[Music] A Folkchestral Drum Cover of "Switzerland" by The Last Bison

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQBByA-DH4] Happy Labor Day! Here is my most recent drum cover that I put up on Youtube. It's a cover of folk/orchestral/mountain-top chamber music band, The Last Bison's (previously known as just Bison) single, "Switzerland." Be sure to look out for this group because they're going to be big. They perfectly blend folk music with orchestral and appalachian instruments to create a such a sweet sound that I instantly fell in love with.

As far as my actual cover goes, it was a ton of fun to do. The song does not originally have a drum kit in it, so I had tons of creative freedom to do whatever I wanted. As always, I kept it simple and I think my drums complement the song nicely, but that's just me. Chime in and let me know what you think! Be sure to give the song a listen in its original form (and while you're at it, buy their album, Quill, and listen to that too!). I hope you enjoy the cover and discover some great new music in the process.

Also, please check out 2abbit and Solo Jeans! I just had to rep them eventually in one way or another. I don't mean to throw in a cheap endorsement of either, but I really do support and love their product/work. They're definitely worth checking out.

[Photo] The Trumpeter

Sorry again for the lack of posts as of late. I have several planned in the near future. For now, here's a photo I grabbed on the streets of San Diego. As a musician, I love stopping to listen to buskers. This cat was great...and loud. We heard him from way down the street. Grabbing this shot right in front of his horn nearly destroyed my ears, but it was well worth it. You could actually see the volume in this shot. Just look at the amount of air in his cheeks. Ridiculous.

[Edit] So according to reader, Andrew, that's just bad technique in his cheeks. I don't play any brass or woodwind instruments so I wouldn't know. Thanks, Andrew! Do you have anything to add? Is Andrew right? Let us know in the comments!

[Music] Custom Snare Drum Build

Though I don't cover it as much on this blog, music is definitely one of my biggest passions - with the drums being my favorite instrument. On the side, I occasionally build drums (read: very occasionally). I just don't have the money to pump out drums all the time, but I do have friends that are interested in getting some custom drums made. That is how this build came to be.

I was talking drums with my friend, Sam, and the topic of snare drums came up. Long story short, he wanted a new one. I told him that I built my personal main workhorse snare and that I could come up with something for him. We started planning it out - shell, size, hardware, finish, etc. and I got to building. After a few weeks of hard work, she's officially done.

The majority of the time spent came from the finishing process. Each coat of stain or finish takes at least a full day to dry before the next coat can be applied. This particular satin finish took me quite a few coats to get right, but in the end, it's totally worth it.

As far as details go, she's made up of a 14x5.5 maple Keller shell with chrome tube lugs, wood hoops, and a deep brown stain with a satin finish. I put an Aquarian Texture Coated Center Dot head on the batter side and an Aquarian Classic Clear Snare Side on the snare side. Finally, I threw a set of 24 strand Fat Cat snares on there. To sum it up for you non-drummer folk, she's quite lovely.

This is my first experience with wood hoops, and needless to say, I'm in love. Wood hoops carry a hefty price tag, but they are totally worth it. Not only are they drop dead gorgeous and just pure classy, they sound amazing.

I also fell in love with the Fat Cat snares. You can get a ton of different sounds out of them thanks to the two sections that are adjustable independently of one another. It's like having two separate strainers. I'll be getting some for my personal snare drums.

Oh, "How does it sound?" you ask? The answer lies below. Here's a quick video I shot.


Audio details are as follows: GLS ES-57 (SM57 copy, brilliant, especially for the price paid, just read all the reviews on this thing) on the batter head, Karma K-Micro Silver Bullet small diaphragm condensor on the snare side, and a pair of Karma K-Micro Silver Bullets on overheads. No EQ was used, so you're hearing the pure audio signal with a tad bit of compression.

I had a great time building this beauty and I'll be sad to see her go. I honestly want to hold onto her and call her my own. Who knows? Maybe Sam won't ever see her.

[Music] Sweetness, a Jimmy Eat World Drum Cover

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn9nRa8n7lU&feature=relmfu] Here's a drum cover I put out recently of "Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World. In my opinion, Bleed American was one of the best records of its time, and is my personal favorite Jimmy Eat World record. The cover itself was shot and recorded in one take with only one camera. It's raw and I just had fun with it. It was also the first video I played around with color grading. Hopefully you all enjoy it.

