Sunday 28 May 2017

Karima Dillon EI- Toukhy - Drummer with Montauk Hotel

Montauk Hotel, a 4 piece band based in Dublin, have been garnering a lot of attention, particularly after the release of their debut single 'Black Dress' back in January. We decided to ask their drummer Karima Dillon EI-Toukhy some questions. 

Irish Drummers;  Karima, how did you get started?

I took a term of lessons when I was about 17 years old. I learnt the basis of a few different time signatures and a few simple fills. I didn't have my own kit to practice on, nor access to one, so I didn't continue with the lessons, even though I enjoyed them. It was too frustrating not being able to put what I was learning into practice! Fast-forward 12 years and I'm studying music production. We were encouraged to record each other for class assignments, and the odd time a drummer was needed I stepped in. When I was invited to play with Montauk Hotel last year I didn't know what to expect! But happily for all, my style of drumming seemed to fit the style of the band and that’s where I'm at now!

Irish Drummers; Who are your drumming influences?

Mike Joyce and Larry Mullen Jr– straight-up, down-to-earth, honest drumming.

I would also take some influence from the drumming of Keith Moon (The Who), Gordy Knudston (The Steve Miller Band), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Frank Beard (ZZ Top), Ron Hurst (Steppenwolf) and Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds).

There are some local drummers such as Kenny Doran who have been a personal influence on my drumming. Also to mention that Ronan and Oisin from Music Maker have been really helpful and supportive of my trying to get my drum bits together and sprucing up my kit!

Irish Drummers; What is your drum gear setup?

I have a standard kit with 2 rack toms, although I use the floor tom the most. It’s a Pearl kit, a Gretsch snare, Paiste crash cymbals (16 and 14 inch) and a ride, with a great tone. I also have a pair of Zildjian hihats with holes in them, which give a clean sound.

Irish Drummers; What are your favourite venues?

There are some fantastic venues that we have played in but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be the Whelans stages. Great overall sound and we've had the best monitor mixes there – which is always helpful when playing live!

Irish Drummers; Can you tell us your favourite songs?

There are so many to pick from but when I joined Montauk Hotel they gave me their influences of The Smiths, The Cure, Roxy Music and The Pretenders. Listening to these helped to develop my style of drumming to suit the sound of the band. 

Irish Drummers; What upcoming projects are Montauk Hotel involved in?

Montauk Hotel released our debut E.P. in March with a sell out gig in Whelans. So the next few months we are focused on promoting the E.P. with gigs in The Grand Social and Sin E, as well as the festivals this summer. Our E.P. is streaming on Spotify and Soundcloud and available for download from our Bandcamp too!

Photo credits; Mark O'Connor & Tiberio Ventura

Sunday 21 May 2017

Callum McAdam - Drummer with WILD YOUTH

Irish Drummers; Callum, when did you start drumming?
I started drumming when I was 15, which was later than I would have liked to pick up a pair of drum sticks, especially when you see these rhythm ninjas on YouTube, upending their kits and they're only 7&8. Fecking x-men drumming but I knew from the moment I saw one of my best mates gigging in a local GAA club that I needed to be a drummer...not to mention, the amount of attention he was receiving from all the girls made me even more curious.

Irish Drummers; Who are your drumming influences?

The older you get and the more music that comes into your life, the more you evolve as a drummer. I started playing drums because one of my best mates, Eoghan O'Brien (No Monster Club) hypnotized me when I was back in school. After a few weeks of sitting out in Eoghan's shed, learning 'The Pixies - Where Is My Mind' I was ready to play live. This was at a school assembly we had one morning where Eoghan played electric and I played the kit while trying not to murder 'The Strokes - Last Night' . After that, I held onto MUSE for many a year and Dom Howard became my main influence. 

Irish Drummers; What is your drum gear setup?

My kit is f**king nuts looking. Haha it's originally a Pearl Masters Custom which evolved into a blue hybrid MadaFaka. Jack Maximus* With the help and creative genius of Burnt Custom Drums / Overdrive, Bobby Vickers turned my kit into a fractal equation. I'm still trying to explain what the hell that means but I haven't nailed it yet. The artwork on the wrap is inspired by H.R. Giger, the creative mind behind the artwork for the Alien movies. The rims have been powder coated blue which is being chipped away at but f**k me, when the light hits it live, it's pretty cool. GO ON BOBBY V!!! 

