With David Bendeth
David Bendeth is a multi-platinum producer whose credits include Paramore, Breaking Benjamin, Bring Me The Horizon, A Day to Remember,and many others. He’s very well known for his drum sounds, and has a signature expansion pack of samples created for Steven Slate Drums and Trigger. David has a passion for outboard gear, and has partnered with Boz Digital Labs to bring some of his rare pieces to the world as plugin models. Learn more at davidbendeth.com
1 – Considering how long you’ve been in the game, how do you keep a fresh perspective on music trends and avoid sounding dated?
David: I never thought I would say this, but I really enjoy being my age and working with developing artists. I have always found it gave me an edge. I feel that when I discuss music I can talk to them on their level as I was once an artist at their age. I think the artists I work with come to me to learn and be more proficient. Staying ahead of the curve is paramount these days, and I feel my work also as an AR person over the years has allowed me to discover great talent, even if it has been developed by someone else. Taste in music has to be acquired, and I always felt that my passion for Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, and standards allowed me to have an open mind in regards to arrangement and songwriting.
2 – You’ve developed a signature series of plugins with Boz Digital Labs that emulated several of your hardware pieces that aren’t widely emulated. With so many companies making analog emulations, what was it about Boz Digital Labs that attracted you for this collaboration?
David: Boz has great technical expertise in regards to writing code and hearing sound. He was an obvious pick to reproduce what I heard in my head sonically. I knew what the originals sounded like and Boz emulated them to a tee.
3 – You’ve said that you hear drums differently than other people, and try to bring out the power and presence that you hear in your head with your productions. Have you been able to achieve the sound in your head, or are you still chasing it?
David: I chase sound every day, especially drums. I spent my formative years playing with and admiring Billy Cobham and Lenny White, who happen to be in the top tier in the world. I recognized drums at a very early age. The key for me is to not have the same sounding kit. I feel that my records have variation in sound, I am not sure everyone hears that in my records. I always try to give an artist an individual sound. All of this depends on the players, the technique, and the way the instruments speak. It’s so hard to find a full band of great players these days. It really is a shame because that is really my world, live playing with real instruments played right. Chasing sound is always elusive, chasing great songs is even more difficult.
David: I have to know lyrics. Whether mixing, writing, or producing, I have to know sentiment and implication. I have had many disagreements with bands that try to bury their singer in a mire of guitars and keys, to try and wash melodies away, to lose notions of greatness lyrically. I do not subscribe to the kitchen sink approach, it just shows musical insecurity and lack of arrangement. I change course all the time on what I am given and what I end up doing. It works most of the time once the egos leave the song, including mine, and we can build it back up once we serve the melody and the lyric sentiment.
5 – What is the most valuable lesson you had to learn the hard way?
David: The most valuable lesson I have learned is patience with myself and with the artist and the song. I try to separate them all at first, slow down the process, think it through. I also am at a point where I now have more time to experiment. I do not make 10 records a year, I make 5 or 6. I have also learned to respect what other people do and learn from every person and every experience. While I am so proud of the records I have done I know there is so much more for me to learn. I would say the most valuable lesson I have learned is patience with artists and their music, and their playing ability.