Gear Talk: Drums – Luke’s Kit

It’s been a while since we wrote a gear blog (see the other entries in the series so far here), so in the run up to the release of our debut album Ellipsism, we thought it was about time we shone a light on the beast of a kit that Luke sat behind for the writing, recording and performing of it. Luke’s been in the band since the very tail end of 2019, and his incredibly accomplished style is all over the album. Get to know his tools of the trade below.

This is the drum setup used for the recording of Ba’al’s Ellipsism with Joe Clayton, our lovely mixing engineer, for scale. Unfortunately I do not have access to the drum kit while writing this as it’s in storage through lockdown, so I will provide as much information as I can be confident about!

The drum kit is a 6-piece Mapex M-birch Kit which I’ve had for at least 10 years. The sizes are:
● 22″ Bass Drum
● 10″ Rack Tom
● 12″ Rack Tom
● 13″ Rack Tom
● 16″ Floor Tom
● 14″ x 5.5″ Snare

The toms use 2Ply clear heads, the snare has 2Ply coated head and the bass drum uses some sort of heavy duty clear head with a kick port on the resonant head.

Photo by Marek Payne

For tuning, I generally have the batter heads quite tight (especially on the snare), with the resonant heads tuned lower. This achieves a fast attack with a nice beefy tone from the reso’s. Also I generally have my snare wires super tight.

I use Pearl Demon Drive (direct drive) pedals in the long board configuration for my feet, and Vic Firth extreme 5B drum sticks for my hands.

Cymbal-wise, my setup has evolved a lot as I’ve broken them and have had to find replacements from whatever the local shops have in stock. Going left to right:

● Zildjian Avedis Hi-Hats (13″?) with a drop clutch (not enough people know about drop clutches!)
● Dream Energy Crash (17″?)
● Istanbul Xist Crash (16″?)
● Dream Bliss 10″ China
● Sabian AAX 10″ Splash
● Sabian AAX Crash (19″?)
● Sabian AA Metal Ride (20″?)
● Istanbul Mehmet Session China (20″?)

My cymbal setup started out with a Zildjian ZXT starter pack. I then got obsessed with Mike Portnoy which led to me replacing the crash cymbals with Sabian AAX’s as the ZXT’s broke. Also thanks to Portnoy, I started getting a silly amount of Splash and FX cymbals. Now most of my AAX cymbals have been broken and replaced with other brands found in local shops. The Istanbul China cymbal was a particularly nice find as I have never found a China cymbal that better suits my sound. I also love the Dream 10″ china FX even though it’s got a large crack in it.

You’ll also see I have a Pearl drum rack which I managed to pick up Second hand at a very affordable rate. This has made mounting silly amounts of cymbals substantially easier. Besides that my hardware is all sorts of brands. But generally for gigging I have a set of lightweight Tama stands and quick release cymbal toppers.

Photo by Wemmy Ogunyankin

Back at the practice space I do have a lot more toys that I have purchased through the years. My YouTube channel has old drum videos where you can see how much of a drum hoarder I am (bless my parents for putting up with all this!). But some of my early drummer influences were Jimmy (the Rev) Sullivan, Mike Portnoy, & Joey Jordison who led me down a path of huge drum kits and small bank balances. You can probably still hear their influences in my playing today.

To finish, I have a Yamaha E-kit for practice at home. I acquired an electric kit when I started uni so I could practice in student accommodation – although the poor girl who lived below me still wasn’t best pleased. The E-kit is great for practice, and enabled us to get demos done for the Ellipsism album at a rapid rate, which made the entire demoing and recording process a lot smoother. But as great as E-kits are, they just are not as fun as sitting behind a big acoustic kit which I can barely see out of. I just fucking love it.

-Luke