Paul Williams

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Paul Williams trapKAT

We proudly support our KAT artist, Paul Williams. He is a drummer, synthesist, and producer of the American spacerock band, Quarkspace. Church of Hed is his solo project. His music is modern aural travelogues, inspired by progressive and space rock as well as Berlin School electronica.

1. Which KAT instrument do you play?

I’ve been playing KAT/Alternate Mode products for over 20 years – starting with the drumKAT and graduating to a trapKAT in the late 90s. It is a major part of my setup, and is still holding up quite well after all these years.

2. What do you like about trapKAT?

As a drummer and a keyboardist/synthesist, the trapKAT is the perfect percussion instrument for my musical needs. I am able to trigger a highly-effected hardware drum module, plugins on the computer -- whatever suits the music. My bands Church of Hed and Quarkspace improvise quite a bit, and the trapKAT lets us listen to everyone else using headphones or monitor speakers. Listening being vital for creating quality improvised music.

Its action is great and natural, and after 20 years, I've had nary an issue with the unit. The trapKAT is solidly build and reliable.

3. Could you tell me an example of sound assignment on your trapKAT?

My typical setup involves triggering a Roland TD-8 module, which I bought at the same time as the trapKAT. I have a few standard virtual “acoustic” drum kits I’ve created in the TD-8 and use these along with the occasional TR-808, 909 or other electronic drum sounds which are compatible with the esoteric electronic spacerock and psychedelia Church of Hed and Quarkspace produce. Sometimes, I’ll use an orchestral drum kit to get access to timpani.

These days, I run the TD-8 directly through a Boss VF-1 guitar effects box, using anything from a virtual amp stack with delay and distortion to other effects settings with chorus and/or rhythmic delays. In the past, I’ve also used a Lexicon Vortex unit with the TD-8/trapKAT, like on the Quarkspace track, Fujita, off of our Spacefolds 7 album, which gives the kit a crazy phased delay sound, which is a key part of the piece’s rhythm. 

I also use the BFD drum plugin and leverage both of the trapKAT’s MIDI outs to trigger both sound sources simultaneously. Once I’ve got a MIDI version of the drum track, the doors are opened for more “after the fact” sonic manipulations in Pro Tools. 

I treat drum sounds the same way I treat synth sounds – as a vehicle for musical exploration. The trapKAT allows me to fully express my drumming style, but with a wider sonic palette than a regular 5-piece acoustic kit. Another KAT artist – Mickey Hart – is an inspiration of mine with this approach.

trapKAT triggers not only sounds, but also your creativity.