[Music] Five Iron Frenzy Drum Cover and the Story Behind It

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmaJfOInM3I&feature=channel_video_title] I recently recorded a drum cover of Five Iron Frenzy's newest song from the grave, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night." If you do not know, Five Iron Frenzy is one of the greatest ska bands to grace the world. Maybe that's an overstatement, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Anyway, they broke up in 2003 to the dismay of fans everywhere. In November of last year, they announced that they are coming back from the dead with an uber successful Kickstarter campaign that met their goal of $30,000 in about 55 minutes. At the moment, they have $186,363 pledged. They also released this track as a free gift to their faithful fans.

After posting the cover to Youtube, I put a link to the video on Five Iron Frenzy's Facebook page on a whim. I was just hoping to share the video with some fellow fans, but what I least expected happened... Five Iron Frenzy liked the post. I stopped for a while and thought, "Wow, the band, or at least someone in the band/affiliated with the band saw it and liked it enough to click 'Like'!" If that wasn't cool enough, I noticed that my view counter started to jump and I started getting comments from random Youtube folk. Sweet, people somehow found my video. It wasn't until user bobbytharabbit told me via comment that the band put my video up on their Facebook page. That just killed me.

I was honored, humbled, and dumbfounded as it all happened. There I was, just another Asian kid on Youtube (there's a ton) posting content for fun, and one of my favorite bands notices! That's the power of social media, I tell ya. I hope all of you enjoy the video.

Technical Info Video was shot on a Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 both with Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lenses and a 35mm f1.8 on the D7000 for a couple shots.

Audio was recorded with some new mics and a new interface. I had a pair of Karma K-Micros as overheads and on both of my toms, an EV N/D 757A on the snare, and an SM58 on the kick. All the mics ran into a Tascam US-800 and into my computer.

[Music] Feliz Navidad! (and a drum cover)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TctUaGR3SGE] Hello everyone! I know it's been a very long time since I've posted, but here's a little gift for you all! I recorded a drum cover of José Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" with some of my new recording gear. I was inspired by Brad Davis of Adventure Drums, so I donned a faux-moustache, my naughty boxers, and a rather creepy tude. Feel free to subscribe, comment, rate, whatever your heart desires, maybe I'll start posting more videos. Merry Christmas, I love you all!

Technical Info Video was shot on a Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 both with Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lenses. The 7D shoots at 60 fps while the D7000 shoots at 24 fps, so there is some noticeable difference between the shots from both cameras. I was able to work around this for the most part.

Audio was recorded with some new mics and a new interface. I had a pair of Karma K-Micros as overheads and on both of my toms, an EV N/D 757A on the snare, and an SM58 on the kick. I'm still waiting on clips and stands for most of my mics, so I used some gaffers tape and got the mics decently placed around the kit. The sound isn't where I want it to be yet, but I'll be working on it. All the mics then ran into a Tascam US-800 and into my computer.

[Music] House of Blues Anaheim Show

Two weeks ago today (July 5), I played a show at the House of Blues Anaheim with some friends of mine. Just to think that I would be playing on the same stage that so many big names played on made it an honor for me. I was asked to play second guitar with my friend, Peter Chun, but I didn't feel very adequate because guitar is not my main instrument (the drums are). Not to mention, this was the biggest gig I've played, so it was nerve wracking. Nevertheless, I accepted the offer and was excited.

After all the long (and not so long) rehearsals, the day came. We loaded up one car with our gear, sans drum set and amps, and drove off. We got to park in the rear VIP lot and we all got cool passes with Mickey's silhouette on it (this House of Blues is in Downtown Disney). After taking the elevator up, we were in the backstage area. Boy, it was much smaller than I thought. There were somewhere between six and seven bands playing that night and the narrow hallways were even narrower with all the gear in them. The greenroom had a bathroom, a television set showing live feed from the stage, and was well stocked with water. All of these things were of the highest importance (slight bit a sarcasm).

