FX: How did you get started in music?
DO: I started pretty early. I was playing drums when I was five years old and was doing it professionally not long after. I remember the first gig I ever did that I got paid for, I was eight years old and onstage with three guys who were all thirty years older than me. I've been doing it ever since.
FX: What projects are you currently working on?
DO: I'm finishing up my 2nd solo record, 'KWELA', which I recorded this year in South Africa. I've also been doing a lot of drum sessions for American artists and playing on several film trailer campaigns. It's been a pretty dope summer!
FX: How are you using BFD?
DO: You know, honestly I usually don't care for drum plug-ins or drum libraries because it's so easy for me to just get behind my kit and record. But with BFD3, I'm discovering the fun and satisfaction of using it to chart ideas during the demo process of conceptualizing a song, with the goal being to replace the demo track with live drums later during the recording phase. What actually has been happening, though, is I've kept the BFD drum track underneath and played over the top of it live, which creates this interesting hybrid layered sound I'm now experimenting with on this record. A lot of world music employs a double-drumming scheme, either on stage or in the studio, so this might be my version of that in a sense.
FX: What features are you making the most use of?
DO: I'm not afraid of mangling pure percussion tracks and trying outlandish things with processing, and the ease-of-use of BFD3 makes it so simple to produce sonic environments that I wouldn't normally think of just sitting behind an acoustic drum kit. In terms of features, I really dig the customization options. The damping functions are realistic to my ears. And best of all, each kit piece is recorded naturally, so you get the ring of the shell that most libraries try and hide because they think it doesn't sound "polished" that way. In reality, you need that vibe in the recording of the sample so that you can actually produce… like we did back in the day. So much music-making these days is canned loops and stock sounds, which somehow passes for production chops.
FX: How does BFD compare to the sonic qualities of real drums?
DO: Of all the drum plug-ins and drum libraries that I've used and heard throughout my career, BFD is without a doubt the best sonic and dynamic representation of an actual acoustic kit. We've all heard every artist who endorses any product say that a million times, so let me qualify my statement… It's not just the tone or the sound that makes BFD amazing, it's also the control of the performance that produces that sound. You wouldn't think that a drum is anything special to sample — you hit it, you hit it again, and maybe you hit it again. People tend to think of drums in pretty basic terms. Even me! I've always said that a drum is a drum is a drum; essentially a wood hoop with a cow's ass strapped over it! But from a player's standpoint, we know something that the general music-producing crowd typically doesn't which is that there IS a right and a wrong way to hit a drum.
"I really like layering the BFD snare drums over the top of my live snare tracks to give them that finished pop push."Deane used this technique on 'Kwela'
FX: Do you have any tips or tricks with BFD that you want to share?
DO: I really like layering the BFD snare drums over the top of my live snare tracks to give them that finished pop push. Unless you have a solid budget for your project, you're probably not going to be in the room at Abbey Road in London or The Bridge in LA recording your live drums. That's where that amazing BFD snare drum collection comes in really handy. You can layer in some of those snares and end up with a super deep and rich tone. More often than not, snare drums really have to cut through the mix so having that rich top layer of what I call "sugar smack" on your snare track makes all the difference, and BFD does a great job of that. The careful attention they pay to recording those drums is second to none, in my opinion.
FX: What inspires your musical creation?
DO: Someone called me a "musical nomad" recently because of the way that I've developed my career over time, and I think that label fits me pretty well. I try hard to stay agile enough to pick up and go to wherever the interesting musical adventures happen to be at any given time. I'm an ethnomusicology freak, so whisking off to some foreign place to play with musicians in other cultures is something that really lights me up. With all these tools at our disposal, artists can be with anyone, anywhere, at any time. I triangulate between Europe, the western United States, and Asia, and it took me a long time before I figured out that not being tied down to one specific geographic location was the best way for me to work.
FX: What do you have on deck for the rest of 2014?
DO: The main focus right now is definitely the new album, but there's actually a lot going on all at once. I'm scoring a feature film next month and I have a group of television shows, both domestically and overseas in Singapore, that I actively score all year. I created two long-standing community resource projects — SCOREcastOnline.com which is a global resource community for film, TV and game composers, and ON THE HIT with DEANE OGDEN, a radio show featuring one-on-one interviews with professional studio musicians. I've got two events at the NAMM show in 2015 that I'm very excited about. On top of that, I'm writing some songs for a label mate in the States who is a female pop artist, and I'm playing drums on her album and several others right now. It's been kind of a banner year for me, personally. My wife keeps saying I'm doing too much, but I figure, what the hell, man… I better squeeze it all in while I still can!
Interview: November 2014