Why Seesar Drums? A Solution to the Lovecraftian-Futurist-Traditional Percussion Problem.

Many people have congratulated me on opening Seesar Drums, but several of those people have also wondered why I would start making drums full time when there are so many other, quality percussion builders operating today. The answer lies in a combination of personal journeys and a (perhaps strange to some) hole in the instrumentation available to the discerning music that Seesar Drums seeks to fill.

If you are reading this, then chances are you know that I have degeres in Ethnomusicology and Acoustics, I have toured and recorded for decades with various projects primarily playing experimental forms of music, and that I’m utterly obsessed with only two or three (okay, probably five) things, and Lovecraft inspired Mythos fiction is rather high on the list. Of course, I can argue that during my many fieldwork projects that focused upon percussion construction in one way or another, I learned the skills to build drums using various traditional methods of construction, and that would be true enough to point out. I could also argue that having a Physics degree with minors/majors in music, and always focusing on musical instruments in more scientific studies has afforded me the means to inject acoustically sound methodologies into drum making, and that would certainly be part of it. Futhermore, I could say that performing in a plethora of situations, playing manufactured or handmade percussion and/or instrumentation that involved repurposing items to create noisemakers or converted non-percussion objects into percussion to experiment with tones, timbres, and performance techniques, and yet again, that would be a pretty decent stance to take. In fact, all these angles for why Seesar Drums came to be would be and are valid, but there’s a few things that are beyond the obvious that is slightly more involved to explain.


Seesar Drums

In my travels that sought out knowledge of percussion construction, I not only learned many things, but I also didn’t learn some things. What does that mean? Well, it means that I found that whilst a method of building a drum may not be “in need” of being improved, there were alternate methods that may create new sounds or afford new playing techniques (or at least mergers of existing ones). In my performances on stage and in the studio, I learned many ways of playing percussion and how the instrument itself lends tendancies to certain styles and techniques (and I will also give some well-deserved credit here, to the fine folks at David Roman Drums, where I learned many useful skills, for they drilled into my head: if it’s not functional for the player, it doesn’t matter how high the quality of the drum is. They always consider the needs of the player building instruments, and now, so do I.) However, I also learned that even with makers of instruments that are being created by players who are aware of the necessity for a drum to be accommodating of their playing styles and conditions, there are many considerations that are either far over-stated or remain unaddressed. Additionally, functionality of the instruments were being filtered down to broadly accepted popular music style concepts, and in my opinion, had removed some of the artistic and cultural functionality of the instruments (not such that an instrument was not functional, but that its function had changed or been simplified).

That’s where Seesar Drums comes in. I am not attempting to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but rather, I am trying to reinstate the functionality of timbre, visuals, tones, and supported performance techniques of the traditional percussion on which Seesar Drums bases their models. I also seek to expand upon that functionality with hybridity of construction designs, specifically to introduce freshness, unfamiliarity, and renewed associations to percussion performance, without milking a distasteful sense of exoticism or strangeness for the sake of being weird.

This drum is a 5-sided shaman drum inspired by Dreams in the Witch House

Where’s Lovecraft in all this? Well, Lovecraft and the fear of the unknown that supports the musical and sonic approaches to composition and performance upheld by Lovecraftian Futurism directly fuels the rethinking of construction ideas and playing techniques Seesar Drums embraces and encourages. Mythos fiction regularly refers to cultist practices and music supported rituals undertaken in hidden lands across the globe, all or almost entirely fictional, so representing the music generated from these diagetic cultures would be best performed on instruments that hint at world music styles, but are not culture-specific. Italain Futurist music, which eventually developed into contemporary Lovecraftin Futurist music, that encouraged a departure from the cannon of sounds generated by standard western instrumentation again can be addressed with new, unique percussion. Serious musicians delving into either the Lovecraftian Futurist genre, or just desiring to perform with high quality, unique instrumentation that has a lower level of “cultural baggage” connected to some percussion can find value in Seesar Drums traditional-drum-informed models that allow for a variety of playing techniques, address the needs of professional performers, and provide visual links to purposefully-conflated non-specific Pagan/Lovecraftian references (which can be personalized, as well, for commissions).

Seesar Drums’ 13 Moon Shoggoth Special frame drum.

So Seesar Drums not only merges fieldwork research into a variety of percussion construction methods, acoustical alterations for enhanced sound (tpyically using a Guru-Timpani leading edge designed by Guru Drums in the UK), an understanding of what a performer may want or need in an instrument, and paintaking artistic embellishments that render the drums both artwork and sonic devices, but Seesar Drums also responds to the needs of discerning musicians looking for a solution to making Lovecraftian Futurist or experimental/Gothic/Pagan/Medieval-inspired music with acoustic faux-ritual instrumentation by offering our hybrid construction, one-of-a-kind quality handmade percussion inspired by Lovecraftian Weird Fiction.

The New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult tonbak/djembe which was Seesar Drums first drum.

To see what Seesar Drums has currently for sale, visit the Seesar Drums  Etsy Shop.
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Thanks for reading and may your Lovecraftian Futurist music making be indescribably creepy!

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