I had 24 hours to learn this insane music…

Last week I was on tour with my band
Sungazer and we were playing shows in the US with Shubh Saran and his band.
Shubh’s band features seven musicians including two drummers. Now, for one of
these gigs in the middle of the tour, one of the drummers was not able to make one
of the gigs. And so I was asked at the last minute if I would like to hop in
and fill in for Josh on this gig. Josh can’t make it to tomorrow’s show because
it’s his one-year wedding anniversary. So he’s going home. [Adam] Fortunately, we
already have two drummers. [Angelo] We’ve got a spare drummer. [Adam] We’ve got a spare drummer on this tour. [Angelo] We don’t have a spare tire, but we have a spare drummer. Now, Shubh’s music is not the easiest music
in the world to learn. There’s a lot of intricate rhythms, there’s a lot of time
signature changes, and again, I’m playing with a second drummer. On top of that, I
would have to learn the music in 24 hours without a drum set and without
rehearsal. We’ve got two long car rides. [Shawn] Yep. [Angelo] Actually we… tomorrow’s only an hour. There’s a lot of things that could have gone wrong on this gig, which made learning the music rather stressful. What’s the hardest Shubh tune in the setlist? Maybe Storm? [Josh] The middle has the hardest…
[Shawn] Just like a lot of details. A lot of time signatures. [Brian] What about Slip? There’s so many like changes in Slip. [Angelo] Slip is hard, but it’s not as long. [Angelo] If there’s like… if you don’t want to learn like all of the set… [Shawn] Yeah, yeah. Well, we’ll see. [Angelo] It’s a lot. Out of all the songs I would say this one probably works
best solo drum. Wouldn’t you say? [Josh] Yeah, it could. [Angelo] I mean it… yeah. [Josh] Right. Now fortunately I did have this one day to kind of hang out with the guys and ask
them questions, talk to them about how they approach this music and how they
approach double drumming. [Josh] For a lot of these I have like note notes about like the stuff I’m doing. Yeah, dude, like maybe I should share this with you if you’re curious. Like for example, I’ll
just write in the shit that I do as compared to what Angelo does. Like the
swell stuff, where the little breaks are. They’re not really indicated in the
charts, you know? [Shawn] Anytime I had a question I would bump Angelo next to me and say, “hey what’s the deal with this thing?” What is that metric modulation between those two songs? It’s not a metric modulation. It’s just different tempos. The last 3 hits of the song are like “da da da.” And then we just add another one, and it’s the ‘2’ of the new tempo. [Brian] It’s like “and four and two”. [Shawn]
“And four and two.” Okay, okay. So I made my notes on an iPad while
driving. I have a system which tells me how long each section is. It’s got all
the time signatures in it. It’s got all the basic notes that I need to know
about the song. [Brian] We’re an hour away. [Adam] Hour away. [Brian] One hour. [Liz] Is this us here? [Shawn] This is us. [Adam] Econolodge. The Econolodge tour! our way [Josh] Captain Groovy’s Grill & Raw Bar?? [All] Oooooohhhhhh. That’s where we’re going. [Shawn] That’s going down. [Josh] Dude, that was my prison name. Captain Groovy. So I’ve
been listening through everything in the van. I’ve got like half of them charted
out. I’m excited but it’s also gonna be a challenge, because this music is not easy.
There’s a lot of little details in there. There’s a lot of time signature changes,
a lot of really specific rhythms, and in addition to that, I’m going to have to be
playing with another drummer, which is Angelo, so we’re gonna have to coordinate
our drum parts and there’s a lot of little details. So, time to get to work. By
the time we arrived to the hotel I had about half of the set transcribed and we
scheduled a meeting among the drummers to talk about the set. [Josh] You like that single knock? Single hit. Maybe like, let’s go down the order. [Shawn] Alright. “Becoming.” [Josh] So at the beginning,
the big swell into the top of the tune, I tend to take
the cymbals and and Angie takes the floor tom. It’s like “one, two, three, four…” Anytime there’s like a unison swell, one
will be on toms and one will be on cymbals. [Angelo] Usually, you’re on cymbals. [Josh] Usually, I take the cymbals.