During all the waiting time (there was a lot of it) before our set, we mingled with some of the other bands and watched the bands that played before us. Pretty much everyone there sounded great. We met some really awesome, down-to-earth guys from the headlining band, Iron Sharpens Iron. They are a super talented local metal band, but have a nice melodic side to them. I actually enjoyed their soundcheck even though I'm not a fan of metal.

Our set came up. We set up and had a quick monitor check (not everyone got to soundcheck), and we were on. But before I talk about our set, I want to spend a little while talking about the backline gear. I'm a gearhead, forgive me and/or read on if you aren't interested. I'll start with the drums because that's my home. They had an awesome DW kit in a silver glass glitter finish in pretty much any size you can imagine. From what I saw, they had 20" and 22" kicks, toms from 8" to 18", and a sick little Pork Pie throne. As per standard gig etiquette, all drummers brought their own snare drum, cymbals, and pedals. I played through a Marshall JCM 2000 and a 4x12 cab, Peter played through a Fender Twin Reverb, and Eric, our bassist, played through an Ampeg SVT head and a 8x10 cab. I'm not too sure about the bass head because I didn't get to look at it closely. My signal chain went something like this: G&L Tribute ASAT Semi-Hollowbody Bluesboy -> TC Electronic Polytune -> Boss ME-10 -> Marshall JCM 2000. Ok, now that the gear section is over, let's continue on.

Here's our set list: "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, "Ms. ICA," an original by Peter, "Fix My Heart," another original by Peter, "Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars, "Neon" by John Mayer, and "Bold as Love" by Jimi Hendrix. There's so much I want to talk about, but it would take forever, so I'll briefly mention the main points I want to hit. The sound and lighting were super professional. I know it's expected because it's a big venue, but it's nothing like I've experienced before. For me, it was pretty revolutionary and I'll definitely miss it when I play smaller shows. We each had our own custom monitor mixes and everything sounded...good. That's pretty unusual for someone like me' whose only played small shows.

Our set went really well. We opened with the lights out and crazy spaceship-like modulation sounds from Peter's guitar going straight into a huge intro with lights in "Use Somebody." The other songs were fun, but "Bold as Love" was just ridiculous. As the closer, we did it big. Peter did all sorts of crazy stuff like playing behind his head, putting the guitar down on the floor and playing it like a lap steel, and whatnot. Overall, the show was definitely a fun, memorable one.

Well, that was the show in a nutshell. My writing may be a bit sloppy, but please excuse that, there were just too many things to talk about.

Note: I didn't have my camera with me, so all photos are courtesy of our friends, Jason Watanabe and Samuel Choo.

[Music] Mighty Mouth - Tok Tok ft. Soya Drum Cover

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PRwfzv2-W8&feature=feedlik] I've been playing a lot of drums again now that I'm back home. A while back, I asked my friends for some song suggestions for drum covers. This is one of the songs that was suggested by my good friend Nathanael. It's a Korean song called "Tok Tok" ("톡톡") by a group called Mighty Mouth. I don't listen to much Korean music myself, so this was rather new to me. However, it was fun to play along with, so I went ahead and recorded it.

This is also the first video on my brand new Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/edwinchomusic! Please feel free to subscribe, like, favorite, comment, etc. It would be great to get some support especially with this fresh start. I felt that my old channel had no focus and was just random videos of mine. This is just another step in rebranding my identity online.

Technical Info Video was shot on a Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 both with Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lenses. I shot somewhere between 1/30 and 1/60, f2.8, and ISO 1000. Video was edited in iMovie.

The audio signal was as follows: Shure SM58 over the snare, EV N/D 757A over the floor tom and ride pointed towards the snare, both equidistant from the snare. The mics ran into a Mackie mixer (with slight EQ and a tad bit of reverb), which ran into a Behringer UCA 222 interface, into my MacBook Pro, and into GarageBand.

[Music] Livingwater Album Recording

Last Thursday I got the opportunity to go into the studio at Expressions College with my church here in Berkeley, Livingwater. Studio time was graciously given to us thanks to our producer, Sean. We were supposed to record chorus vocals for all the tracks, but due to technical difficulties and the need to record instrumentals, we couldn't lay down too many tracks. We did get Mickey Cho's (see my post on Mickey Cho and The Nehemiah Band) 8 bars on "Set a Fire," which was filthy (as in freaking awesome) as always.

