We had a chance to interview Brandon Toews from Drumeo about his latest book "The Drummer's ToolBox" and how he uses the UE11 Pros.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Brandon Toews and I’m an author, educator, and performer based out of Vancouver, Canada. Some of you may also know me as the Product Director at Drumeo, an award-winning online music education platform for drummers. I’ve been playing drums for the past 15 years, studying under many different educators and performers including Jared Falk (Drumeo), Colin Stranahan (Jonathan Kreisberg; Kurt Rosenwinkel), and Brian Thurgood (Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; MacEwan University). In 2018, I co-authored the best-selling instructional book The Best Beginner Drum Book with Drumeo co-founder Jared Falk which has helped thousands of drummers all over the world take their first steps into the world of drumming. In 2019, I graduated with my Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada with a major in Music Performance. It was during the fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree that I also finished writing my second book titled The Drummer’s Toolbox which was just released in early November.
Why did you start writing books on drumming?
So you may be wondering, “What on earth would compel a 22-year-old drummer to start writing drum books?” Years ago, when I started teaching privately and even throughout my university years, I realized that I found just as much joy in helping students, friends, and other drummers meet their musical goals as I did playing in bands and performing for large audiences. Even though many of you may think books are a thing of the past, there are still SO many drummers who choose to learn from them, including those using digital books. Having spent many years working out of different drum books, this was a familiar medium for me that has allowed me to help thousands of drummers all over the world achieve their musical goals and find inspiration through music.
Can you tell us about the new book?
My vision for this book was to create a resource that any drummer could use to find everything they wanted and needed to know about drumming styles all in one place. I personally spent years working out of many different style-based drum books, but I had yet to find the ONE book that contained all of the information I was in search of. That’s why I created The Drummer’s Toolbox – so drummers would always have a resource that they could use to find exactly what they’re looking for.
The Drummer’s Toolbox is a 450-page hardcover book (or digital book if that’s your style!) created for drummers of all skill levels. The book will introduce you to 100 different drumming styles from the past century and it features more than 900 groove examples, history about each drumming style, effective techniques for playing them, and it even teaches you how to break down different grooves limb-by-limb. It also includes 1000 recommended recordings (with pre-built Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube playlists) that you can access inside the free resource area. If you’re serious about expanding your musical vocabulary and becoming more versatile behind the drum-set, this book is for you!
Can you talk about the process of writing one of your books and how the UE11 Pro's were a part of that?
Now, when I first started writing drum books, I really had no idea what was involved in the process. For The Drummer’s Toolbox, the research, transcribing, and writing period took eight solid months. Hundreds and hundreds of hours that would put my UE11 Pro’s to the test. I had been using these IEM’s for a number of years, but never as much as I had throughout this process. The fit, the clear and defined low-end, and the overall quality of sound that these IEM’s produce is next to none. Whether I’m using them to film and record lessons in the studio, for live performance, or for other product-related tasks, my UE 11 Pro’s always help me get the job done. Every time.
As a musician and a drummer, can you talk about when you switched to in-ears? Why?
I switched to in-ears back in 2015 when I was heading off to university and working part-time for Drumeo. At this time, I was starting to film lessons, do some transcription work, and record in the studio which meant that in-ears were a requirement. I knew that I wanted to continue down this path and that lead me to make the switch.
What are the advantages of in-ears vs. wedges?
For me, it’s always been the overall quality of sound and the ability to dial in my mix exactly how I like it. And of course, your monitor is right in your ear! You never need to worry about positioning a large floor wedge between your hi-hat pedal and cymbal stands in addition to making sure it’s angled/positioned correctly. Because of the wide range of work that I do (live performance, studio work, transcription, etc.), it’s easy to take a pair of in-ears with me wherever I need to go.
Why custom in-ears?
I need something that’s comfortable that I can use for hours on end, every single day. Custom in-ears are a must!
Why did you choose the UE11 Pro’s?
I’m a drummer and need to hear low-end in my mix. There’s nothing worse than not being able to hear the bass player who’s standing on the other side of the stage, or even worse, your bass drum that’s right in front of you. The added low-end from the UE11 Pro’s is a dream.
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