Maker of TC Drums, 651drums, Modern Vintage Drums, Travel Date Drums, and the Laser Shark Snare
How did you get into drum building?
TCDC started with a dream and passion to craft amazing drums that stand out in quality and value from the major legacy brands. So from the start we’ve created authentically custom drums for players who don’t need day jobs as doctors and lawyers to pay for them!
But it’s more than that. It’s about a special experience for drummers who have moved on from mass produced drums from big corporations and who want drums unique to them.
Simply, people want products that connect on a personal level, and not much is more personal as music and what drums you play. Our customers feel inspired by what they play. That’s why we build drums.
What do you like most about the industry and your customers?
The drum industry, and drum manufacturers in particular, are close-knit, and for the most part supportive of one another. There’s a lot of mutual respect among builders, which people can see online. What’s cool is how the smaller companies like us have become the true innovators in terms of production, style, and bringing the best experience to customers.
And with our customers, there’s nothing but joy. Our approach allows us to co-create with them because we’re one of the few places where you can spend time with the builder to discuss your options, from wood choices, to finishes, to what kind of heads will best compliment the style of music you play.
So we bring clarity to what our customers want, taking the confusion out of buying custom drums and making it a fun process. There’s no such thing as an invisible customer with us, so really the best part is getting to know the people playing our brands of drums.
What sets Twin Cities Collective apart from its competitors?
We’re quite different from our competitors. First, we make multiple distinct brands of drums, not just one product line. On its face, that might seem unusual, but the guiding philosophy is that different brands appeal to different drummers, and in fact, we sell about equal amounts of our flagship brands TC Drums and 651Drums.
Next, our proprietary lugs, the Harmon lug for TC Drums and the F2 Lug for 651, are machined from 60/61 aluminum right here in Minnesota. Our lugs are not only distinctive in design, but their light weight means our drums start out more resonant compared to any company with heavy die cast lugs. It’s simple: Our lugs are designed to be better.
And we offer a variety of finishes on our lugs from satin, high gloss, and brushed, to options like specialty plating and powder-coating. Large drum companies can’t match the options we offer with finishes, especially with finishes on the drums themselves. While we sell a lot of standard finishes, like natural satin, we also routinely have customers bring in paint swatches to match, or in the case of 651 endorser Dave King, a vintage serving dish as the inspiration for the finish on his set!
Then there’s our approach. We do smart, small-scale manufacturing where we partner with companies like Nordic to source the best “ingredients” for our drums. It’s cliche, but the combined experience of the people behind TCDC drums, from metal fabricators, to platers and finishers, to of course Nordic, is immense. And for us, we’ve worked hard to create local and regional partnerships with our suppliers where it all comes together with the craftsmanship in our shop. Kinda a farm-to-table concept!
What was your biggest challenge with building drum shells? How did Nordic help you solve that challenge/issue?
With us, working directly with Nordic has been essential. There are large-scale shell producers, but they are not dedicated shell builders, and good luck working hand-in-hand with them. Nordic is a place where you can immediately connect with the CEO Dave West to talk products. And he is genuinely interested in the community of drum builders, and offering flexible options to help custom companies stand out. So Nordic perfectly fits our approach and shares our values.
How did you first discover Nordic, and what were your first impressions?
Nordic immediately hit our radar, although we didn’t immediately switch over. I was impressed by the scope and scale of what they were working on, and we watched them for a long time, including seeing them go through a couple growing pains, like all companies do. We were generally, though not profoundly, happy with our existing supplier of shells, so for a time we waited safely in the wings. To be frank, we needed proof that the move would improve our brands. The great news is that Nordic has delivered.
Why did you make the switch to Nordic Shells?
We carefully consider every supplier for our drums. Ultimately, three factors emerged: Service, quality, and flexibility. Working with Nordic helped us to further differentiate our brands, especially with the option to move 651Drums to a 100% Ash shell, which sounds huge and has an incredible grain for finishing.
We also have unlimited flexibility for drums finished with veneer and for one-off and specialty shells for special requests. Just last week we sold two 100% Cherry sets that aren’t part of our standard offering. So although we have set product lines, we can always go the extra mile with custom shell options.
What aspect of our partnership is the most beneficial to your business (our range of shells, no minimum quantities, fast turnarounds, quality and expertise, etc.)
Nordic easily provides the greatest flexibility. We love that we can order 1 shell or 20, depending on the orders coming in, and that means we don’t have to warehouse a ton of shells. We can also do this because of the quick turnaround from them.
What keeps you coming back to Nordic?
The quality, flexibility, and the relationship keeps us coming back to Nordic.
What measurable benefits have you seen? (increase in sales, increase in new/returning customers, decrease in product issues, decrease in time spent on qc, etc.)
We’ve seen a steady increase in sales, in particular with snare drums with specialty veneers. Customers love the one-off and small-run snares we can easily offer because Nordic can deliver shells as requested, and we don’t need to add veneer in-house. That saves a ton of time, which means we can ultimately offer the same end product at a better value to drummers.
What's client feedback been like?
Clients love our drums, and they’re blown away the shells at the core. With both look and sound, Nordic shells are at the heart of what we do.