Daru Jones is a busy man. Between performing and recording with iconic artists like Jack White, Talib Kweli, Black Milk, Jon B and many more, the infinitely versatile Jones also leads his own band, THE RUFF PACK, and produces and releases records through his RUSIC label.
One listen to a record or performance with Jones at the helm makes it clear why the Brooklyn-based musician is so often in demand. Finding a comfortable home somewhere between a loping Dilla-inspried feel and Stewart Copeland-esque live energy, Jones’ groove is as deep as it is assertive.
Daru was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to give us a quick look at the unique setups he uses for his rangy performance schedule.
Can you describe the kits you’re using on your main gigs?
DW Drums Classic Series drums in Classic White Marine Finish Ply with Light Regal blue lacquer: 8×12 rack, 16×18 floor, 14×26 kick & 5×16 VLT snare with chrome finish. DW 9000 series hi-hat & bass pedals and stands. Non-endorsed gear: Ludwig 14″ marching snare drum.
PAISTE Cymbals: 22″ Twenty Custom Collection Full Ride, 18″ Twenty Custom Collection Full Crash, 15″ Metal Hi-Hats.
THE RUFF PACK & Other:
DW Gold Galaxy: 7.5×18 kick, 4×13 snare, 5.5×10 + 6×12 racks
PAISTE Cymbals: 13″ Dark Crisp Hi-Hat, 18″ Mellow Crash, 21″ Dark Dry Ride
You have a very unique setup. What brought you to this configuration and positioning?
I’m always experimenting with my sound and the look of my set-up. I started playing the snare drum tilted first and then decided to tilt the floor tom because I wanted it to line-up symmetrically with the snare. I like to dominate the drums so I sit really high and come down hard.
Does your cymbal selection vary between different artists or settings?
Yes, depending on the genre. For instance, for rock and hip hop I go for a heavier sound; for the soulful/jazz stuff I go for a more sensitive touch.
What kind of heads and tuning do you prefer?
I’m an Evans Drumheads artist, currently using Black Chrome and Hybrid Coated.
As far as tuning, I’ve been going for the old school really flat, raw and low frequencies.
What influenced the design of your signature Promark stick?
The logo is from my label, Rusic Records. The claws represent my zodiac sign which is Leo.
Is there a record or track that you feel best represents your sound?
I have this project entitled #LOOPERS 2 which is a mixture of music from live recordings, rehearsals and other raw moments that I looped together in a hip hop fashion.
What are some of your favorite recorded drum sounds?
I really like DJ Premier’s drum sounds from Jeru Da Damaja’s “The Sun Rises In The East” project.
J.Dilla’s drum sounds from Slum Village “Fantastic Vol.2”
?uestlove drum sounds on D’Angelo’s “Voodoo”
Vinnie Colaiuta drum sounds on his solo album “Vinnie Colaiuta”