Monday, February 8, 2016

Volume 10 - Christian Fuhrer

Volume 10 - Christian Fuhrer

Hello TC fam,

This week we have another good one for you. 
A Drummer, Producer, Songwriter and all around fun kat.
His Musical taste are diverse and his projects prove this. But he's not that "jack of all trades, master of none" guy, He knows exactly what he's doing and how to accomplish his vision,whether in a band or solo. 
Listen to him play, you'll feel that Joy in his playing, we all experience. This is what it's all about and that's why Christian is Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name: Christian Fuhrer

Where are you from? I was born in Long Island NY, Raised in Raleigh NC, I currently reside in Phoenix AZ and I've lived everywhere else in between.

How long have you been playing? There was a drum set in my house as far back as I can remember. I was always dabbling but started playing out at age 11.

Do you have a main genre of playing? I'm a meat and potatoes kind of drummer. I prefer to play rock, both pop rock and harder rock.

How did you get where you are now? One Sunday morning, the resident drummer at my church was unexpectedly unable to perform for the church service. My dad was the bass player and suggested that I fill in. I was 11 and the extent of my experience was jamming along to some of my favorite records in our studio space. I had about an hour to learn the set and figure out how to be the drummer in the band. Looking back now, it was probably a train wreck. However, from that Sunday on they kept me in rotation with the other drummer and I eventually took over the position all together, so I guess it wasn't that bad. Funny, I got my start playing with bands in a similar fashion. I sat in with my dads band for their drummer who couldn't perform. I was a little older (16), a little more polished and I had some rehearsal time with the band, so it was a much better set of circumstances.

What are your goals, short & long term? My ultimate goal is to continue to develop my music ability beyond just drumming but as a well-rounded musician. All of my short term goals are in support of this.

Artists you would like to play for? It really depends on my mood, but there are a few that always fit the bill. Filter - how much fun would that be?! Deftones, Jet, The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle... I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.

Do you have your own band? Details…. I play with a Dancy Synth Rock band based in Phoenix called "Tigerface". This is one of the more unique projects I've been involved with. I would describe them as The Killers with an edge, or a not-quite-so dark Nine Inch Nails. I also have a solo studio project which I call "Copeland Place". I write, record and produce everything. I sing, and do all of the programming (and of course drums). However, I often times bring in friends to perform on tracks - usually guitars, often times remotely. My music has alot of radio rock influence and I try to meld it with modern programming type elements. Originally, this project started as a collaboration between my sister and I, however it's turned more into my solo stuff.

Do you play any other instruments? I recently picked up the bass for my solo material - I can get the job done with plenty of takes and a little studio magic! With practice, I could probably play out with others, but I don't have the desire to. I also have been singing for about 2 years. I've kept with it enough to invest time into studying with a vocal instructor - I've been learning/improving a lot! Singing has become another passion.

Any touring experiences? I toured quite a bit in my late teens/early 20's with several different bands. What a great time of my life! Once I got married (at the age of 26), touring kind of lost it's luster, so I prefer to stay close to home these days.

Describe your current set up for us... My studio set up is a 4 piece Pearl Masters MCX - 18 x 22 kick, 10 x 12 rack tom, and 16 x 16 floor tom. My wife bought me this kit for my 30th birthday - I cried. I use several different types of heads but if I had to settle on one combination it would go something like this. Remo clear Emperors for toms batter side, Remo Diplomats for tom reso side. For the kick batter side, either an Evans Emad 2 or an Aquarian Super Kick 2 - reso side, Remo ebony PowerStroke 3. I also use Kickports (these things are great!).  For snares, again in the studio, I predominately use a 5.5 x 14 Ludwig Black Magic, or a 6.5 x 14 Pearl Maple Free Floater. For all snares I use Remo coated Ambassador X batter and Remo Ambassador Hazy for reso.

My live set up for Tigerface is a vintage 4 piece Ludwig Vistalite - 16 x 22 kick, 9 x 13 rack tom and 16x16 floor tom. I use clear Remo Pinstripes batter side and clear Remo Diplomats reso side for toms, Aquarian Superkick 2 batter side kick and a Remo clear PowerStroke 3 reso side. Typically, my live snare is a 6.5x14 Pearl Maple with a custom sparkle finish.

I exclusively use Soultone cymbals in a number of different combinations: 13 Gospel hats, 14 Custom hats, 17 Custom crash, 18 Gospel crash, 20 Vintage Old School 1964 crash/ride, 22 Custom Brilliant RA crash/ride.

For sticks I exclusively use Silverfox unfinished 5b's with a barrel tip.

Which wood shells do you prefer? I prefer the power of maple!

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?   I'm pretty happy with the set ups I use now. I wouldn't make any changes. Sometimes I get a little frustrated with the "vintage-ness" of my Vistalites and I think about selling them for Pearl Crystal beats - but that feeling usually passes rather quickly.  

How do you describe your drumming style? I'm a simple-solid, powerful, pocket drummer. I like fat notes in a fat groove! And I love to hit hard.