To be honest, like maybe 50% of my job in Shubh’s band is like a suspended
cymbal transition deal. That’s why I do half the gig with like mallet/sticks. And I do a
ton of this. Because I like probably just came out of like “Shhhh…. bang.” You know what I mean? [Angelo] There’s the “duh duh, duh duh”
rhythm. I’m doing it on the snare. He’s doing it on the toms. Like in general, that seems to be how we
approach it. Like if it’s a unison, if we decided to do a unison rhythm, we’ll
orchestrate it on different parts of the kit. So when did you guys start doing double drums? A fortnight ago. [Shawn] A fortnight, what is that, 20 days? [Josh] I don’t know. [Angelo] 20 minutes. [Josh] Alright, we’ve done
two records this way. The first album we did separately. I just layered a ton of
percussion on that. [Shawn] Is that how it started? [Josh] Yeah. [Angelo] It was solo drums when I
started playing with Shubh. [Josh] I subbed you for you for a few gigs. And then over time
it was just like, “We should just try THIS.” And there was enough of, like, an instant
like “this works.” It wasn’t great, but enough of “this works” to be like “let’s do this.” Now it’s like we got our systems kinda worked out. [Shawn] Yeah now
it’s like a thing. [Josh] But like it’s so funny, like the first time we did the recording, we
were like, “Oh shit, we shouldn’t do this.” At Asellio’s spot. But then like, we both heard it and
we were like, “that sounds like trash.” It was like flammy, we were both playing way too much. [Josh] Yeah, but now like, dude, the last live recording,
we were in the same room. So you can’t slide snares and kicks essentially.
And it sounded… [Angelo] Sounds solid. [Josh] It sounded solid. Because I was like… that
“Becoming” video that came out yesterday you can’t edit, from a quantized standpoint. And I was very happy with that. That night I got to watch the set from
behind the drums on the side of the stage, which was really helpful to see
exactly who’s doing what. And Josh was really good about kind of coaching me
through the show as he was playing it that night. So he would look over at me
and say, “okay, now we’re going to halftime.” Or he would kind of point out where
certain fills happen. Maybe Angelo takes this fill. He was really good about indicating that stuff during the show. The next morning I
finished transcribing the tunes. I did a full second pass listening through
everything with the charts to catch any finer details and make notes about that.
And then I listened to everything with the video so I can see exactly what
drummer is playing what, so I know exactly what I should play. And before we knew it, we had arrived in Richmond, at the venue. And this
soundcheck was really the only opportunity I had to play with these
guys before the show. I’m totally down with using his kit. It’s easier not to have to switch. Shawn’s playing the show tonight for Shubh because Josh
actually had to go back to New York for his, like, wedding anniversary. So there’s
all these, like, charts on stage and he’s gonna be reading throughout the entire
night. The dude’s a madman, but if anybody can do it it’s Shawn Crowder. Could we do Storm? Yeah, I guess that middle breakdown. Fortunately, I knew ahead of time which
parts of which songs I wanted to hit, so when we got to soundcheck, we ran down
that list. Can we just run it from the top of the saxes? Killin’ it. [Mark] Give it up for Shawn. [Angelo] Yeah dude, killin’ it. [Shawn] It’s gonna be fun. [Angelo] Can the drummers have
their entire mix up just a hair? Yeah. Thank you. And in the end I think we
got through maybe two and a half songs and then we were out of time. [Mark] Can we get like 2 minutes? [Staff] They’re out there in the cold so hurry up. [Shubh] Okay, one minute then. And the
rest of it we did for the very first time together on stage in front of the
audience. I had a lot of fun playing the show and
it was really fun experimenting with double drums. It’s a really fun texture
to play around with. It’s really cool to have all of these sounds available when
you’re constructing a riff or a pattern. It was just a lot of fun to spend time
with these guys. And so it was really fun to learn from them and be inspired by
all of the great musicians. So I’d just like to thank Shubh and his
musicians for having me onboard. It was so much fun to play with these guys, and
honestly it was just as much fun listening to them every night from the
side of the stage before Sungazer went on, even when I wasn’t playing with them.
And I have to give a shout-out to Angelo. Angelo Spampinato on the drums. Because
he’s really the unsung hero of this whole thing. We actually decided to do
double drums for a number of the Sungazer songs, so as I was learning
Shubh’s music and filming this whole night he was busy learning our songs. So he
hopped in at the last minute as well and absolutely killed it. So thank you guys, and thank you to
everybody who came out to the shows. We had such an amazing first tour with
Sungazer we hope to be doing that very very soon again. And last but not least,
thank you for watching.