Saturday, 9 November 2019

We're delighted that our new book Irish Drummers Volume 1 is now available. This book contains interviews and profiles of 32 amazing Irish drummers. These drummers are part of a musical community that has made and is making fantastic music in Ireland and abroad. This Volume 1 gives a glimpse into the vast world of Irish drummers and is an indispensable read for anyone interested in drumming and drummers.

Irish Drummers Volume 1

Friday, 16 August 2019


Who inspired you to take up drums?
I come from a pretty musical family. Ever since I can remember there were always guitars and keyboards lying around the house. My main influence was my older sister Lynn. She started taking drum lessons and would come home and teach me all the rudiments she had learned. I think I was just as excited as she was when she bought her first drumkit!  A Pearl Export. The first songs I remember her teaching me were Strange Little Girl by The Stranglers and Strange Currencies by R.E.M. Along the way, I taught myself some Manic Street Preachers, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, then onto some slightly heavier stuff, like Placebo, Kittie, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot etc. 

Who are your favourite players?
I love drummers who ask themselves, what does the song require? They don't bash everything in front of them just because it's there!
I have a lot of different favourites for various reasons and all have inspired me in some way or another. Sean Kinney (Alice In Chains), Joey Jordison (ex-Slipknot), Jerome Dillon (ex-NIN), Dave McClain (Machine Head) Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), Steve Hewitt (ex-Placebo), Mercedes Lander (Kittie) to name just a few off the top of my head.

Your favourite songs or albums?
The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers will always be a favourite of mine and I still listen to it frequently, Everything Must Go from them also. Dirt by Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar, NIN's The Fragile, Slipknot's Iowa and their self-titled album, I love Gary Numan, some Smashing Pumpkins, Hole, Garbage, Soundgarden, a lot of 90s grunge.

What’s your current drum gear setup?
Standard kit, 1 rack tom, 2 crashes and a ride. I'm saving up for a new kit, but the Tama Swingstar I bought second hand years ago is still my baby! 
22" kick, 16" floor tom, 12" rack tom. Zildjian hihats, a vintage Zildjian 16" crash,  Sabian AAX X-Plosion Crash 17", and I use a 20" Sabian AAX X-Plosion crash for my ride instead of an actual ride cymbal to get the tone, that I like! My kick pedal is DW 9000. So reliable and solid, I love it. Sticks-wise I'm using Vater 5a at the moment.

Can you tell us what projects are on the horizon?
Our next gig is on 23rd Aug supporting Stiff Little Fingers, alongside our good friends Paranoid Visions, in the main room Academy.
We play Electric Picnic for this first time this year. We have our own headline shows in Limerick on the Friday 27th September in Dolans, and Dublin's Grand Social on Saturday 28th will be for our EP release. 
Our EP entitled Dye Me Red, will be out on 10" vinyl through FOAD records with a new single soon after. 
That's all I can say for now ;) there are always plans happening in the Vulpyne camp! 




Currently Vulpynes is a duo, do you feel that gives you the freedom to experiment with your sound?  
I love being a 2 piece! Molly and I get on so well and we work together quite efficiently, getting our songs together and ready for a live setting. 
Since Vulpynes has no bass player, I usually tune my drums low to fill out any low ends that may be needed. We're constantly experimenting, trying new things and bouncing ideas off each other in rehearsals. There is definitely a nice sense of freedom being a duo. 


And finally Kaz, what advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
My advice would be to start jamming with other musicians. It's the best way to learn, to find out what your own style is, and what style you like.
Always be open minded and open to try different drum styles too! In music college, I learned Jazz, Reggae, Pop, Blues beats etc. It's always good to keep challenging yourself. But the main thing is to play with passion. If you enjoy what you do, others will too!. Then practice, practice and finally practice!  

**Photos credit** - Glen Bollard Photography
                            - Golden Plec 

Saturday, 13 July 2019


Who inspired you to take up the drums?
The inspiration came from a number of sides. Family, friends, school, drummers, bands. Initially I was interested in guitar as that’s what my Dad and brother were into. In primary school, I had an American friend named Boogie Walker whose older brother played the drums and I distinctly remember having a moment of realisation on seeing the drums in their shed, seeing him play and thinking I needed it in my life. In secondary school, I came across music rooms on an open day with people playing and jamming, the drums immediately drew my attention. My family are big music guys and we were given instruments after showing an interest. There was always encouragement from my parents, my Dad inspired a tangible musical influence and my mother has a creative streak, a tactile nature, which feeds into the process of developing a love for all aspects of drumming.

