Friday 30 December 2016

Stephen Whelan - Session Drummer and Professional Music Teacher

Currently based in Dublin, Stephen Whelan has worked as a session drummer all over the world. He begun his journey at the age of 14 learning from many experienced and well respected teachers. From 2012 Stephen spent four years touring worldwide with Irish band God Is An Astronaut and in 2015 he began teaching professionally. It is a combination of these experiences and hard work that have allowed Stephen to built up an impressive resume as he continues to become one of Ireland's leading teachers. Stephen has also created his own online interactive website for online tuition and prides himself on giving back to the drumming community while always trying to become a better drummer in the process .
Drums: Yamaha Absolute Hybrid Maple in Jade Green Sparkle
Sticks: Promark TX5AW
Cymbals Paiste Twenty Series 18" Crash Paiste Twenty Series 19" Crash Paiste 2002 14" Hi Hats Paiste 2002 20" Power Ride Paiste Swiss Flanger 14" Stack
Skins Kick - Evans 22" EQ3 Resonant Bass Drum BK Evans 22" EMAD2 Clear Bass Drum
Hi Tom - Evans 10" G2 Coated Tom Evans 10" Resonant Head Tom Clear
Middle Tom - Evans 12" G2 Coated Tom Evans 12" Resonant Head Tom Clear
Floor - Evans 16" B16G2 Genera G2 coated Evans 16" Resonant Head Tom Clear
Snare - Evans B14HD 14" Snare Drum Head Evans S14H30 14" Snare Resonant Head
Snare 2 - Evans 14" EC Edge Control Snare RD Evans S14H30 14" Snare Resonant Head

All Audix Microphones

Photo Credit - Chris Connolly

Tuesday 27 December 2016

Mark Grist- Professional Session Drummer/Teacher,Owner Drumshed Drum School.

Irish Drummers; Mark, when did you start playing drums?
I started playing at 4yrs of age, early influences through my Keyboardist Dad’s record collection, from The Beatles to Swing Jazz and all in between. By age 13, I was playing in his band. First  lessons at 7 years of age, rudiments training  at Dublin’s musician’s union with Peter Pringle and Mick Ward then studied with some of the top Jazz players of the time, John Murray at The Dublin Drum School and privately with  John Wadham. I also studied piano through The Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Irish Drummers; Can you tell us some of the artists you have played / performed with
In a career, now into it’s fourth decade, along with a huge array of working cover bands and shows I’ve played with and for a diverse variety of artists, musicians, producers and musical directors in the live studio recording, TV and movie soundtrack settings, the artists include; Dean Friedman, Michelle Heaton, Shush, Jacobs Ladder, Stano, Billy Farrell, Tony Perry, Tim Ambler, Tony McGuiness, Dickie Rock, Connor McKeon, The Legends Of Swing, Steven McKeon, The Camembert Quartet,etc.

Irish Drummers; You also provide drumming lessons  
I’ve been teaching from my own Drum studio here in Dublin for 20 years. I’ve had the privilege to teach  hundreds of drummers. Some former students of note include; Vinnie May, Rob Kennedy, Ian McTigue, Donal Bowens , James Mackin. On occasion I’ve also lectured on drum studio set up, in Pulse Recording Studios and Colaiste Dhuiligh Multi Media College.

Irish Drummers; Mark, can you tell us about your hybrid drum set up?
I’m one of the original guys using hybrid drum set-ups here in Ireland. From the beginning of the 80’s, Simmons Drums, right up to current Sample triggering technology etc, I’ve been a demonstrator for Roland V Drums at music exhibitions. As a Meinl cymbals endorsee, I’ve opened clinics for Mike Terrana and Thomas Lang. Depending on the application, I play Pearl and Ludwig vintage kits and Yamaha maple custom, Natal maple and ash kits and Roland TD30 and SPDSX se-ups.  I’m endorsed by Meinl Cymbals, Evans drumheads and Pro-mark Sticks.

Irish Drummers;  Mark, who are your drumming influences?
My influences are many and diverse, from song based drummers through to my love for Jazz funk fusion and progressive rock. Names include; Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Ricky Lawson, Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, Dennis Chambers, Omar Hakim, Simon Philips, Benny Greb, Johhny Rabb, Gavin Harrison, Phil Gould, Marco Minneman, Thomas Lang, Virgil Donati. I’m  continually influenced and inspired by all the amazing drummers both  past and present and the pupils that come through my door.  The list is endless. Some great Irish drummers I’ve been influenced by include; Brian Downey, Robbie Brennan, Fran Breen, Paul Moran and Paul McAteer.

