Farmer Foot Drums

July 16, 2016-

Looping. Let's talk about it.

Just so we are all on the same page- looping is when you record a part, and then let it play back while you play a different part. It's about creating more parts and textures in real time at a live performance than could otherwise be created (without pre-recorded tracks). And it's really fun. I've been looping at my gigs since 1999. When I started looping, I was mostly recording rhythm guitar parts so I could play solos. Then, I added different guitar tones to create more distinct layers. Around 2002 I figured out a way to control sending either vocals or guitar to the looper. Over the last several years or so I've been playing brushes on my guitar with a kick drum pedal, and in the last 3 years or so I started playing with vocal effects and panning in the stereo loop. I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars working on my looping rig. I was proud of the way that I looped and I think I used the technology in a unique and musical way.

But, I'm kinda over it. Looping can allow musicians to set up a groove and just ride on it. A one or two measure percussive pattern can easily be set up and repeated over a 5 minute song (even though I tried to not use the looper like that). Live music is best when it breathes. It's the human thing that makes music perfectly imperfect. I like musicians that create a groove- a groove that is deeper than quantization. Musicians perform at their best when they have to fight time and gravity without getting a free ride from looper pedals.

I had some really fantastic experiences over the last 2 years playing music on the Salty Dog Cruise boat with just a guitar and harmonica. I was connecting with people in a way that was different than my looping gigs. The looper made my live performances about "look at what I can make these effects and processors do" instead of "come along with me and let's experience this music together". I made up my mind back in January that I was going to stop looping at my gigs.

I started playing lots of Keb Mo and blues tunes again this Spring. Tapping my foot while I play is innate- I can't NOT do it. So, I strapped a tamborine to my left foot at my gigs and put a porchboard (bass drum pedal) under my right foot. It just worked. It was easy to do, the groove was deeper than when I was looping, and it was 100% human.

And that's where this drum idea came in. Serendipitously (or because google's search algorithm is incredible and it "knew" that I would like this product- but that's another post entirely), I came across Farmer Foot Drums on the internet. I immediately knew that this was the direction that I needed to head with my live performances, and six weeks later, I had my foot drum.

The FootDrum Kit an entire drum set at your feet- Kick, Snare, High-hat, Crash, and shaker. It is awesome- beyond awesome- a genius design. I hope Pete Farmer makes a million dollars on this thing. It changes everything at a live gig for a guitar player. Adding drums to a performance adds a primal musical element that everyone responds to. It's kicking my butt (literally- my hamstrings are getting a better workout than when I ran marathons), but it's also getting better every time I play it.

Come out to a gig and check it out. I know you'll dig it. I also set up an instagram for my music stuff. Follow me @toddcowartmusic for lots of foot drum stuff. And as always- thanks for supporting my music!