Who are your favourite players?
LevonHelm(The Band), Jay Bellerose(Joe Henry, Raising Sand, T-Bone Burnett, Ray LaMontagne), Brian Blade(Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, Daniel Lanois), Glenn Kotche(Wilco) have all had a huge influence on me over the years. Levon especially, in fact, I would go as far to say he completely informed my development as a drummer. The spirit in his playing, the dedication to the music. The moment. His book ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’, was a life changer. Through a mutual friend, Joe Henry, I came into close contact with Jay Bellerose, leading to borrowing drums from him while on tour in the US. Jay’s generosity and sharing of knowledge was very influential. I tuned into attitude, approach and philosophy of drummers in a big way, which is part of the whole picture. The drummers I mentioned spoke to me on a deeper level. Recently I’ve been digging in to some more contemporary drummers, such as Valentina Magaletti and Eli Keszler. Completely expressive, yet musical in their approach to drums, integrating manipulation to great effect.

Your favourite songs or albums?
There’s a song called ‘Maudy la Lune’ by Bill Fay, that might be my favourite song. I go through phases with different songs but that always comes back. The feeling I get or the feeling it gives more so, is uplifting, romantic, desperate and so close to what he’s trying to convey, I always find it intoxicating. ‘Shinzo No Tobira’ by Japanese band Mariah comes close too. Again, conveying so much relatable emotion, regardless of being sung in Iranian, that will get consumed by the feeling.

Albums that come to mind that have sustained or had a meaningful impact on me; The Band - (Brown Album), Kate and Anna McGarrigle – (self titled), Radiohead – OK Computer, Van Morrison - Beautiful Vision, The Knife – Silent Shout, Talk Talk – Colour of Spring. Each of those albums have a relevance that I can associate with musical or personal significance. They have all influenced my drumming in some shape or form. Steve Gadd is really musical on the McGarrigle's one, Phil Selway (Radiohead) and Lee Harris (Talk Talk) playing vital roles on decade defining albums. The Knife’s programming and ability to swing electronically had a huge impact on me too.

What’s your current drum gear setup?
With Villagers I’m using a 70’s Slingerland kit, which has a 20” kick and concert toms, giving a tighter, West Coast, Hal Blaine sound – I absolutely love it. I’ve wanted genuine concert toms for a while too so this kit was irresistible when I spotted it on Rusty Drums. The cymbals are Sabian, 14” Vanguard hats and a 21” Vanguard crash/ride that really lights up the room when introduced. Alongside that is a 22” Artisan Vault Ride and a 22” AA ‘fierce’ ride with rivets – both are super dry and dark and I’ve had each for some time now so they’ve really settled into themselves.We have a good understanding at this point. I’ve settled on Vater sticks in the last few years, particularly the maple series - the sound they extract from the instrument and the balance while playing feels great to me. SPDSX is a staple, which is paired with 80's era Simmons pads. Remo Powerstroke 4 drumheads for a preferred warm, deep tone.They sound set as soon as they go on. Snare Weights have been really useful for tone, with the natural, leather element adding something unique and malleable to the sound.
Lisa Hannigan’s setup requires a more open sound so I use my Velvet model Ayotte kit with her. Features of the setup are 22” kick with no hole on the resonant side and a walnut rimmed Ayotte Custom snare, which is my most prized possession. I was lucky enough to get that kit and that snare in Music Maker, Dublin when they used to stock Ayotte – pretty special sounding drums. I use 16” hats with Lisa, a hybrid of a Sabian Stage Crash on the bottom and super dead crash on top that I found in a music shop in the US, I always dug how they play off each other. There is lots of room for sonic exploration and expression with Lisa.

You’re very busy with both Villagers and Lisa Hannigan, how do you manage your work / life balance?
Coming to terms with the nature of playing and touring is a big part of it for me. I’ve always considered it a privilege! It's all about opening yourself up to interchangeable situations, navigating that requires self-efficacy and an ability to think ahead, while letting things happen naturally.

Can you tell us what projects are on the horizon? 
For a number of years, I have had access to a space in the National Concert Hall, Dublin as part of a residency of sorts. In that time, I have been developing compositions for drums and percussion, which I will present at a concert in September alongside the other current residents, James Vincent McMorrow, Paul Noonan and Glenn Keating. I'm really excited by the prospect. My favourite thing about that building(NCH) is the way it sounds so I invited some Irish musicians to collaborate and record in different parts, building - stairwells, marbled halls, a former morgue, cavernous spaces…I’m really happy with the results. An album of those recordings will see the light of day later this year. Developing programming skills has been really useful so I work on and off with RTE on certain productions, ‘Story of Hip Hop’, ‘DJ Jenny Greene and the RTECO’, ‘Classical Collision’.
I also started a part time degree in counselling and psychotherapy last year so I’ll be focusing on that as much as I can too! Doing the degree felt like a good opportunity to challenge myself and do something different, with the intention of acquiring the relevant skills.

