Interview With Nate Barnes & Jimmy Stofer

We had the opportunity to spend a minute with Nate Barnes & Jimmy Stofer. These guys came together as the super talented rhythm section for Rose Hill Drive and have shared the stage with big acts like The Who, Van Halen, Aerosmith and more. They have a ton of live and studio experience between them and we are glad to have them as a part of the community. You can find their gigs here

Can you tell us about your live experience?

Nate: I’ve been playing live ever since I started drumming in the 6th grade; be it school band concerts, worship music at youth group, or touring for over 5 years playing 200-250 shows per year with Rose Hill Drive in venues ranging from dive bars to arenas (supporting bands such as The Who, Van Halen, and Aerosmith) and festivals (Hyde Park Calling, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Bumpershoot, and others) across the USA, Canada, and Europe.  

Jim: I got my start touring playing with The Fray, and played with them for about three years.  From there I have played with Rose Hill Drive, Flobots, Cary Brothers, Crosby Loggins, and many more.  I’ve played everything from dive bars to arenas to late night talk shows, and just about everything in between.  Along the way I’ve had the privilege to share the stage with great bands such as Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, Pixies, Ben Folds, John Mayer, Brandi Carlille, and more.

You guys also have a lot of session experience too – is that right?

Nate:Yes, I have been a session player for over 10 years; drumming for national TV spots for Ford, McDonald’s, Nickelodeon, Victory Motorcycles, Dish Network, and many more, as well as drumming on countless instrumentals licensed by composing libraries worldwide.  I had the pleasure of drumming for sessions with legendary Producers/Engineers Brendan O’Brien and Nick DiDia as well as producing, writing, drumming on, and mixing over 150 songs in studio with Rose Hill Drive.  I also drum on many local musician’s projects in the Denver area and produce local artists.

Jim: Yes. I’ve played bass on numerous albums, commercials, trailers, and catalog music.  I’ve also composed/produced music for Target, McDonalds, Nike, Progressive, and more.  I’ve worked in studios all over the country, but also have a home studio where I write and record. 

Tell us a bit about your studio, gear, etc?

Nate: We track in a full time commercial facility centered around an SSL AWS 900 board with top of the line gear- 1176’s, Distressors, Chandlers, Fatso, API Preamps, and the great SSL X Rack Compressor.  We also use a great assortment of classic microphones including Royer ribbons, a vintage AKG C12, and vintage U87s, among many others.  However, I’ve found that the most important part of great sounding drum tracks are playing technique/dynamics and a great sounding drum kit, which I always concentrate on.

Jim: My studio is located in Minneapolis, MN.  My bass gear includes 2 4×10 Ashdown cabs, 1×15 Ampeg cab, Ashdown 500 evo II head, and Ampeg B2R head.  I use Pro Tools 9 with Waves 7, and use Great River DI, Distressor, API eq/preamps, and more.  

How do you like the process of working with people online i.e. AirGigs?

Nate: Internet collaboration is a great opportunity and resource because it expands your options for sessions and session musicians beyond your local talent pool and local studios; and offers straightforward per track pricing versus paying engineers, studios, and players by the hour for sessions that can often drag on longer than expected.

Jim: So far its been great.  I like collaborating in this format because it allows me to play with so many all over the country and world.  Its a great way to connect with so many talented people and play on a lot of exciting music.

How do you guys work together?

Nate: First, we’ll discuss the tune together and get on the same page performance wise. Typically I lay the drums down to whatever backing track is provided (or to a mapped click if no track is provided), and then send it off to Jimmy for bass.  We do 3 “keeper” takes of each tune each with different flavors so our clients have plenty to work with.

Here’s a video of them with Rose Hill Drive:

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