Working With Nataly Dawn

I was a fan of Nataly’s before I got a chance to play for her. I followed Pomplamoose on their rise to YouTube fame.

Nataly’s originals are killer. The way she breaks down other artists’ songs and makes them her own is inspiring. So, I was stoked to track some songs for her, and film them on a badass old Rogers kit. Getting to hang with her adorable dog, Muppet, was a bonus. This the first video in a batch. There’s more to come.

Noise Pop with Matt Pond

When you drive roughly 8,000 miles in a van together, traversing the whole continental United States (and parts of Canada) you develop a connection with the people in that van. That is, if you didn’t kill each other in the stretch between Austin and Dallas where there’s no cell phone service.
File Matt Pond and Shawn Alpay in the van-bonded friends folder.  I file Mel in the new friends folder.
I hopped back on stage with the Matt Pond squad for Noise Pop. It was a blast to play new songs and classics we hit on the Several Arrows Later tour a few years ago.

Working with Grammy Award Winning Artist, J. Hoard

J Hoard won a damn Grammy last night for his songwriting contributions on Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem”. As Anderson .Paak would say “YESS LAWWD”

A few weeks ago, I worked on this track with J Hoard called “Sirens”. It’s a politically minded tune that’s right for a time when I launch into a cold sweat anytime I get a Washington Post breaking news alert on my phone.

Here’s the track called “Sirens” which OkayPlayer premiered.

Talk Modern – “Not Enough”

I flew to Portland last November to record a few tracks for Talk Modern. I was lugging a cymbal case through the PDX airport when I saw it. A Stumptown Coffee — in the damn airport. Portland is a land of wonder.

Josh and Nic – the duo comprising Talk Modern- are wonderful guys. I tracked the drums for “Not Enough” in the same warehouse we recorded the video. No plug-in can imitate the natural reverb in that room.

After 48 quick hours in Portland we had two songs and two music videos in the bank (we lost count of the number of breakfast sandwiches we consumed). Here’s the first one -“Not Enough”

“Secrets” & Satellite Mode

Satellite Mode are workhorses. Last December, I took a jaunt to New York to meet up with them. I nearly OD’d on Dunkin Donuts and pizza, but survived long enough to play music with Alex + Jess, who comprise the band.

When they’re not tweaking songs, they’re writing new ones, or planning a release for the finished song.

Warm Fire Lightening” hit #5 on Hypem a few weeks back. Here’s hoping their new track, “Secrets” (which came out today)  climbs even higher.

I tracked drums for this one last year, and am stoked its out! The production crew backing Satellite Mode – Gregory and Andy Seltzer – are super nice guys, and immensely talented.

Tone City: Snares In A Massive Warehouse


I spend a lot of time in Ableton. I manipulate plugins to get some bit of MIDI data to sound like the raw, visceral crack of a snare drum in a warehouse.

Well I finally got a chance to hear what that real crack sounds like.

I did some session work for the homies of Talk Modern, a pop duo based in Portland. Duddy, a rad guy and LA-based producer, was behind the boards and was a pleasure to work with.

The Portland trifecta is drumming, eating breakfast sandos, and drinking far too much coffee. Feeling blessed to hit the trifecta. Here’s some video of the warehouse.

“Nights” and my unhealthy obsession with Frank Ocean


I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to Blond(e). There are so many gems on the album it’s hard not to parse through it again and again, mining for gems.

“Nights” is a particularly juicy track. It feels like three different songs all originating from the same idea. I really dug the second movement ( if I can call it that) of the song from 1:40 – 2:37.

The beat in that section recalls a classic hip hop beat you might hear on a mid-tempo Gangstarr track, but is much more complex. The bass drum pattern switches from riding shotgun with Frank’s lyrical inflections, to jumping in on a chord change, and at it time does both.

I transcribed the beat and took a crack at it. Here’s the video + transcription.

Have the score played for you here




Write one melody, scrap the other. Realize the new one warrants a new chord progression. Realize that chord progression doesn’t fit with the current song. Start a new song. Repeat.

That was my process for writing this song. I’m excited and relieved it’s out on the interwebs for your viewing and listening pleasure.

It’s a mathy one. Some parts are in 13/4 (3, 3, 4, 3). The outro is in 7/4. I didn’t intend to write in eye-rolling time signatures. I just dug the space between beats, and the room it afforded the melody.

Here’s the video of me playing through + the actual track (available for free download) on Soundcloud.



Subbing In With Hazel English

I had the pleasure of filling in on drums for my homie, Liam O’Neil, with Hazel English. Not only is the band comprised of the sweetest people, but their tunes ear candy. Here’s a video from the gig.

Thanks to the Hazel English crew for having me!

Post-show band pic. Shout out to @kylekellyyahner who filled in on drums and did a killer job 👏

A photo posted by Hazel English (@hazelenglishmusic) on Jun 6, 2016 at 2:57pm PDT