Ludwig Drums

Dan Konopka

Ludwig Drums

Ludwig Drums

Ludwig Drums
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1. What has your schedule been like lately?

As of recently, OK Go has been on a song writing break and personal family life hiatus. Last December my wife Kristy and I had a baby boy - Cohen. Parenting, needless to say has been taking a lot of my time and attention. September 16th OK Go heads back into the studio for production of our fourth album. We'll be recording with Dave Fridmann again and hope to release the album in spring 2013.

2. OkGo has the designation of being something like an artistic collective. How does the group balance between being a proper touring band and a creative think-tank?

In the last year touring has taken second fiddle to lots of other wilder and unusual projects for OK Go. I think the future holds less touring for us in general but even more wild parallel projects. We really allow ourselves the freedom to be as unusual as we can.

3. Are there any drawbacks to the gig?

Not really any I can think of to be honest. The other band members are really supportive with each others separate projects and since we've been a band for 12 years, it really feels like family.

4. What would you say fuels your personal playing style?

Not to sound cliche but for me, the song really dictates the style. I'm totally open to whatever feel or sound suits the song. Chances are rather good the next album will have a lot more programmed drums on it. Which suits me fine. I'm pretty sure it'll be a great blend of live and programmed drumming.

5. How did the band start?

The band started in 1998 in Chicago, although our members have been friends as far back as the mid eighties. That first year we rehearsed for about 6 months before playing our first show and then played all over town for about two years. In 2001 we were picked up by Capitol Records and had our debut album out in 2002. The first 4 years of being signed we were on the road about 9 months a year. It was pretty classic rock band stuff.

6. What has been your most difficult -or challenging- gig, and how did you handle that?

The most difficult experience I've had to date as a drummer was the process of making our first record. Our record was an important one for the label and for us - so we couldn't short change anything. After about a week of tracking my drums, the head of the label and the producer decided to call in other drummers. You probably know which ones too. I got to watch the best session musicians play on the songs I played and toured for the last two years. It was a very humbling experience. But now I feel it gave me the absolute best lesson on great studio drumming - how to handle the downs of big label business - and what ultimately matters more than anything, is to stay positive and keep your head up.

7. Any tricks you can share that you use to keep your playing fresh?

I like to produce other music on my computer on the side. Writing songs and programming drums really gets you in touch with what really makes music work. Being able to "see" the drumming (wave forms on a computer screen) gives you a completely fresh view on what it is we do with our hands and feet behind a kit. Playing "behind the beat" can make a lot more sense if you have the opportunity to see it against a grid in a DAW.

10. What have been some of your favorite projects you have worked on as part of OkGo.

I think my favorite project that the band has done was being a part of the half time show for a home Notre Dame game. My favorite video shoot was for the song "End Love". It was a time lapse video shot over the course of 24 hours. We slept a night through in a city park. That represented 8 seconds of the video.

11. What’s been your touring set-up, and what are you digging about it?

I'm playing a Bubinga wrap 4 piece Ludwig with a 6.5 Black Beauty. I love the whole kit! When we play gigs with rentals, I can instantly feel a difference. Love getting back to my drums.

12. How important to you are the drums you play and how do you feel it affects your playing?

I'd say it's pretty important. I mean, it's like wearing a fitted suit. It feels good and comfortable. Everything is tuned the way I like and set to the appropriate hight, it just feels like home.

13. What drew you to Ludwig?

I always knew Ludwig was/is one of the greatest drum companies in the world. I knew their snares were the ones on all my favorite records. I knew that their distinctive sound was going to fit what OK Go was about. It was really not a difficult choice to play Ludwig.

14. Can you describe how you tweak your drums to get your personal sound?

Generally I like to keep my drums tuned as low as I can get them. I keep them wide open and try not to change the heads if possible. I love the broken in feel and sound of older heads.

15. Are there any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about?

Hopefully OK Go will be doing a video collaboration with Boeing. (the plane manufacturer) Our initial idea was to shoot the very first weightless music video!

16. Who are you major drumming influences?

All the great. Bonham, Rich, Ringo and Gadd. I love Manu Katche's playing. And of course the dudes that replaced me on our first album, Freese and Chamberlain!

17. What are your four favorite albums (drumming or otherwise)?

love every Beatles album and every Led Zeppelin record. Recently though I've been getting into a lot more electronic stuff. Right now I really can't get enough of what Diplo's been doing!

Ludwig Drums and Percussion