Interview with Mike Perkinpine: His Journey To Becoming a Full-Time Drum & Playback Tech

Mike is a pro drum tech and playback tech — building and setting up rigs for some of the biggest metal artists to…Avril Lavigne and Smashing Pumpkins? Yep.

Plus, he’s a From Studio to Stage student.

Mike was kind enough to hop on a call with me and share his story about becoming a playback tech and what really helped him get to the point he’s at now working with these pro artists and bands.

He also shares some great stories from the road and even some nice little tid bits of advice for aspiring drum and playback techs.

Artists mentioned in the episode Mike has worked with point_down

  • Ministry
  • Avril Lavigne
  • Sevendust
  • Smashing Pumpkins
  • Testament

Want to join the same community Mike is a part of? point_down

0:00 How a From Studio to Stage Student Went from a Drum to Playback Tech to Building Rigs

0:15 Behind the Space Bar: Interviewing Mike Perkinpine and Learning His Journey and Tips

2:59 Welcoming Mike and Starting the Interview

3:20 What’s something you feel like you naturally do better than others?

7:41 Mike’s Background and Journey Getting into Drum and Playback Tech

9:05 What does being a drum tech encompass?

10:40 Mike’s Experience as a Drummer and Balancing Intuition vs Knowledge of Kits

13:22 Mike’s Determination to Go the Extra Mile for the Best Possible Performance

15:34 Are you sound checking drums for the artist or does that depend on the artist?

17:26 Why Proper Line Check is Key to the Performance

19:10 Is there a style of music you typically work with?

20:31 What Got Mike into Being a Playback Tech

22:51 What gave you the confidence to do playback?

27:24 What steps helped you understand the “why” of playback tech?

31:48 How Mike Balances Drum and Playback Gigs

33:35 Mike’s Stories of Shows Going Wrong and How He Recovered

36:12 How Mike Start Building Rigs and Why He Enjoys It

40:32 The Benefits of Drum Tech, Playback Tech and Rig-Building Skills

44:29 Mike’s Main Advice and Encouragement for People in the Playback Space

46:27 How to Get in Touch with Mike

47:21 Thank You to Mike for Being a Great Person and Example FromStudiotoStage Student

48:29 Wrap Up: Mike Embodies “Humbly Confident” and “Humbly Curious”

50:05 Subscribe and share this content if you’ve enjoyed!


How do you go from being a drum Tech to a playback Tech to now

building rigs for some of the world’s biggest artists? Well today, I’m gonna

introduce you to it from Studio to Stage student that did just that

you’ll learn his exact path. And then one number one most

important thing that he did along the way to make all that happen.

Hey everyone, welcome back behind the space

ride. This is the podcast for anyone that uses able to live on

stage. If that’s you then welcome. You’re amongst friends.

This is a great place for you to be now today. I’m talking

to it from Studio to Stage subscriber Mike Perkin

Pine Mike’s been a subscriber for I believe almost three

years now and you’ll hear in the podcast. He has introduced

a lot of people to the site. So I personally thanked

him for introducing a lot of folks to the to the

site. Maybe you’re listening to this and you’re listening to this because

Mike said, hey go check out this podcast interview, but Mike is

a drum Tech and he went from being just a drum

Tech to being a drum Tech and a playback Tech as

well to learning how to run playback in Ableton Live

and I connectivity and creating a connected stage from

scratch. And in addition to that. He now builds playback

Rigs and he builds playback Rigs and does playback and

works with some of the biggest artists primarily in

the heavy metal scene. He mentioned a couple names on the podcast Ministry

Testament Seven Dust

Avril Lavigne not heavy metal but you know Avril Lavigne

nonetheless and as we recorded this interview, he was

currently building a rig for Smashing Pumpkins. So if you

hate pumpkins, if you love Halloween love the band

Smashing Pumpkins, it was a really terrible intro you’ll

love this interview with Mike but what I love about this, you’re gonna hear Mike’s journey

and path from how he got started as a drummer to

becoming a drum Tech. I asked him some questions about what

does that exactly mean? So if you’re unfamiliar with that you’ll

pick that up you also learn the importance of something you

can do that. You can Implement that will cost you absolutely nothing

that will instantly improve your rehearsal and most

importantly instantly improve your performances that

Mike helps every drummer that he works

with every artist he works with do but you’ll learn Mike’s journey

and he’ll also share a couple tips and tricks of what he did to learn

how to use playback to build his skill

set and ultimately get to where I would love to see you get if

you’re a musician a traveling musician gigging musician. You’re likely

in a place where you only get paid when you

Right play equals paid and if

you’re not playing if you’re not on a gig you’re not getting paid. Well, Mike has

now supplemented his income income to where not only

is he getting paid when he’s a drum Tech? He’s getting played to

to do playback Tech stuff as well.

And even when he’s not on the road working with another artist, he can

still build Ableton sets and as you’ll hear in the interview, he’s

also getting paid to build playback rigs. So he

doesn’t have to go out on the road with a brand new artist or try to

see how we can double book himself to make more money. He’s added

more money. He’s made more income more

Revenue by adding the skill set to his gig. So

if you’re looking to get and keep a gig, this is a great podcast to

you. So let’s dive in and let’s meet Mike Perkin Pine.

