Ralph Salmins Interview: Part OneLauren Fearon
Ralph Salmins due to his versatile nature is one of the most recorded drummers knocking around the UK. He has a list of accomplishments that include Van Morrison, Guy Barker, and Madonna. He also played for Bjork on her hit single, ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’
Due to his malleability, Ralph has also worked for West End theatre productions, and has recorded extensively for film soundtracks. Perhaps a memorable one to note is that of the soundtrack for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Of which we all sadly know, or maybe rejoice, that the Harry Potter series finished this summer.
Ralph Salmins will be embarking upon a clinic tour around the UK, with fellow drummer Karl Brazil. The clinic tour will also be promoting Sabian’s Artisan range, and thus O.L.D. thought it may be prudent to talk to Ralph about cymbals in this first half of his interview.
What will happen at your upcoming clinics?
I will probably talk about playing in general, and about the sort of things that I do. I will talk about playing charts, playing in different styles, and how to improve your groove.
Elvin Jones has been quoted as saying that if you couldn’t get at least 20 sounds out of your cymbal; there was either something wrong with it, or something wrong with you. Can you get 20 different sounds out of your cymbal?
I think I can. With every cymbal, I try and get as many sounds out of it as possible. And that is done by getting really good expression; hearing the different sections of the music that need a different sound, and the way you strike the cymbal (and drums). When I think about twenty, I’d say quite a lot really.
Buying drum equipment and especially cymbals, is often viewed as a lengthy experience. Do you have any tips to look out for when buying cymbals?
Choose a few that you really like, and compare the sounds. The other thing is to get some new sticks, with clean tips – used and quite old sticks can create a very soggy sound.
There seems to be a split of opinion over cleaning cymbals, what are your thoughts on this? Or about cymbal care in general?
I don’t clean mine, because the dirtier they get, the more I like them. When they get a bit dusty, I just wipe them. I never clean them with any cleaner. I like them a bit darker and dirtier. Obviously if you do clean them, they get brighter.
Cymbal cracking sometimes seems like an inevitable thing, can you suggest any preventative measures?
I’m running a bit of a campaign to get people to play quieter, for this reason. If you mic up your cymbals, then you don’t need to hit them as hard.
Cymbal sounds age and change, there is a general idea that you should buy a cymbal, that is brighter than you would want. What do you think about this?
I don’t really subscribe to that. I think cymbals will actually maintain most of their brightness anyway. It may get darker just out of general use. Buy the cymbal with the sound that you like, it will pretty much, 95% of the time stay that way.
Thanks to Ralph for the interview. Part Two coming up soon!
Ralph Salmins on myspace – www.myspace.com/ralphsalmins
Upcoming Drum Clinics – http://sabian.ws/artisan-tour/
05/09/2011 Rattle & Drum, Derby – Conact: 01332 341414
06/09/2011 ADC Drums, Liverpool – Contact: 0151 227 3271
07/09/2011 PMT House of Drums, Birmingham – Contact: 0121 333 3220
08/09/2011 Drumnutt, Swansea – Contact: 01792 301010
09/09/2011 Poole Percussion, Poole – Contact: 01202 675111
12/09/2011 GAK Drum Cavern, Brighton – Contact: 01273 691678
13/09/2011 London Drum Company, Croydon – Contact: 020 8662 9119
14/09/2011 Anglia Drum Centre, Norwich – Contact: 01493 440112
15/09/2011 Sound Attak, Colchester – Contact: 01206 368999
16/09/2011 PMT House of Drums, Southend – Contact: 01702 332743