This weekend marks a special time of the year when gearheads, music-equipment companies, and fans converge in Anaheim, California for the NAAM Show, known as "the world's largest trade-only event for the music products, pro audio and event tech industry." Crush Drums, and their parent company Korg USA, decided to shake things up with their approach to this year's event and teamed with Revolver and celebrity tattooer Josh Lord, of East Side Ink, to create two special Chameleon Complete drum kits that boast exquisite black-and-white animal skull designs.
NAMM attendees can check out the kits in person at booth #8802 in Hall B, and attend a panel discussion on Friday, January 25th at Korg's booth — with Revolver CEO Enrique Abeyta, Korg USA's Drum Products Brand Manager Jeff Shreiner and more — which will address Korg's continued efforts to innovate their marketing programs and break out from traditional means of advertising to create engaging, meaningful campaigns. After the talk, guests will be able to speak with members of the team, and even enter for a chance to win one of these two custom Crush kits. (If you're unable to attend NAMM, you can enter the giveaway here.)
Ahead of the event, we caught up with Morgan Walker, the senior manager of the marketing communications department at Korg, to chat about how the project came to fruition. "We're approached all the time with advertising opportunities — a lot of the time it's your logo on a banner, or a beautiful full-page ad in a publication," she explains, "We're trying to get away from that and think of new way to attract customers and bring attention to the brand in ways that would excite us. When we met up with the Revolver team at the 'Fear the Riff' event last year, we got to see what the magazine was doing with a blend of lifestyle, gear, spirits, tattoos and art. For everyone on our staff, that was the type of content we were drawn to, and we started spit-balling different ideas and someone said, 'Wouldn't it be cool to custom tattoo a kit?' We then realized that was possible, and thus the project was born."
Korg's business development specialist Taylor McLam has a uniquely qualified perspective on the Crush drum project. Having spent a good part of the Nineties drumming in touring bands before landing in the world of advertising for most of his career, his interest in marrying hard rock with a fresh marketing approach informed the collaboration from start to finish. While brainstorming with the Revolver crew, McLam had a moment of inspiration upon discovering the partnership with Inked Magazine and East Side Ink. "A light went off in my head and I thought, 'How cool would it be to grab a great tattoo artist that [Revolver] has a relationship with and do something with them where they could really hype up the look of a drum kit?' and it started snowballing from there," he recalls of those initial meetings.
The team then turned their attention to the specifics of bringing the project to light: Who would design the drum wraps? What subject matter would it incorporate? McLam was thrilled when ESI's co-owner Josh Lord stepped up to the challenge, and the crew began looking through his tattoo work to spark ideas about how the drums should look. "We immediately gravitated toward the animal works, like flying birds and wild beasts," says McLam, "We were thinking about drums as a primal instrument, and that spoke to me about what a drummer is. It's just a cool vibe."
Once the general wildlife concept was settled, McLam and Korg team let Lord do his thing. "Basically I just tried to pick something I could finish in two days. Five different drum wraps and the front [bass head] were pretty intimidating," recalls Lord with a laugh. The artist dug in to the task at hand and worked diligently through Christmas to complete the project on time, creating a stunning set of designs in the process. "I tried to incorporate things that have always been a theme in our shop, like bones, ravens, and our signature New York City roach, and tried to give each different drum a different animal for personality. There is also a little tip of the hat to True Detective Season 1 where Rust Cohle has a similar, see-through crow [tattoo, also designed by Lord]." A bonus for the artist? "I finally learned how to use my iPad."
The completed wraps were rushed to Korg's Long Island headquarters and assembled by hand by McLam and his associate Jeff Shreiner with not a moment to spare before packing the drums up for transport to NAAM. McLam admits, "I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous because we really started running with this idea with very little time to complete it … Luckily the stars aligned and it all really came together nicely, so we couldn't be happier and I think it's going to be a great conversation piece of the show."
Visit Korg at NAMM at booth #8802 in Hall B to see Crush Drums in person, and don't miss the special panel discussion and Q&A session on Friday, January 25th, where you can enter for a chance to win one of these custom-designed drum kits. If you can't attend NAMM, you can enter the giveaway here. Find more information on the full line of Crush products available here: www.crushdrum.com