Shell Sizes are : Kick 20x22
12×10 rack, 14x14 & 16x16 floors. 

Using a Tama Superstar snare at the minute as I felt 'Wild Youth' needed a poppier wooden snare rather than the brass sensitone I've been using for over half my drumming career. 

Cymbals ... are in f**king shite condition at the moment but you just have to get on with it.

Hi-Hats  13" HHX groove hats.
18" AAX Ozone
18" AA Thin Crash (f**king demolished)
21" AA raw bell, dry ride
I'm itching to get my hands on the Roland SPD-SX but that'll be down the line after I've robbed a bank (only kidding).

Irish Drummers; Callum, what are your favourite songs or albums?

Ahhh Jaaasus come on now. There is no answer for that wan... eeehhhh... it's all very mood based. I believe as a drummer you can't be biased towards different types of music and genres because you draw influence from absolutely EVERYTHING. Even if you don't think you're properly listening, the brain is listening all the time. One day I can blast Aphex Twin for the day and then the next I'm on a Sigur Ros buzz. You need to be listening to everything to constantly be learning, adapting to different styles and arrangements around the kit. There is SO MUCH music out there from all corners of the globe. It's ALL inspiration and motivation. 

Irish Drummers; What are your favourite venues?

I've been lucky enough to play most venues in Ireland because of the previous band I was in called 'Bipolar Empire'. Most gigs we played were high energy and I always found the gigs that were most fun and memorable were the Whelan's and Button Factory gigs. Such great rooms and you can pick people out in the crowd to bounce off and it makes the shows more personal but the sound system in The Academy and The Olympia gets me excited every sound check. The minute you hit the kick drum for the first time, you get this tickly feeling at the top of your japseye like when you were a toddler and your ma went too far ahead of you in a shopping centre hahaha... just Me??? Right! Cool, I'll let myself out... thanks for having me...

Irish Drummers; What current drumming projects are you involved in?

Current project, passion, love, is mah boys, WILD YOUTH. It's been a few years of hiding, writing every day. Writing around 150 songs, maybe only 5-10 (at a push) of them are any use but if you're not consistently writing, you're never going to progress. You will have days when you wanna throw yourself out of the highest window in the house (bit much?) But I'm being honest here. You write from 10 in the morning until 7 in the evening for five days a week. Trying to find your sound, trying to play to each persons strengths in the band, creating this unity, an unstoppable force and all the while making music you are proud of and excited to share with people you've never met before. This is the world we get ourselves into for love and passion of our instruments, our skills, our music. It's not easy but you should NEVER give up...or at the very least until you feel you have nothing left to give but those days come and go. You gotta stay strong and keep, keeping on ;) 
I haven't released anything with my drumming on it in years and 'Wild Youth' are just about to start a new journey together and I’m super excited but also quite nervous. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be human. 

Irish Drummers; What advise would you give to someone interested in drumming?

If you feel you have rhythm and a buried passion for hitting wood with two sticks of wood, get on that shit NOW! Don't wait!! It's such a powerful instrument. Great for the mind. Great fitness, helps with your breathing. Fantastic de-stresser, which makes for a healthy soul and all the while you're getting to put your mark on the drumming world. Coming up with fun grooves to play for the rest of your life is the most fun part for me. I still have sooooo much to learn but I’m excited for those years. I just want to create drums that I will always enjoy playing and hopefully other people will enjoy playing along as well.
Once you get over the first 6 months of cursing at your hands and feet for not being synchronized, then the fun really begins. Learning Bonham triplets, studying the insane drumming of Keith Moon and trying to fill in the pocket, like the fantastic Mitch Mitchell. 
One thing I would definitely encourage is while you're learning, keep a metronome going in your ears. Very important for vibes of a song, being able to play on or around the click....f**k me that was a lot... if you made it this far... well done you! Looking forward to getting on the live circuit and seeing all my favourite Irish drummers again.

Thanks for having me.

Cal x

WILD YOUTH's debut single ALL OR NOTHING is out at the end of May 2017.

