It’s hard to talk about the modern recording world or drumming world without mentioning Ash Soan. He is on so many hit records these days. Sam Smith, Seal, Adele, Tori Kelly, and many others all depend on Ash for a contagious groove and deep pocket.
“Red Zone Killer”
This is a great example of what Ash Soan is widely known for: a killer half-time shuffle!
This is a classic Coldplay song covered by Sam Smith. The song is mostly stripped down and acoustic, but when the drums do come in, they come in hard. Ash uses an old Gretsch snare tuned really low for this almost sample-type backbeat.
“Set Fire to the Rain”
A classic Adele hit, this song has been streamed and played hundreds of millions of times. Ash keeps the groove simple, but really locks in with the programming and glues everything together nicely.
“Stop Loving Her Today”
Playing drums and supporting an artist with a full string section is a tricky thing. Ash navigates this wonderfully on this track with a rock-solid shaker/cross-stick groove that leaves a lot of room for vocals.
“You Make It Real”
On this track Ash does a great job of building the dynamics throughout the song. He keeps the groove relatable and fitting the whole time but adds different variations and ghost notes to keep the energy moving forward. This is also a great track for some tried-and-true pop drum fills.
“Up On This”
Jeff Lorber Fusion
Ash is a chameleon of a player, from pop hits to playing with some giants in the fusion world. On this track, Ash proves why he gets all the calls. He locks in a wonderful backbeat that gels perfectly with the percussion and synth layers.
A modern take on a classic Abba song, this version stays very close to the original in terms of parts. Ash locks in a great dance/disco groove and stays true to the original drum part while adding his own signature sound.
“Kid I Used to Know”
Tori Kelly is a vocal powerhouse, and staying out of her way is imperative to a track like this. Ash blurs the lines between programming and live drums on this tune and really elevates the groove with small embellishments like open hi-hats, simple tom grooves, and spot-on cymbal placement.
This is another song where the line between real drums and programming is blurred. Ash locks in perfectly with the claps and programmed kicks and swells. It honestly sounds like one cohesive part, which is hard to do.
“The Hall of Heroes”
Showing another version of his skill, Ash is also a first-call drummer for movie scores and cinema parts. As one would expect, this tune goes from groovy, to orchestral, to classical, to ’70s-sounding theme songs and video game-type music. Ash handles all these genre changes like a pro.
“Not Where It’s At”
For something completely different, this tune has a modern take on more of a ’50s or ’60s sound, featuring infectious drum grooves, catchy lyrics, and pop gold producing. Ash keeps all the fills and grooves appropriate to the style and plays for the song.
Christian Dorn is a professional drummer and recording/mixing engineer based in Dallas, Texas. He plays drums for Texas legends Eleven Hundred Springs, and is an in-demand session drummer at studios all over Texas. In 2018, Christian was voted the “Drummer of the Year” by the Texas Country Music Association. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas, works frequently as an educator and clinician, and is a member of the PAS Drum Set Committee.