Mike man, thanks so much for joining me. How you doing doing good

man. How are you? I am doing well. You’re in

beautiful Anaheim, California, correct? I am sunny and

I’m here. It’s actually a little bit cool right now.

It’s like in the mid 60s. I was gonna say what’s cool for Anaheim because

every time I’ve been there the weather is just like unbelievable. But

yeah 60s, that’s not bad so mid 60s. Yeah.

So Mike this is a weird place

to start the conversation, but I’ve been enjoying asking people

this question and in like keeping them

on their feet right at the top of the conversation. So here’s my


To start this is a this is an easy one.

Not not really but to start the conversation. What is

one thing or maybe you could group it

into a certain set of skills, but what’s something that you feel like

you naturally do better than other

people or something that you would say is you’re unfair Advantage you

see other people struggle with it and you’re like you just

get it really really. Well. What’s that one thing or that kind of set of

skills? If you had to pinpoint it you would say is

is your unfair advantage.

Ah, that’s an excellent question wow

Let’s go with the fact that.

Under high pressure situations I can.

Remain calm whereas that’s where

as some other people that I’ve worked with, you

know, they get

they get you know frustrated and then

they start you know, like like kind of like with like

we do with playback, you know, you got to go through the steps in order

to figure out if there’s something wrong but the main thing

is to literally stay as

calm as possible.

You know, yeah, and that’s that’s like it’s really

easy for us to like play that down but that is

huge. I mean that’s massive in a live performance scenario. Right?

Right exactly because I’ve seen so many guys, you know, one thing goes

wrong and and it’s literally like with with

playback is literally like just opening up a midi port

in enabled since preferences and and that

that was the only issue. They’re like, oh wow. That was

my only problem Mike and I’m like, yeah just got

to remain calm day and on their

end. They thought the whole rig was like on fire, you know.

Yeah, that’s right. So so I

think I think that’s where I

I I think I would hope that I excel in

is just a remain calm and just be

that go-to person, you know, hopefully to,

you know help out in those

kind of situations. But yeah, that’s really that is

that something do you feel like you’ve always had

that or is that something you’ve developed throughout years of doing this?

Um not no you

right. I think what you said, I developed it

over the years because when I was first starting, um,

I just like anybody else you don’t have

the you don’t have the experience when

you’re when you’re younger or when you’re first starting

out. Yeah, and you get to that point where you’re like, oh my God,

I can’t figure this out. That’s it. I’m done.

And then and then you go to well, you know

Plan B, whatever that may be for for you.

But but over the years, yeah, like I always say to

other people like knowledge is a

lot of people say knowledge is power. But also

at the same time knowledge is

it is kind of like comforting in a way because

well that’s good, you know because more knowledge you have

when something goes wrong

You’re not gonna freak out you’re gonna know

yeah what steps okay one through

10 or 1 through 5 that I need to take to put

this fire out. Yeah. That’s that. I don’t want people to

miss out like to gloss over that because I think that’s a huge piece because

even for me there’s been times where you know,

I’ll get a call from a friend and they just I can hear in

their voice something’s wrong and as they’re talking I’m

going I can tell you one of

three scenarios that you’re currently in and I can very

quickly explain to you how to fix this. Whereas if

you’re just getting started and you don’t have that knowledge and that experience that is

like the whole world’s about the blow up but for us, we’re like, yeah,

it’s it’s it go through these steps. This

is what it is. It’s real exactly exactly. And once

once you gain that knowledge, I’ve seen guys get

to the point where where you’re at,

you know you an extensive knowledge and and

all the sudden they’re like, wow. Yeah, I get

it. Now. This is this is fairly easy to

troubleshoot and you know

Exactly. That’s right. Now let’s let’s go

back to the start of the conversation the way my mom

taught me to actually have conversations and let’s let’s

do a proper introduction. So Mike, why

don’t you introduce yourself to everyone let us

know what you do and then I want to kind of break apart your story a little

bit to talk about how you got into this field and then what

you’re currently doing.

Well name is Mike Perkins Pine.

I got into the field of drum Tech.

And Playback Tech years years

ago been doing I’ve been

doing a drum tacking for a long time. Like, you

know, I would say at this point a little

over 14 15 years.

So I’ve been doing that for that.

amount of time

but playback Tech not as long.

I started, you know learning Ableton and

becoming an actual playback Tech about

I would say.

Five six years ago give or take

so it hasn’t been that long. Yeah, and and

you’ve been very successful with it and we’ll and I definitely want to

talk about that and dive into that because I think I’m

interested. I’m definitely interested in your path

from being a drum Tech to play back tech and what steps

you took before we dive into

that real quick. Could you because this is

something I don’t even fully know. I guess what what

does being a drum Tech Encompass like

for different Artistry work with and feel free if you’re able

to share some of the artist you’ve you’ve drum tech for but what

does that look like to be a drum tech for an

artist? Wow, well to be a drum tech

for an artist entails many different things more than

what more than what people on the outside think.

