Saturday, 4 May 2019

When did you start drumming?
I started drumming around the age of 4, my Dad is a drummer and I was always surrounded by drums and music, so it was a given that I would probably start drumming at some point.
At the age of 4, I was only messing around on the drums, I never took it seriously until about the age of 8. Dad would have Thin Lizzy albums lying around that I would play along too.

What is your current gear setup?
I currently play Tama drums and use Paiste cymbals, I have a Tama Superstar Hyperdrive Maple kit. I was awarded The Music Generation Exceptional Young Musician bursary in 2016, which partly financed the purchase of a professional kit. I have the Paiste pst7 series cymbals, I love them, they are very good for heavy hitters like myself. My setup is 14 x5.5 snare, 22x20 bass drum ( Tama iron cobra double pedal ) 10, 12, rack toms , 14, 16 floor toms ,14’ hi hat, 20’ ride , 18’ china and 16’ 17’ crashes. I occasionally put a bell on the kit as well.

Who are your drumming influences?
My first drumming influence was probably my Dad, I remember I would hear him playing and then when he was done I would try and play the things he was playing, aside from my Dad, Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) was probably my first drumming influence. My influences have changed since then, for the last 2 years my favourite drummer has been Mario Duplantier from the band Gojira. I have never come across a drummer like him before and I just love the way he puts things together, his drumming is very groovy for a metal drummer. Aside from him my other favourite drummers would be, Chris Adler(Lamb of God), Infero (Behemoth) ,Dan Searle (Architects) Eric Moore ( Solo artist), Danny Carey (Tool) and Dave McGraw ( Cattle Decapitation)

What are your favourite songs or albums?
This is a very difficult question because I have so many. I will do top 5 favourite songs and albums, not in order because it is impossible to choose an absolute favourite. Top 5 songs would be;
1-Art of dying – Gojira, the drumming in the song is absolutely insane It still remains one of my favourite drum tracks ever. 
2- Ov fire and the void – Behemoth, I just love this track, everything from the vocals to the bass.
3- Eulogy – Tool, I don’t have 1 favourite Tool song because they all have something to offer that I love, but this song is a great example of when Tool were starting to find their sound, there is a polyrhythm that comes in around the 6 minutes and 35 seconds mark that I love,it really compliments the acapella. 
4- What about me?- Snarky Puppy, something a bit different from the other songs on the list  this song is so groovy and funky and Larnell Lewis dominates this track with his tastiness behind the kit .
5- Teacher,Teacher! –Jinjer, this band blew me away the first time I heard them, they are a metal band from Ukraine and have an incredible vocalist, She has a beautiful singing voice but can also show some pretty mean vocals at the same time , this song is off their latest EP and it really shows how they have evolved as a band.

Top 5 Albums (not in order);
1.The Anthropocene Extinction- Cattle Decapitation- probably my favourite heaviest album of all time. One of the craziest bands I’ve ever come across.
2.The Way of All Flesh – Gojira – One of my favourite drum albums ever recorded, very technical and heavy but musical at the same time.
3.Urn- NeObliviscaris- this Australian metal band have a really interesting style, some great drumming is to be found on this album along with some great contrasting vocals and the violin ties it together nicely.
4.Sehnsucht- Rammstein – this is one of the best electronic metal albums ever made. the drumming in it is really simple but it really suits the music, crazy synthesizers and low vocals sung in German make it the unique album it is today
5.  Emperor of sand – Mastodon – this is the latest full length album from this American experimental rock band. what I love about this band is that they have 4 members and they all sing, there isn’t just one singer, all the different voices on this album are brilliant and the album is packed full of really cool guitar, drums and bass parts.

How does it feel to win the Irish Young Drummer of the Year Competition at the Galway Drum Show 2019?
It feels pretty weird, but it also feels really cool at the same time, I really wasn’t expecting to win it, it was a shock. I was overwhelmed with the support and congratulations I got from my friends and family when I got back home. I felt proud of myself and it has made me want to play drums more than ever. it always feels great to get up on stage in front of a lot of people and play something I love whilst making them happy. I love the idea of making people happy with music.