Irish Drummers; What projects are in the pipeline for 2017?
Busy heading into 2017 as the drummer  with Prog-Rock band M-Opus, we’ll be gigging in support of our “1975 Tryptich” album while pre- production and recording work begins on our 2nd album. Regular gigging with “The Favours”,pit band, panto duties January, teaching as usual and also rehearsing for “Legends Of Swing “gig at National Concert Hall in February.  

Irish Drummers; Thanks Mark, much appreciated.

Photo from Robert Graham 

Links:My Youtube channel:MK Grist1

Facebook: Drumshed/Mark Grist Drum Tuition

Friday 23 December 2016

Cion O'Callaghan - Drummer and Percussionist

Irish Drummers; Cion, when did you start drumming?
Having played biscuit tins and the furniture from the age of 10, it wasn't until I was 17 that I bought my first drum kit (from Jimmy Shields, brother of My Bloody Valentine founder and frontman Kevin, who lived nearby). 

Irish Drummers; Did you study with anyone and after that when did you realise that drumming was to become your career?
I studied with John Wadham soon after and then, after a few years in college, I began to embark on a career as a musician and not knowing where to start I decided to just go out and join musicians on the street with a set of bongos. Luckily for me, an entire generation of Irish artists like Paddy Casey, Mundy, Glen Hansard, the late Mic Christopher, to name but a few were already out there plying their trades. Jump on a year or two and those strays on the streets were being signed by major labels.

Irish Drummers; Cion, what was your first real gig?
My first proper playing gig was with Mundy's first band, recording his debut album Jelly Legs with him. The next few years were spent touring alongside and opening for acts like Neil Young, Alanis Morissette and The Long Pigs (in which Richard Hawley played guitar). Since then, I have played live or recorded with all sorts of artists, everyone from Adrian Crowley, Rosey, Ami Grady, Shane Mc Gowan & Ronnie Drew (just the once!), James Vincent Mc Morrow, DFF (fronted by the great Dr Dave Flynn and including Niwell Tsumbu and Viv Long in the line up), Gavin Glass and the Holy Shakers, Kid Coy, The Rags, The Tigers of Tin Pan, Daniel Anderson, A Sample Answer, LotusEater as well as many years playing percussion with Paddy Casey.

Irish Drummers; Cion, you certainly have been busy as a drummer
I would call myself a session drummer, only a great Irish drummer once told me you shouldn't call yourself that until you are waking up one morning to play with Tina Turner or Lionel Richie! Jim Keltner is a session drummer, Josh Freese is a session drummer, I'm a jobbing drummer. Call it what you will, I have loved every minute of it!' 

Irish Drummers; Have you taught anyone?
As a teacher, I have had Dara Kiely (Girl Band), Conor Egan from The Coronas and Danny Lang amongst my past pupils.

Irish Drummers; Who are your drumming influences?
As for my own influences, I love the likes of Steve Gadd, Matt Cameron and Paulinho da Costa (one of the most recorded percussionists of modern times), but my greatest influences have been those around me, you can only really learn about being a good musician by playing with good musicians and I've been very lucky. Long may that continue. 

Photo by Lucy Warren 

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Jay Oglesby - Professional Drummer and Drum Tutor

Irish Drummers; Jay, when did you start playing drums?
I started playing drums at the age of 7 when I joined the Artane Boys Band. It was here that I learned to read music, and also studied xylophone. There was also a strong emphasis on rudimental drumming which has stayed with me to this day.
Irish Drummers; Where else did you study drumming?
 I also studied with Dan Breen at the Royal Irish Academy of Music for 3 years and then one year with Johnny Wadham. More recently I attended a one day intensive masterclass with Dave Weckl. I’m currently in my 5th year teaching at BIMM Dublin.
Irish Drummers; Jay, what artists have you played / performed with?
Over the years’ I have played with many artists on TV, Radio, In Studio or live including…Rob Strong, Laura Izibor, Don Baker, Sharon Corr, Brian Kennedy,Picturehouse, Royseven, Delorentos, Luan Parle, Glen Baker, Jet Harris, Stano, White Chocolate, Claudine Day, Mickey Rooney, Whole Lotta Zepp, Gotcha, Mal O’Brian Band, The Beau Motives, Aoife Underwater.This year I toured with Andrew Strong and hope to hit the road with him again in 2017.
Irish Drummers; What are your other plans for 2017?
Next year will see the launch of a new project that I’m involved in called The Livestrong Band who play a mix of blues influenced Americana. I’m also a founding member of Dublin electronic band Liquid Wheel, who have new material, also to be released in 2017.
Irish Drummers; What drum gear do you prefer?
My current kit is a Brady Jarrah ply, Craviotto snare, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and Evans heads.
Irish Drummers: Who are your drumming influences?
My drumming influences are Buddy Rich, Jojo Mayer, Phil Collins,Simon Phillips, Keith Moon and Ian Paice.

