Tuesday 23 January 2018

When did you start drumming?
I was 13! My younger brother had a drum kit and I just kind of took it from him. It was an awful sounding thing, but I loved it. The cymbals were made from the softest metal known to man, the bass drum was boomy and moved when you played it and the snare head was 90% duck tape.  It was Dan and Paul from Walking on Cars that asked me to join their band (Eire 51) at that time, we played Greenday, Offspring, Blink182 kinda stuff. I remember playing someone else’s kit with proper cymbals and realised how crap my drums were so I saved like crazy and went and upgraded it.

Who are your drumming influences?
Ben Johnston (Biffy Clyro)
Matt Cameron (Soundgarden/ Pearl Jam)
Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine/ Audioslave)
Tony Royster jr (AWOLNATION)
Igor Cavellera (Sepultura)
Tre Cool (Greenday)
Mike Portnoy (Dreamtheatre)
Dave Grohl (Nirvana/ Them Crooked Vultures/ QOTSA)
Thomas Lang
The Rev (Avenged sevenfold)
Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World)
Glen Power (The Script)
Josh Freese (NIN/ A Perfect Circle)
Fyfe Ewing (Therapy?)
Graham Hopkins (The Frames)
Brian Downey (Thin Lizzy)
to name a few. I have probably learned something from all of these great drummers. They are all very influential and different from each other also. They have their own unique sound and I aspire to be like any one of them! Or if I could be like Buddy Rich that would be class too!

What is your drum gear setup?
It’s a bit of a mongrel setup! Most of the drums are Pearl Masters maple shells, 22 kick, 12 rack tom, 14 floor and a 16 Yamaha oak custom heavily dampened with a towel floor tom. I have two snares I use, a 14 x 6.5 Ludwig LM402 supra phonic which is like a black beauty but aluminium shell instead of brass and it’s not as aggressive as the black beauty, then there is a 14 x 6.5 Hessian walnut snare, which has a conical shell 12mm - 7mm, beautiful warm drum with cool tribal pattern, both very big sounding snares! I use Zildjian K Custom dark and A custom cymbals, Pearl, Tama and DW pedals depending on how I am feeling but would prefer iron cobra power glide, pearl hardware, Ultimate Ears, Vic firth extreme 5b and a Roland Spd sx for everything else. Oh and Evans drumheads obviously!

What are your favourite bands or songs?
I like a lot of music, mainly rock stuff. Biffy Clyro has to be one of my favourite bands and Puzzle, one my favourite albums. Audioslave was a big deal for me, Chris Cornell getting together with the band from Rage Against the Machine, that was definitely a moment in my life. I was big into punk rock or punk pop growing up. I liked the Offspring, Blink 182, Greenday, Jimmy Eat World and that sort of thing. I then got into liking Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Biohazard, Therapy, Sepultura, etc., mainly because the drumming was so cool. I'd listen to a lot of Moderat, X Ambassadors, Dave Matthews band, G Eazy or even Gregory Porter when on the road, to chill me out. So I can’t say I’m a full-on rocker because I listen to a little bit of everything. I am currently listening to Matt Cameron’s Cavedweller and Imagine Dragons new album, I’d love to see them live this year. Favourite songs :
(Therapy) Screamager, 
(Moderat)- Bad Kingdom, 
(Biffy Clyro) - Glitter and Trauma 
(Twenty one Pilots) - heavy dirty soul 
 (Sepultura)- Ratamahatta
(Avenged Sevenfold) - Almost Easy
(Tool) - Vicarious 
(Blink 182) - Bored to death
 (Jimmy Eat World) - Sweetness

You have a busy summer ahead for gigs, what's your preference live or in the studio?
I can’t wait to be back in a studio to do some proper recording, but I do prefer live gigs because of the atmosphere there. We’ve played our songs a thousand times over, but you can’t get sick of them when you hear a song sung back to you, and know the crowd is enjoying themselves. That goosebumps feeling is what it’s all about for me. When the crowd feeds off the band, and the band feeds off the crowd, it makes for an epic gig and I love that!

Can you tell us what upcoming projects are in the pipeline for Walking On Cars?
We are currently writing for our second album in our new rehearsal space. It’s really cool,  with a great natural reverb out of the place and fantastic views; very inspirational stuff! There has been tons of writing done over the past few months, now it’s time to compile it all and polish the songs to have them sounding as epic as possible. We hope to have something out later this year. 

In your opinion what makes Irish drummers different to other nationalities, mainly our UK and USA counterparts?
I think Trad music probably has a big influence on the Irish drummer and that makes us different from UK and US drummers. Every Irish drummer is familiar with those bodhran beats and lively session tunes from your local pub and that rhythm is in the heart and soul of every Irish drummer, I think! It’s a cool thing to have engraved into you, especially as a drummer. Trad music is full of odd times, triplets and unique sounds that are truly inspirational to any musician, even if they are unfamiliar with the mechanics of the music. I find Irish drummers to be all about the song also and classy about their use of chops as opposed to being flashy and in your face, they seem to be very passionate and intense in the way that they play. 
The Irish drummer is sound in my opinion. From my experience, I’ve found them to be very helpful if you ever need advice on anything or if you have just broken/ lost/ or forgotten a piece of gear like a snare or a pedal or even a drum stool. The Irish drummer would be like “yeah, no worries” and try to help because they have probably been in that exact same situation as you, possibly even at that same festival. The Irish are great craic and loved by everyone everywhere, so find it easy to get along in a gig situation especially when they are friendly, “Its nice to be nice!”  Maybe it’s because we come from a small island and everyone seems to know each other because you would cross paths from time to time at festivals and venues. So in my opinion, the Irish drummer is a breed of its own, a sound, Trad loving, triplet playing, emotional and forgetful animal that seems to get along with everyone!

Photos: Cillian Garvey