What projects are you in the pipeline? 
At the moment I have no current upcoming events planned, if any events do happen this year it will be during the summer months since most of my band live in Dublin,they all go to BIMM Music College. I hope to go there myself when I finish school. As far as new projects go , I have a few in the works , nothing solid yet. You can find all about new projects on my Instagram account where I post anything music related. I also upload short 15 seconds clips of myself drumming to songs I love every few weeks. So check out my social media to find out more about upcoming projects and events.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I think initially it was listening to Mitch Mitchell on the Hendrix albums. I was a huge fan of Jimi growing up and it was because of him (and my brother) that I started playing the guitar initially. More and more I just fell in love with what Mitch did to those songs and how he made them move. There was almost this jazz flow introduced in to the songs and then when it came to those fills and that machine-gun snare, I was drawn more and more to the drums but it was always on the cards I think. I just didn't start to really think about playing actual drums until my early teens. I would've always been driving my family crazy tapping on everything, using chopsticks or cutlery as "sticks" on any surface possible in the house, constant foot tapping etc. It wasn't until my mate's brother got a drumkit when I was, I think around 12 or something,that I fell in love with playing drums. From the first time he let me have a go on them, I realised straight away that this was probably all I wanted to do. I kept playing guitar but my eyes and ears were now on drums and I started hopping on to other people's kits as much as possible. I don't think I got my own kit till I was somewhere between 15 and 17. I was a serial drumkit adulterer in the early days and it's only because of the generosity of friends and acquaintances like Daragh Coen, John McPhilips and Keith Brogan that I was able to develop as a drummer without drums. 

Who are your favourite players?
This has developed over the years as it has for everyone. Obviously Mitch Mitchell got it all going for me. I'm a big rock fan, always have been so this is probably going to lean heavier on the big players from that genre. Joey Castillo is a huge one. I could pick his playing out of an aural lineup any day of the week because of the way he plays his hi-hats. He's my favourite QOTSA drummer for sure although it's hard to argue with Dave Grohl's mastery on Songs For The Deaf. There's a lot of beats on that album that are basically the Stairway riff for drummers so obviously Dave Grohl is a fave for that and Nirvana. 

There is no doubt that Matt Cameron has had an enormous influence on the way that I play and for wanting to play drums also. I think he is one of those players that doesn't get enough credit by the magazines and polls every year. What he did with Soundgarden was profoundly different to how anyone else played in Rock/Grunge at the time.

Abe Cunningham has to get a mention after his snare blasting out of my speakers for so long now. I'm a huge Deftones fan!

Nick Yacyshyn is an absolute beast and I regularly find myself looking over that drumcam everyone has watched from that Rain City Baptists gig. 

Loving Adam Betts work with Three Trapped Tigers too and he is a truly unique drummer. He dropped my jaw in The Village years ago when I just walked in to a gig I knew nothing about and watched him shred!

Oisin Trench, formerly of Enemies, was a huge influence on me around ten years ago. A solid, inventive player that has the sauciest left hand in the whole country. 

Jazz has started to become something I listen to more and more often which is providing some exciting new insight in to the drums. Apart from your obvious ones like Buddy Rich and Tony Williams, Mark Guiliana is a big favourite and I think everyone can agree that what he did on Blackstar was a defining moment in rock music.

Richard Spaven's last album has been breaking all sort of personal Spotify records for me and I was lucky enough to finally see him perform in the flesh for the first time this year at the Galway Drum Show. 

Locally, I am constantly inspired and in awe of fellow Westerners Cian Hanley, David Dockery and Richie Diitrich. Some more obvious legends in Micheál Quinn, Johnny Quinn, Smiley, Dennis Cassidy, Dan Lang....I could get keep going here. We have such an amazing collection of drummers in Ireland that is growing year on year and I am constantly turning to them more than anyone for inspiration and guidance as I try to figure out this instrument.

Your favourite songs or albums?

Nirvana....Unplugged: Probably not the first Nirvana pick you'd expect but you have to give serious props to Dave Grohl for pulling that one off. I probably listen to this album more than any other Nirvana album and that says a lot about the quality of songwriting from that band. They were not just a few lads lashing out the riffs. These were good songs that held up well when all the noise and chaos were taken away from them. Not every band can do that.

A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms: When I bought this, I listened to to it, on repeat, for 17 hours in the room of my first rental in a rank student gaff in Arbutus Avenue, Renmore, Galway. It was the best sounding rock album I'd ever heard and the drum sounds were outrageously good. Still a reference I use to this day when trying to find drum sounds for recording.

