Who are you and what do you do?
My Name is Michael Vaughan and I am the drummer for metal band Neverworld. I have also played drums in the past for various projects such as Find 28, Steel Serpent, Subculture Heroes, Type Stereo, Useful After Death, Nevereal and have been the vocalist for Killer Messiah.
Neverworld for me is definitely more my style of music I like to play and also listen to as I love bands like Edguy, Gamma Ray, Angra, Helloween (early stuff) and Nightwish. I am also influenced by bands like Ensiferum, Children Of Bodom, Eluveitie and Evergrey.
What do you use?
Drum wise I use an old Pearl export drumkit which I have had for about 16 years, I think it has a great sound so I havent parted with it and will not do so until it falls apart. The kit is comprised of 5 racked mounted toms, 1 floor tom, 2 kick drums and a Remo Piccolo Snare drum.
The Snare is great as it’s really snappy and still has weight behind each hit, it also has a really nice rim shot or rim click tone to it. I tend to use Aquarian Hi Energy heads on the snare which help add to the attack.
All my cymbals are Paiste PST5 apart from 2 cymbals, 1 is an 18 inch double hammered China which for a fairly cheap cymbal has an amazing low end china crash sound and the other is a 12 inch Sabian Splash which is folded inside out to make up a stack cymbal along with a PST5 10 inch Splash.
The rest of my cymbals consist of 2 sets of 14 inch Hi hats, 1 set for the Hi hat and the other for an X hat on the opposite of the kit, 2 x 18 inch crashes, 2 x 16 inch crashes, 1 x 10 inch splash, 1 x 8 inch splash and 2 x 20 inch ride cymbals. My Kick drum pedals are a set of Mapex pedals with tri heads, i’m not actually sure what model they are as I’ve had them for about 12 years.
I like using Promark 5B sticks and don’t really like any sticks with nylon tips and I also wear Ahead drum gloves when playing. I have a set of cheap JVC sports head phones which I use as in ear monitors, they are good as they wrap round your ear and don’t fall out.
I also use an Alesis DM5 drum brain for triggering with the kick drums. Even if this system isn’t used through the PA I would still have it rigged up to my head phones as I find it helps me tremendously when I can hear the clear hit of the kick drum when I’m playing live.
When recording I use 2 x Shure SM75 mics for the snare drum, I have 3 x Audio Technica BM5 K which I use on the 3 main rack toms, I use an AKG D112 on the floor tom and triggers on the kick drums. I also have a couple of Stagg mics which I use on the two remaining smaller rack toms. I have 2 x Behringer C3 condenser mics which I set to a figure of eight pattern and use them for over heads. These two mics are also great for recording vocals and acoustic instruments.
I have a Yamaha N12 firewire mixing desk which is connected to a PC and I use Cubase Studio 4 for all the recording. I love using the Yamaha N12 as it’s simple to hook up to the computer using only one lead and it also has a really good compressor on it which is equally as simple, not to mention it has amazing reverb effects on board.
To go with all that I have a pair of Citronic studio monitor speakers (which I must admit can be a little too bassy at times especially when placed too close to a wall) and a pair of AKG K240 MK11 headphones which I love but may not be for some as they have round ear cups as opposed to oval.
With the process of writing music I am lucky enough to be playing with some very talented musicians which is a great help, but when I’m on my own, usually not even thinking of music I might get an idea for a drum fill or a melody. I’m not very good with identifying notes so instead I have this little app on my iPhone called Music Studio which is pretty much a simpler version of cubase which I can map out what I’m playing in my head or as close to it as I can so when I meet up with the rest of the guys in the band I can play it back to them and then from there we translate it using real instruments and shape it from there. Usually these are just little snippets maybe only 10 - 20 seconds long but it all helps out.
Another thing I have done in the past is when I have a spare 5 minutes at a practice session and everyone else is having a break, I will record a fill on my iPhone just so I remember what it was I played.
Neverworld are a bit of a backwards band in terms of recording as we tend to write and record all the music first before actually practising the songs. This can be a really good way of writing as it’s a very controlled way and you always hear the end result or what it’s going to sound like early on. The down fall with doing it this way is sometimes you might not get the same feeling with a song as you would playing it together but with us that usually means that it would be scrapped anyway.
Also a good quality coffee and beer certainly helps, perhaps more of the former as opposed to the latter.
What would be your dream set up?
If money was no object I would go for a Tama drum kit PL52S Star Classic Performer with six rack toms and two kick drums, maybe an Evans snare drum, a Gibraltar rack system and all my cymbals as Soul Tone cymbals. I would also love a studio with several different isolation rooms and a bar stocked up with beer for those in between recording sessions.