Friday 29 March 2019

Kevin Lawlor - Composer and Jazz Drummer

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I was always a big fan of music when I wa a kid and played piano for
a year before taking up drums. The drums themselves were the attraction
before seeing anyone playing. Tommy Davitt was one of my drum teachers
and really inspired me to make the things I was learning, my own.

Who are your favourite players?
Max Roach, Jim Black and Brian Blade have always been my go to jazz / 
improvising drummers. They all play musically but with different approaches. Steve Jordan is my biggest influence for anything groove related!

What drum gear do you use?
I play Vic Firth F1 sticks and use a range of Zildjian cymbals. I have a set of 60's hats that I was given and use 20'' Complex Dry Ride on my left and a 20'' Constantinople Renaissance Ride on my right. I also sometimes set up some 10'' stack hats and a 16'' efx crash depending on the gig.

Your favourite songs or albums?
Study in Brown by Clifford Brown (Max Roach)
Left End by Rick Peckham (Jim Black)
The Bad Plus + Joshua Redman (Dave King)
Lateralus by Tool (Danny Carey)
Real Book Stories by Wolfgang Muthspiel (Brian Blade)

What have you been working on recently?
I've just released my third album 'Last Days of Summer', album link is here; 
I'm doing some gigs to promote it in the next few months. I've recently
done a short tour with UK jazz musicians Chris Montague and Ashley John Long. We'll be recording an album later this year.

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
I put on jazz gigs in Wexford to promote the music and also have
the opportunity to invite great musicians to play here. I've a gig with
the music of Sonny Rollins in Sky and the Ground on Sat 30th March
and a showcase of 'Great Jazz Drummers' on in Wexford Arts Centre
for UNESCO International Jazz day on Sunday 28th April. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Enjoy it! Drums are a great instrument and a really great way to meet 
other drummers and musicians in general. One thing I would say is that
its easy to get sucked into the 'gear' thing. Get some beat up old drums
and learn how to make them sound good by tuning them and learning
how all that works first

The Photo Credit is Nikki Stix Photography

Monday 18 March 2019

Morty McCarthy - Author, Teacher & Drummer with Sultans of Ping

Who inspired you to take up drums?
I think the biggest influence on me for sure was Adam and the Ants when I was 10 in 1980.
Kings of the Wild Frontier was their second album released and I thought the drums sounded fantastic on that, especially the use of the lower toms.
They had two drummers, Merrick and Terry Lee, which made the sound even more spectacular. Malcolm McLaren was their manager at the time and he had introduced Adam Ant to the Burundi Beat and persuaded him to change the band's sound.
I then bought their debut LP, Dirk Wears White Sox and to this day I think it's my favourite snare sound captured on record.

McLaren was also looking after another band around the same time called Bow Wow Wow and they had a similar drum sound on their two singles C30 C60 C90 Go and I Want Candy.

I started playing along to songs with pens on pillows then and drove my class mad at school for constantly playing pretend drums on my desk.
My grand uncle Jimmy Mintern had been the drummer in a Cork band called The Dixies so he encouraged me to get a kit so I bought my first one at Christmas in 1983 and rehearsed in my grandmother's house.
The local music scene in Cork was very strong  around then and there were some great local drummers around like John Kilkenny (The Belsonic Sound) and Mark Healy (Cypress,Mine!).It was fantastic to sneak into shows in places like Mojos and Sir Henrys and get to see local bands regularly so I then took the next step and started a band with some friends at school and we played our first show the year after.

Who are your favourite players?
Stephen Morris has always been my favourite drummer, the drums in both Joy Division and New Order were like a song within a song.I loved the different patterns he played.
When I was learning to play I was able to play along to their songs and my timing improved quickly. There were a lot of great drummers in the 80s' whom I thought were superb like Nick Knox from the Cramps,, Marky Ramone and Mike Joyce from the Smiths.
Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 was a massive influence as well - he is a fantastic drummer.
Nowadays my favourite drummer is Todd Trainer from Shellac.