Jimi Hendrix - Bold As Love: So many classic bangers. Drummers will air guitar, guitarists will air drum. Everyone will sing and hum the solos. I love it and probably doesn't listen to it enough anymore.

Refused - The Shape of Punk To Come: A huge record! This started pushing my tastes from rock more in to hardcore, post-hardcore and more genres of metal for some reason.

Soulwax - Much Against Everyones Advice: There isn't a single thing wrong with this album. 

The Frames - Dance The Devil: Big part of my teens this one.Dave Hingerty's beat on Lay Me Down is a classic!

What’s your current drum gear setup?
I have been playing a 22,16,12 DW Collectors for about 10 years now. It's sounds absolutely massive.This is only my second kit so going from a 90's Pearl Export (which I still have) to that was a huge jump and was a major deal for me at the time.  

I recently switched from a 14x5.5 Ludwig Supraphonic to a DW Thin Aluminium 14x6.5 and am loving it! I found the drums to be similar in what they can do but the throw off and hardware on the DW to be far superior. I have a first edition Gretsch Cherry Stave as well that is going to make it on to gigs by the end of the year as an aux. An absolute beast of a drum they initially only brought out in a run of 200 I think but it was so popular they made it a production model and released it with a new badge. I've been asked to sell this more than any other bit of gear I own but I don't think I can ever let go. 

Cymbal wise i am playing all Sabian - 15" HHX Groove Hats, 20 Legacy O-Zone as the left crash, 21" Legacy on the right and a 22" Legacy Heavy as the ride. Listening to Oisin Trench play most or all of these cymbals in his setup years ago made me want to get them.

On sticks it's either a Vater Los Angeles 5A Wood or the new Extended Play 5A. The Vater EP's are unreal! They come with a kevlar wrap in the rim-shot area and a coating on the bow to stop the stick chipping away. I am getting about 6 times more plays out of these than a conventional stick at the moment. Normally I'd break a pair every practice or 1.5 at a gig and now i'd say I could get up to 8 practices and 3 gigs out of every pair. Recently I started playing the 5A Stretch and this has made fills and fast 16th notes on the hi-hat a lot easier for me so this could be my new standard stick going forward.

Thrones are often over-looked in a set-up but if you're sitting behind your kit for hours every day, you need to be comfortable and properly supported. My current throne may have stopped me giving up drums entirely believe it or not. Regularly I walked away from gigs not knowing how it went, whether my performance was good enough and I was having lots of trouble with my kick in particular. My confidence was eroding with every show. It was only after talking to a customer of mine about the Porter & Davies BC2 that I decided to give it a go. I developed a connection with drums that I never had in almost 20 years as I could finally hear and feel my kick drum every time I played. I also run the snare and toms through there too so every time i play, I feel every part of my kit. My confidence has soared and my performances have improved as a result. 

I have two pairs of Ultimate Ears Custom IEM's; The UE6 and the UE18+. For a long time I had thought about moving to IEM's but was very nervous about it but the switch couldn't be easier. I cannot take them out of my ears now and love playing with an IEM and would strongly advise everyone to drop the wedge. I have a very basic setup in the studio with a cheap Alto ZMX862 mixer, an Audix condenser hanging from the roof to catch the kit, the kick mic'd with a D6, an ATM650 on the guitar cab and a DI from the bass. I can hear everything perfectly so now I have incredible levels of detail while we're writing. Previously in a loud environment like that, I would be playing to things I thought I heard but then when you would go in to pre-production you would often discover that you were hearing something entirely different and would have to re-write drum parts.This doesn't happen anymore! It's also a welcome relief not to be walking out of practice or a gig with my ears ringing.
You work with Musicmaker, an incredible store and in the basement is ‘The Drumgeon’, what can people expect when they visit?

