Alternate Mode KAT Artists Page

Frank Heiss

Frank Heiss - Alternate Mode Artist
Frank Heiss - Alternate Mode Artist

Beginning as an accomplished orchestral Timpanist who toured the world while still in his teens, Frank Heiss has been using the extraordinary Alternate Mode DrumKAT Percussion Controller since 1992, when he was inspired by another performing drummer who triggered a vocal sample from the cult classic movie: Repo Man. 

Shortly afterward, he was exposed to Breakbeat/Hardcore Electronic Dance Music (EDM) which was popular in the UK at the time. Once he experienced the Hip Hop genius of Producers like DJ Premier and Pete Rock, Frank Heiss completely immersed himself in the electronic realm, but has managed over the years to "hold on to his sticks" and never completely exit the arena of percussive arts. 

He studied with Mike Clark and Pete Zeldman at The Collective in NYC and went on to perform globally as an electronic musician. He continues to perform, record and release his own music under a variety of monikers. He has also added teaching to his arsenal in order to give back what he gained from those who inspired him and to continue personal growth by investigating the minds of students. He also writes articles from an acoustic drummers' perspective on beat programming, having published a 6 part piece in Keyboards Magazine Germany.

Also a skilled computer programmer, Frank Heiss is using his experience with how linear concepts apply to electronic percussion to develop a web-based beat programming application that, based upon user decisions regarding aesthetic, will render a General MIDI file containing a rhythmic groove that can be imported into your DAW of choice. 

For inquiries regarding workshops and master classes on "Playing and Programming Linear Patterns" which focus on how the linear style of drumming, pioneered by Gary Chaffee, applies itself beautifully to the Art of Electronic Percussion, please contact This presentation has already been given for Music Technology or Electronic Composition classes at The New England Conservatory and Massachusetts College of Art. This coming spring, "Playing and Programming Linear Patterns" is planned at South Shore Conservatory and Skidmore College.

Although some of the DrumKAT's innovative functionality can now be duplicated with Native Instruments Kontakt Scripting Language or KSL, this requires programming knowledge that not everyone has and more importantly Frank feels that much functionality is still best controlled within the controller. There is an undeniable benefit with using a "dedicated hardware device" and for that, as a percussionist, he has found no substitute for the Alternate Mode DrumKAT.

Links -- Frank Heiss Website -- YouTube performance(s) on the drumKAT -- Facebook