At our Earlham Road site we use clicks and sometimes tracks in worship. It’s the drummers responsibility to cue these during rehearsals and services so we thought it a good idea to give you a rundown on how to do this.
Clicks & SPD-SX
The SPD-SX is the core to using clicks/tracks and also powers our triggers that we use to add sample sounds of the kick and snare/rim. Each pad has a different purpose, and it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the layout so you can utilise it well. Below is a picture outlining each pad, I’ll explain what each one does here:
Sample 1, 2, 3, & 4: We’ve added some electronic samples to add to your playing, they are mainly percussive, including a blip, clap, sub kick and a 808 snare drum. These are great to play around with. As we grow in our creativity we’ll have the opportunity to add new samples to these spots.
Click 2 Play/Pause: Hitting this pad with your stick will trigger the internal click from the SPD-SX, this is what we call Click 2 or Auxiliary Click and is only used when you have deviated from your planned setlist and would like to bring in a click. You’ll use this in combination with the next pad
Click 2 Tap Tempo: Before hitting play on Click 2 it’s important to tap the current songs tempo on to this pad. It takes about 6 hits to be accurate, make sure the light flashes every time you hit it or it won’t measure correctly.
LC Prime Prev/Next Song: The LC Prime pads are Midi Mapped to the laptop running clicks and tracks. We use a program called Prime, by Loop Community or LC to run clicks and tracks. It’s a free app for iPad, iPhone, or Mac that you can download here. Once downloaded you can log in to our account and access our library of tracks and build your own setlists for Sunday or use the church laptop found in the drum cage. Once your setlist has been set up, simply use the next and previous song pads to navigate through.
LC Prime Play/Pause: Fairly simple, hit this to play or pause the click or track currently playing from LC. You don’t need to pause before changing to the next song however, simply hit next whilst the other is playing.
Sample Reverb On/Off and Amount: The button labelled FX will turn on a reverb for the samples and the snare triggers when illuminated. The knob labelled Control 1 dictates how much of this reverb is being produced by the SPD-SX. It’s great for half time epic snare hits or to develop some of the samples on the pad.
When to Cue Clicks/Tracks?
Bringing in clicks and tracks at the right time is SUCH an important skill and worth practicing using your left hand to hit the pad quickly. Depending on the situation you’ll have to cue clicks/tracks at different times, I’ve listed some scenarios below to help out, the key however is to err on the side of faster. A worship leader can always tell you to cut the click (using a closed fist), so best to get it in early and cut it than have the worship leader waiting around for you to start it:
Start of Service: Usually the MD will get the keys player to Pad up before asking for the click, however it’s never a bad thing to get it playing as soon as you can hear pads in your ears, it gives the MD a chance to count the band into a holding pattern quicker.
Between two songs: If a song is planned to transition quickly to the next, simply hit next song as the worship leader or band play the last chord. If you’re washing out, hit next as soon as you start to wash, don’t wait for it to end before changing or the transition will be clunky.
Click > Track: If you are playing a song with click only into a song with tracks be aware of how much intro the track has this will give you an idea as to when to cue next song. if it’s moving into an intro with a key change then you’ll need to plan this with the band and practice making the transition strong.
End of a set/ministry/hold patterns: It’s very helpful to continue to have click in the bands ears during hold patterns or spiritual ministry moments at the ends of songs/sets. It keeps everyone together and many people will have set their mixes up around the click, don’t pull it too quickly. Wait for a signal from the WL or call from MD. However, if you find that the band are all over the place timing wise, it’s better to keep the click going.
Spontaneous Songs/Tempos: If the WL is beginning to lead a moment that is faster or slower than the current click, hit pause and then tap the new tempo into Click 2 before playing that one. You can also hit ADD SONG on LC Prime and search for the song they are playing for the correct click.
End of Track: If a track is coming to the end, make sure you don’t pull it too early, keep it running until the level of the band is above the tracks and then you have the freedom to move on.
There’s always so much more to learn about the apps and hardware, have a look on the LC Prime Youtube tutorials here!
If you’re keen to load your own samples on to the SPD-SX, the best program to use is SPD-SX Editor which can be purchased and downloaded from here. It’s a powerful program, please just don’t overwrite the original STN Church patch on the drum machine.