Danny Walker – Intronaut – The Challenger – Isolating The Throne

Translation Loss released California-based progressive/extreme music outfit Intronaut’s CD, “The Challenger” in 2007. The album was comprised of three new tracks, a handful (5) live tracks and a remix, with a running time of over 40 minutes.

“The Challenger” was recorded at Trench Studios with John Haddad, who previously worked with the band on “Void” and “Null.”

“The Challenger” track listing:

 01. The Challenger

02. Whittler Of Fortune

03. Deep Architecture

04. Gleamer (live)

05. Fault Lines (live)

06. Rise To The Midden (live)

07. Sores Wil Weep (live)

08. They (As In Them) (live)

09. Burning These Days (remix)

Note: This track is in its raw form and has not been tampered with. Also, no click track was used tracking this song.

Some Questions For Danny:

SDM: Do you remember the exact gear you were using during this tracking?

Danny:

Drums – Pearl Masters Custom maple: 22×18 kick, 10×10 , 12×10 rack toms, 16×14 floor tom.

Tama Star Classic snare drum 14x 5 1/2.

Pedals – Tama Iron Cobra double pedal. 

Cymbals – Sabian: 14” Mastersound hi-hats, 16” & 18” AAX crashes,  8” & 10” AAX splashes, Zildjian Z custom 20” ride, Wuhan 18” china.

SDM:  How long did tracking take and how was it tracked? mics, triggers, both, to tape or all digital?

Danny: The tracking went relatively quick if I remember correctly. We only did 3 songs during this session so it was sort of a breeze. 

SDM: Has anything changed in your setup since this tracking?

Danny: Absolutely! I had no endorsements back then, so I just used whatever I could get my hands on. It was a very odd mixed setup. I currently endorse DW, Meinl, Vic Firth & Aquarian. My set is always subject to change, but here is my current set up.

Drums – DW 

Collector’s Series Maple Ebony Satin Oil with Black Chrome Hardware.

18×22 Collector’s Maple Bass Drum.

8×10, 9×12, 12×14, 14×16 Tom-Toms. 

6.5×14 Black Nickel over Brass Snare Drum w/ Die Cast Hoops.

Hardware – 9100M Drum Throne, 5500TD Delta 2-leg Rotating Hi-Hat Stand, 9900 Double Tom Stand, 9700 Straight/Boom Cymbal Stand (x4) 9300 Snare Drum Stand.

Cymbals – Meinl 

14″ M-Series Traditional Medium Hihat

20″ Mb20 Heavy Bell Ride

17″ Mb10 Medium Crash

19″ Mb10 Medium Crash

14″ Byzance Traditional China

18″ Mb20 Rock China

8″ Byzance Traditional Splash

10″ Byzance Traditional Splash

Drum Heads – Aquarian 

Kick: Super Kick 2

Toms: Response 2 clear for recording & Force Ten clear for live.

Snare: Response 2 coated for recording & Force Ten for live.

Sticks – Vic Firth 5B Woodtip. 

SDM:  How long did tracking take and how was it tracked? mics, triggers, both, to tape or all digital?

Danny: The tracking went relatively quickly if I remember correctly. We only did 3 songs in a day during this session.

Mics used:

Kick – Beta 52 on the inside and AKG D112 on the outer head. 

Snare – (2) Sm57’s. 

Tom/Floor Toms – Sennheiser 421. 

Overheads – matched pair of AKG 414 TLII. 

Ride, China and Hi Hats were Oktava 012.

Stereo pair of Room Mics.

Roland TD8 Trigger on the kick drum, later re-sampled during mixing.

Everything was tracked on a Trident Series 75 analog console linked directly to the interfaces, then into the computer Digitally.

SDM:  Your thoughts on sound replacement software? wish it never existed?

Danny: I think it depends on what kind of gig I’m doing. If it’s death metal/grindcore or simply just faster stuff, I am definitely in favor of triggering and or sound replacing the kick drum. With such intricate patterns being played, it just needs that extra boost and cut. As far as snare and toms being replaced, you got to be out of your mind! These are such expressive parts of the drum set and should NEVER be replaced. There really is just no excuse. I don’t sound replace the snare or toms. It’s nice to have this software around and have more options, but I think it makes musicians lazy. They can play like shit and just edit it later or quantize. I think people should spend the extra time to solidify and tighten up their parts before tracking. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of having a large window of time to work with, so having this backup plan as a last resort can be justified to an extent. 

I also want to note that there’s nothing wrong with a little live feel and slop. It’s human and natural. Nothing wrong with a little imperfection here. We are so desensitized these days. Everything is quantized and edited. It’s too clean and sounds like a drum machine! Kids these days hear something that has not gone through rigorous editing and they think it’s complete crap, but that’s what it’s supposed to sound like! This is real! They don’t know because everything they hear is so polished. It’s a shame. 

SDM:  What’s your favorite old-school raw drum sound? Which band and album or albums?

Danny:

Slayer “Reign In Blood”

Death “Human”

Led Zeppelin “Houses Of The Holy” 

SDM:  One piece of advice to younger kids about to record an album?

Danny: I just encourage them to practice as much as possible. Own your parts! The less fixing and editing the better. The session will go smoother and you won’t be bullshitting anyone.

Photo Credit: Niky Dogatzis