Sunday 18 December 2016

Ian McTigue - Touring Drummer and Music Teacher

Touring drummers are accustomed to playing in old venues, but few can claim to have twirled their sticks in a 5,000 year old establishment. Yet Ian McTigue has done just that, the drummer took to a stage at the Giza Pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, in his role as percussionist for Riverdance, the globe-trotting Irish dance phenomena while in town to share a headline gig with legendary diva Mariah Carey.

The Irish drummer has played with Riverdance in the iconic surroundings of New York's Radio City Music Hall & The Lincoln Centre, Pantages Theatre LA, Mexico City's Auditorio Nacional, Atwood Concert hall Anchorage Alaska, Atlantis the palm Dubai, Astana Kazakhstan, Soon after he joined the Women of Ireland show with tours to Orchard Hall in Tokyo, Teatro Municipal De Las Condes, Santiago Chile, Zurich Switzerland & all over Germany. Ian has worked with many other artists - Camille O' Sullivan, Moya Brennan, Ronan Keating, Carlos Nunez, Donal Lunny, Don Baker, Mike McGoldrick, Zoe Conway & Robin James Hurt - his theatrical credits also include Improbable Frequency, Mac Becks, Guys & Dolls, All Shook Up, Anything Goes, Calamity Jane & The Wedding Singer.

Ian is a certified Grade 8 drumkit teacher qualified through London's international music and performance art's RSL. He also specialises in the traditional Irish Bodhrán Drum & tutors from the Drum Room in Dunshaughlin Co Meath. He is currently the drummer with Harlequin band and proudly endorses Allegra Drums.

Irish Drummers; Ian, what is your preferred drum gear?
I love my Allegra Drums, - any shells which are maple for the optimum sound , Remo Ambassador heads on every drum. A nice mix of Zildjian A custom crashes & K medium heavy ride & hihats. Vic Firth 5B sticks.

Irish Drummers; Who are your drumming influences?
Influences would be Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colliuta, Ray Fean & Robbie Casserly!

Thanks Ian. Photo by John Jordan Photography

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Paul Kenny - Drummer with James Vincent McMorrow

Paul Kenny is an Irish drummer who is currently on tour with James Vincent McMorrow.

He is also a member of German band Get Well Soon, electronica band Jape in addition to various other session work.

Paul is a tutor at the prestigious BIMM music college in Dublin and has previously studied with Benny Greb and Udo Dahmen. 

Some of his recent studio work includes albums with producers Rob Kirwan (Hozier, U2, Depeche Mode) and Dani Castellar (Paulo Nutini).

Paul is a proud endorser of C&C drums.

Some previous highlights include:

With James Vincent McMorrow:
- 2 nights at the Sydney Opera House with James in May 2014
- 2 appearances on Jools Holland
- 5 tours in U.S including venues The Roxy in L.A, The Bowery Ballroom in N.Y.C
- 2 appearances at the Coachella Festival
- Recording of James' live album in L.A in 2014 : "Live at the Theater at the Ace

James Vincent McMorrow kicked off his European tour in October with a
performance on Jools Holland followed by 19 shows in 10 countries in Europe. There
are 18 dates on the U.S tour including a performance on Jimmy Kimmel in

With Get Well Soon:
- Albums "Vexations" (2011), "The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads" (2013) and
"Love" (2016)
- Multiple festival appearances at Haldern Pop, Hurricane, Southside, Roskilde etc
- Appearance on Harald Schmidt

Some links to several performances:

Jools Holland

Harald Schmidt

Tutor Profile BIMM

Get Well Soon live clip Frankfurt

Sunday 11 December 2016

Dónal Bowens - Session Drummer

Dónal Bowens is a session drummer from Co. Meath.

Dónal has been making a name for himself in the Irish music scene playing a diverse range of styles live and in the studio including; metal, alternative rock, folk, indie, pop, rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll and country.

In 2014 Dónal received a Diploma in Professional Musicianship from Dublin Institute of Technology and is currently studying a level 8 degree in Commercial Modern Music at BIMM Dublin.

Dónal currently plays with Irish acts Penrose (indie), Rosa Nutty (singer-songwriter), Antidotes (metal), Alabaster (metal) and Visor (alternative rock).

