Thursday 9 March 2017

Irish Drummers; Graham you mentioned before about playing for the song.

That's what we are doing, that is always what we are trying to say at BIMM. You have the students, who are sitting there all the time and they are just like, “what are we playing, what kind of playing will we do next”. You are constantly trying to say to them to tune in and overly tune in to the song, what everyone is doing, so you can support the whole thing. It's not a hard graft, you know. It's only going to come to them after a long spell and I suppose a lot of that comes from being introduced at a young age.

Irish Drummers; Graham, when did you start writing your own material?

I was playing guitar and keyboards, whilst playing with My Little Funhouse and with Therapy? I was always at home playing guitar, always doing that and throughout bands even before My Little Funhouse. I was talking about Joe, my best friend Joe, who is now in The Frames. He joined The Frames around the same time I joined Therapy? Joe and I were always in bands when we were about thirteen or fourteen. We always were recording demos and I was always playing guitar and everything, so I started even doing demos at a young age myself, playing everything. So just when the whole Therapy? thing finished,  Gemma Hayes asked me to go away and tour with her for a year, that was around the time of the Mercury prize thing so I was busy out.

Irish Drummers: Was that like the, Night on My Side, album? 

Yeah, so we were really busy touring that year and we were really busy demoing as well, so I kind of left Gemma's thing. It was the same reason I left Therapy? because musically I kind of wanted that release, it's kind of like what I was saying, about the drum thing I never got into that stuff of being a rock star. I always wanted a musical release and that's the f****n truth. I have to have a musical release, to be f****n happy. I got out of Therapy?  because I wasn't getting that. I went to play with Gemma and I was really good friends with Karl Odlum. We were having a laugh and I was demoing all the time. I just said I have to go and do this, so myself and Karl went and recorded the album and it was brilliant and Warners said yeah, we will release it for you. I was doing it and all of a sudden I was doing it full time. It was f****n weird.

Irish Drummers; Was that part of the grand plan?

I never planned it that way. It just fell into me having a band that I had to name and it just happened that way. It was called Hopper originally, because that was my nickname. Halite is a hopper crystal and it's all called the Halite which is the band name, which is f****n stupid. Halite, Halite yeah what are we calling the band? It's just madness so then I asked Binzer (Brennan), Ollie and Gav. Keith Farrell is just brilliant and then Derren, who did the Wilt album with Darragh, who you spoke with

Irish Drummers; Yeah, that's right. We really enjoyed doing that interview with Darragh Butler.

The lads came along and did gigs. We did a second album and as good as it was, I was the chairman of band politics, so that was starting to drag me down. I knew we were all busy. I was drumming on peoples' albums and The Frames albums and drumming with people like Joe Chester and The Cake Sale and doing other stuff at the same time so I just put this on hold. It's probably, ten years later now and I still haven't done anything else, even though I'm demoing and stuff. I'm still writing stuff all the time.

Irish Drummers; So, will there be another version of Halite coming out at some stage?

Well, I will release something when I feel like it, but I'm not in any rush to do it. I have recorded songs since, but I'm not in any rush to do anything.

Irish Drummers; There was a band you were with, you haven't mentioned them yet, but Boss Volenti, there was a lot of buzz around you at the time. It was always one of the great mysteries, at Irishdrummers HQ as to how the band never became huge

It’s a mystery to me, it's the whole reason I don't mention Boss Volenti. Boss Volenti is like heartbreak to all four of us, because musically, it's the happiest the four of us have ever been.

Irish Drummers; That was definitely one of the great Irish bands

Thanks very much. You know we are all still really good mates. We have had those hypothetical talks about jamming and stuff like that. Just a few weeks ago, when I was back home and before I went out on tour we did and every year for the last couple of years we have done, ah I think I was talking to you about that on the phone, the Led Zeppelin thing.

Irish Drummers; That's right, yeah.

