Sean Reinert made his name drumming up a storm with experimental death metal bands Death and Cynic—playing with fire, precision, and a serious level of technical facility. Last year Sean joined forces with progressive rock/pop group Perfect Beings, after they recorded the tracks for their latest album, Vier, with drummer Ben Levin. Now Reinert gets to indulge in all the things that interest him, interpreting involved parts with skill and throwing in chops and musicality as he sees fit. “When I heard the record, it couldn’t have been a sweeter moment,” says Reinert, “because this was exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. First, I’m a composer, and half of this stuff is orchestrated. And second, everything is all over the place musically and dynamically, in a good way. It’s an amalgam of all the styles that I love.”

You’d think this was the opportunity to take a big kit on the road, with all the bells and whistles to bring the material to life. But Reinert is actually scaling down. “This was me coming into a new situation with everything kind of done, as opposed to Cynic or Death, where I was involved in writing the music from scratch,” says Sean. “And because the music is way more dynamic, as far as what’s going on texturally, I’ve stripped down my kit a little bit. I’m going with a traditional five-piece—one up, one tom to the right, and one tom to the left, and then kick and snare.

“I’m in the ‘less-is-more’ thing for like the tenth time in my life,” Sean chuckles. “I’m from the New Breed school [referring to Gary Chester’s famously advanced drum method book], so I feel naked without anything to my left. And I have a weird way of setting up my double pedal, with my hi-hat on the inside. I hate having my hi-hat super high or far away from me, where I’m crossing my hands ridiculously if I’m not playing open handed. This allows me to have the hi-hat in a comfortable location.”

As far as his actual equipment, Reinert is sticking to what has worked well for him over the years, but with a few new snare and head choices. “I use Tama Starclassic Maples in the studio, and live I use a Starclassic Birch/Bubinga kit,” explains Reinert. “On top, it’s a 6.5×10, then a 12×14 to my right, and then I jump to a 16″ on the floor to my left. For my snare I’ve been using my Starclassic 14″, but lately I’ve been really grooving on a Tama 7×13 S.L.P. G-Maple, which is amazing. You can detune it, you can tune it high, it rings, it sings…I’m blown away. The kick is an 18×20, and I also use a 20×22. For heads, my normal go-to for toms would be an Evans G2 on top and a Genera resonant on bottom, but lately I’ve been using UV1 batters and I’ve been loving it. Evans just keeps raising the bar in that area.”

In the cymbal world, Reinert suddenly finds himself with options to change it up in the midst of the same show or even the same song. “With this band, I get to do what I used to admire when seeing jazz shows back in the day,” says Reinert, “where guys would swap out ride cymbals in between tunes. And I’m doing that with Perfect Beings during the songs. I’m only using two crashes and two rides—a washy crash/ride to my left, and my main utility ride, which is usually my 21″ Sabian HHX Legacy ride, because it has that perfect amount of stick definition and wash, and it has a nice bell. I also use a Sabian 20″ AAX Memphis ride, which is in between being a flat ride and not being a flat ride. It’s really dry but not super dry. I also have a Sabian 21″ Vault Custom, which is in between that Memphis ride and the Legacy ride. And the final ride is the Ed Thigpen Flat Signature Crystal ride. For crashes I’m usually a Legacy guy, 17″ or 18″.”

Reinert also uses Regal Tip 5AX sticks, Ultimate Ears UE 11 in-ear monitors, and the old-school Roland SPD-S sampling pad to trigger percussion, vocal parts, and “all the stuff that can’t be recreated live.” Other road must-haves include his “tackle box survival kit,” which holds felts, earplugs, Moongels, lugs, and first aid items like Band-Aids and antibiotic ointments.

“Nutrition is a big thing,” says Reinert. “I always bring Emergen-C, and even if I’m not sick, I’m doubling down on my multivitamins. Something I don’t put in my bag but is very important is sleep—getting rest on the road, and not partying. You’re a drummer, you’re an athlete. You can’t be polluting your body and staying up all night and then expect to crank out a perfect set on two hours of sleep. And also, a smoke-free environment. I get sick very easily. And I don’t do anything that will jeopardize my moving parts. No more skateboarding, no more trying to dunk the basketball. I can go swimming or hit the stationary bike.”

The Perfect Beings gig is a challenge physically and mentally, so Reinert is constantly aware of keeping his mind limber, but also knowing when to take a break. “Some people like to completely immerse themselves in the music situation, and some guys like to disconnect,” he says. “It depends on the time of year. If it’s winter, I’m not going hiking. Books are easy to keep on your phone. I also like to bring my iPad with music sequencing and writing programs.”

• Starclassic Birch/Bubinga tour kit
• Tama 7×13 S.L.P. G-Maple snare
• Evans UV1 tom heads
• Sabian HHX Legacy, AAX Memphis, Vault Custom, and Ed Thigpen Flat Signature Crystal rides
• Regal Tip 5AX sticks
• Ultimate Ears UE 11 in-ear monitors
• Roland SPD-S sampling pad
• tackle box survival kit
• Emergen-C supplement, multivitamins
• ample sleep/smoke-free environment
• digital books
• iPad with music programs