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Episode 27: Exporing Creativity and Translating Drum Parts for a Live Show w/ Gunnar Olsen

June 24, 2020

Hello hello…my name is Ben Hilzinger and this is the Big Fat Snare Drum Podcast. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now. My guest today is Gunnar Olsen. I met Gunnar on tour in 2018 when one of my bands opened up for Big Data…a band for which he plays and it was one of the most fun times I've ever had on tour. I can say without a doubt that Gunnar is one of my favorite drummers to watch and listen to. His mixture of power and approachable creativity is unmatched in my opinion. When I say approachable, I mean he's not trying to blow your mind with circus chops, he makes the most tasteful choices that almost make you laugh cause they're so good…but sometimes he admittedly is just trying to make you laugh. In this conversation, we chat a bit about his perspective on creativity as I try to sound like I know what I’m talking about. We eventually switch to a topic that I selfishly wanted to know myself, and that's how he goes about translating the hybrid and/or electronic drum and percussion parts on recordings to a live show. You’ll get to hear exactly what he’s talking about because I drop in some audio from two tracks that he has performed with the band’s Fischerspooner and Big Data…first showing you the studio track and then Gunnar was kind enough to record a version of what he does live. Also a quick note about this one...we did this one over Skype and since Gunnar and I were chatting before I pushed record, I forgot to enable my normal mic as the input…so you'll hear me in all my dumb glory via my MacBook built-in microphone. You can win them all. Anyways, shutting up. Cheers!

Gunnar was and is a founding member of both new york area bands The Exit and Mother Feather, but has a resume that includes him working with Bruce Springsteen, Big Data, Gavin Degraw, Fischerspooner, Miley Cyrus, Goo Goo Dolls. He’s one of the most in-demand studio session drummers and I’m so humbled to also call him a friend.


Fischerspooner - Emerge

Spotify / Apple Music 


Big Data - Clean 

Spotify / Apple Music 

Today's episode is brought to you by Clearsound Baffles. Clearsound Baffles are a transparent, acoustic shielding product that dampen loud instruments and significantly improve live sound. They dampen harsh, high-end frequencies, eliminate a huge amount of bleed into the open mics on stage, and they let your drum kit breathe the way it was meant to. So, keep your drums sounding great, keep your engineers happy, and keep the band vibing. Visit their website to check ‘em out and they have a discount code for our listeners. Enter "bigfatdiscount" at checkout to get 10% off.

This episode is also sponsored by Waves Audio. This podcast would take me soooo much longer to edit if it wasn't for the Waves Vocal Rider plugin. It "rides" the fader in real-time and keeps both my and my guest's audio at a consistent level without the need to overcompress. I also use an endless of amount of their plugins for my musical recordings such as Abbey Road Saturator, CLA Drums, the SSL Channel, and many more.