That entails basically maintaining the

gear for the artist.

Ordering the gear for the tour.

Setting up the artist.

So he or she is in you

know, 100% tip top shape ready

to play a show.

You know and also drum techno

become you could also become a

little bit of a should. I say

a personal assistant sometimes you know,

so, okay. So if you’re on a tour and you’re going

from City to city which we do you literally could

be you know, which I’m totally fine with, you know,

some guys made have a different opinion, but you could

totally, you know go from you know, setting up

the gear and then all of a sudden, you know,

he or she may need, you know, certain things

brought to him or her, you know

and a array of things. So

yeah that that could happen.

Um, yeah how how much of like setting

up a drum set?

Well, let me ask you this question, then I’ll get to that question, which I think these leading

to each other.

I’m assuming and this is maybe

a big assumption but I’m assuming you’re a drummer or have had experience

as a drummer that got you into being a drum Tech. Is that

a fair assumption? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, I became

a drummer of first and foremost writing like

middle school and and high school took pride private

room less. Okay. Yeah. Okay. That’s awesome.

How how much of how much

of like what’s the

best way to say this basically when you’re setting up a kit for someone how much

of it is? Okay, I’ve put you know

Spike tape on the carpet and I know exactly where to

put this versus sitting down and going this feels

the way it should for this particular person.

Like how much of it is just brute like

force of I just repeat this versus you sit

down on the drum thrown and go this needs to move over a

little bit because I know they tend to cheat with this hand a little

and they need it here versus there that sort of thing. It’s

it could be a mixture of

evenly of both I think because there’s

been there’s been times where you know, you know,

you set up the kit for the artist and you

you label everything from A

to Z you that you dye your

eyes you cross your t’s and then you go and you

sit behind the kit and then your artist

could come up.

And me personally I’d be like, okay, this is this

is perfect. This is exactly how we had it in


And then sometimes potentially you could literally,

you know

have the artists come out for a sound check and

he or she sits behind the kit and it’s okay.

Hey, Mike can do me

a favor. Just move the hi-hat over maybe just like an inch.

So, I mean it doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t do

your job properly. It just means

That day maybe they want the symbol

lowered a little bit. I’ve had

that and thousands of times or hey,

let’s say let’s take this questionable and move it

over to the right side or let’s let’s lower this

a little bit. So yeah.

I think it’s I think it’s a little it’s like 50/50. Okay,

that’s good to know. Yeah, because I feel like there’s always

I mean kind of where we started the conversation. There’s that Intuition

or whatever that comes with doing this for however long

that I always wondered. You know, how much of it is

just a purely technical Thing versus the intuition versus probably

even I mean you kind of mention this like when you go between

Okay, as a tech, I am setting up your kit to you know,

partial, you know, personal assistant, like knowing what’s

going to allow them to put on the best performance whether

maybe it’s grab an extra water bottle or noticing, you know,

they’re struggling a little bit tonight or they may

need this little extra thing or let me kind of help them with

that. Like I always appreciate guys like you that go the

extra mile that you know one get to know the person

they’re working with and go this isn’t just say like checklist job

where I’m just gonna do these things very mechanically to I’m

really here to serve and go this,

you know me, you know serving in the best

in this moment is going to make this performance the best for every single

person that paid to come see this show basically exactly.

No, that’s a that’s a perfect point. You know,

I’m there to make sure that the drummer

as their drum Tech I’m there

to make sure that they have like you said the best

possible show that they can have from the kid

being cleaned from

The drum sounding which is obviously the the most

important thing for the kit the sound, you

know, pretty much you know

to tuning is is very I guess

subjective is the word some some guys

like it tuned High some guys like, you know,

everybody likes a different tuning.

Um, but you know that being said that have

the artist have the kit tuned to the way the artist wants

to hear it and be consistent

like everything has to be the same

exact thing every single


And you know and that’s the drum Tech that that’s huge. You

know, you know, that’s keep people can

come in and drum Tech and I guess

maybe some of the guys who might be a little more inexperienced go out

there and they

they’re not as consistent. So when I

say that that’s hugely important. It has to be the same

thing every night. Yeah, you know because then they’ll start

thinking about that during their performance while yeah while

they’re playing see that now yeah, that’s really

how one more

question about drum Tech stuff and then we’ll we’ll kind of move

into your transition into being a playback Tech, but are you

Are you sound checking drums for the artists or

does that depend on the particular artist you’re working


I would say 95% of

the time I am well, you

said sound checking so no. No.

I’m like I’m line checking the drums.

And can you clarify because I think there’s a lot of people listening this

that you know, we know particularly from the playback perspective what line check

is but can you talk about what a line check is and why that’s

such an important part to a successful performance. Yeah

for the for the people out there who may

not understand the difference line check when we

do a line check we go through each instrument, you

know on the stage me being

withdrums. We make sure every single

line every single microphone that’s

on that drum kit from top to bottom is

you know is able to

be heard.

