K-Pop Taiko Experiment: BLACKPINK “Whistle”


For the K-Pop Taiko Experiment, I focused on getting a wide range of sounds from the drums. At this point, I was still thinking of the Hybrid Pop Kit as a substitute for the drum set. I wanted to get a punchy, low Kick sound, a fat Snare, a range of Taiko sounds and cymbals.

At this point, I only had two SM57s, a Beta 52a, and two AKG414s. I’m using the SM57s on the Snare, Shime, the Beta 52a on the Floor Tom, and the AKG414s as Overheads. I recorded this on the same day that I did the Rich Chigga “Dat $tick” video, so the following applies pretty much to both.

Recording Methods

In order to support this concept, drum tuning and dampening play a huge role.  I’m using a Big Fat Snare Drum Steve’s Donut on the snare and two Moongel Resonance Pads on the shime.  Both of these products reduce the amount of resonance, making the drums extremely tight.  The Kick is a 16″ floor tom with an Evans EMAD Clear on the batter and the resonant head removed.

I got the idea of using the EMAD from this article titled “Creating the Indian Subsonic Bass Sound.”  The article explores recreating Trilok Gurtu’s kit – in particular the bass sound of the Toms. With some EQ and Compression, it produces a nice 808 Sub Kick-esque sound.

Performance Methods

The interesting thing about BLACKPINK “Whistle” is that the mood of this song drastically changes every 8 bars.  If you think of the basic structure of the song as A/A/B/Chorus, we have the R&B A section, the Rap B Section, and the Pop Chorus section.  It’s almost like the genre of music changes every 10 seconds.

When the mood of the music changes, I want the drums to change with the rest of the song.  From a performer’s perspective this is a cool challenge.  For example, when the song goes from R&B to Rap, am I changing my pattern to reflect that, without being too jarring?  In other words, does what I’m playing capture the essence of each genre, and does it go well with the song.

Mixing Methods

The main focus for this mix is the Kick. I’m using EQ, Compression, and an Enveloper to create a gigantic 808 Sub Kick-esque sound. In retrospect, I think the drums sound too compressed and unnatural, but it was good to know that I can get that synthetic Sub Kick sound from an acoustic setup.


There are a lot of things that worked well with this K-Pop Taiko experiment, and a lot of things that didn’t.  The things that worked well were the drum tuning and dampening.  The Snare and Shime sounded tight, and the Floor Tom converted well into a Kick Drum.  Essentially they were producing the type of sound that I wanted. They add tremendous breadth to the sound, and will allow me to cover a lot of ground musically.

On the other hand, I still don’t know how to incorporate the Chu into the mix. I’m not using it effectively because I can’t hear it working well with the rest of the song.  Also, in this video and in also the Rich Chigga “Dat $tick” video, I feel the whole thing is just a little too close to being a drum set.  I’d like to work on using the set to bring out some unique flavor to the song.