There are a a lot of really amazing drum companies that are just making cool stuff. Over at KBrakes we deal with a good amount of them. There are so many amazing people behind these companies. Some of them are just one man show drum making machines and some are father and sons or just friends that want to pump out fun drums.
Over the years we have seen some pretty "weird" and "innovative" things and it's always hard to tell what will catch on and what will not. Innovation that solves a problem and creates something new is very different than creating "art". When I say art I mean something that is liked and judged based on subjectivity opposed to the objectivity of it's function.
A few years ago we saw at NAMM a company that designed a drum that was 20" on the batter side and 24" on the resonant side. It was cool! It was done really well and it sounded awesome, everyone that walked by was turning their heads or stopping to see what this drum was all about. I don't remember if anyone bought this drum or if it was just a custom build for someone but I think I remember asking the builder and he told me "people don't want cool stuff like this". Which as a designer that's heart breaking!
Here is the question. Is that drum fashion or function? If I owned this drum would it be something that I was lug around to shows? I would need a 24" kick drum case or would I be better off with a standard 22X18 kick drum?
One of kits that always intrigues us here is the traps style, stackable, short stack, fast sizes or whatever you want to call them. There is something about carrying less stuff that's smaller that's always really appealing. I mean what drummer doesn't want to lift and load in capacity of a singer! Do these drums solve a problem? Do they sound as good as traditional sizes? Would you tour with these drums? What is the balance? Where do we draw the line? It's funny that even with shallow shells that could all be packed into one case you still have to lug a throw, cymbals, sticks, stands and probably a snare. Not really much difference in the lift.
When is it fashion over function and when is the juice worth the squeeze?