Drum Sound and Drum Tuning

Interview with Cherisse Osei

Cherisse Osei is very comfortable playing drums to sell-out arenas and global audiences. Cherisse works with innovative, upcoming artists and industry legends including Paloma Faith, Bryan Ferry and Mika, most recently she's been touring worldwide with Simple Minds.

Rob Toulson interviewed Cherisse and asked about her personal approaches to drum sound and drum tuning.

What characteristics do you listen for when deciding if a drum is sounding good or not? Or phrased another way – what makes a drum sound good or correct?

I ultimately decide on whether a drum is good or correct by the sound of it. What sounds good to me, might not sound good for somebody else as it’s very personal thing. If the sound doesn’t resonate with me or I don’t get excited by the sound then I know it’s not for me. Also the genre of music I’m playing will dictate the sound I’m after - I have multiple drum kits that suit the music I play. 

How do you choose between different types of drumheads? Do you use different drumheads for different performance or recording scenarios?

I choose different types of drumheads by trying a wide range of them out on my drumkit and then I decide which heads sound ’best’ for the type of music I’m playing. I generally use the same drum heads for live performances and studio recording as I like to use heads that are versatile. I’ve used Remo drumheads for over 15 years!

What is the most important characteristic that you aim to achieve when tuning or optimising the sound of a snare drum?

For me, the most important characteristic of a snare drum is it’s snap-ability! I like a warm solid sound with the just right amount of buzz and that it's also sensitive to dynamics. 

What is the most important characteristic that you aim to achieve when tuning or optimising the sound of a kick drum?

I like the sound a kick drum to be tight and punchy, with thick low end and a powerful snap to cut through the rest of the instruments. It has to be thumpy and to resonate in my chest and bones! 

Interview with Cherisse Osei conducted by Rob Toulson on 27 October 2020.

For more info on Cherisse Osei, visit www.cherisseosei.com