Through monitors and through front of house. So we

want to make sure each Channel it is

is basically routed correctly.

to each line and then

once we once we know that that is fine with

front of house and monitors you basically

you’re good to go. Then the artist comes

out and they do their sound check.

Which then means that they basically are

gonna hear.

What they hear every night in their in-ears or

their monitors on stage and and then

the sound check also involves the rest

of the crew right front house monitors.

You know, so it’s that’s sounds the same every night

and I think it particular if you’re listening to this as a maybe

band that is you’re kind

of traveling with your own gear. Maybe you don’t have dedicated front

of house dedicated monitor person. You know,

you’re a smaller band or maybe you’re gonna walk

it into a venue or using the House crew to do this line check

is such an important thing because I personally have stood on Sage and

I was a drummer thank God but not because drummers are

bad. But because you don’t want to hear me play jobs, but as a guitar

player and I’ve gone hey, can I

have less symbols? And then the monitor tech changes

something you go. It’s not

changing and you end up spending 30 minutes trying to

troubleshoot only to find out you’ve got the wrong pack the overhead

Mike’s or swapped, you know, the keyboard lines

are reverse. And so that’s like five to

ten minutes that if you can devote that time during your

set up to doing a proper line check to go and like Mike


The the correct microphone is in the

correct Place plugged into the correct thing. We have the correct in-ear

packs. We have you know,

the basically what we said we were going to do we

did so that then when you step on Sage and

again, even if you’re the person doing it as the artist yourself that’s

gonna save you so much time and and keep soundcheck,

you know short keep rehearsal short if you

happen to be rehearsing before the show because again where we

started this conversation talking with Mike and his

will as a drum Tech is the goal is to step on stage and be able

to perform without thinking and something just doesn’t like

my it’s something doesn’t sound right, you know, and you can fix those

problems super early on with something as simple as

the line check so right it’s a really good really good piece. Yeah,

that’s great.

So you say you’ve been a drum tech for about 14 15

years. Is there a are

there? Is there a style of music you typically work

with artists you typically work with or someone may be worked

with for a while or you just kind of work with anybody and everybody? Um,

yeah, I mean, I’ve worked with a lot of different different

bands and artists over the years but I’ve

mostly done Hard Rock and

metal acts because that’s okay kind

of where I started was was I mean, I

got into drum taking so long ago and it was literally just

probably just like everybody else. It was my friends band,

you know make that much money

and they were a hard rock and and it kind

of just snowballed from there. It was like, okay, you know

my buddies friend, you know that the networking thing

my buddies friend knows such and

such who’s in this.

Fairly, well established span now, you know

or my friend knows this person who’s in

a who’s crew for this well-established band.

So and that’s how it happened. So it’s it’s I’ve gotten to

work with others a few pop artists

here and there.

Um, Avril Lavigne to name one

nice. Okay, but yeah, but it’s most mostly been.

Hard Rock and Metal X. That’s really cool.

That’s great. So you’ve been doing drum tacking for 15 years.

Did you wake up one day and you were bored or

what got you into the the idea and

desire to be a playback Tech. Yeah, excellent

question. I was doing so much

drum Tech and then

I would say maybe like I

said, I’ve been

doing playback for maybe five six years now

and and really starting to get going with it right now, but it

was this band. It was the band

Ministry that they all the okay. Yeah metal industrial

metal band.

That I that I’ve been working for for years and I

still do now and we’re gonna actually we’re gonna actually watch this


With Rob Zombie and that was Cooper.

Oh, that’s should be a fun one. Yeah, but it

was those guys. I you know,

I they called me and said Hey listen, do you

want to come in drum Tech and do playback and at the

time I was I was like when I first started with them, I was

a little green to be honest. I’m on the playback side.

And then I said to myself. Wow, you know, you know

and then I helped you know, the keyboard play in the band

who his name is JB John Bechtel

an amazing keyboard and and play

back Guru himself. And so,

you know, I was doing rehearsals and

I was just kind of looking over his shoulder and you know,

That’s kind of where it started. I was like I was like,

oh, wow, this is cool. And and you know, he was running, you

know different rake. Actually, they’re

running a rig that I built right now for them. So but

that’s how it started. I started getting

into it and going how does this work? Well, you’re

running two computers and how are

you getting that controller to control both of these


And that’s how it started. It was the coolest

thing ever and then

You know and then I started diving into it and then I became a

student of yours, you know, and and

that was it. I was Off to the Races.

You know, that’s so cool. Yeah and and every single

day. I’m I’m learning new stuff.

You know, yeah. Yeah, that’s a that’s a

great attitude to have I want to as best as you

can. I don’t know if you can take yourself back to that that point because you’ve been

doing this, you know, five to six years, but that’s an eternity and

music technology, you know time there’s so

much has changed in five to six years right as best

as you can go back to you got

that call from your buddies in Ministry and they said can you

come drum Tech and do playback and you

hadn’t really done it up to that point what gave

you the confidence to say? Yes, I can do it or

yes. I can. What’s it

like, hey I’m up for or I know I’m so good at being

a drum Tech. I can figure this other piece out or were

you like nervous in your like listen, I’m

just gonna figure this thing out as we go like I’m confident I

can learn it because I’m a fast learner as best

as you can walk back to that first call that like, you’re very first

gig doing playback what gave you the confidence that you

could do this?