Firstly I would expect that you would be warmly welcomed no matter what part of the store you go in to. We have an amazing bunch of sound, knowledgeable people working there that love what they do and I think that comes across. The Drumgeon is a very special place and is home to a drummer that probably everyone in the country knows at this stage, Ronan O'Reilly. There isn't a bit of gear out there that Ronan hasn't played and he knows everything about everything. You couldn't meet a nicer, funnier gent of a man and the chap can play! If anyone hasn't met Ro then make it your business to seek him out the next time your passing the shop in Exchequer St and ask for his advice.
You will also run in to Oisin Trench, a beast of a drummer who will fascinate you with the tiniest, forgotten details about any piece of gear and is a great guy to talk to about Sticks in particular I think. He's helped me a lot with sticks over the years and of course, massively influenced the cymbals I play. As well as kits, sticks, hardware and all the usual stuff you'd expect in a drum department, we put on a lot of clinics and events with amazing drummers and after performing a cleansing ritual with a drum shaman, we even let some guitarists in there to perform some times. Of course, as a result of having a space like the Drumgeon it is by proxy responsible for 21 Drums which is what we believe is the best drum camp in the world. Now in our 5th year, we will welcome back Keith Carlock, Mike Johnston, Ash Soan and Mark Guiliana for a week of drums in Grouse Lodge and then a public clinic in Dublin. I have had the privilege to be involved in the production for this since it's inception and I can honestly say that any drummer who takes part leaves a different person (and better drummer). Where else in the world can you spend 8 hours a day learning from 4 of the best out there and then spend your evenings swapping stories with them over a creamy pint of G?! I could talk all day about the place but there isn't another shop like it anywhere in the world and that is 99.9% down to the people who work there and constantly breathe life in to the place.

Your band Bitch Falcon is described as one of the most captivating acts around. What can fans expect throughout 2019?
We're definitely just about to embark on our busiest year yet. We've mostly been trying to hold back the gigs in the first half of the year but we did a quick stint around Scotland and Ireland with US band, Sleeping With Sirens in February. Apart from that we've been working hard on finishing the album and that's going to be recorded by May so glad to finally put that out. This will be all new songs written during the current lineup with Lizzie and Barry. In the middle of that, we're going out with an amazing band called Thumper on a few dates around Ireland in April and once we clear May we're in to festival season. There's lot of new places we haven't played before and we were really stoked be be invited by Anti-Flag to play two dates of their Anti-Fest in Antwerp and Amersfoort in particular. TLDR; Lots of gigs, lots of new songs and lots of broken sticks!

At the inaugural Galway Drum Show in the Clayton Hotel, you were involved as part of a panel discussing endorsements, which we enjoyed immensely! Can you share some of the advice you gave to drummers on the day?
Thanks for coming out and supporting the Galway Drum Show and glad you enjoyed the talk. I suppose the main point in that conversation that re-surfaced a lot was to play what you love and not to be influenced by chasing deals. When looking for some kind of relationship with a brand you love using, it will be obvious to the people reading the application whether you're genuine or not and it will have an impact. Complete some self-analysis on your social media because the first thing anyone will do if your application generates interest is check your Instagram etc. First impressions are always the ones that last. Build a quality Electronic Press Kit that includes a bio, some good quality photos of you doing your thing, links to key performances/songs, discography and your scheduled shows for the rest of the year including any tv appearances. Some questions you could ask yourself before applying: Do you have an engaged audience online? Do you have a lot of influence in your local market? Are you a teacher with a lot of students? Is your band on the rise and achieving good billing at festivals and getting booked? If you tick any of those boxes then maybe now is a good time to look for a deal. Before sending your EPK, go to the brands website and found out how they like to receive endorsement applications, you'll usually find it in the Contact Us or FAQ section. Read it carefully and follow the instructions to the letter.

And finally Nigel, what advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Find a good teacher and practice (smart) every day. I didn't do that and it makes things difficult for me everytime I sit behind a kit. I finally took my first lessons about 3 years ago from Robbie Barret (St Laurence O'Toole) and it made a huge difference. Don't skip the basics and learn your rudiments! It's way harder to undo years of bad habits and much easier to take your time and do things right from the beginning

Credit for images is AFGHANISCAN

Friday, 29 March 2019

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I was always a big fan of music when I wa a kid and played piano for
a year before taking up drums. The drums themselves were the attraction
before seeing anyone playing. Tommy Davitt was one of my drum teachers
and really inspired me to make the things I was learning, my own.

Who are your favourite players?
Max Roach, Jim Black and Brian Blade have always been my go to jazz / 
improvising drummers. They all play musically but with different approaches. Steve Jordan is my biggest influence for anything groove related!

What drum gear do you use?
I play Vic Firth F1 sticks and use a range of Zildjian cymbals. I have a set of 60's hats that I was given and use 20'' Complex Dry Ride on my left and a 20'' Constantinople Renaissance Ride on my right. I also sometimes set up some 10'' stack hats and a 16'' efx crash depending on the gig.

