John Longstreth’s drumming with death metal veterans Origin relies on speed and ergonomics, and his rig exhibits that in a number of ways. “Origin grew up doing metal festivals, which is a world of fifteen-minute changeovers,” he says. “I put my kit on a rack, so it takes my vocalist and me five trips up or down. The rack also keeps every part of the kit really close together, which is key because I have short arms and I’m trying to get from here to there in nanoseconds. As a result I’ve learned to keep my elbows close to my sides. For that same reason, I like the 20″ kick. It makes everything else, like toms and cymbals, a little bit more manageable. Also, [the smaller kick] has a punch that you don’t find in other sizes.”

Longstreth relies on a pair of small ride cymbals to articulate the time. “My ride cymbals are 18″ Mega Bells,” he says. “These compete well with the guitar amps, and fit snugly amongst the rest of my setup. They also make bow and bell work easier. For this music, they just need to go ‘ding’ really loudly.”

When asked why he chose duplicate cymbals for the right and left sides of his kit, Longstreth explains, “The mirrored cymbal thing is something that I’ve been doing for a long time. It helps keep me centered, and I think it’s sensible to learn how to use your other limbs. I lead with my left hand to relieve my right hand from doing everything, plus it’s just cool doing things leading with the left.

“For this music I’m a rock drummer in fast-forward,” John continues. “All of the colors, roundness, and floating in the music happens in the cymbals. The drums are more on the grid and utilitarian for the timekeeping, but the cymbals can make the whole thing swing harder or have more feeling.”

As with most touring bands, Origin’s soundman is as valuable as any band member. John trusts his engineer implicitly and heeds his front-of-house advice. “I used to have a different idea of what my sound should be,” he says. “But I’m the only one behind the kit, and the drums sound different to everyone else in the room, especially with the music being as fast as it is. He tells me things like, ‘Don’t swing at the Chinas like a madman,’ or, ‘Lay off the rim shots.’ The idea is that you’re only going to be as audible as your fastest blast beat.”

Drums: Pearl Reference in Piano Black
A. 5×14 snare
B. 14×14 floor tom
C. 8×10 tom
D. 8×12 tom
E. 16×16 floor tom
F. 16×20 bass drum

Cymbals: Meinl Classics Custom Dark
1. 14″ Medium hi-hats
2. 18″ Prototype Mega Bell ride
3. 18″ Heavy China
4. 18″ Medium crash
5. 10″ splash
6. 8″ splash
7. 12″/14″ Benny Greb Generation X Trash Hats
8. 20″ Medium crash

Heads: Evans Heavyweight snare batter, G2 Clear tom batters and G1 Clear resonants, EMAD2 bass drum batter and DrumART logo front
Hardware: Pearl, including an Icon rack, Eliminator cable hi-hat, and Roadster drum throne; ACD Darwin long-board direct-drive double pedal
Sticks: Scorpion Percussion John Longstreth “Wee Heavy” signature model
Electronics: Roland TM-2 trigger modules, Lenovo Android tablet for click tracks and ambient samples, Behringer four-channel mixer, Roland TM-7 pad for 808 bass drops, and 64 Audio in-ear monitors


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