Donny Gruendler

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Zoro







Jazz Drums
from Donny's Hudson Digital Video "Seeing Sounds"





Donny Gruendler
Donny Gruendler was born and raised in the diverse Musical surroundings of Detroit, Michigan. As a result, Gruendler grew up alongside an unusually broad range of influences including: Rock, Soul, Funk, Pop, Hip Hop, traditional Swing, Hard Bop, and Blues. It was during these developmental years that he began to surf on the drums as well. (See photo.)

At age twenty, Gruendler graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor’s of Music Degree. At age 21, he earned his Master’s of Music Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Gruendler now living in Los Angeles, California – can be found Performing in a wide variety of Musical genres. Thus, Gruendler has Performed, Programmed, Toured and Recorded Behind such diverse artists as Kenny Burrell, John Medeski, D.J. Logic, Rhett Frazier Inc., Rick Holmstrom, Rebecca St. James, iTunes first unsigned Artist Jody Whitesides, Julia Fly, Denny Freeman and numerous other independent Los Angeles based artists. Consequently he has become and expert at performing with backing tracks, manually triggering samples, and playing with loops (both live and in the studio). Additionally, he has programmed (and played on) numerous jingles (Remax On the Blvd Radio/TV Campaigns, KFC, and NPR), created content for sample and loop libraries (East West, Eclectic Ensembles) and even writes Music for TV and film.

As for education, Gruendler is a faculty member at Musicians Institute (PIT) in Hollywood, CA, he is the author of Playing With Drum Loops - How to Work with Loops, Samples and Backing Tracks by Carl Fischer Publishing - and he has a series of articles published in Modern Drummer as of May 2006.

Furthermore, he performed 2006 PASIC convention in Austin, TX as well.








La Petite Mort
Rhett Frazier Inc.



Is That O.K.?
Rhett Frazier Inc.

The Pig
Rhett Frazier Inc.


Success
Julia Fly

Nuthin
Rhett Frazier Inc.


WTH?
Rhett Frazier Inc.


Roll Tape
Rick Holmstrom
(featuring John Medeski)











performed with:

Kenny Burrell
John Medeski
D.J. Logic
Rhett Frazier Inc.
Rick Holmstrom
Jody Whitesides
Julia Fly
Denny Freeman
....and many more






































Samples from
Playing with Loops:
Pop Rock Loop
This form of Rock is catchy and energetic enough to appeal to younger listeners, but also mainstream enough to appeal to adults as well. It has huge chorus hooks, arena-Rock instrumentation, many layered loop textures and a definite backbeat. In addition, the prduction is clean, polished and bright, making full use of the advances in recording and loop technology that had taken place during the 1980s and 1990s. Artists such as Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morisette exemplify the Pop Rock genre.







Backing Tracks
This method combines all four of the previous concepts (Drum Loops, Percussion Loops, Instrument Loops, and FX Loops), and it is also the most challenging aspect of performing with loops.

Nowadays, when you are called upon to work on a track in the studio, you are usually the first (or sometimes only) live instrument to be recorded. Up until that point most composers write exclusively with MIDI instruments and Drum Loops of all types. Not only is this method cheaper than the days of demo recording, but it allows the composer to point the musicians toward their artistic vision without a player's style coloring the composition.

When these sessions occur, you are typically asked to play with an existing programmed drum track (or loop) and add the feel and tone of live drums as well. This is extremely difficult because not only do you have to play (and groove) with the synthetic drum track present, you also have to become one with the feel of the bass loop, guitar loop and every other sound present.







from:
PLAYING WITH DRUM LOOPS
by Donny Gruendler









..more Donny Gruendler samples in the Clinic Section:





Pro in the Studio: Donny Gruendler (from the Apple Website)
A master of digital drum loops, Donny Gruendler incorporates seemingly static samples and MIDI drum tracks into improvisational performances. He has created rich and even epic mixes on the fly for artists like Kenny Burrell, John Medeski, D.J. Logic, and Rick Holmstrom. He also teaches drummers how to tie loops together at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood and has written a book entitled “Playing with Drum Loops.” To do it all, he uses Logic Pro running on a PowerBook G4.



“I was trained as a jazz drummer, but I learned that if I really embraced the technology, I could do more with my music, and, ultimately, I could get more work,” says Gruendler.

Breaking It Down
In his Encino, Calif., studio, Gruendler breaks songs down to its basic components that can be triggered during a gig. “I’ll get master sessions and I’ll go through all the tracks,” he says. “I’ll listen for what’s going to be played live and I mute those tracks. I’ll chop everything else into eight- or 16- or 32-bar segments and put them in to Logic for a performance.” Those segments often include instruments or parts that would be difficult to pull off live without a full accompaniment — orchestra hits, choral groups, or string quartets.

Gruendler, a Berklee-trained jazz drummer, likes to take basic parts and embellish them using Logic Pro filters. “A lot of looping, from a drummer’s perspective, is mangling things,” he says, “but you don’t want to change the loop completely. You want to change its texture. That’s where Logic really excels — it has all kinds of effects and filters that you can pile on in real time.”

Gruendler also created loops for his book, “Playing with Drum Loops,” in his home studio with Logic Pro. “In Ultrabeat I can create things very quickly,” he says. “In one day I would need to make 30 loops because I was on publication deadline. It was no problem — I made them, put them into iTunes, and burned them to CD for the publisher. It’s a really simple workflow in Logic. It’s all about creating music more than working like an engineer. The workflow is quick and I can make the tracks sound really good.”

Live Loops
Once Gruendler has dissected a track, he’s ready to jam. The drummer uses a 10-pad DrumKat to select and trigger samples and licks while he’s playing. “When I’m on stage, I feel like the tracks are someone I’m having a duet with,” he says. “Sometimes electronic music producers don’t think that samples and loops can adapt to a live situation. I have an improv background. I don’t think of the parts as rigid dance beats. I bring the loops in and out of the performance in real time. I can pick through them and I’m not thinking of them as fixed things. The computer is just another live instrument to me.”

During a concert, Gruendler uses Logic Pro and Ableton Live to set off samples and snippets while he’s pounding out beats. “I use Logic to make beats in Ultrabeat, funkify them with the oscillator or the noise generator filter. I rewire some tracks to Ableton Live and use both programs. I hook an M-Audio USB 1x1 interface into my PowerBook and depending on the pad I hit, I trigger beats from Ultrabeat or Ableton. I can do drum loops, background vocals, keyboards, or background textures. I can trigger all those in time with the band and have sections loop as long as I need them to.”

Gruendler’s PowerBook G4 is always on stage with him. “It never breaks down, and I love it for that,” he says. “And I love that it’s tiny, because it’s always with me. It’s small and light. The screen is big. I already have a truck full of gear. The last thing I need is a heavy laptop. There are so many things to think about when I’m on stage, I don’t have to think about my computer — it just works. And the less time I have to think about my system, the more time I have to do my music.”



Gruendler’s latest music project is JuliaFly, a rock band that takes full advantage of his electronic expertise. “We all met at Berklee,” he says. “The band has a really high-tech sound with a hard edge and we use all of the technology live. We have about an album’s worth of material and we hope to get it released within the year.” Gruendler’s also working on a second drum loops book and a teaching DVD. “I feel blessed because I enjoy teaching, writing, and making music,” he says. “I get to do all those things for a living. I’m pretty lucky.”








Rhett Frazier Inc.






















Masters Place




Donny Gruendler - Bernhard Castiglioni (Drummerworld) - Pasic