Will Calhoun, Steve Smith, Dafnis Prieto, Pat Mastelotto
By Laura B. Whitmore
Stocked with an arsenal of sounds and features as varied as the drummers who play it, the Korg Wavedrum enables musicians to create unique percussive performances. Here, four of the top drummers on the globe share their experiences using this versatile, inspirational instrument. For extended articles on these Wavedrum artists and more, please visit the Drum Products section at http://korg.com/ArtistsAll.aspx
Will Calhoun burst into rock history when he joined forces with guitarist Vernon Reid and Living Colour. The band debuted with the 1988 smash Vivid, which rose to #6 on Billboard’s Top 200. MTV’s video rotation of the hit “Cult of Personality” and a 1989 appearance on Saturday Night Live placed them firmly in the spotlight, along with stints opening for The Rolling Stones. After scoring a couple of Grammys and turning out a series of great albums, Living Colour released their fifth studio album last fall – The Chair in the Doorway – which also climbed its way into the Billboard Top 200.
Through it all, Will Calhoun has remained a dynamic force in the world of drumming, and has found time to pursue his other musical interests, performing with artists as diverse as Public Enemy and Herb Alpert. Recently he’s been drawn to the Korg Wavedrum as a source of inspiration. “The Wavedrum has a unique voice in electronic percussion,” he comments. “The Wavedrum allowed me to experiment with great electronic sounds and sound enhancement. I didn’t want my electronic percussion to sound like anyone else, and I certainly didn’t want to use kick, snare, and tom sounds. The Wavedrum sounds amazing on its own; however it also tracks extremely well with outboard gear.”
An energetic performer, Calhoun has found the Wavedrum perfect for live experimentation. He shares, “During my solo I leave the kit, walk over to the Wavedrum and create a few great rhythmic ideas, then loop them, and solo over the loops with other sounds on the Wavedrum. Then I go back to kit and play a bit of acoustic drums over the Wavedrum loops. I always improvise this part of my performance. The Wavedrum allows me to play exactly what I’m feeling at the moment. The Wavedrum also influences me to take a risk, and match sounds and rhythms that I wouldn’t usually combine if I were sitting thinking about grooves.”
Read our extended interview with Will Calhoun here >>
Modern Drummer Hall of Famer Steve Smith is one of the most versatile drummers on the scene today, with solid roots in rock, jazz, and fusion. With decades of experience with luminaries like Jean-Luc Ponty, Ronnie Montrose, Mike Mainieri’s Steps Ahead, and much more, Smith played with multi-platinum act Journey for several years. Following his departure from Journey, Smith emerged as the leader of two bands – the fusion/funk laced Vital Information and the expanded jazz set of Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy.
Currently Steve is getting ready to tour in support of a new album he’s just completed with saxophonist George Brooks and guitarist Prasanna. He explains, “We call the album Raga Bop Trio. The music is an organic blend of jazz, rock, funk, afro-Caribbean, and Indian classical music.” An instrumental element of his sound on this tour will be supplied by the Korg Wavedrum. “I saw the Wavedrum being demonstrated, and I was blown away! My favorite feature is the tabla sound on the Wavedrum. I use it with all of my bands both as a solo instrument and as an accompaniment instrument. I can tune the tabla sound and the sitar ‘drone’ sound to match the key of the song.” Smith continues, “The Korg Wavedrum is an exciting new instrument that gives drummers a creative voice to express themselves in ways not possible with the acoustic drum set. I find the instrument to be an inspiring addition to my sonic palette, and I’ve only begun to explore the potential of the Wavedrum. “
Read our extended interview with Steve Smith here >>
Classically schooled at Havana’s National School of Music Havana in his native Cuba, Dafnis Prieto arrived in New York in 1999. Since then, he has left an indelible mark on both the Jazz and Latin music scenes. As sideman, composer, and leader of his own various projects, Dafnis continues to define his own style of drumming, and continues to stack up Grammy nominations!
Prieto recently got his hands on a Korg Wavedrum, as he shares, “At first I was attracted to the variety of sounds in just one drum. The Wavedrum is the most sophisticated and powerful electronic percussion instrument I’ve ever played. It has a great sense of dynamics and a great variety of sounds. The amount of features makes it very enjoyable for interplaying with endless combinations. This is a great multi-sound instrument also to have in a recording studio, and it is very easy to carry. When I’m performing I use it as a complement to my drum set; but I also like doing solos with it.”
Read our extended interview with Dafnis Prieto here >>
Pat Mastelotto earned his reputation as an LA session drummer in the 1970s, working with a diverse range of artists from Kenny Loggins to Patti LaBelle. In the 1980s, Pat was one of the founding members of Mr. Mister. After more session work, Pat was invited to join King Crimson for their “double trio” tour. A member of King Crimson since 1994, Pat has appeared on 20 of the band’s albums. His numerous projects include HoBoLeMa [Holdsworth, Bozzio, Levin, Mastelotto] and touring with The Flower Kings.
A fan of the original model Wavedrum released in 1994, Mastelotto was instantly drawn to this reincarnation. He’s found it meshes perfectly with this desire to incorporate new and non-traditional instruments into his kit. Mastelotto revealed his favorite Wavedrum features, “I like the pushing after touch stuff you can do; the nuances that can come from playing near the edge when it can get real clang-ey.” He takes an exploratory approach to working the Wavedrum into his sound. “I just forage for joy!” he says with a grin.
Read our extended interview with Pat Mastelotto here >>