When I stepped into the studio, I felt like the cliche kid in a candy store. It was my first time in a real studio, so all the high end mics, preamps, effects, and whatnot made me develop a serious case of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).

[Edit] I guess I should mention that I also took some video footage. That some of that might go into a behind the scenes DVD that might come out with the album, so look out for that as well!

Click here for more photos in a slideshow!


[Music] The Nehemiah Band and Mickey Cho at Cal

The Nehemiah Band and Mickey Cho played at New Church here in Berkeley, CA on Saturday, Feb. 5. Knowing that the Nehemiah Band boys were coming up, I contacted Ki, their manager, to see if I could take photos. In the back of my head I was hoping that they would have their own photographer so that I could just second shoot and not have so much pressure...but of course their in house photographer couldn't make it. Fantastic! I got to the venue surprisingly early and met some awesome people that were helping out. The guys were a bit surprised to see me. I am a LA native and they probably didn't expect to see me in Norcal of all places.

This was my first time actually hearing Mickey's music. I had heard of him before, but wow, this guy can spit. His songs are powerful and flow so well. "Not For Sale" was especially moving. It's a song about modern day human sex trafficking. His friends Hanna Baek and "The Legend" were also amazing. Check him out at www.mickeycho.com and support him by buying his music.

The Nehemiah Band put on an energetic live show as always. Every time I see them play, I'm blown away. You don't always see a band with stage presence like these guys. Oh yeah, and they're Korean. Say whattttttttt!? They played some of their standard meat and potatoes songs, which you can't ever go wrong with. However, they also threw in "Chinese Girl," which is their version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Disney's Mulan, and "Rice, Kimchi, and Eggs" with their new Power Rangers intro. Pure greatness.

After the show, some of us went to Nation's for burgers and pies with Mickey and TNB. Expect a (favorable) review of Nation's in the near future.

Some notes on the photos: The lighting conditions weren't the best, but I was able to work around it. When TNB came on, there was almost no light on John (the drummer) and Gilbert (the bassist), so there are far fewer photos of them. I shot with my D7000 and 35mm f1.8 between ISO 4000 and 6400, f/1.8-2.2, and 1/100 and 1/200 shutter speeds. There's quite a bit of noise in some of the photos, but I did what I could to clean most of them up (e.g. go black and white).


[Music] Hieroglyphics at UC Berkeley

The smell of weed permeates the air. Wisps of cigarette smoke rise from the crowd. The bass kicks in and you feel it in your body.

The Hieroglyphics Crew came to Cal on February 2 thanks to SUPERB Productions. Sproul was packed, but then again, I did get there about 10 minutes late. As I walked around before the show started, people came up to me and asked "who are these people?" and "are they a new group?" Obviously, the majority of the people watch were just rolling through and decided to watch. To answer your questions, Hieroglyphics is an underground rap group that started in 1991 in Oakland, CA. Why they asked some random Asian kid about the group, I'll never know.

The group was scheduled to come on at 5 pm, but of course they didn't start playing until later. I only stayed for an hour or so because there were too many people, so I didn't get to witness the greatness of the whole show. However, while I was there, it was excellent.

Quick note on the last photo. Notice the symbolism of three here? Three lights, three doors, three eyes. (This sentence would have been at the end, but it was acting glitchy and now showing up.)

[Music] Behringer Tube Ultragain Mic100 Preamp

This will be my first product review. Well, I guess I wouldn't call this a review per se. More like a warning, I'm not even going to take photos. Just don't buy this. Don't. I got the Mic100 because I needed a preamp and this one was cheap, but it made my recordings hard to use. It's full of noise; whenever it's plugged in, you get this horrendous hum. It also didn't warm up my recordings, but gave them a tinny sound instead. I used this preamp on my latest recording, "Rocketeer," which I put up here two posts ago. I had to put some EQ on the tracks to counteract the tinny properties of the preamp and add the shaker to cover up the hum. The recordings were salvageable, but I would not use this box again. I'm returning it.

[Music] Rocketeer Cover

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XMPoxQmsWk] Here's a song I recorded with a couple of my friends. Elliot came to me asking to record some songs with Kristen; this is one of them. Elliot wrote the third verse and chorus. The signal chain for the audio was SM58 > Behinger Mic100 Preamp > Mixer > Behringer UCA222 > Computer. Video was shot with a Nikon D7000 and a 35mm f1.8.

