Inspired by, among other things, the paintings of Edward Hopper, the short stories of Raymond Carver, and film director Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, Bear’s Den is both erudite and intensely personal, defying trends and easy labelling. Musically, it also sees a startling progression. Following the amicable departure of guitarist Joey Haynes they are now a six piece touring unit built around a nucleus of Andrew Davie and multi-instrumentalist Kev Jones. While the band’s folk roots are still evident, they now come cloaked in the lush alchemy of ‘70’s and ‘80’s FM rock: Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and in particular, the nocturnal ambience of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town, alongside more contemporary artists such as The National, and Sufjan Stevens.
We chatted with Andrew Davie about how he’s using the Tempest.
Andrew, what made you choose the Tempest?
“We were exploring a lot of different drum machines when making Red Earth & Pouring Rain. A bunch of our drum sounds had started out as Ultrabeat ideas from within Logic Pro, written during demo sessions at Wisseloord Studios in Holland or even on the tour bus. Creating depth, warmth, and character was a pretty massive part of the decision-making process when it came to the Tempest. Marcus Hamblett (who plays synths with the Den) had been using the Dave Smith Prophet ’08 for a variety of the synth sounds on the album. We’d fallen in love with that and were also exploring Linndrum machines a lot. The Tempest felt like the perfect amalgamation of both those worlds.”
How are you using it?
“We started using the Tempest mainly to flesh out and enhance beats that had been roughly written on laptops. But soon it also became the rhythmic bedrock of a bunch of the tracks on our album. It also provided some really unique synth sounds as well. Realising how much more than just a drum machine it is was a pretty big deal and a really enjoyable process in the studio.“
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“Besides the unique kits and sounds themselves, I really love the analog compression and distortion effects on the drum machine itself. The distortion is really interesting and unique and how it breaks up is insanely cool. Having the ability to manipulate the individual sounds as well as the overall beat with distortion is a lot of fun and makes it so much more interesting over the course of a song, even if it’s subtle.”
What does it give you that other instruments might not?
“If you’re looking for something classic but unique that has real depth, warmth, and all the tools you need to sustain interest and character in your beats or ideas (however simple those ideas may be) the Tempest gives you all of that and a lot more.”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“Our song Roses On A Breeze was the combination of a happy accident hitting an an old oil drum we found outside the studio at Rockfield together with a beat that we’d originally written on Logic that we re-wrote and re-approached using the Tempest. Then we also added two full drum kits at the end of the song. In terms of interesting techniques, being able to find a drum machine that could still have its place and character within that mix was a credit to the Tempest. It also allowed us to tweak the analog effects of the beat during the mix so it swelled and evolved with the track as opposed to staying too rigid. Our good friend Ian Grimble (who produced RE&PR) is a big believer in doing full takes throughout songs and letting parts grow and develop — whether it’s a vocal or a drum loop. The Tempest gave us that flexibility and made it incredibly enjoyable.“
MORE ABOUT THE TEMPEST
For more information, check out the Tempest product page here.
Find your local dealer for Tempest pricing here.
If you’re using the Tempest in interesting ways, tell us about it. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.