And finally Ross, what advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
There is no right or wrong. Try not to be hard on yourself, try not to compare yourself to the next drummer. Take your time! Listen to yourself and decide what makes it enjoyable for you. Let that guide you and become an integral part of the playing. Channel the good and the bad in your life and take the opportunity to express yourself. Have fun with it, in whatever form that takes.

Photo credit; black and white shot is by Ruth Medjber

Sunday, 30 June 2019


Who inspired you to take up drums?
I’m not sure if there’s one person in particular but my family definitely had a big part to play. There was always music playing in the house and I remember being young and singing along to tapes in the car. My brother and sister got really into music in their teenage years and I’d listen to all the CDs they would buy.
In retrospect, it was great to have such a wide range of music available because it meant I never really turned my nose up at any music and it left me with a pretty eclectic taste. In the last week, I think I’ve listened to Childish Gambino, Mac DeMarco, Foals, Dennis Wilson, Slipknot, Natalie Prass, Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett. Right now I’m listening to a low-fi hip-hop playlist on You-Tube.

Who are your favourite players?
There are loads of drummers that I love, but there are a few that I definitely take inspiration from.

Anna Prior from Metronomy is a great player; she’s got a great feel and plays really nice musical parts.

Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) is one of my favourite drummers to just listen to and not analyse too much. She approaches the kit in a completely different way than I would by introducing Latin style patterns and displaced snares. I’ve seen her play live a few times now and she’s got great energy on stage, I really rate her highly as a player.

I came across Ilan Rubin a few years ago randomly watching drum videos online. I saw his Guitar Centre Drum Off solo and it blew my mind. If you haven’t watched it I’d recommend it.
He’s done a lot of session work with Nine Inch Nails and Paramore. I’d recommend checking out Paramore’s self-titled album too. Rubin’s drumming on that album is so, so good.

Jack Bevan (Foals) is in there too. He has amazing chops but he’s a groove-based drummer so he keeps it simple most of the time. Foals’ album “Holy Fire” has an incredible drum sound.

Your favourite songs or albums?
Hard to pick but off the top of my head…

“Harvest” by Neil Young is a real nostalgia trip for me. My parents always had that or “Mirror Ball” on in their car when I was young and I loved it. Heart of Gold is one of my favourite songs ever.

“Narrow Stairs” by Death Cab For Cutie is amazing. Some of Ben Gibbard's lyrics on that album are poetry and Jason McGerr’s drumming is incredible; it’s musical and precise but never too much.

I always go back and listen to “Do It Again” by Royksopp & Robyn. It’s a mini-album/EP that they released in 2014 and I love it. It’s got these 8 or 9-minute atmospheric songs that are full of interesting melodies and overall the production is incredible; it sounds amazing.

“Free All Angels” by Ash came out when I was 14 and it was probably all I listened to for about 6 months. I think I’ll always be in awe of Tim Wheeler as a songwriter. He’s been writing consistently good songs for over 20 years and doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

What’s your current drum gear setup?
My shells are from a beat-up Premier kit. Sizes are 12x9, 16x16, and 22x18.
It’s about 20 years old and it was my first kit. I’m looking to upgrade but I’m not in any major rush.

My snare is a 14x6.5 Gretsch Renown maple. It’s great. I crank it up pretty high with an Evans Genera coated skin and I’ve never had any issues with overtones. It’s a great all rounder for studio or live and sings nicely whether it’s tuned up or down.

Cymbal-wise its all Zildjian. My hats are 14” K Lights and they’re perfect for me. They cut through all the mid and bass that comes with THUMPER and can go from a tight chick to loud and washy.

For crashes, I have a 17” A Custom and a 20” A Series Medium Crash. The Custom is great for a bright crash with a fast decay while the A Series is a lot darker and opens up the harder you hit it. It’s a nice balance having them both, gives me lots of options.

My ride is a 24” K Light and it’s incredible. For a 24” it has a really nice ping as well as a bell that cuts through. When you crash into it, the sound just gets bigger and bigger but is never overbearing. I thought about buying this ride for about 2 years and I’m so glad I finally did it.

Most of my hardware is DW. I find that DW hardware is built to last and I think that’s pretty important for drum gear.

Your band Thumper has just released a brilliant new single “In My Room” which is in advance of an upcoming EP. Can you tell us what to expect ahead of its release?
This release (“Out of Body Auto-Message”) is kind of a milestone for us as a band. Prior to this, our recordings were low-fi and noisy home-recordings. For these songs, we got into a studio with Dan Fox (Girl Band) and tried our best to emulate our live sound. Dan was a perfect fit for this and totally understood where we were coming from in terms of volume and clarity.
It’s also the first release where you’re hearing the full band performing. Previous recordings were done completely by Oisín (lead vox in THUMPER) in our old rehearsal room on Thomas Street, whereas this one is the full band, in a room playing like we do at gigs.

