Being fluent in both the technical aspects of recording as well as the intricacies of drumming, Ronnie Vannucci exemplifies the level of aptitude today’s musician needs to sustain a long-spanning career. Best known as the drummer of the Grammy-nominated rock band, The Killers, Ronnie has recently collaborated with members of Keane, Mumford and Sons, and Noah and the Whale on the Mt. Desolation record, as well as on Brandon Flower’s solo album, Flamingo. Running parallel to his drumming artistry, Ronnie has and continues to write and record many of The Killers’ hits, including “Bones” and “Somebody Told Me”.
Throughout this multi-layered process of writing, recording and performing, Apogee’s Symphony System has been the centerpiece of his mobile studio. “I have taken my mobile recording rig around the world 3 times in less than 2 years,” Ronnie says. “I guess I've put it through the ringer. If you saw my luggage and then saw my mobile rig with Symphony, you wouldn't believe they were through it all together.” An Apogee advocate for many years now, Ronnie shares his experiences with the gear, the constituents of his mobile recording rig, and his approach to composition.
“With The Killers, writing song ideas usually comes a couple of different ways: individual ideas or getting into a room and playing together. On breaks, we usually work on ideas by ourselves and bring them to each other for refinement or change.”
“It really doesn't work just one way. Sometimes we'll bring in a tune and have a general idea where we'd like it to go, other times it's more open to manipulation. Sometimes songs fall into our laps by playing music together for a while, and that's the most fun.”
“On the road, or in the studio, we needed a dependable machine to capture great analog sound and play nice with our computer. Basically, it was a very natural decision to use The Symphony System.”
“Honestly, not one problem with the Symphony System. Other things on my rig have had to be replaced, not my Apogee. The thing still sounds, well, amazing, and we'll keep using it until Apogee blows my mind with something else.”
“Actually, I think about it the other way around. I tend to think more about songwriting these days and how my drumming can lend itself to making a better song.”
“Without bogging anyone down on technical speak, I have put together a truly great mobile recording rig with help from Apogee and Mercenary Audio.
Basically it's this gear:
“I play my favorite drums, made by Johnny Craviotto. They're made from solid pieces of hardwood that are steam-bent. The most honest sounding wooden drums I've ever heard.”
“The more I record, the more I realize that the performance is paramount in getting a good sound. Secondly, using a few good mics and experimenting with placement of those mics is the most fun for me. Treating the drums with different heads and tunings is helpful for varying ranges and textures. Whatever I do, I try and get the performance right for the song, that's most important for me.”