Your favourite songs or albums?
Study in Brown by Clifford Brown (Max Roach)
Left End by Rick Peckham (Jim Black)
The Bad Plus + Joshua Redman (Dave King)
Lateralus by Tool (Danny Carey)
Real Book Stories by Wolfgang Muthspiel (Brian Blade)

What have you been working on recently?
I've just released my third album 'Last Days of Summer', album link is here; 
I'm doing some gigs to promote it in the next few months. I've recently
done a short tour with UK jazz musicians Chris Montague and Ashley John Long. We'll be recording an album later this year.

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
I put on jazz gigs in Wexford to promote the music and also have
the opportunity to invite great musicians to play here. I've a gig with
the music of Sonny Rollins in Sky and the Ground on Sat 30th March
and a showcase of 'Great Jazz Drummers' on in Wexford Arts Centre
for UNESCO International Jazz day on Sunday 28th April. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Enjoy it! Drums are a great instrument and a really great way to meet 
other drummers and musicians in general. One thing I would say is that
its easy to get sucked into the 'gear' thing. Get some beat up old drums
and learn how to make them sound good by tuning them and learning
how all that works first

The Photo Credit is Nikki Stix Photography

Monday, 18 March 2019

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I think the biggest influence on me for sure was Adam and the Ants when I was 10 in 1980.
Kings of the Wild Frontier was their second album released and I thought the drums sounded fantastic on that, especially the use of the lower toms.
They had two drummers, Merrick and Terry Lee, which made the sound even more spectacular. Malcolm McLaren was their manager at the time and he had introduced Adam Ant to the Burundi Beat and persuaded him to change the band's sound.
I then bought their debut LP, Dirk Wears White Sox and to this day I think it's my favourite snare sound captured on record.

McLaren was also looking after another band around the same time called Bow Wow Wow and they had a similar drum sound on their two singles C30 C60 C90 Go and I Want Candy.

I started playing along to songs with pens on pillows then and drove my class mad at school for constantly playing pretend drums on my desk.
My grand uncle Jimmy Mintern had been the drummer in a Cork band called The Dixies so he encouraged me to get a kit so I bought my first one at Christmas in 1983 and rehearsed in my grandmother's house.
The local music scene in Cork was very strong  around then and there were some great local drummers around like John Kilkenny (The Belsonic Sound) and Mark Healy (Cypress,Mine!).It was fantastic to sneak into shows in places like Mojos and Sir Henrys and get to see local bands regularly so I then took the next step and started a band with some friends at school and we played our first show the year after.

Who are your favourite players?
Stephen Morris has always been my favourite drummer, the drums in both Joy Division and New Order were like a song within a song.I loved the different patterns he played.
When I was learning to play I was able to play along to their songs and my timing improved quickly. There were a lot of great drummers in the 80s' whom I thought were superb like Nick Knox from the Cramps,, Marky Ramone and Mike Joyce from the Smiths.
Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 was a massive influence as well - he is a fantastic drummer.
Nowadays my favourite drummer is Todd Trainer from Shellac.

Your favourite songs or albums?
My favourite album would be the Smiths debut LP. I like loads of Fall songs - some superb drumming on those records by the various different drummers who played with them.
There were some great  drummers in the various 80s - Ska bands as well like John Bradbury from the Specials.
U2's Boy is a standout record for me as well.

What’s it like to be playing Tipp Classical this year?
The last time we played in Thurles was way back in 1993 at Feile then so it's great to go back and play there again after all these years and complete the circle.
We will also be doing a few songs with the orchestra there so I am looking forward to trying to keep in time with them!

You wrote a book about Cork slang “Dowtcha Boy”.Any plans to write more material?
No plans on any other books at the moment. I spend most of my time teaching Swedish people to speak with a Cork accent.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
If you want to be good at anything you have to put the time in and there's no substitute for hard work if you want to learn, find a friend or two who want to play music and take it from there.

Sultans of Ping - U Talk 2 Much (Fanning Session)

Sunday, 3 March 2019

I originally started playing guitar and then noticed there was a gap in the market, for drummers in Cork, so I made that switch. I started going to gigs when I was 15 and managed to go to a few in the Arcadia in Cork, before it stopped. As a result of that I was able to see local Cork bands who often played support. It meant seeing bands like Nun Attax and Microdisney and the realisation that came with it that you could be in a band, in Cork.