Again, excellent question how I how we

came about was that they called me and and I had been

friends with them.

Prior to that call, but I had

never the I’m going back to the first time that

worked with the band. So I got to call

and I got the call and then I said to myself

I’m like a drum Tech the easy

part, you know running triggers. Yeah running, you

know setting up a kit being able to tune

it properly no problem. And then I was

like, okay. I also got a no this playback


so then I was like

we’re gonna sit and rehearsals for about a week.

That’s where it kind of I I kind of like talked

myself off the ledge because I was like, you know,

a lot of guys are like man, I’m not gonna know how to do this. I can’t go out

on a tour and and be able to set this up

every day for the artist because it’s gonna be a mess. But that

what what changed

for me was that fact that I said, okay, I’m gonna

go into this with a positive mindset and

say listen, I’m gonna listen I’m gonna listen to everything. That’s a

keyboard player.

Tells me and he’s gonna he’s gonna show me

the ring which he did and and that’s how

it happened. We sat in rehearsals for a week. I had

about you know, you know a week which

is what five days let’s say I had about three or

four solid days of knowing how to

how to start the rig how to

set it up, you know, and basically

everything involved with that, you know, this is

how you plug this in this controller goes

to this port, you know, this computer plugs into

here the, you know, everything USB and then

we’re running midi out to two keyboards.

So it was just that so so I

went from going okay. I can plug everything in properly and make

it work.

To figure out like you say in in

your tutorials. Let’s figure out. Why does

that work?

you know not just like oh this is gonna work because

I plug eight a into B, and and

it’s gonna say it’s gonna send any message, you know,

Yeah, so I’m at the point. That’s really good that it’s it’s kind of

like going back to being a drum Tech and setting up a kit. There is a highly technical

a goes to B. But then there

is a why does a Go to b and a not go

to C. Like there’s that that second level that deeper level

of knowledge and and like you’re saying I often try

to say okay, you can learn you know how to do something but the

real kind of richness of knowledge comes

from learning why we do this or learning, you

know, why the eye connectivity ecosystem works the

way it is as opposed to just plug this in here plug this

in there. That’s really good. Yeah, exactly. You know,

like anybody I always say like anybody can

plug in a midi cable from computer to

the back of a rig and and all of

a sudden it sends midi messages or it sends program

changes properly, but but knowing how to

you know, create a meeting

and you know

and and have it

You know programming yourself.

And and know how that actually works from from you

know, top down going out of Ableton. That’s it

into an amino XM out of

the XM out of didn’t didn’t to the back

of the keyboard, you know into the keyboard. So yeah, that’s

not good. So let’s let’s talk. Let me

ask a couple questions to dive in again that Journey from

drunk drum Tech to play Rec Tech. So you have those, you know,

basically three to four days during that week the rehearsal

to learn trial by fire you figure it out what are

steps you’ve taken since that very initial thing that have helped

you understand the why of playback Tech and

what are what are things you’ve done that have really added to

your skill set or things that have been helpful to you to learn

about being a playback Tech and learn the why

of things or a deeper level

of knowledge Beyond just like you said plug cable into

the back into keyboard. And yeah, dude, it’s

it’s literally

In a lot of you it has

nice. Yeah, man, it

really has like I I mean I

came out of the gate.

You know working for these bands and

and doing some playback stuff, but then going man, I really do

enjoy this like I love knowing like man. How

does how does that come? How does the you know that computer

send messages to be computer, you know

and and everything involved with it like,

you know, just from the steps from like completely building

a rig from a a all the way to Z.


But yeah, it’s it’s been.

a lot of

you know doing your your stuff

from Studios stage and and just

going through.

Spending I I went through the whole pandemic literally I

I which is like I guess

different times for different people but a

year and a half total.

going through

a lot of your courses

and and then and then just like taking those take

taking that stuff and and learning,

you know, because that applied to what I’m doing out in

the field right now running redundant rigs

or running, you know did a

band recently where they’re running just one computer and I was like

boy you guys like to play with fire, you know?

Yeah, that’s right, but it was I mean to get

back to your question it was it was a hundred percent going through

a ton of lessons.

and just spending time a lot

even to this day going through

all your lessons, you know,

and that’s it and and

just try that’s right things out here take taking

what I learned from from Studio to stage and and

trying it here and

if it didn’t work try it again and I had so much

time and and you know during the day and and

a lot at night to just

Just try it out, you know because that’s

the best way to learn is as I always tell people, you know,

just try yourself and if you know, it doesn’t work the first


Try it again, but just remain calm. Yeah, you know, that’s good.

Yeah, go ahead going back to what we said is here, you’re kind

of unfair advantage that remaining calm and knowing okay,

the guy the video got it to work. So I know it’s possible.

