I provide high end acoustic drum tracks using industry standard recording gear, boutique drum sets and legendary snares. I have worked with The Goo Goo Dolls and Lou Gramm, as well as several singer/songwriters and bands.
Mike Lasaponara is a professional drummer from Rochester, New York. Over the past fifteen years, he has worked, played and toured with acts including The Goo Goo Dolls, Lou Gramm, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Roses Are Red. He has vast experience with both live and session work, writing, arranging, and teaching privately.
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1 ReviewsEndorse Yokai Studios
Mike is the best drummer you can hire for any recording session. Not only an amazing player in technique, timing and feel, but just as importantly, he has a music producer’s mind and will always find the perfect drum part to any song or style. On top of all that, he comes to every session completely prepared, and is extremely quick and thorough during the recording. A total pro in every way.
Interview with Yokai Studios
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Probably playing drums on the record of one of my closest friends, Johnny Cummings. His album Radiate was a pleasure to play on, and my role was to get exactly what he wanted out of the drums. It was also engineered and produced by another close friend, Sam Polizzi. Just a fun project all around!
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I have a local artist coming in next week for a 5 song session, he is a composer who writes very cool progressive and very orchestrated songs. It's left of center of my usual clients, so I'm very excited to do it!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Sam Polizzi
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: BOTH! Analog sounds better to me, digital is great as long as it is used as a tool, not a crutch. Im not a huge fan of copy and paste drums. I almost always do 2-3 full takes of tunes unless I am directed otherwise.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is that I will work just as hard on your music as I would anyones. You could be an undiscovered talent, or Billy Joel. I treat it all with the same level of importance because thats how I would want to be treated.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: LOVE meeting new artists trying to make their way and help them achieve their goals!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long will it take to record a song. Usually about an hour per track.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's easy. Feel and groove are just as hard as complex ideas. Theres a reason why drummers like Steve Gadd and Steve Jordan are who they are.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What they hear in their mind, who their favorite artists are, favorite records, influences, favorite pizza toppings.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Talk extensively with providers before hiring them....explain your vision, what you want to hear, give examples. Part of what makes me a good provider is knowing what I'm NOT suited for....and I have no problems saying that. If you something like authentic jazz, I will undoubtedly refer you to a different person.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Tama Bell Brass Snare, Craviotto Snare, API 3124, Sabian Prototype Ride cymbal.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My father is a music teacher, and I was exposed to drums when I was very little. I got serious about it in high school. So let's say 12 years old to now.....so about 26 years. I graduated college with a degree in sound recording and went on to tour and get signed with indie rock bands. I toured for several years after that as a hired gun as well as a drum tech. Over the past 8 years, I have been working with more high profile artists and doing much more session work, which is my favorite thing to do.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I like to think my style is fluid....as in I try to adapt to whatever vibe the song has and make it sound like its supposed to be there.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd love to work with Panic! At The Disco. I think Brendon Urie is a massive talent and would love to work on song ideas and arrangements with him.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't be afraid to try and idea! You'd be surprised how many of those things stick on the records!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work on singer/songwriter music as well as rock/hard rock/pop material. There is a lot of play between those worlds, so I do a lot of in between stuff as well.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I would say my strongest skill is going into every session open minded. If I play something and the artist doesnt like it....no problem. Theres no room for ego in a session, so I'm always ready to adapt new ideas on the fly and to try everything an artist wants to hear.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I definitely like to bring a team attitude to creating a song. I like to bring good energy and feel to what I am helping to create....I want it to be very authentic.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Every song is unique so every song gets the same process. I ask what the song is about, what its intention is. Then I ask if the artist has a particular sound in mind and to give examples. I then physically write out the map of the song, and run through them before tracking. It is not uncommon for me to track 5-10 songs in one day.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Yokai Studios is solely dedicated to recording drum tracks using API preamps and Apogee Converters. Every recording involves 10-12 tracks including overheads, close mics, and the room. My go to kit for most recordings is my Heuer birch kit, made my master drum builder Chris Heuer. However there are also 3 other kits to choose from, all made of different woods. There are also 11 snares to choosed from, including the very rare and highly sought after original Tama Bell Brass snare from 1979.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Any artist or musician that constantly works on their craft and getting better. I'm always inspired by artists who have the need to something to say with their music, whether it is personal or profound.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The most common work I do for clients involves drum tracks and arrangements. From a customer service perspective, I want to bring the sound an artist hears to life, the exact way they want to hear it.