However, not really knowing any other musicians this meant lots of “practicing” along with records, as you would. Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, were all on heavy rotation. Things like Twenty Tens by the Virgin Prunes, definitely had an impact on me and steered me in a certain direction.
Locally, in Cork, the jazz festival provided a stream of great jazz drummers. Kenny Clare and a fantastic Buddy Rich gig in the Opera House spring to mind.
I subsequently played with a revised version of Urban Blitz with Dave O’Connell and Sean Linehan. That lasted a few months and then I met up with Ian Olney and Denis O’Mullane and with Sean Linehan on vocals we thrashed out what would eventually become Cyrpress, Mine! as Sean left to join the Guards and was replaced by Ciaran O’Tuama.

Who are your favourite players?
I was lucky enough to see Lol Tolhurst with the Cure when they played in Cork. I was also a big fan of the late Pete de Freitas from Echo and the Bunnymen and Stephen Morris from Joy Division. I saw Stephen Morris at Electric Picnic a few years ago and he was as good as ever.
I'm a big fan of Brian Calnan and his Moving Hearts stuff and also the youthful enthusiasm of Keith Walker from Power of Dreams
I was also really fortunate to see Art Blakey in Dublin in the 80’s.

Your favourite songs or albums?
Drum heavy songs that I would have really liked
Atmosphere – Joy Division
Westworld – Theatre of Hate
Hymn from a village – James
Where’s me jumper – Sultans of Ping
Heaven Up Here - Echo and the Bunnymen
More recently I really like Philip Selway in Radiohead, Christopher Bear in Grizzly Bear.

Were you happy with the reaction after Cypress,Mine! rereleased, Exit Trashtown?
We were happy to see the album re-released as it gave us an opportunity in particular to commit to vinyl some tracks that weren’t released first time around. Although it was a labour of love by all involved to track everything down in order to put it together.

Any plans to release any more material?
Not at the moment!

What musically are you involved in at the moment?
I still play the drums whenever the opportunity presents itself. Post Cypress, Mine! I recorded an as yet unreleased album ( I also played bass with Ian Olney's band Cat Meat last year which was great ( For the last few years I’ve been consumed by syntheisizers and it’s a veritable rabbit hole of creativity lending itself to percussive ideas at every turn ( You can also find some of my recent music here
What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Once you start, stick with it! Try and find some friends to play with. Buy decent hardware and cymbals! Learning to play with a click track won’t do you any harm :

Photo credit; Anne O'Halloran (not 100% sure)

Check out includes link to buy the album

Friday, 15 February 2019

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I've loved drums for as long as I can remember and played different drums from a very early age before getting a drum kit  when I was around eight years old. I never had any formal training on drums but was classically trained on cello right up to my music degree. I played folk music with my family and got a lot of experience with them but it wasn't until I was eighteen and heard jazz in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' that I became really serious. My research into jazz led me to Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, then Art Blakey, who would become my biggest influence.

Who are your favourite players?
Of the giants, probably Art Blakey and Roy Haynes would be my favourite but I've learnt something from all of them. Of the modern players, Brian Blade, Bill Stewart, Jeff 'Tain' Watt, Ari Hoenig and Carl Allen.

What drum gear do you use?
Most of my work is abroad and I'll just ask for jazz sizes and hope for the best. I only travel with my cymbals which are Istanbul Jazz 20" and 22". My hi-hats are 13" Sabian Manhattan Jazz. I've had that set-up for almost fifteen years and I've no plans to change it. Lately I've been doing quite a lot of touring Ireland as part of a project to bring jazz to more people. My drum kit is a bottom-of-the-line Gretsch Catalina, jazz sizes and they work great. I have a Pearl Master Birch and a Gretsch Round Badge from the '60s. I've had these since the start too. The only change has been switching to Tama's incredibly lightweight and compact hardware last year, which has been great for the island ferries on these Irish dates.

Your favourite songs or albums?
That's hard because my favourites change all the time and they're always diverse. Lately I've been listening to Bill Evans, '60s Burt Bacharach and the rapper Curren$y.