I just got to figure out what step I missed in

that process to then get to that point as well. Yeah, exactly because

sometimes I am guilty of being that

guy who goes a little too fast like

I want to I want to work so fast, I’m like,

oh I love that idea like, you know,

like, you know,

That oh God. There’s so many different examples. I could say like like

sending sending midi from one computer to another. Wow. How

does that work? That’s so awesome. All right.

So this goes to here that goes to here but wait

it didn’t work this time. All right that I gotta tell

myself slow down Mike.

It’s it’s gonna work go through the steps. Yeah, and

then when I do that, maybe you know go to the kitchen grab

a nice tea come back. Oh, wow. Now

it works, you know, so that’s that’s how

playback is and

you know, and I’m sure it is for a lot of you know

other guys who are learning other.

Other you know disciplines just take your time.

Take your time. It’s gonna work because it’s worked

for the teacher or the professor and it’s

gonna work for you eventually. Yeah. That’s right. Okay, man,

that’s our wise word. So I have a couple questions that I want

to talk. Let’s let’s fast forward to present day and I want

to talk about what you’re doing with playback. And in the people you’re working

with and the rigs You’re Building because I love seeing that stuff but talk

me through maybe think through

the past year or so when you’re

hired on a gig as drum

Tech in playback. Are you primarily, you

know, I want you to describe and I’m sure

there’s there’s a diversity of experiences you’ve had

and that means different things to different people but is that

a thing where you’re setting up a drum kit? And you’re

setting up a playback rate for someone on stage to operate or are

there scenarios where you’re teching, you know for a

drummer, but then you’re also side of stage running

tracks as well at the same time.

And in my instance, I’ve been hired to

do drums and Playback, but almost always

just just for you

out of the way. It’s

gone for me is I’ll be setting up drums. And

then also setting up the playback rig for someone else to operate.

It’s been like when I worked for Avril Lavigne,

I set up drums and then set up

playback world for the keyboard player. Who was

who was running tracks.

Okay, and then Ministry, you

know the industrial Giants they are there. I

love those guys. They same thing. I

I set up drums and then

I set up playback world where they have two laptops

on stage running midi

to keyboards. So and then he he operates the

playback rig himself.

Well both those guys did.

Yeah, that’s awesome are there.

other any stories


Things disastrously going wrong or in

the middle of a show something going wrong. And you having to

be the hero to save the show running on

stage and going. Oh, it’s this cable or something. Are there

any stories that come to mind of like an issue

with playback or with drums? Like I I’m thinking recently

as a recording this Todd suckerman. I

think his last name posted a video of like him, you know

his drum Tech changing out the snare mid-song and saw all

these people good. Oh, you know, these are the unsung heroes

of the show. Are there any moments you can think of

in the past couple years of doing playback or teching drums

that something went wrong and in the

span of 15 seconds, you solved it

or you were a part of solving it or any just fun

stories of I just love things going wrong on stage and

hearing how people recovered from those and solve the solve the

issues. Oh god, dude. I I’ve had

many of those. Thank you

God. I have not had any

Stress playback issues

that’s good. Yeah, great

knock on wood, but drum teching. Yes

thousands, you know

and and okay, um, just recently I

was down in South America and you

know drummer I was working with great

player is based

on pedal spring just busted in

the middle of the song.

So so yeah, exactly. So at

that point you spring into

action. I got the backup pedal right there next

to me, you know, and he’s basically yeah. So

in this instance, it was the right

pedal right bass drum. Okay, he’s playing

with two bass drums. So then he has to take his right foot and

play the left bass drum as you know, and it

gets it gets awkward for for that minute. You

know, you are sweating. You’re like, okay, here we

go. This is this is where I earn my money.

But you know you put the new

pedal on you walk away, you know the song ends.

And he looks back at you and he

goes, oh, man.

Thank God you were there, you know so that that part of

our job, you know, things aren’t always gonna

be perfect every single show every

year to you know year after year

or a month after month. But you know, that’s that’s why

we’re hired, you know, that’s to make sure

things that to put out the fires sometimes it that’s

that’s really great. So let’s talk a little bit about

present day my and Playback

stuff you’re doing so we when we

started before I hit record, I was telling you I love seeing your

posts on Facebook and Instagram if you go and hey, here’s

rigs on building building a rig for this person that

person what is what is that kind

of rig building world look like for you and you know,

are you building Ricks or people that you’re then going out and

implementing or people hiring you and saying Mike we’ve seen

what you’ve done with these folks like build us a rig that works for

for us. Yes. So yeah awesome

question and I love talking about this because I get

question a lot from just other people or friends of mine.

Basically how it started was

was from me being a playback

Tech out on the road.

And and then I said to myself.

It actually started I again with

the with the ministry Camp the deed, they

hadn’t they had an older rig where they were running

to radials or no one radial. I’m sorry. They were

running eight outputs out of a you know

a radio and they were

running. Oh God, if I remember it was

a midi for plus so they’re running.

Yeah. Yeah running out of that into a radio with with

two rme interfaces.

And then they got to the point where I think

it was the end of 2018 or 19.

No, the end of 2018 the beginning of 19

the keyboard the keyboard player, we would

have a lot of conversations and he’s like hey, what’s that thing

the call the play audio 12 and I was like I was like

I was like John that we got to put you on this,

you know, he goes he goes wait, we don’t

need to audio interfaces though.