We’re doing a limited run of 300 vinyl for its release which is a dream come true for me. Holding a vinyl of your own music is humbling and kind of beautiful. It’s the same kind of feeling as hearing your music on the radio for the first time.
The record is released on Vinyl and online. 

We played a sold out headline show on the 25th at Lost Lane in Dublin and it was brilliant.

We’ve also just had a run of some nice gigs ahead of its release with Bitch Falcon as well as shows at Music Cork and It Takes A Village Festival. Then we have a busy summer ahead with festival season. We’ll be at Primavera, Body & Soul, Sea Sessions and loads more.

The band is playing at a number of venues in the next few months, what can fans expect?
A lot of new songs and the usual madness that comes with a THUMPER show. It took me a while to realise but I think as a band we really strive to be as tight as we can for live shows. We rehearse our songs over and over until we’re almost sick of them but it really pays off in terms of playing live. Being that well rehearsed means we can go off on tangents during songs and never get lost or lose track of where we are. It makes every gig interesting for us playing, as well as for people watching.

And finally Stevie, what advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
In terms of actually playing, I’d say try and stay relaxed and remember to breathe. It’s really easy to get all tense and stiff when you’re playing but it makes drumming a lot harder and much less enjoyable. I’ve found yoga has helped me a lot in terms of my movements when drumming and conserving energy.

I’d also say remember to keep it fun. Drumming is a lot of fun and it shouldn’t ever be something that causes you to be stressed out. If you want to pursue music as a career you need to put the work in, as it’s not easy to make a living playing music…but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it too.

Single images of Stephen are by Stephen Allen

Band shot of THUMPER was taken by Nicholas O'Donnell

Saturday, 15 June 2019


Hi Dylan, when did you start drumming?
I started drumming at the age of 6. I come from a very musical family. Both my Mam and Dad play instruments, so I’m constantly around people that have an interest in music. When I was younger, I used to love sitting in on sessions! The one instrument that drew my attention was the DRUMS.  I think the defining moment happened when I was brought to a music show held in Dublin! My parents found me sitting down right beside the bass drum while someone was playing!

What drum gear do you use?
I’m fortunate enough to say I’m Endorsed by TRX Cymbals, Empire Ears and Cympad!  Currently I’m using Trx’s Blend series cymbals! 14-inch hats, 16-inch crash, 18-inch crash and 22-inch ride. I use Cympad Chromatics, moderators and Empire Ears custom molded in-ears. The first kit I ever bought was a Sonor Force 2007 Kit and I still play it today. I’m in love with Sonor’s kits, so I’ll continue to use them in the future! For recording I use the Roland TD-50 KV. I’m also a big fan of D’Addario so I use Evans Drum heads and Promark sticks. Shure Microphones are a must for me. I’m also a proud Ambassador for Destroy A Drum Clothing.

Who has influenced you the most?
The list of people that influence and inspire me is endless. A drummer that has a real influence on my playing and attitude to drums is Chris Coleman. His musicality and chops are insane. Every time I watch him play, I’m blown away! More recently drummers that continue to inspire me are Jerrod Sullivan, Simon Santunion and Lester Estelle. They have such a presence while playing and seeing them play live is a joy. I am super thankful that I have had a chance to develop a relationship with these drummers through social media.

What are your favorite albums or songs?
My favorite bands of all time are Paramore and Mumford and Sons. Delta is Mumford and Sons newest album and I feel each song tells a dramatic story! Hard Times is a big direction change for Paramore, but I feel Zac Farro nails all the drum parts throughout the album.
Albums that I have loved listening and playing to over the last few years are; Portal of Gold
(The 4 Korners) and Synaesthesia (Kaz Rodriguez).

Tell us about your recent success!
As you already know I use Shure products. When I found out that Shure was holding a competition centered on drumming, I knew I had to give it a go. The competition involved 38 different countries. For the competition I had to submit a video. The video could be up to 5 minutes long. Once submitted the voting stage took place. Once the necessary 50 votes were surpassed judging was held. Fortunately, I was chosen as All Ireland Shure Drum Mastery Champion. I am now straight through to the finals, where I will face all 37 countries. I am super proud and honoured to be able to represent my country.

That’s great Dylan! What other projects are in the pipeline?
It’s been a crazy few years. From signing Endorsement deals, completing Sound Engineering Courses in Windmill Land Studios and becoming All Ireland Champion. What’s next? I just recently launched my new website Dylanmccormickmoran.com. At the start of the year I just wrapped up a few albums and EPs for clients in America and England. A Record Label from New York has contacted me and we are in talks. I am almost finished drum grades and once I’m done, I will be qualified to teach! As far as Drumming is concerned it doesn’t matter what area of the industry I go into as long as I can keep playing!

Instagram : dylanmmdrummer
Website : Dylanmccormickmoran.com

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