“This drumkit was aptly named the ‘DrumGarden’ by a visitor to my studio,” says Nicholas Kopp of Saratoga Springs, New York. The drummer tells MD that the premise for this month’s featured set was to create three distinct kits arranged in a circular fashion to be played from a single seated position.
“The kit in the foreground could be considered the most traditional of the three sets,” Kopp explains. “It features a kick and rack tom from a Japanese ‘stencil’ Stewart brand kit—with Ludwig WFL calfskin heads on the kick—and it’s completed by a WFL 14″ floor tom.” To the right of the Stewart kit is a hybrid electronic kit, featuring a floor tom, a bass drum, a triggered Sonor Jungle snare, a Hammerax Liquicy ride, and other small pieces including multiple cymbal stacks and other short-decay sounds.
Continuing clockwise, Kopp says, “Underneath the circular Hammerax Glass suspended cymbal is a cocktail kick that I wrapped in vintage postcards, a Remo Mondo snare, bamboo wind chimes, a Hadphoon made by Jamey Haddad, a Gon Bops Pete Engelhart Satellite bell, an African-inspired dundun I made myself from an oil drum, a 14″ Gretsch snare outfi tted with a wooden drumhead from Index Drums, and a massive-sounding 22″ Meinl Byzance Jazz China ride with rivets, which rounds out the ‘tribal’ area of the DrumGarden.”
Kopp tells MD that he sometimes replaces the Stewart kit with what he calls a “Little Orphan Luggie Variant,” which features three Ludwig marching snares in 14″, 15″, and 16″ depths; a 26″ Ludwig marching bass drum from the 1920s that he restored; and a Speed King bass drum pedal. “The Ludwig kick bears the remnants of the name ‘Little Richard,’ and I’m very interested in verifying if it could be attributed to one of the artist’s early bands.”
Kopp’s enjoyment of collecting unique pieces of gear over two decades of playing led to his current setup. “Many of the pieces of this kit are one of a kind,” he says. “Some cymbals were broken and cut down, rehammered, and relathed by cymbalsmith Brent Berggren of Electric City Bronze in Schenectady, New York. The postcard cocktail drum was cut down to make it easier to play while seated. And my favorite snare, a 7×14 white oak stave-shell with maple hoops, was made by drum builder Michael Carlito of transnaredrum.com.”
As an electronic musician, Kopp tries to find sounds that fit in well with the jungle and drum ’n’ bass music he creates. “I’ve always dreamt of cloning myself to perform both electronic music and drums at the same time,” he explains. “I’ve made some videos to this effect, layering three different performances on each kit, which makes me look like an octopus behind the drums.” To check out some of Kopp’s performances, visit his Instagram page, @therealdjnk, or search YouTube for “Nicholas Kopp.”
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