I said no. I said John in these

same conversation happens to thousands of people. I’m sure

about I connectivity stuff which you you and I

both love. I got it for

hours and that that’s how it happened. He was

like listen.

Let’s get on a play audio 12 and I said, okay. Yeah, so that means we

can ditch 90% of

the rig you’re using so we go on we put you on

a play audio 12.

We could have you go out of that and then he was wondering well, how

do I get? How do I switch from A to B?

I told him well it’s also in that same box as well.

And he was like, oh wow. So wait

a minute. I could I could have my outputs I can

have redundancy. And then he said what wait a

minute we’re running midi too. And I said well John.

That box does the same thing too. It has midi redundancy

as well. And then he

was like well, wait a minute. We have, you know,

five pin midi coming out of the keyboards. I

said, okay. Well, we’ll run that to a Mio


And then I told him well basically to get communication between

the two boxes.

You know, like like we know like like, you know, I I

always tell people I’m like, yeah, let’s just create an RTP session

between both boxes and that’ll be the connection.

And we did that and then and then that’s how the conversation started

between me and him personally and

then that’s kind of where it’s snowballed

for me. I said, you know what I said, you

know what I’m gonna build you a rig, um with just

using one play audio 12 and one Mio XM


And he loved it.

You know and he said okay, that’s it. Go ahead build it and

I talked to their their manager and then their

front house engineer who’s a good friend of mine.

and he said yeah, let’s go ahead build a new

rig like

and so I built that one.

And then that’s kind of how it’s snowballed. It was

like Hey, I I posted about it because I

you know, of course you want to gain more business and then

that was the start of it and then my

friends saw that I built their Reagan was like Hey, man.

Wow, so you could take something that’s like, you know

five or six you and drop it down to like one or

two you

I said yeah. Yeah, I mean we could literally

and then and that’s how it started and here I am, you know

five or six rigs deep

into hopefully starting my own

business doing this. You know, how how beneficial

And not just I’m not asking.

Actual numbers financial data, but how beneficial for you

has it been going from Mike drum

Tech to Mike drumtec and Playback Tech

to Mike drumtech playback Tech

and rig Builder because I talk a lot with musicians

that are kind of in that like I get paid when

I show up and play or or or text that

are I only get paid when I’m there and you’re

starting to now it feels like you’re you’re building this

side income and you’re making yourself far more

valuable when someone comes to hire you to go. I’m not just

a drum Tech but I’m a drum tech and and how beneficial

has adding this to your skill set been from a

like financial and job security standpoint for

you. Oh god, dude, you hit it on the nail right

there it it’s hugely important because yes,

you know going from just being

a drum Tech at one point. I was

like, okay, this is great but being a

drum Tech, you know,

You get paid when you’re there or on

the tour only.

to when I was not on the road I was like, all right,

you know, I got other things I’m gonna do but you know

to now it, you know

kind of parlaying drum Tech into playback

Tech still doing that now

doing both but yeah, like you said, yeah now having

this this Revenue stream

And and and basically, you

know more importantly having the knowledge.

to be able to you know, you know

obviously make more money, but also having the

knowledge to

You know jump out to other people and and

build the rig and build. They’re Ableton session.

So yeah and and have thought basically

It’s it’s going from not having much income off

the road to wow. Okay. Now I’m

now I got a side business off the

road to Parlay. Yeah parlay

into being able to do it on the road while I’m on

the road as well. So I mean I can’t build a rig on the road.

But I can build an Ableton session on the road. So, you

know, yeah and that’s I I don’t want

people to miss that because that’s huge because like you said one it’s

adding to a skill set you already have so when

people hire you you then they’re getting more and more and

more but now instead of just like you said getting paid

when you’re there you’re now building the side business where you could

you could build four Ableton sessions for four different artists

while you’re on a tour for one artist, you know, and

and do all of those really well,

it’s not like you’re taking away from your your main job

as a drum Tech. If you’re awesome building Ableton sessions for

other people and that just opens the door for so many possibilities

from a revenue stay in point and from

a job perspective exactly. Right? Right, I mean and and

being able to like, you know, kind of

like multitask like that it’s hugely

important. Yeah, you know and then being

able to do that is is you know being able to do

another thing I love to do and and

being able to do it virtually and and have a second

Revenue stream up against maybe up

against what I’m currently doing out on

the road with an artist. Yeah, like

you said it is is hugely important.

You know and that’s amazing. Yeah, that’s

really really good. Well, I hope that’s encouraging to people listening this that

like there is a path to even more

revenue for you as an artist as a musician as a tech,

you know, and I love Mike’s story of

musician Tech playback Tech rig

Builder, you know, who knows what you’ll be doing catering the

next time we talk, you know, who knows what you’re adding to your skill set.

So that’s amazing like so one quick

question for you and then I want to wrap up with you sharing how

people can get in touch. But before we get to that point, what is

what’s encouragement or what’s one

next step that you would suggest to someone who’s listening to

this? That is either.

