World class custom drum & percussion tracks delivered to you no matter where you are in the world... Real Time Remote Sessions available allowing the client(s) to virtually attend the recording session and hear the performances coming off the studio console with multiple HD camera angles via their computer, tablet or smartphone.
Mike Bennett is an internationally recognized drummer, percussionist & programmer working with many of today’s top stars as well as legends in the music industry.
His tremendous musicality and high energy performances has led DRUM! Magazine to call him, “a full fledged chameleon, showing restraint or blasting chops when called for, with a clean sound, metronomic feel and a distinctly melodic soloing style.” Modern Drummer Magazine agrees saying that Bennett is, “on the fast track… a versatile drummer who has built a reputation as one of L.A.’s finest.”
Able to easily cross many contemporary and world genres, Bennett has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Hilary Duff, Richie Kotzen, Steve Stevens, Spencer Ludwig, Charlie Wilson, Pitbull, Teddy Riley, Benise, Andra Day, Mary Mary, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Sabrina Carpenter, Common, Slash, Stevie Wonder, Marie Digby, Jamie Foxx, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and many others all over the globe. He has also made television appearances on programs such as The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, GMA, The Today show & many more.
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Interview with Mike Bennett
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: The recent Richie Kotzen tunes that I played on were great because I felt that it really portrayed the voice I had developed for a decade in the band. That gig was always great because I got to be me...
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I still balance a life in between the studio and touring but I have been excited to be able to spend more time at home making records, writing music for TV and playing with my cats.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. They each have their up sides and obstacles. I primarily work digital these days in order to have a flexible workflow and easy recalls. Plus, I think so much of the current analog modeling sounds very good and in the spirit of the hardware.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I always want to flatter the song and the artist. I will always do my best to bring something to your song that makes you excited and proud.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I have made music and have friends all over the world. It does'nt get better than that to me.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: A lot of questions regarding gear and influences. These are cool questions because it creates dialog between a client and I where we can build a relationship. I want to get to know more about my clients in the same way that they may want to get to know more about me.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: As much as try not to, I often get pigeon holed into genres by particular clients. I'm fairly shy and try not to wear my resume on my sleeve so at times I can seem a little unknown. Credits are cool but you're only as good as what you are working on that day.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Everything from tech specs to the vibe of the track/artist. I want to fit in with the clients feels and never ask them to work around me. Communication is everything...
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be honest and detailed.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Two SM57s, UA Apollo, Any MIDI keyboard that washes up on the beach and a coffee maker...
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: 20 plus years now of many gigs, sessions & tours. I started my touring career young with Hilary Duff which led me to working my way around the pop music circuit. From there everything started branching out to working with R&B artists' such as Andra Day to jazz acts like Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. In recent years I have found myself in the rock guitar circuit touring and recording with artists such as Richie Kotzen and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol). In addition to all of the sessions & tours as a drummer/percussionist, I have also kept an active career as a television composer working for networks such as ABC, DISNEY, DISCOVERY, LIFETIME, HALLMARK, FX & others and on television shows such as The Bachelor, Legit and Watch What Happens.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: There's a definite "jazz guy' in me that comes from my younger years where I worked primarily as a jazz drummer and also a latin percussionist. I always wanted to be a pop guy but post college kind of dropped me off in the jazz world. Thankfully soon after I landed my first big pop gig and started being able to professionally work in a variety of genres. As of recent years I have been touring with a lot of the acclaimed "guitar shredders." It all comes in waves and has all added to my voice. I try to balance being both an artist and a craftsman. Knowing how and when to paint pictures or fences.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Nine Inch Nails, Fiona Apple, Depeche Mode & too many others in too many genres to list!
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Develop a good workflow with checks and balances. When wearing many hats in your own studio make sure you don't move so fast that you miss something and are having to apologize for an avoidable technical issue. Be patient so that way your client gets what they need without any compromise. Fall in love with the details.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Everything from prop-rock tracks to R&B records & beyond. Keeps me fresh and excited. I never wanted to be the guy that does just one thing.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening. Not just to the music but also to the client. Everything from the musical direction to the technical details.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I like to think that I bring both creativity & function. Working for a wide variety of commercial & creative artists I've learned how to exercise humility and try to bring what I can to the big picture and end goal. It's al about flattering the song and the artist. I want them to be excited about their music.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It's really simple. Once contacted I send the potential client a brief questionnaire to fill out which provides me a lot of the details from both a technical and vibe perspective. From there I communicate with client as much as need be to make sure we are on the same page before we move forward into the tracking process. After that its pretty simple! Send me the track and I start recording. Once we both agree that the track is done then I return the multi-track files via my server.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I operate out of my studio in Los Angeles, CA. The room is designed with both sonics and workflow in mind. In addition to housing high-quality recording gear & instruments there are also plenty of options. I always want to have the proper gear to get the desired sound right away. The room is also set up for "Real Time Recording" so that my client(s) can actually participate in remote sessions as if they were in the room from wherever they are in the world via their computer, tablet or smartphone. There are multiple camera angles and the audio is straight from my console to their device. This has put the humanity and collaboration back into these distanced sessions (especially during COVID19) and also makes things faster and more efficient. The producer can actually attend the session and produce saving a lot of time on revisions. Easier communication and involvement means less compromise for the artist or producer and takes the risk out of remote recording.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I have spent so many years on stage and in the studio crossing genres which has kept my career fresh and exciting. I have tried my best to never be pigeonholed into any one specific genre. As of the past many years I find myself researching and learning a lot from my favorite recording engineers and producers, learning how they get the sound, attitude & feel on their tracks that gives them an identity. Some of my favorites include Butch Walker, Vance Powell, Jacquire King, Greg Wells & many others.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: A large amount of my clients come to me to do all of the drumset, percussion and drum programming for a song. I take the time to make sure the entire rhythmic bed is work well together and for the song then I return clean and edited multi-tracks back to them via my server. Everything is ready to easily drop into their session and it saves them a lot of time and money having to go to three different people to get a complete tracks with all of the bells and whistles the song may need.