Cris: There are a lot of electronic elements with this show that you control from your kit. What is the key to dealing with all of that electronic stuff but still giving it a good, natural feel?
Chris Kimmerer (drummer for Thomas Rhett): Before I joined this band, I did a tour with an artist who made an electronic record. It was amazing. It was a great work of art. On the tour I played some acoustic drums but almost everything else was electronic. So I learned how to replicate electronic content from the record and take that into a live setting.
It never made sense to me to roll the start of the song from the computer with the tracks and then have a drum loop going on and me just sort of sitting there twiddling my thumbs. I'm a drummer. I should play that. So early on with that tour we figured out ways for me to reproduce that stuff live.
I'm not sure it connects with everybody on their first glance, but it eventually registers that, "Oh. He is performing that part that I'm hearing and those are not normal sounding drums." There's a cowbell thing here or a hand clap thing there or a super 808 kind of thing going on in the kick drum world. And then the switch from that to the acoustic drums can be a thing.
Part of the trick to all that stuff is it needs to feel real as far as its performance. It's been a challenge. We tried to find ways to minimize any kind of electronic crash issues and also find a way for me as a drummer to be behind the kit and perform naturally on electronic instruments, to try and recreate a true experience.