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Geared Up: Osyron Drummer Cody Anstey Discusses His Tama Starclassic Maple Drums

Osyron drummer Cody Anstey joins us for a Geard Up interview regarding his drums of choice, the Tama Starclassic Maple drums, and of course, his best “gear goes wrong” story.



It’s soon to be a “momentous” occasion for Osyron, with the upcoming release of their brand new album Momentous. Due out on November 4th, the band began writing and recording the album last year when the pandemic was overwhelming the globe, and there was nothing to do and nowhere to tour. Recording carried over into the new year, and that focus and commitment have resulted in their most focused and complete record yet. They were able to harness the modern, progressive sound featured on their third record, Foundations and have sharpened it and pushed it even further forward. Even prior to its release, Momentous has been garnering a lot of attention thanks to the release of the singles “Dominion Day” and “Beyond the Sun,” as well as “The Deafening,” which features former Into Eternity and Iced Earth, and current Annihilator vocalist Stu Block.

All things considered, 2021 was a very positive year for Osyron. It marked something of a turning point for the Calgary symphonic metal band, which included a very well-received metal version of the Canadian national anthem that they recorded. They also received the Juried Sound Recording Grant from The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR) which has enabled them to gain exposure to more fans around the world, thanks to increased global media coverage, more of an international social media presence, and tours both in Canada and beyond.

With everything currently proceeding splendidly for Osyron, we recently spoke with the act’s drummer Cody Anstey for a geared-focused chat regarding his drums of choice, the Tama Starclassic Maple drums, and of course, his best “gear goes wrong” story.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?

Cody Anstey: “When it comes to drums, there’s actually quite a bit of variation between brands, shell material, and construction that can affect tone. Sure, many bands today use whatever is available and re-sample or replace the drums (or just program midi), but for me personally, I prefer to keep my drums as real as possible. It is for that reason that I have chosen the Tama Starclassic Maple drums to give our music that signature Osyron drum sound.”

How did you come to possess these drums? Vintage shop, regular shop, borrowed money, gifted. Give us the details…

“The Starclassic Maple is one of Tama’s most expensive lines of drums, so I must admit I did have to save up for quite a while. With this particular kit, I went through the purchasing process in the middle of the Covid lockdowns, so my regular shop wasn’t able to order one to my specs and get delivery in a timely manner before the recording of our latest album was set to commence.

“Luckily, through some connections, I found a collector who had for sale the exact seven-piece kit I was looking for, just not in the finish I had hoped for. So I ended up with the satin pearl white kit you see here. I must say that I have come to really like how this kit looks after using it in a few music videos now!”

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What made you choose this drum set, and were there any close seconds or alternates?

“I’ve been playing drums for almost 20 years. In that time, I’ve acquired and tried a lot of different kits. I started with a Tama kit way back then (a vintage Swingstar) but have also had different drums along the way, such as Pearl, Ludwig, DW, and Gretsch. When it comes to Osyron’s music, I always kept coming back to that classic Tama sound. The Starclassic Maples are always used for recording with Osyron. Period.”

What about the Starclassic Maples makes them so important to you?

“The sound mainly, but also the build quality and the durability. I’ve never had anything break on a Tama kit. Ever. These are the best drums I have been able to find when it comes to recording metal. They just have this certain attack to them that cuts through a dense mix like no other drums I have tried.”

Did you use the Starclassic Maples during the recording of Momentous? If so, please elaborate on how and for what parts.

“Of course! This kit was used across the entire record. We swapped the snare drum out a few times and changed cymbals depending on the song, but the Starclassic toms and kick were a mainstay on Momentous. We also were fortunate to have plenty of studio time left over, so I was able to capture samples of every part of the kit, which will be available around December 2022 as the next Osyron drum sample pack.”

Do you have a special way you recreate your drumbeats in a live setting?

“For drums in our music, everything is acoustic, even at live shows. I don’t use any triggers or sampling of any kind. So I suppose you could say it’s all plug-and-play, but it really just comes down to tuning the kit to sound consistent and mic choice/placement. I usually use venue mics for the toms, but carry my own snare mic (a vintage Beyerdynamic M201Nc), as well as my own kick mics (a Shure Beta91a, which goes inside the kick, as well as a Sennheiser e602 which is placed just inside the reso head hole).”

We know you love these drums, but are there any major cons? (Ok, now you can also list the pros.)

“The only thing, if I’m really splitting hairs, is the diecast hoops on Tama kits tend to allow the tuning to drift a little quicker than some other kits. But it’s negligible.”

If you could or wanted to (maybe you don’t at all, and that’s cool), what would you tweak or mod on this drumset?

“I have made a few mods already, such as packing the lugs on each drum and using Loctite on the lug screws (the ones that attach the lugs to the shells themselves). I also built a custom cut-down drum rack for this kit using Gibraltar’s GRS-850DBL rack kit. Other than that, the only other mod I have made is a cosmetic one on this kit. I swapped the chrome hoops/lugs for Tama’s black nickel shell hardware, which I think looks way more snazzy.”

Artwork for the album ‘Momentous’ by Osyron

How does this drumkit hold up with regular touring and gigging?

“It holds up just fine, as long as you take necessary steps to make sure your kit is maintained. Keeping the lugs, mounts, and pedals oiled, keeping the finish clean, and not allowing beer stains to penetrate the finish or the shell, and you should be ok. Also, high-quality drum bags are an absolute must, even when playing local shows.”

Do you have a backup for this kit?

“I have a few extra kits, which I keep around for different projects. For Osyron specifically, I keep a Tama Superstar birch kit in cartage for shows/tours and music videos. That’s the black double bass kit you might see me using in videos on our YouTube, or if you happen to catch a live show where that’s what I have available.

“I also still have those old Swingstar shells mentioned earlier, and actually refinished them myself after finding a great use for them with Osyron. Those drums are used for anything more mellow that we do, such as an acoustic song or folk-inspired piece. You can find me using that one in less traditional styles in our ‘Battle of the Thames’ and ‘Razor’s Wind Acoustic’ music videos.”

Time for some fun. Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.

“I’ve had all the usual stuff happen, like having hardware go missing in transit to a festival show, or destroying the kick drum head mid-performance and finishing the song playing the kicks on the floor tom… But the best one is probably actually one of the music videos I just mentioned; in ‘Battle of the Thames,’ we shot the video in the foothills of the rocky mountains. I ended up having to use the Swingstar kit as a standing percussion/cocktail setup because there was literally no place flat enough in the film set area to place the bass drum where it didn’t look lopsided. Luckily, it worked out, and I looked like I somewhat knew what I was doing!”

Any final thoughts or comments on this kit?

“As you can probably tell by now, I can be a bit of a diva when it comes to my drum gear, but that stems from years of being a recording and gigging drummer. I don’t believe you need the best of the best gear to be a great performer at all. I will use any kit that’s available and still put on my best possible performance, but I do believe finding the right instrument for your playing style is paramount.

“Given the budget and the patience to try different setups, I always encourage fellow or aspiring musicians to make the investment in high-quality equipment. It is certainly worth it, in my opinion!”

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