So it was the four of us on stage, along with nine other people and we did “Houses of the Holy” tribute this year and Johnny was doing it as well so there were three drummers on stage, myself, Johnny and Simon Freedman and he organises the whole thing every year and we did 'Houses of the Holy' from start to finish and so in a few songs there were a few drummers like at the end of the night we had Kashmir. So it’s Boss Volenti on stage with a few other people and it's such a joy playing with Boss Volenti because musically it's just all of us having that unity that we had for so many years and it's great, I loved playing with that band so much.

Irish Drummers; What is your favourite Led Zeppelin album?
Yeah, see that is another hard one, maybe Physical Graffiti but then it is a bit too long

Irish Drummers; You were also playing with the likes of Snow Patrol and Dolores O'Riordan?

Graham: Yeah, Snow Patrol, Johnny just broke his arm. The Snow Patrol lads are friends, like the whole music thing being so incestuous and everybody knows everybody. I have been friends with them for years and then Johnny just called me when he broke his arm and said “will you cover for me”, so I went out touring with them. Two weeks turned into six months and that was great. I still go out with them and play percussion for the laugh and that is good fun. They have been doing great and then Dolores. I recorded a solo album with Dolores and then went out touring with her for about a year or so and that was great.

Irish Drummers; Graham, you were saying, about giving one hundred and twenty percent. How do you keep yourself fit?

I am pathetic that way, I walk a bit. I go on websites, look at vintage drums with my fingers that keeps my fingers fit. Walking is the only thing I can do. I am no good at jogging or anything like that. I got a new heart rate app on my phone which was pretty good. It made me feel really good because my heart rate average is around forty eight, fifty, fifty two when I checked and that made me feel proud as punch because it was kind of like the things I have gone through with the BIMM students. Like do you know, Clem Burke?

Irish Drummers; Yeah, especially his work with “Blondie”

Yeah, exactly, being as fit as a premiership footballer and then Jeremy from Kilkenny did it in Trinity College. He did it as the Irish representative for being as fit as a premiership footballer. So he played a kit for whatever, they checked all his heart rate and blood pressure. So after checking all of that, he was pretty fit.

Irish Drummers; So Graham do you suffer from any injuries in relation to playing drums?

I don't know, there is nothing I have apart from the usual blisters. You can see there on my fingers, the usual cuts. I always get them you know, I have gone through gloves. 

Irish Drummers; What songs / albums are you most proud of and feel best represent your drumming C.V.?

My first Halite album, because it has nothing to do with drumming.  I purposely went anti drumming at that stage.  It could be a lot better but there are moments on it I just like. It was me growing from something to someone.

Irish Drummers;  Graham, studio or live, what is your preference?

I love both of them. I won't say for exactly opposite reasons but I do love both of them. I get a buzz out of both of them I really do. I find myself in the studio going yeah I f****n love it with headphones in and really getting into something and want to do it again or it could be just building up to something and then even singing to something you know, I love it. Building an empire is what I always say and then live. Jesus I love it, I love being in a small circle on stage with everybody looking at each other seeing everybody. I dig it, I really dig it.

Irish Drummers; What is your favourite rudiment?

My favourite rudiment, it's the paradiddle, because I always think of my Dad and him writing it on my garage door. It's as simple as that and as simple as throwing it round the kit, rather than playing it on one snare playing it round the kit and making it in to a flam paradiddle or a flamadiddle. I don't get too busy around that, playing at a different tempo and stuff, accents and different parts of the paradiddle.

Irish Drummers; How often do you practice Graham?

I don't , because I am kind of gigging so I am terrible at practicing. I just love gigging and when I’m gigging I just love long sound checks, jamming at long sound checks and the like. I love during those jams, trying different styles and techniques. Doing BIMM for the last year and doing techniques with students and doing jams.  Looking into techniques, it's brought so much to my own playing. It has really brought so much to my own playing every night you know, I love it!

Irish Drummers; Finally Graham, what's the five year plan?

I suppose I just take the Eckhart Tolle  approach. I just take everyday as it comes!