[Music] "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley" Drum Cover

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zh3OYJFGew] Hey guys, here's my first musical post. This is a little drum cover of "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley" by Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana. Now, I don't normally enjoy popular songs on the radio because honestly, nearly all of them suck, but wow, this song was so catchy and I knew that it would be fun to play along with. So I made some time while studying for finals and did the cover.

TECHNICAL INFO: The video was shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens at 1/30 second, f/2.8, and ISO 3200. Yep, that video was shot at ISO 3200, pretty clean, eh? The video and audio were synced together in iMovie.

The audio signal was something like this: Shure SM58 over snare, EV N/D 757A over the floor tom and ride pointed towards the snare as well to cut down on phasing issues. The mics ran into a Mackie mixer (with slight EQ and a tad bit of reverb), which ran into a Behringer UCA 222 interface, into my MacBook Pro, and into Audacity. I'm personally not a big fan of Garage Band only because I'm not that used to it quite yet. I plan on messing around with it in the future.

[Photo] Wiguna Project Album Release Concert Preview

Here's a little preview of the most recent show I shot for my friends over at the Wiguna Project. They just released their debut album, Give Us the Weekend. I'll have the full album up soon, I just need to figure out how to process the RAW files from my D7000, which I used as a second camera during the show. That might take a couple days.

Ben Clement opening up

Frontman Jeff

Little brother Justin playing a song for his girl

Anthony Chatman, frontman from their old band

[Photo] All Day with the Nehemiah Band

I had a glorious opportunity this past Saturday to spend all day with my favorite local band, The Nehemiah Band. For one low price, you got a concert, seminars, a Clippers game, AND hang out time with the band. Now, I have never met a band that works so hard to build relationships with their fan base. It's pretty cool when the band knows you by first name. Sweet. The Nehemiah Band is probably one of the most creative groups out there. For one, their music. Wow. I don't know how to categorize it, but simply put, its pure, passionate sonic bliss. And then, what other band out there throws an event like this one? Spending ALL DAY with the band?

[EDIT] Seems like I forgot to add that the sans facial hair Alex Hwang emceed the event and Stephen from Feats in Inches ran sound. They are both wonderful musicians as well. Make sure you check out Alex Hwang and Feats in Inches!

Back to the actual event now. My good buddy, Ben Bae, opened up with his friend accompanying him on vocals and keys. Ben was great as always.

The Nehemiah Band played their set next. It was filled with energy and awesomeness.

They included plenty of crowd interaction and free merch as well.

After the concert portion of the event, we were able to attend 2 seminars of our choice. Each member of the band taught in their fields of specialty. Mike Whang did one on Acoustic Guitar and another on Songwriting, Gilbert did one on Bass and the History of Music in the Church, DJ Descry, the married man, did one on Dating, Kevin Kim did one on Electric Guitar, and John Chong did one on the Music Industry. I attended the latter two, but I wanted to go to all of them.

We grabbed dinner, then it was off to the Clippers game. I'm not the biggest sports fan in general, but wow, that was one heck of a game to go to. Even though the beloved Clippers lost to the Knicks, we witnessed Blake Griffin in all of his blazing greatness. 44 points and some monster dunks. Holy shmoly that was a fun game to watch. I don't have any photos from the game because I realized I was shooting JPEGs the whole day and switched to RAW. My software doesn't support the D7000's RAW files quite yet, so those photos are just sitting on my disk waiting to be converted. Good thing I accidentally shot JPEG!

Raffles were held throughout the day and I won a ticket to tonight's Clippers game against the Hornets as well as play time on the Staples Center floor, but I couldn't make it, so I gave the ticket to one of my friends. Hopefully he'll use it well.

Well that was All Day with the Nehemiah Band in a nutshell.

For all you photo geeks out there like me, I shot most of the show between ISO 800 and 1600. I started out at 800 on Ben's performance and slowly crept up to 1600 during TNB's set. I was shooting on a Nikon D7000 with a 35mm f1.8 at around f2.8 for most of the show.