Video: Recreating The Smiths' "The Queen Is Dead" Drum Sounds

As recording consoles became more advanced in the 1970s and '80s, many musicians started upping their track counts and experimenting with layered drum parts. One such band was The Smiths, and a great example of this kind of drum-part experimentation can be heard on "The Queen Is Dead" from the band's 1986 record of the same name.

In the video above, engineer Noam Wallenberg and drummer Jessica Burdeaux join together to show how you can use these same techniques today, while recreating this classic drum part.

To start, Burdeaux walks us through the kit they're using to achieve the sound—stripped down, as she explains, since each drum is recorded individually. Details here are important—like removing the front head of the kick drum to quicken the attack and cut down on its resonance, and dampening the floor tom so that the added reverb effect has room in the mix.


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Next, Noam takes us through the mic'ing, recording process, and mixing, while demonstrating how The Smiths used effects like plate reverb on the toms but not on the kick and snare and added room mics to the snare that they didn't use on the toms.

This video follows last month's recreation of the Prince "Kiss" LinnDrum beat with an acoustic drum kit. Check that out next if you haven't already.

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