A drum Tech, you know you could say, okay Mike six

years ago. What’s a piece of advice? You want to share with Mike for

you know, six years ago where you were or someone that’s

a musician that’s on you know playing with a band or

whatever that wants to get into the world

of playback. I understand this maybe eventually building rigs.

What’s what’s like one thing you suggest people do and

what’s just some kind of some general encouragement or advice that

you would share with people that want to get into that space.

Ah, wow, I would say the most

important thing is to just

Take take your time. Take your

time go slow. You know

because I hear so many guys that say they they

enjoy it but

they they don’t know how to take their time and and

really figure it out. Yeah, it’s

so important and and

once you you know, once you really get that

deep dive it’s it’s so it’s

it’s there. It’s just kind of clicked for me, you

know, because that, you know, I I

guess it was weird because I didn’t I was like, oh the

world of playback I didn’t expect to

jump into it, but it was something

From the start I was like this is this is cool. Like, you

know, everyone’s like, oh man Mike now you’re into all that

nerdy stuff, but it you know, I love

it. But yeah. Yeah, I would say take your

time. You know, it it’s it’s gonna take

it’s not gonna be overnight.

And just go dance day and you

will you will get everything. Yeah, that’s really

good. Really really good.

Um, so for folks listening to this, maybe they’re out on

the road. They need a new rig, they’re going we’ve got

a you know a 16u rack that we roll in

that’s all our playback stuff and we’re really interested in getting down

to that one to two use space that you mentioned. How can

people get in touch with you Mike to hire you and then

how can people stay in touch with what you’re up to

and what you’re doing people can stay in touch with me. They

basically via all my socials. I I

don’t have an actual web page website

set up yet. Hopefully that’s coming

soon. Okay. Um, but yes, I’m at

Perkins Pine 130

on Instagram

and Mike Perkins Pine

on Facebook

And yeah, and we’ll make sure to add links

in the show notes. Everybody can find you awesome and stay in

touch for sure with what you’re doing. Yeah, and Mike I

would I want to say publicly for people can hear thank you

one for being such a perfect example of

why I love continuing to

do this and teaching and training because you’re actually applying it.

You’re actually doing it you’re seeing results and then two

I I can probably think of five people that

have signed up to the site and I’ve talked to them I said,

you know, how did you how did you find us? And you’re oh Mike man Mike Perkins.

He said you got to go to from City of stage. You got to sign up if

you want to learn. So thank you for you know getting out

there spreading the word and then also thank you for just being I get

a perfect example of how successful you can

be if you apply these principles and do the work and

like you said take your time, which I love so Mike thanks

for thanks for everything you do man and keep up the good work. Thank

you, man. You know, it’s been a pleasure, you know

meeting you and and we have

To meet in person, but we will

I know it’s quite ironic. Yeah, we will

yes. Yeah, I’ll come out to Disneyland or

Nam or maybe both and we’ll meet in

person for sure. We’ll make it happen a hundred percent man. Yeah. Thank you

for everything.

Okay, so I hope you love that interview with Mike again. I said

this in the interview, but Mike is the example of

someone that I want you to get to know the example of it

from Studio Sage student that I want to say. Hey.

Everyone watch what Mike is doing because Mike literally went from being

very skilled having an amazing

skill set and being a drum Tech and you know before that being a drummer

but being a drum Tech being an in-demand drum Tech

he kind of carved out a niche for himself and the heavy metal space

too. Then becoming a playback Tech.

The now building playback rigs? He’s he’s kind of walked this

journey in path where he’s doing a lot of different things and he’s had a

lot of success with that but my perfectly embodies something

that I teach on the site.

Something that’s become an unofficial motto if

you will for from Studio sage and that’s humbly confident and humbly

curious. Mike was humbly confident when he said yes to that very

first playback gig but he was humbly curious enough to

go. Let me check out this from Studio to Stage site to subscribe

to learn how to perform like a pro with Ableton Live and

you can take the exact same courses that Mike took and it’s

currently taking and you can learn the exact same things that

Mike learned in is currently learning if you had to from

Studio to and particular from serious, you’ll see exactly about

the community that Mike discussed in the

interview and how you can join you can interact with Michael

in the community. If you want you can say hey and again if you

really enjoy Mike and his personality his work

ethic and you go, you know, I’d really like to work with this guy check the

links in the show notes of this podcast in the description of

this YouTube video and you can reach out to Mike directly

to contact him. Most of all, thanks so much for watching

and listening to this if you’re watching on YouTube. Do me a favor do

two things.

Number one hit subscribe number two enable the

Bell icon. So you see exactly when we go live with new

content and then number two if you enjoyed this if

you think someone would benefit from this maybe you want

to cast a vision for someone that’s only getting paid when they

play and you go man. This is something else you can do. I think

you would enjoy this. Do me a favor and share this. That’s the the biggest compliment.

You can give. Like I said, Mike often shares

the site with friends says, hey go check

out what Will’s doing. You should do the same thing with this

content if you’ve enjoyed it. Thanks so much for watching and we’ll see

you on the next one. Take care everybody. Bye.

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