Ravish Momin: How I use E-drums

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 2:58 pm

Ravish Momin is an Indian-born drummer, percussionist, electronic music producer and educator who has worked with musicians ranging from Shakira to Maurice McIntyre.

I had simultaneously led a hybrid world/jazz/electronic band called Tarana which toured internationally for 14 years, and we performed at festivals across the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. At the end of 2017, I felt it was time for a change and wanted to do something that was more electronic in nature.

Sometimes, as they say, some things are meant to happen. I’d done a jam session in September 2017 with Haitian-American electronic percussionist Val Jeanty at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn where I was artist-in-residence, and we just clicked musically. Out of that residency arose a new project, a live electronic duo called Turning Jewels Into Water, which was promptly signed by FPE Records based in Chicago, US. Of our sound, IndieRocks recently wrote: “ghostly voices, dislocated beats and a digital amalgam flow within their songs along with mutant dubs, polyrhythmic percussions and interferences produced by synthesizers and futuristic turntables”. We released an EP back in June, and just finished work on our full-length, which will be out in March 2019.

I currently use a 12” HybriPad  and 10” HybriPad by Alternate Mode, 10” Pintech electronic hi-hats, 8” Pintech electronic cymbal, Triggera bass drum e-beater, Steve Smith practice bass drum pad, DITI controller, Ableton Live 10, Arturia Beatstep controller, Samson MIDI controller and a Logidy USB foot controller.

I’ve always wanted to keep the acoustic drummer aesthetic as I’ve experimented with different combinations of traditional drum triggers on acoustic drums, electronic mesh-heads, (and) electronic pads over the past 10 years in order to add new sounds to my sound palette. The only constant through all those changes has been the use of the Ableton software to route/process the signal. However, as the music I created came closer to approximating electronic dance music, I realised I needed electronic drums that allowed for more accurate triggering as well. I also didn’t want to simply use preset drum samples, but wanted the flexibility to add effects and process my drum sounds live. On one section, I may want my drums to sound like they’re underwater, and on another, I may want to add a slight delay, or combine those effects, for instance.

Also, in a clear step away from the new Sunhouse triggers, I wanted to also have the ability to trigger and manipulate melodies, textures and song arrangements. I currently use Alternate Mode’s HybriPads which use FSR sensors. Moreover, replacing all my acoustic drums with electronic pads finally allowed me to create live loops without worrying about blending acoustic and digital signals. Additionally, Triggera’s bass drum Bix beater, which has a built-in sensor, allowed me to essentially trigger any surface, which further added to the portability of my kit. So, the end result is that I have programmed a group of about 20 MIDI drumsets (each with hand-picked sounds), that can be further mixed and matched live to generate an entirely new-sounding kit. Plus, once I start to apply VSTs such as TurnadoConvex, Fracture or even Ableton’s preset plug-ins to alter those sounds, I have an infinite set of drums at my disposal.