Photo credit; Hamish Kay 

Sunday 7 May 2017

Jason Maleney - Drummer with KARMS and Jake Carter

Irish Drummers; When did you start drumming?

I started drumming when I was 12. I went to my local music shop called The Sound Factory to look at my options and I decided on a Peavey kit. My brother played guitar and bass at the time. He helped me out by paying for half the kit to get me started. I still have most of that kit knocking around back home. After a couple years of playing, my Dad built us a small studio with a nice sound proofed room for me to play all day long. I got so many hours of practice in that room.  

Irish Drummers; Jason who are your drumming influences?

Over time my influences have changed, but early on I got a lot from Tre Cool, Patrick Wilson, Zac Farro, Dave Grohl and John Bonham. Some of my favourite drummers right now are; Steve Jordan, Ash Soan, Carter McLean and Aaron Sterling. I can’t get enough of their groove. 

Irish Drummers; What drum gear do you use?

I have a Gretsch USA Custom and a 70’s Ludwig. It’s great having two types of kits to cover a modern sound and that classic vintage sound. The Gretsch is the kit I use most of the time but when I’m recording I love to take the Ludwig out. I’ve been using Meinl Cymbals for the last seven years or so. I’m a big fan of the Traditional Byzance line of cymbals. I have a handful of snares at the moment. I see a collection building up over the next number of years. Here’s a full list. 

Gretsch USA Custom

22 x 18
10 x 7
12 x 8
14 x 14

70’s Ludwig Classic Maple

22 x 14
13 x 9
16 x 16


13” Byzance Trad Hats
14” Byzance Extra Dry Hats
18” Byzance Trad Crash
20” Byzance Trad Crash
22” Byzance Tradition Ride
22” Byzance Dual Crash Ride


Ludwig Copperphonic 
60’s Ludwig Supraphonic 
80’s Ludwig “Rock Concert” 
70’s Ludwig Vistalite 
Gretsch New Classic 
Pearl Aluminum Sensitone 
Mapex Pro M 

Irish Drummers; What are your favourite albums / songs?

One of my favourite albums is “Vivarium” by a Scottish band, Twin Atlantic. I was hooked on this when I was about 18. Some other favourites would be Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin, Born and Raised – John Mayer and The Olllam (self titled) 

Irish Drummers; Jason, what current projects are you involved in?

I’ve been in a band called We Were Giants for the last 5 years and we recently just changed our name to KARMS. We recorded an album up in Donegal last year and just released our first single “We Always Lose” which has been getting a great response from Radio and Spotify plays. We will be in Whelans on the 13th of May. You need to come to a KARMS gig!
I also play with Jake Carter who is a modern pop/country artist who’s doing really well over here. I like to be involved in a few projects, to have some outlets for the different styles that I enjoy playing, rather than trying to force ideas into the wrong band.  

Irish Drummers; Any advice to aspiring drummers?

It sounds obvious but listen carefully, like really listen. Learn to listen to what the other musicians are playing. It’s so important to get the vibe right. You have so much colour to play with behind a kit and choosing the right groove, dynamics and sounds are going to really change everything. A lot of the time it’s the lyrics and melody that guide what I’m going to play. Playing with the guys in KARMS and recording with engineers like Tony Doogan and Stuart Gray really helped me to understand that less is nearly always more. 
I think it’s important for drummers to be able to get a good sound and learn how their gear works. It’s amazing how happy your band and engineer will be if you can take that weird wobble out of your floor tom quickly and move on.

Irish Drummers;  In your opinion, what makes Irish drummers unique to other drummers?

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with drummers here. I studied with about twenty drummers for four years in BIMM. I made great friends there and learned a lot from all of them and the tutors. Everyone’s approach is so unique and interesting. I see so many great drummers in original bands that are so creative and dedicated to playing for their love of it. Likewise, I have huge respect to the drummers out every weekend, travelling up and down the country, playing music for other people to enjoy, in both cover and wedding bands. The level of talent in this country is phenomenal. There is a unique quality to the network we have here. We have professional players encouraging younger drummers online and the interaction is great. The variety is so important. You can see some world-class players every weekend and no more than a couple of hours away

Photo Credits; Dara Munnis / Shauna Kenny