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“After using Earthworks micing systems, I can truly say Earthworks mics achieve what I’m looking for. Earthworks Microphones truly capture the sound of my drums. They bring out the power, the sensitivity, and the integrity of every performance, whether listening through speakers or live.”
-Tony “Thunder” Smith
I first heard of Earthworks microphones was in 1996, working with Lou Reed. Jeremy Derby, then Lou’s monitor engineer was testing mics for the “Hookywooky Tour” This was a very serious task. Lou was not only a prolific songwriter and performer, but also a sound aficionado. When we would go into rehearsal for an up and coming tour, Lou would try a variety of mics for our stage and front of house sound. It was this that led me to think about microphones and they’re sound differences. In 2014, as a professor at Berklee College of music I had an opportunity to create new curriculum for the percussion department. I created a class that would give drummers the tools and techniques to record themselves. This was to be a recording class for drummers. Berklee set up the classroom and a project facility. In 2015 the class had run in prototype mode for a year. During that year I had many conversations about the content and the equipment I was using. The topic turned to microphones. One of the faculty, Henrique De Almedia, asked if I have ever used Earthworks microphones. I told him I had with Lou Reed, but never owned them or experimented with them. He suggested if I was going to NAMM 2016, I should look them up. He said he was an Earthworks endorser and was extremely happy.
At NAMM I had an opportunity to meet Kim Hilton of Earthworks. Kim was phenomenal, she made it possible for me to have hands on experience with the microphones. Working with the Earthworks micing systems, I’ve gained an entirely new respect for microphones. Working with Kim, I’ve gained an elevated respect for the company.
When I record a drum track, and go into the control room to it, I want my drums to sound like they did when I was playing them, and rarely that happens. After using Earthworks micing systems, I can truly say Earthworks mics achieve what I’m looking for. Earthworks Microphones truly capture the sound of my drums. They bring out the power, the sensitivity, and the integrity of every performance, whether listening through speakers or live.
I find limitless options with Earthworks microphones. They give me the ability to take the standard microphone placement to more of a creative level. The microphones I’m presently using – the DP30/C and the Earthworks DK25/R DrumKit™ System – give me clarity and punch. I’ve used these microphones in large live rooms, and my home studio, and they simply deliver. It takes much less time to get what I want, which gives me much more time for fun.
Just recently I performed for “The Bells: A Daylong Celebration of Lou Reed” at Lincoln Center in NYC. The front of the house engineer for this show happened to be Marc Urcelli, who was Lou’s front of house in 2011-2013. When I saw the setup, to my delight right over my head was a pair of Earthworks SR25. Lou in spirit was making sure that the sound for his tribute was right!
Tony “Thunder Smith is a world-renowned drummer, vocalist and producer, having worked with some of the most legendary artists of all time. Currently, he is a Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he brings into the classroom all his years of experience and understanding of all aspects of the recording and touring process that has made him a top choice among producers worldwide. And as of Januay 2016, “The Self produced Drummer”, which Tony created is now part Berklee’s curriculum.
Tony always displays a true drummer’s sensibility and consistently brings his energy and distinct style to projects ranging from rock, pop, r&b, funk, fusion, Latin, jazz and folk. Tony’s discography speaks of his ability to handle any and all kinds of musical challenges – from rock with Lou Reed to the hard driving jazz-fusion of the Jan Hammer Group, which he co-founded.
Tony’s mark is his melodic approach to rhythm and ability to inject life into the music he performs. This is clearly evident when creating drum sequences or loops for artists’ albums. He has also been involved in a variety of film, commercial and musical projects both at home in the U.S. and internationally. He has done commercial soundtrack production and scored original music for film and television.
Tony has had the honor of performing for President Clinton, President Havel of the Czech Republic and Pope John Paul. His musical opinions are often sought by leading music publications and he has been featured in the book, “Sticks and Skins”, a compilation of world-renowned drummers. Tony is also endorsed by major drum, cymbal and electronics companies.
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