In this week’s edition of the Manufacturer Interview, we talk to Bobby Vickers of Burnt Custom Drums (Dublin, Ireland). Apart from playing the drums for Fighting for Jane and being a drum tech for numerous bands, he finds time to craft his own brand of kits that are of popular demand in Ireland. Here’s what he had to say in his interview with Indian Drummer.
ID - Hey Bobby! How’ve you been? What’s keeping you busy lately?
Bobby - Things are great! Between building drums and being out on the road as a drum tech for various bands, I’m run off my feet!
Bobby - I guess I’ve been tinkering around with kits since I started playing drums as a young lad. The last couple of years I got some interest in a couple of my creations and things have moved on from there. I’m really just self-taught. I’ve always been good with my hands. I had to ask a few questions or, go looking for answers when I got stuck but, basically I just learnt as I went along. It’s a learning curve for sure!
ID – How difficult was it in the beginning? Do you build the kits all by yourself?
Bobby - Yes, all the kits are hand built apart from when it’s getting near Christmas and Santy lends me a few Elves so I can get the stuff out there! No, but seriously, I’m on my own just using my hands and a few generic Wood working tools and a spray booth. Every kit has a brand new challenge.
The early days I had to do a lot of catch-up learning about different paints, lacquers and finishes. There’s no production line, but I have my own system.
ID – Can you give us an idea of difference between woods and what sound each one is suitable for?
Bobby - Most of the kits I make are Maple. Maple kinda sits in the middle and you can tune it bright or, dark. Birch would be a very bright wood, whereas Mahogany would be a lot darker tone wise. 9 out of 10 kits I make are Maple though.
ID – Now coming to the depth of shells, how does that have an impact on the sound?
Bobby - Diameter and depth of shell can have an impact on sound in many ways. This is why a custom kit is a great thing for a drummer, as there’s lots of room to explore the different aspects of sound.
ID – Explain to us how the process of building a kit happens at Burnt Custom right from the selection of wood to the finishing touches.
Bobby - Some drummers are happy just to buy what I’ve already built. Others have an exact idea of what they want, from diameters to lacquers, exotic veneer finishes and wraps. So the process can be completely different for each kit.
ID – As a drummer, who are your major influences? Any band(s) you play for at the moment?
Bobby - I’ve many influences. Too many to mention really, but Buddy Rich and Stuart Copeland for sure. “Fighting for Jane” is my own band. We’ve been together about a year and it’s still work in progress. I’m also currently on the road as drum tech for Ireland’s hottest new band “Royseven”
Bobby - Not at the moment. Down the road in the future, possibly but, at present I’m just concentrating on getting my kits out there.
ID – How difficult is it to establish your name while competing with the other big brand names?
Bobby - I don’t really see the big brands as competition. Burnt Custom isn’t a production line. It’s a bespoke boutique, where each drummer has all the input they want in designing their very own kit. I get my name from the drums I make and my heart goes into each individual kit. At the end of the day, I believe that is what makes Burnt Custom Drums different.
ID – Have you signed any endorsement deals with drummers?
Bobby - Being only a small one-man operation, it’s hard for me to give endorsements. But I have endorsed Declan Herbert form Dublin band “Noise control” And I would certainly give hard-working drummers an Artist endorsement rate.
ID – Have you heard any music from India? And how can people here get their hands on your marvelous works?
Bobby - We don’t really get a lot of Indian music in Ireland, maybe you could suggest some bands?
I’ve shipped my kits to Europe and the United States, so I wouldn’t see any problem with building Burnt Custom drums for drummers in India. Find me on facebook “burnt custom drums” have a look at the photos of my work, listen to the videos. If you’re interested then get in touch!
ID – Thanks a ton for doing this interview Bobby. This is your space; feel free to say anything to your fans, family, customers, etc.
Bobby - Burnt Custom drums is built by passion. So thank you to everyone who has a passion for music and especially drums. Big shout out to drummerconnection.com in the US, as well as all the other drummers worldwide who have supported me. And obviously a huge thank you to indiandrummer.com!
Thanks a ton for doing this interview Bobby! Indian Drummer wishes you the best in all your ventures.