Jimmy Chamberlin — The Making of ProSessions 24
M-Audio sets out to create a new artist-driven extension of the ProSessions line
When M-Audio set out to create a new artist-driven extension of the ProSessions line, we sought musicians with a passion for their craft and the technology that drives it. With a love for both skins and electronics, Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin fit the bill. Though heavily involved in touring and recording with his new fusion ensemble, the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, he eagerly signed on to create a four-volume series of drum libraries.
Behind the kit
Chamberlin forever altered the alternative rock landscape though his work with the Pumpkins, which he revisits during the creation of Jimmy Chamberlin Signature Drums Volume 1. Seated comfortably behind his kit in Pasadena, California’s Mower Studio (formerly Lawnmower Studios), the versatile drummer invites us into his process.
“We chose to come here because this is where I recorded my last record, and it’s what I consider to be one of the best drum rooms in California. We’re trying to document some thing in the spirit of the drum parts from the early Pumpkins stuff—not pirated from the record, but from the same head space those ideas evolved from. I think it’s gonna be fun for musicians to see not only why a groove is cool, but also what it was based on. I think that’s what’s great about doing a pro library like this—you can really let people inside your head.”
Tools to aid the creative process
Heavily immersed in the studio scene for the last decade, Chamberlin has spent countless hours in the studio trying to coordinate the creative energy of four different individuals. “I've recently gotten into Ableton Live and computer-based technology,” Chamberlin enthuses. “These types of resources are invaluable—and that's how I assemble songs now. It’s a lot timelier for me to sit home and do an arrangement with Ableton Live than it is for me to amass four guys from different parts of Los Angeles, stick them in a sweaty room and have to sit there. It's so much easier to go, ‘Here's the new arrangement. Learn it, come back, play it.’ It’s so much more time-effective and everybody's on the same page when you get to rehearsal. On the last Pumpkins record, we demoed a lot of stuff, recorded to DAT or Pro Tools, and chopped and pieced the arrangements together. It was nice to be able to just chop it apart, without having to count on four people getting the arrangement right. As far as time goes, it’s a great tool.”
ProSessions 24 gives everyone the opportunity to incorporate Chamberlin’s drumming expertise into their own recordings and productions using the very same tools and methods. And when it comes to controlling sounds and loops within Live and Pro Tools, users can choose from the selection of keyboard controllers, audio interfaces and reference monitors that Chamberlin uses in his home studio.
“I've hooked the Oxygen8 and interfaces up to my Mac computer, and it's so easy to use,” says Chamberlin. “Really, literally, I can go in and start making music. And also, the M-Audio monitors are absolutely amazing. I have a lot of pre-mastered music at my house that's just run flat, and the flat-response monitors are absolutely amazing. I have Gish, Siamese Dream, and Melon Collie pre-mastered, and I know what it sounds like, and they’re really, really accurate monitors. I love them. I’ve got B&W 808s, but I still play stuff through my M-Audio monitors because I'm really into flat response.”
Closing the circle
After growing up in a musical household that treated jazz greats and classic rock icons with equal reverence, Chamberlin’s personal sensibility landed somewhere in between. He draws from a wide variety of musical sources to create his own sound, which in turn has influenced others. A firm believer in the cyclical nature of life, it’s quite fitting that he should create a library everyone will have the opportunity to make their own.
“I think Buddy Rich said it best, when he said, ‘the best musicians in the world are thieves that never get caught,’” concludes Chamberlin. “They take a little bit from everything and they make it their own. What I try to do more than anything is just sound like myself. But what you hear really is the Elvin Jones, the Tony Williams, the Phil Collins, the Pearts, the Brufords—all that stuff just kind of mixed up in my own little bag of tricks.