Your favourite songs or albums?
My favourite album would be the Smiths debut LP. I like loads of Fall songs - some superb drumming on those records by the various different drummers who played with them.
There were some great  drummers in the various 80s - Ska bands as well like John Bradbury from the Specials.
U2's Boy is a standout record for me as well.

What’s it like to be playing Tipp Classical this year?
The last time we played in Thurles was way back in 1993 at Feile then so it's great to go back and play there again after all these years and complete the circle.
We will also be doing a few songs with the orchestra there so I am looking forward to trying to keep in time with them!

You wrote a book about Cork slang “Dowtcha Boy”.Any plans to write more material?
No plans on any other books at the moment. I spend most of my time teaching Swedish people to speak with a Cork accent.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
If you want to be good at anything you have to put the time in and there's no substitute for hard work if you want to learn, find a friend or two who want to play music and take it from there.

Sultans of Ping - U Talk 2 Much (Fanning Session)

Sunday 3 March 2019

Mark Healy - Musician and Drummer with Cork band Cypress, Mine!

I originally started playing guitar and then noticed there was a gap in the market, for drummers in Cork, so I made that switch. I started going to gigs when I was 15 and managed to go to a few in the Arcadia in Cork, before it stopped. As a result of that I was able to see local Cork bands who often played support. It meant seeing bands like Nun Attax and Microdisney and the realisation that came with it that you could be in a band, in Cork.

However, not really knowing any other musicians this meant lots of “practicing” along with records, as you would. Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, were all on heavy rotation. Things like Twenty Tens by the Virgin Prunes, definitely had an impact on me and steered me in a certain direction.
Locally, in Cork, the jazz festival provided a stream of great jazz drummers. Kenny Clare and a fantastic Buddy Rich gig in the Opera House spring to mind.
I subsequently played with a revised version of Urban Blitz with Dave O’Connell and Sean Linehan. That lasted a few months and then I met up with Ian Olney and Denis O’Mullane and with Sean Linehan on vocals we thrashed out what would eventually become Cyrpress, Mine! as Sean left to join the Guards and was replaced by Ciaran O’Tuama.

Who are your favourite players?
I was lucky enough to see Lol Tolhurst with the Cure when they played in Cork. I was also a big fan of the late Pete de Freitas from Echo and the Bunnymen and Stephen Morris from Joy Division. I saw Stephen Morris at Electric Picnic a few years ago and he was as good as ever.
I'm a big fan of Brian Calnan and his Moving Hearts stuff and also the youthful enthusiasm of Keith Walker from Power of Dreams
I was also really fortunate to see Art Blakey in Dublin in the 80’s.

Your favourite songs or albums?
Drum heavy songs that I would have really liked
Atmosphere – Joy Division
Westworld – Theatre of Hate
Hymn from a village – James
Where’s me jumper – Sultans of Ping
Heaven Up Here - Echo and the Bunnymen
More recently I really like Philip Selway in Radiohead, Christopher Bear in Grizzly Bear.

Were you happy with the reaction after Cypress,Mine! rereleased, Exit Trashtown?
We were happy to see the album re-released as it gave us an opportunity in particular to commit to vinyl some tracks that weren’t released first time around. Although it was a labour of love by all involved to track everything down in order to put it together.

Any plans to release any more material?
Not at the moment!

What musically are you involved in at the moment?
I still play the drums whenever the opportunity presents itself. Post Cypress, Mine! I recorded an as yet unreleased album ( I also played bass with Ian Olney's band Cat Meat last year which was great ( For the last few years I’ve been consumed by syntheisizers and it’s a veritable rabbit hole of creativity lending itself to percussive ideas at every turn ( You can also find some of my recent music here
What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Once you start, stick with it! Try and find some friends to play with. Buy decent hardware and cymbals! Learning to play with a click track won’t do you any harm :

Photo credit; Anne O'Halloran (not 100% sure)

Check out includes link to buy the album