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How Shawn Mendes’ Drummer Replicates Programmed Drums Live

Mike Sleath  /  UPDATED Mar 29, 2023

Mike Sleath is the touring drummer for international artist Shawn Mendes – as a result, he has a ton of huge shows and world tours under his belt. Not only did Mike have to learn the parts, but he had to figure out how to recreate the electronic sounds on a real drum kit.

“With electronics, there’s so many different things that I can do,” says Mike. He can keep the integrity of the recording but make it way more exciting live!

In this short video, he walks us through how he replicates the drum parts on a hybrid drum set in songs like “If I Can’t Have You”, “In My Blood”, and “Treat You Better.”

Mike has a trigger on every drum and sends the audio to Front Of House and to his Roland SPD-SX (which processes his three snares) and his TD-50 (which runs his toms and kick drum).

“If I Can’t Have You”: Mike gets clap sounds from his SPD-SX, electronic bass drum samples on his KT-10, and a blended sample/organic sound on his bass drum. He also has an RT-30k on the gong drum where he gets another blended sample.

“In My Blood”: A new sample/sound comes in every 8 bars as the song builds, so Mike uses the SPD-SX as a controller to cycle up and down between patches.

“Treat You Better”: Mike layers samples with his acoustic sounds on his snare drum, bass drum, and both floor toms.

Many live pop drummers use hybrid kits to stay true to the sounds fans are used to hearing in the songs. Is combining acoustic and electronic the way of the future?

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Mike Sleath has earned his stripes as a seasoned musician, performing with the likes of Shawn Mendes, Francesco Yates, and Shawn Desman. With a passion for drums and live performance from a young age, Mike has managed to navigate his way through the music industry led by perseverance and passion.

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