Why the drums? I honestly couldn't tell you. It just made sense to me. When I was a little kid I could just sit behind a kit and play. It wasn't up until very recent that I had any interest in learning other instruments.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? I would probably have been a studio engineer. Which is my second passion, but I'm a drummer first.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? I was recently planning a party with my wife and we were composing the guest list. I noticed that basically all of my friends are musicians - mostly people that I've played with at some point in time. I realize that drumming and music has an influence on so many aspects of my life. It, honestly, is the platform for my social life, I use it for mental health, stress management and creative output. It's also an excellent source for physical health. I honestly don't know what my life would be like without drumming. That thought is depressing.

Is the music business your career? I recently opened a side business called "Brown Mutt Music" (after our 3 brown mutts). The platform for Brown Mutt Music is as a recording studio. I do alot of session work for friends who need drum tracks. I also record bands and solo artists which I'd like to do more of. My main source of work for Brown Mutt Music is on-site recording for symphony and orchestral groups. Something I have no background in but just fell in my lap and I learned on-the-job.

So, you're definitely involved in your local music scene... Yes, I perform with local bands and work with local artists in the studio.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? Josh Freese - dude is a chameleon, he plays everything well, is a beast live and, in my opinion, is one of the best studio musicians of our time. Danny Carey - the way he makes technical and otherwise busy fills and grooves not only listenable, but undeniably appropriate for the song is amazing. He is one of the best at making the drums musical. Dave Grohl - he is just as inspiring as a person and as he is a musician. I love seeing him bash the hell out of the drums and then sing a well-written catchy pop song. John Bonham - I loved his bruiser back-beats and his raw energy. There was something about the way he dug in to his drums that resonates with me - makes me want to hit hard! I honestly have to include my fellow Soultone Artists - there is so much talent on that roster and I draw a lot of inspiration from all the great videos and music they put out.

Can you name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? Tool, Lateralus tour. What an inspiring performance by Danny Carey. I would also say Josh Freese's performance with NIN on the With Teeth tour really got my blood pumping.

So, how much time do you practice? Not as much as I would like and certainly not as much as I should. I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 hours a week.

Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? Nah... got too much of my own music to work on.

Describe your current gig(s) Aside from random session work, my gigs are Tigerface and Copeland Place.
Copeland Place solo project.

Do you record drum videos of yourself? How has it helped you? I don't... I should :)

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? Definitely more grooves. I should, however, spend more time on chops.

Are you into electronic drums? Not really, I kept a set when I lived in an apartment but I just love acoustic drums.

Do you program drums? Nope, I enjoy recording them too much.

Do you sing and play? I can hardly respond by nodding my head while playing, let alone talk or sing. While playing, I usually communicate via the intense stare thing which means, yes, no, I messed up, you messed up, what's going on, and get me a beer among other things. So no, I can't sing and play.

Are you a songwriter as well? I am.

Describe your songwriting process for us? 
My song writing process usually starts with an idea for a riff or melody line - sometimes it turns into a chorus, sometimes a verse. I almost exclusively work out parts on the piano. Once the working main melody lines are complete, I usually start on bass guitar parts. Then I'll build the chord structure on top of the bass line and work out all the meat and filler stuff. At that point, I'll usually lay down a scratch drum track and then start working on vocal parts. Since I have the least experience with writing vocal parts I almost never write songs around vocals, instead I write vocals for the song. Once lead and background vocals are done, I'll work on all the 

'candy coating" that goes on top to polish things up. I typically record keeper drum tracks last, that way by the time I'm ready to put them down I've spent enough time with the song to crank out drum parts pretty smoothly. I suspect this is a pretty backwards writing process but it works for me since I play everything by ear and have a rather crude background in music theory. 

Tell us more about your solo project. What direction are taking us musically? Copeland Place really stems from my love for alternative era radio rock. I grew up listening to bands like STP, Filter and Soundgarden. I feel like the unfortunate evolution of that genre really watered things down. However, bands like AwolNation and Imagine Dragons seem to be keeping the spirit somewhat alive. My vision is to draw from that era but to modernize it by incorporating loops, synths, and samples that are prevalent in today's popular music. For the past two years I've been experimenting with what I can do vocally so the Copeland Place material can be a little all over the place. I expect that will continue, but that's the best part about a solo project - I can do whatever I want. It's been alot of fun and it is certainly pushing my limits as a musician, engineer and producer.

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? I'm quite content these days with studio sessions and local live gigs. I prefer a healthy balance of both.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? I've done both and there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I do like to be involved in the creative process which is more likely to occur between band members. But the headaches of dealing with band business is at a minimum when you are a hired gun - I appreciate that as well.

Any words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? Develop and hone your meter with a metronome. Your job, as a drummer, is to be the bands timekeeper. I'm more impressed with a fat groove with a super solid meter than I am with a sloppy technician.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???

Here are my links:

Huge Thx 2 Christian for sharing his Drum Life.
Another kool musician, we should get to know and support.
Make sure you guys check out his projects and support!
I dig the stuff he's doing and it should be promoted.

Once again, I am humbled by the fact that more drummers keep coming and we get to share their stories and give them some more attention.

If you're looking to be featured on Talkin' Chop
contact: DeHaven -

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