What have you been working on recently?
I played quite a lot with Dutch guitarist Jesse van Ruller last year and that was great. I was in China twice last year with my solo show 'Tapes & Drums' and that was really interesting. I just did two nights in Paris with American pianist David Kikoski and that was exciting. He's played with everyone, including Roy Haynes whose band he was in for a few years. The rural Irish touring has been a lot of fun and very rewarding because most people have no idea drums can be played the way we play them in jazz and it's nice to see them be so surprised. They just associate drums with rock and obviously the original drum kit players were jazz.

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
Lots of good things coming up including plenty of trips abroad to interesting places. I'll be touring Ireland for a month in June with my trio, which will be my longest tour. I collaborate with American bassist Michael Janisch a lot. Last year with did a project with Kurt Rosenwinkel and we have some gigs coming up with Logan Richardson and then with Mark Turner.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
You have to understand music to be a great drummer. Focus on feel and less on the technical aspects of drums. You need to have good technique but that's not what will get you gigs.

David at drums by Marian Bencat

David with his Verox by Adam Patterson

Sunday, 18 November 2018

What or who inspired you to take up drums?
I was a complete music fanatic throughout my school years and was pencil drumming on everything for as long as I can remember so I suppose I was always drawn to it from a very young age. I was already playing guitar but what possibly sealed the deal for me taking up drums was my first live gig going to see Therapy? in Dundalk in my late teens. Their drummer Fyfe Ewing totally blew me away and it was shortly after that that I bought my first kit.

Who are your favourite players?
Drummers I was listening to during the early days of playing with the Rednecks probably had the biggest impact on my style and remain firm favourites. Brendan Canty (Fugazi), John McEntire (Gastr Del Sol/Tortoise), Doug Scharin (Codeine/June of 44) and Britt Walford (Slint) were all big influences. Some current favourites are Mark Giuliani, Nate Wood, Alexander Sowinski (BadBadNotGood) and Greg Fox.

What drum gear do you use?
Strangely enough for most of my drumming life I was never particularly into drum gear at all. I originally started out playing guitar so I always thought of myself more of a guitarist who also happened to play drums and only bought guitar equipment/studio gear while just having the core drum stuff needed. In the last few years, I’ve started to get more passionate about drumming and have gone down a rabbit hole of buying vintage drum gear. I’ve always been a big fan of old Premier drums and I’m currently playing a beautiful early 70's Premier mahogany kit in 12”,14", 20" sizes. Premier kits age so well, this one's nearly 50 years old and looks like new! It always amazes me how Premier kits are so overlooked in the vintage market. They’re seriously some of the best made and beautiful sounding drums out there but are always overlooked for the big US brands. I’m currently playing all Zildjian K / Dark K cymbals, I’m probably amassing way too many snares for the amount of time I actually get to play them. Some favourites include a 6.5” 20-ply Pearl Reference,which was my main snare for quite a few years, 5” brass and 6.5” aluminium Pearl Free-Floating snares. I also recently bought and restored two vintage COB snares - a 60’s Premier Hi-Fi and a 70's Pearl Jupiter which both sound incredible. I use mostly DW flat base stands and hardware along with some vintage stands.
Your favourite songs or albums?
That’s a tough one, I have such a wide ranging taste in music that seems to be constantly evolving. Not necessarily all of drumming interest but a few records that’s have stood the test of time for me are Fugazi - In on the Killtaker, John Fahey - Blind Joe Death, The Beatles - Abbey Road, Polvo - Celebrate the New Dark Age and Jim O’Rourke - Insignificance. Some more recent albums I really love are Christian Scott - Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, Szun Waves - New Hymn to Freedom, Skeletons - People and Mark Pritchard - Under the Sun.

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
This year (unbelievably) marks the 20th anniversary of The Rednecks forming! We’re doing a show in Vicar St on the 30th November to celebrate and and also launch our new album ‘The How’. It’s our first album in 8 years so really looking forward to getting it out there finally. We also have a second tour of Japan in the works and will be doing some dates around Ireland next year to support the new album too.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Learn to play rudiments and how to apply them to the kit. I taught myself to play so skipped that enormously important step and struggled with a much weaker left hand for years because of it. Thankfully, with all the amazing video content online these days it has given me a renewed love of drumming so I’ve been actively righting all those wrongs over the last few years. Also, get some decent ear plugs and always wear them when playing. Tinnitus is no fun and your ears will thank you for it, 20 years down the line!

Photo Credit;  Afghaniscan