Ben Ellingworth: How I use e-drums

Thursday, 22 March 2018 10:47 am

Australian award-winning drummer Ben Ellingworth adds colour with electronics.

I have just wrapped up a tour around Australia with UK legends Pop Will Eat Itself.  I’ve been a big fan of these guys forever and they were a big inspiration for the style I’ve always enjoyed playing, especially on the electronic side of drumming.

I’m also the full-time drummer for the Australian artist Illy, who I’ve been with for just over four years. We are currently off our tour cycle after a huge year in 2017 which ended with us receiving an Aria (Australia’s equivalent of a Grammy) for best Australian live act which was an incredible way to finish up a very busy year. We’ll be back out on the road towards the end of this year, hopefully.

I’m also working on a couple of new projects back home in Melbourne, so I’m excited to get those out and in peoples’ faces very soon.

This Multi 12 is the module that runs out to my Yamaha DT50S snare and DT50K kick acoustic triggers. I have a Roland KT-10 aux kick trigger pedal to the right of my bass drum pedal and, finally, I use an aux Yamaha XP80 trigger pad for additional sub drops and longer loop samples.

I’ve also started travelling with a Yamaha DTX module for things that don't require as much saved memory. These are great as they have a lot more input options, they’re small and very easy to travel.

The Yamaha DTX has a really handy app (DTX Touch) that I have on my iPad that connects straight to the unit so you can get into your parameters and make changes a lot easier.

I use Abelton for my writing and arranging, and always have it on hand to do any edits or extracting samples.

E-drums allow me to explore a greater range of possibilities outside of standard drum sounds. You can transform an acoustic drum kit into any instrument or sound through triggering. I’ve always loved being given the task of taking a electronic part from an album and recreating it live.

Dynamically, it’s really inspiring when writing and gives you a completely different and endless sonic palette to work with.

My main role with Illy is to get the stems from his sessions and figure out how best to manually perform those parts live. We have the option to throw it on a backing track, but for me, that should only be reserved for when I physically can’t play all the layers. Often, I’ll start with the backbeat kick and snare stems and then I’ll figure out what additional sounds will be played as one shot samples and what needs to be a loop, and then anything after that will be either layered over another sample or chucked onto the backing track.

Ben’s set-up

Yamaha acoustic drums

10x8, 12x8, 16x15, 22x20

14x6.5 Brass Recording Custom snare (alternating with a 14x5 Jimmy Chamberlain signature and an Evetts Custom jarrah 13x7)

Yamaha DTX Multi 12 sample pad, DT50S/K kick and snare triggers, XP80 pad and a Roland KT-10 kick trigger pedal.

Yamaha DTX700 Module  

  • Paiste cymbals:
  • 15” Masters Dark hats, 17” & 19” Masters Dark crashes, 8” 602 Modern Essentials splash, 10” Twenty series metal splash, 22” 602 Modern Essentials ride, 14” PSTX Swiss FX hats and an 18” PSTX Swiss FX crash and 2002 16” China

Los Cabos drumsticks in a 5B wood tip