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
- Avril Lavigne
- Smashing Pumpkins
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,
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
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
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,
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
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
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
To figure out like you say in in
your tutorials. Let’s figure out. Why does
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
and Mike Perkins Pine
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
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 stage.com and particular from serious
stage.com/subscribe, 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
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.