Some time ago, the Swedish prog masters The Flower Kings stopped by on their European tour in the city of Poznań, Poland, to play a gig at the U Bazyla club. We took that opportunity to hook up with the band’s drummer, Italy’s very own Mirkko DeMaio, and talk about his drum kit.
Hi! I’m Mirkko DeMaio, currently the drummer for The Flower Kings. We are in Poznań, Poland, and I will give you a quick run through my drum set.
Let’s start with the cymbals. I play Istanbul Agop. I’ve been with them since July last year. They’ve been kind enough to send me an almost exact replica of the cymbal set that I have at home in Italy. I have this 22” Istanbul Agop Traditional China. It’s very light and I’ve added this sizzle chain here. Very nice. A Simon-Phillips-like kind of thing. This new Xist Dry Crash is incredible! So quick, so trashy. Just perfect! Then, I have an 18” Xist Brilliant Crash. The same 19” model is on my right. A Traditional 7” Splash, an Xist Brilliant 8” Splash, an Xist Brilliant 10” Splash. The Traditional Heavy hi hat. It’s different from the one I have at home, which is and Xist Brilliant. This is a very good hi hat, I really recomend it. Istanbul Agop Traditional Heavy Hats 15”. It’s awesome! I also have to get a 16”. Istanbul Agop have sent me this beautiful 22” Signature Medium Ride. Then, I have this stack made up of a 13” Istanbul Xist Dry Dark Crash on top and a 14” Traditional China as the bottom. A 12” Mini China Brilliant. There’s a lot of stuff going on here. Then, I have this 22” Xist Power China. It’s called „Power” but actually it’s very light. It’s very explosive and that’s exactly what I needed.
As for the drums, I’m not endorsed by Tama but I mainly use Tama gear, also in the studio, because I love it. On this tour, I have taken a Tama Superstar Classic Maple kit with me. It’s got this kind of vintage look, like, a replica of the original Superstar exotic finish from the 70s or 80s. I don’t really remember the depths but the toms are kind of shallower anyway: 8”, 10”, 12” rack toms, 14” and 16” floor toms and the kick is 22”x18”, I guess. The main snare is custom made by Oriollo in Serbia. Oriollo made a couple of things for me, for example the Oriollo brass, which is huge and really good. Then, just the day before the tour kicked off, he made this aluminum timbale for me. The same lugs as the snare. By the way, this is hammered spun brass with die cast hoops and offset lugs. The size is 14” x 4.5”. Something between that Vinnie Colaiuta and David Garibaldi sound, but for The Flower Kings. This little snare is very powerful. It’s an old 12” bronze snare by Tama. Very good. It just shoots like hell. Incredible! I’ve got these two octobans sized 6” but different depths. The kit is tuned a bit higher for this tour to get a specific sound from the PA. The bass drum is actually full of stuff. We need a very precise sound an then the FOH engineer will do the rest. It has a pillow inside an a dampening ring on the batter head and the sound is pretty dead now, but on the PA it will be huge and precise. I haven’t mentioned this custom gong drum slash pancake drum slash omelette drum. An Italian company made it for me. They gave me the shell and I did the rest. It’s a 20” x 8” bubinga shell. They made a shallower rim and it sounds huge. I don’t know if the camera can capture this but it sounds huge.
I have this set of blocks. It’s like woodblocks but a different material. They sound much like temple blocks. Then, I have this vibraslap, which I use just in one song. Then, a triangle, of course. I also have this kind of steel chimes that Van Kleef (VK Drums) made for me. It’s something that Alan Van Kleef made for Danny Carey from Tool as well and for the drummer from Avenged Sevenfold. These are basically bells. I put them in certain places in some songs. I also have this cute mini china. I’m joking. These are finger bells for those sweet moments. Then, I have a Meinl tambourine, which Roine Stolt loves. I guess it’s because of the clear-sounding brass jingles. I’ve just added these two cowbells. They’re salsa cowbells. Dampened, of course. There’s also this Metalworks bell just to add some colour. As I said, the timbale is 10” and that’s the percussion bit.
All Remo drumheads. Ambassador Coated an all the toms and the timbale. Underneath, there’s Ambassador Clear heads or those hazy ones. I forget the name. On the main snare, I have an Emperor Coated. On the gong drum, I have a P4 Coated. I was planning to go for a clear one but then I decided I wanted more warmth. On the kick, I have a classic Powerstroke 3 Clear head with that dampening ring. Don’t mind the patch because I lost my Remo. I’m a Remo guy.
The pedals are traditional Speed Cobra, which are my favorites. The hi hat stand is not very expensive. The rack is a Gibraltar mixed with Tama. I have some electronics here. I don’t send any sounds, it’s just for personal in-ear monitoring and mixing. There’s also the Tama Rhythm Watch metronome and a bass pedal just to remote control the click.
My sticks are Vic Firth with The Flower Kings and Mirkko DeMaio inscription. That’s just not to disappoint fans when they ask for a stick and it’s not just a regular 5A or 5B. Just a nice souvenir for the fans. I have these mallets which I use because the Hellstone shop gave them to me. They’ve got pefect tips on the other end ‘cause it’s a multi-purpose stick.
This is really, really useful. It’s the Tama Multi Tool. Very good. You need that.
That’s it. It takes a while to set it up, like, an hour. But the rack makes everything much easier. I don’t know if you’ve seen but I have overhead mic holders coming from the rack so I’ve saved a lot of space on the floor. That’s pretty much it.