Watch Dónal here:

Photo credit to Ruth Medjber / Ruthless Imagery 

Martay Galbraith - Session Drummer

Martay Galbraith is a Northern Irish based session drummer hailing from Downpatrick, Co Down.  Starting drums at 13 he has been mainly self taught, but received some foundation lessons with former Taste/Rory Gallagher drummer, John Wilson.  Early influences included Roger Taylor (Queen) and Neil Peart (Rush), but since then he has studied with some of the worlds finest drummers including Benny Greb, Mark Guiliana, Jojo Mayer, Ash Soan, Keith Carlock and Mike Johnston to name a few....Recently supporting Level 42 on the Irish leg of their UK and European tour, he can also be seen behind Outkast's Andre 3000 (Andre Benjamin) in the Jimi Hendrix biopic, Jimi: All Is By My Side, currently on Netflix.

He is currently in the process of recording a new EP with his band from Dublin, De La Rose (originally from Brighton) and just completed recording a new album with Northern Irish singer/songwriter Chris Keys.  With a German tour in the pipeline next summer with Chris, writing/recording with former Co Dot front man Joe Brush, and also Northern Irish country artist Amanda Agnew, its sure to be an exciting and busy year ahead.

Martay is proud to play and use Sonor Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Shure Mics and Evans Drumheads.

Photo credit Ruth Medjer / Ruthless Imagery 

Thursday 8 December 2016

Stephen O' Brien - Drummer with DECCA Artist Brian Deady

Stephen O' Brien has rapidly become one of Irelands most in demand drummers. He plays on a full time basis with DECCA Artist Brian Deady, he regularly performs with Voiceworks Studio (Vocal Tuition Centre) as part of their house band, Wedding band The Stars, Soul Driven, Ian O' Doherty and was the drummer for well known original funk outfit Jericho + many more.
He has played at many of Ireland's leading music festivals including Electric Picnic, Longitude, Forbidden Fruit Festival, Body and Soul and Mitchelstown Indiependence and has played support to Chic, The Rubber Bandits, Billy Ocean, Omar, José James, Beardyman and Ham Sandwich to name a few. Steve has also shared the stage with Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers, Kodaline, Picture This and Walking On Cars. Steve has played on many national radio stations including RTE Radio 1, NewsTalk, 2 FM, Today FM, Red FM and 96 FM and has made TV appearances including RTE's The Late Late Show. He is due to tour Europe with BRIAN DEADY in 2017, one of the dates being the well known Eurosonic Noorderslag festival.
Tom; Steve, who are your drumming influences?
My drumming Influences include , JR Robinson, James Gadson, Benny Greb, Chris Dave, Ash Soan and Chris Coleman to name a few. But all drummers influence me to be honest, these guys named had the biggest impact on me though.

Tom; Steve, what drum gear do you prefer?
My Gear, Sticks are Vic Firth Steve Jordan signature stick, Cymbals are and always have been Meinl, mostly the Byzance series, Drumheads are Evans, different variations. Kick Pedal, DW 9000XF single pedal. Mixed bag of hardware. Drums mixed, Vintage REMO kickdrum 20x14, 2 snares 14x6.5 Yamaha Stage Custom and 14x7 Pearl Masters Custom Extra Maple snare. Gretsch toms 10x8 rack and 14x14 floor. Electronics, Roland SPD-SX and RT30 triggers. 

Think that's it Tom.

Thanks Stephen. 

Sunday 4 December 2016

Rob Kennedy Drummer and Session Musician

For a drummer who has played since the tender age of 2, it maybe only fair that, by 22, Rob Kennedy has been described by Ireland's Hot Press magazine as a prodigious talent. Given his ability and success as a player to date, both in drumming competitions and in reviews of his live and recorded work, it's hard to disagree. Rob's stellar ability is displayed on his personal YouTube channel, with an ever increasing subscription to original performances and re workings of favourite songs by established artists. He is most at home when given the chance to challenge himself through this medium. A graduate of the prestigious BIMM college, Dublin, Rob's musical skill set has found him involved in projects as diverse as rock, progressive rock, funk, blues, punk, R&B, math rock, fusion and more. Somehow he has also found the time to study with some of the great international players and teachers of today. A regular at the world famous studios at Grouse Lodge and Windmill lane. Rob has toured and recorded with many up and coming Irish artists such as Hare Squead and Rocstrong. On top of his career as a session player, Rob is also a member of up and coming Alternative band Little One. 
Rob proudly endorses Sabian Cymbals, Vater Drumsticks and Ludwig Drums.

YouTube links:

Irish drummers thanks Rob for the words and Jack Farrell for the photo.