The House And Garage Orchest ra
Taking classic dance music and reimagining it with a live band, The House And Garage Orchestra is the brainchild of producers Shy Cookie and Ishmael Hamilton, who began the project back in 2015. Drummer Martin Deering is the man who brings the beats to life on an acoustic set-up.
Who are your drumming heroes?
“There are too many to mention. But Steve Gadd, Carlos Vega, Teddy Campbell, Ian Thomas, Chris Dave, Dave Grohl, Vinnie Colaiuta and Neal Wilkinson are just a few to begin with.”
How did the idea for The House And Garage Orchestra come about?
“The guys behind it, DJ Shy Cookie (Alex) and Ishmael Hamilton, came up with the concept of the Orchestra three years ago. Shy has worked as a producer for the last 20 years and has done a lot of stuf for DJ Luck and MC Neats, and is creative in his own right. He was writing his own material and experimenting with live music and, along with Ishmael, came up with the idea of performing dance music live using a band and ‘real’ instruments. They built and produced The House And Garage Orchestra from the outset and now produce and run it as well as continuing to do their own music. Alongside Shy Cookie I am now the co-MD for the project. Our first UK tour kicks off in November 2018. It’s going to be awesome.”
What challenges are there when you’re performing entirely programmed beats on an acoustic set-up?
“There are quite a few challenges. The main issue is how layered the production can be. Such as three different snare sounds and maybe three different hi-hats on one track. Therefore, you need to prioritise parts and think about what’s most important. Then you have to try to find the gear that compliments those sounds, or at least think about where you can then take it musically to give it a new life. Another thing worth noting is the digitally swung 16ths and trying to make that groove.”
Using triggers would be an obvious solution, so do you intentionally keep it acoustic?
“I did think about using triggering and pads but it actually seemed to be a conscious decision by Alex and Ish to not use those things: they really liked the acoustic sound and feel. I think that’s pretty cool and open minded.”
What kind of things do you do to emulate these sounds?
“I have two hi-hats. Very tight 13" pocket hats and then 14" dry hats with a tambourine on top for lifting sections. I also have two snares. A 10" and 14".”
Is there an element of programmed parts on tracks, or is the set completely live?
“The set did start off live. However there will be a lot more production from Shy Cookie that I will be playing alongside live in the future. From a drum track point of view, live it’s mainly hats, shakers and tambourines that will sit on top of everything, though Shy often experiments with sound sources for his percussive parts. I queue all this from a Cymatic Audio Player.”
Which song in your set is the most difficult to recreate from a playing point of view?
“They all have their quirks. A‘ Little Bit of Luck’ actually has some interesting hat placement which needs paying attention to. ‘Flowers’ is also a classic example of having several snares and hi-hats. It also has some cheeky double kicks.”
What’s in your set-up right now?
“Yamaha Absolute Nouveau Maple 10 rack, 14 floor, 20 kick. Ludwig 400 snare 14" by 5 Echo, custom snare 10"x5", Zildjian A Custom Pocket 13" hats, Dry 14" hats K thin, Dark 16" crash, a custom 16" fast crash, O-Zone 16" crash, K 20" ride, 6" splash. I use Vic Firth 5A Extreme sticks and Remo heads.”