Sunday 19 April 2020

When did you start drumming?

I started drumming when I was about seven years of age. My Dad played a lot of traditional sessions and I joined them on Bodhran pretty early on. I had poor technique back then but I did have a knack for rhythm alright.
Progressing from there to a full drum kit I joined a rock covers band in school, you know the usual story, Guns N’ Roses, The Beatles, things of that ilk,
After studying for a year in London I came back home to Cork.

Now my primary instrument is a Cajon and I play as much as I can in any musical style that I can get my grubby hands on.

‘The Shruggs’ is my main band in terms of regular gigs, but I also work with: ‘No Direction’ and most recently: ‘THE COVID COLLECTIVE’ (a musical collaboration in self-isolation) where we get together some of our most talented musical pals and record some videos for online.

Who are your favourite players?

For drum-kit: Buddy Rich is KING!
I Love Steve Gadd, he was a big influence early on. Then you have the absolute groove merchants like: Zigaboo Modeliste and Manu Katché, Bonham too,
I have to give a mention to Brian Downey, who is probably one of the most under-rated drummers of all time. It’s really tricky to play-along to his stuff, (bit like it is to play-along to Ringo as well),
it’s all about the feel (check out Nate Smith too).
I also love to watch Richie Dittrich, he is a super player and an even nicer guy, recently discovered Dylan McCormick Moran too. The drumming future in Ireland is very bright.

For Cajon: I love the flamenco Players:
Pirana, Jose Montana, Paquito Gonzalez and many more real virtuosos, they are a real inspiration.

Paul Jennings, Ross McCallum and Heidi Joubert have some excellent free tutorials online so I owe them a massive debt of gratitude on the hand percussion side of things.

What are your favourite songs or albums?

At the moment, I’m listening to a lot of Nick Drake,
I really enjoy: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis,
anything by The Rolling Stones,
Led Zeppelin’s ‘In Through The Out Door’ is always on heavy rotation…
it’s difficult to pick just a few, (I could go on for ages).
If I had to bring only one album to a desert island I would bring: ‘The Beatles 1’ compilation.   

What’s your current gear setup?

My Drum Kit is a purple standard Pearl Export, with my Powershifter eliminator Single Bass drum pedal (which I’m so enamoured with that it’s nearly dangerous).

As I said, I play Cajon mostly now, and do most of my Live gigs and Recording sessions with a:
Sela Pro Cajon. (it’s got a lovely high-end ‘snap’ and a great low end BOOM with excellent zone definition).
For home use and Practice I sometimes use a Cruz Cajon or a Duende .both lovely bits of kit altogether. 

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drums?

Do it, have fun.. Music is flippingGreat and it will give you opportunities that you would never get otherwise.

In terms of learning the instrument, I would say spend as much time as you can on correct technique, it’s not a race,
oh, and
the best advice I ever got from a tutor remains:
“Don’t practice when you play and don’t play when you practice”.  

How are you coping during the current Covid19 shutdown?

I’m really trying to keep positive, I miss my band mates so much, I miss the buzz of live gigs and I miss weekly rehearsals. It’s really driven it home how important music is in a number of ways.
Luckily, with ‘THE COVID COLLECTIVE’ at least I’m kept busy online, the first song we covered was ‘Stand By Me’ which seems to be going down really well. I’ve just recorded a part for another one, so keeping things ticking over, it’s a new way of working and will hopefully keep our musicianship sharp and makes us more rounded players when we come out the other side. My aim is to keep improving and stay connected