots on top, Clear Ambassadors on the bottom, X14 on the snare, Hazy Ambassador on bottom snare, Clear Powerstroke 3 on the bass drum
There are plenty of band performances on YouTube now. Do you ever use that to study how songs are played?
“Absolutely. More so with something like Nine Inch Nails, because some people have different arrangements. The arrangements that are played live can be very different to the way they were recorded, especially in terms of the drum parts. That’s something where I’ll think, ‘how was this done, how was this loop recreated?’
“With Paramore and other bands I’ve played with live, what YouTube is great for is seeing how these bands perform these songs live, and any transitions they may have come up with as part of their set.”
Vater 1A drumsticks; DW 9000 stands and 5000 bass drum and hi-hat pedals; Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors
Ilan on his Q Drum Co. venture...
“I knew Jeremy Berman, who was one of the head drum builders at OCDP. We really became friends a few years ago because he was teching for [Nine Inch] Nails.
“He’d been toying with some ideas and I remember when he made his first galvanised steel set. It was beautiful and it sounded fantastic. I have one and I love it.
“From 2009 he started really pursuing it as a drum company, and with OCDP I had gotten to a point where I wanted something fresh.
“When it came time for something new, he and I had talked and I said, ‘how would you feel about me being on the business side of things?’ and he said he’d been thinking the same. It was a really cool alliance.
“His wood drums are phenomenal too. The metal stuff is interesting - the set I have now is pure copper with wooden reinforcement hoops. When you think of metal drums you wouldn’t naturally think they’d have the warmth of wood, but they do, they just have a different dynamic, almost a little more bombastic.
“Q is a baby company, but I really look forward to growing it and gaining that brand recognition.”
Now check out Rhythm’s current August issue with the ever-enthralling Travis Barker on the cover. 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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