Video: Recreating Interpol's "Obstacle 1" Drums | What's That Sound?

Paul Banks of Interpol (2004). Photo By: Kevin Winter. Getty Images

Drums in the style of Interpol's Obstacle 1
Drums in the style of Interpol's "Obstacle 1"
By Reverb
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Today, Noam and Jessica are back in the studio to recreate the immediately recognizable beat from Interpol's "Obstacle 1." The beat is all at once driving and dance-y, heavy and grooving, and tight and bombastic. It was originally performed by drummer Sam Fogarino and produced by Peter Katis.

To start, the drum set today is composed of a 22-inch Ludwig Kick with a closed Fiberskyn head, a Yamaha Jimmy Chamberlin Signature Snare, and a 14-inch pair of Zildjian K-Sweet hi-hats.

The big trick of recreating this drum sound is nailing the depth—which was done without a lot of stereo spread—as well as the length of the snare. To Noam, the snare sounds almost gated but not quite, which means that there's something interesting happening with how the snare is both tuned and processed.

Interpol Drum Bus 1 Interpol Drum Bus 2 Interpol Drum Bus 3 Interpol Kick In Interpol Kick Out Interpool Overheads Interpol Room Mic Interpool Beyer 201 Snare Interpol AKG 451 Interpol snare bottom

One of the most important parts of our setup was the mono room mic, which in our video is a Schoeps V4U. Noam also employed the very bizarre Valley People Dyna-Mite 410-2 Compressors, which was important because it flattens sounds out immensely, which somewhat replicates a gated reverb quality.

To further nail the snare sound, Noam placed an AKG 414 on the bottom and mic'd the top with a Beyerdynamic 201 and AKG C 451 EB taped side-by-side. Using two mics was intentionally done to make sure that the snare setup was fully hi-fi and self-contained, since relying on overheads for detail wouldn't be possible in this setup.

This is only one of a few unique tricks that Noam and Jessica used in the studio to get as close to the Interpol drum beat as possible. How well do you think they did? Be sure to check out the full video above to see for yourself.

You can also download a free sample pack of the drum sounds by clicking the listing card above.

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