ROLO TO­MASSI Pitts chan­nels Rocky Bal­boa for max­i­mum re­sults

Rhythm - - BEAT! -

How did you cre­ate your drum parts for the new al­bum?

“Be­tween me and Chris [Cay­ford, gui­tar], if he’s writ­ten a riff he’ll have a rough idea of what drums he wants. He’ll send me a MIDI and I’ll put it on Cubase and play around with it. I’ll write some­thing ridicu­lously im­pos­si­ble, try to play it and then have to dumb it down a bit. We go back and forth. A lot of it is done on MIDI where I can get it ex­act and then learn it from there.”

Were there any chal­lenges dur­ing record­ing?

“Some of it was more dif­fi­cult than oth­ers be­cause I nor­mally play with a 22" kick drum and I was record­ing with a 24" Q Drums Cop­per kit. Play­ing on the 24" was so dif­fer­ent be­cause you have to put so much welly into it. That was quite frus­trat­ing for record­ing where I was get­ting up early in the morn­ing, Rocky Bal­boa-style and try­ing to bust out double-kick parts on the 24". It was hard work but we wanted that mas­sive sound, so it had to be done. We recorded ev­ery­thing in a place called The Ranch just out­side Southamp­ton with Lewis Johns who also did our last record. He’s a wiz­ard.”

How has your play­ing de­vel­oped since join­ing Rolo To­massi?

“Be­fore we were quite punky and ev­ery show would be dif­fer­ent in terms of tem­pos and feel, based on how the crowds were; now we’re go­ing with a new an­gle and aim­ing for pre­ci­sion. I’m go­ing to be play­ing to a click now and we’ll be hav­ing sam­ples go­ing on, just mak­ing it big­ger and tighter is the aim of the game now. We’re go­ing to rig up a light­ing sys­tem to fol­low the mu­sic, so Chris has been on Able­ton Live writ­ing light-scapes along to the tracks. It’s just to make it look bet­ter and sound bet­ter be­cause we’ll have all the ex­tras go­ing on in the back­ground, back­ing vo­cals and cer­tain har­monies that we can’t re­ally achieve live.”

Are you happy to have the click live?

“Ini­tially I wasn’t be­cause I like do­ing it by feel and vib­ing it out and see­ing how it goes, but I’ve cer­tainly come round to it. Once I started play­ing with the click I re­alised how much tighter ev­ery­thing was and I was en­joy­ing it a lot bet­ter in­stead of hav­ing to think too hard about dif­fer­ent tem­pos.”

Do you find any of the odd time sig­na­tures tricky?

“I grew up lis­ten­ing to lots and lots of prog. I’ve been in Rolo To­massi for four, five years now but I was al­ways a fan from the start since I was 18. It’s just my thing re­ally. I’ve al­ways just been the ‘prog man’. That’s what they called me in col­lege. Some­times I have to write out the phras­ing, which will be just a sheet with how long the bars will be, but now it’s just stuck in my head, which is good.”

Tom Pitts: the hu­man ‘prog ma­chine’ nail­ing the grooves with Rolo To­massi

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