Saturday 11 July 2020

Rob Barrett is a well respected drummer, educator and Top Barber from Dublin. Having started his drumming career, as a marching band drummer at the tender age of 9, he then went on to become one of Ireland’s most accomplished pipe band drummers with the St. Laurence O’Toole pipe band, under the tutelage of the brilliant Stephen Creighton. Rob has won almost every major honour, including several World Drumming Championships’. When it comes to kit drumming, Rob has been a well respected player for many years.Rob spent 10 years working in the Drumgeon in Musicmaker, where it is fair to say he was regarded as a reliable source for any drum advice. He also built up an amazing roster of drum teaching accolades having worked with some of the world’s top drummers
What type of drum kit do you use?

At the moment I go between an Ayotte Velvet series steel hoop kit and a 1970’s Pearl Wood/Fiberglass. 
The Ayotte is a 22x16, 12x9, 16x15 Maple kit. 
The Pearl is a 22x16, 12x8, 13x9, 16x16. 
My main snare is a Ludwig Acrolite 14x6.5. 
And I’ve a mish-mash of Sabian cymbals. I’m kind of known for having loads of hi-hats. I’ve got 3 or 4 different sets on my kit at any time. 

Who are your favourite players?

My favourite players right now are: 
Stephen Creighton who is my pipe band mentor and World renowned Drum Sgt of St Laurence O’Toole pipe band. 
Dan Mayo is a super experimental kit player who combines acoustic drum sounds with modular synths and heavily processed effects. 

What are your favourite albums / songs?

Wow there’s so many great albums and tracks to pick from so I think it’d be easier to give you the tracks and records I can’t stop listening to recently. 
My favourite albums currently are:
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a butterfly
Favourite song currently is:
Illingsworth - Magic Deck

Can you tell us some of the artists that you have played / recorded with?

My first serious band was Distractors who were a Finglas based rock and roll outfit that toured Ireland for 3/4 years and played all the usual venues and festivals. After Distractors I took a few years break to concentrate on Pipe band drumming. 
I am the current drummer for Dublin rapper Rebel Phoenix @rebel.phoenix
Alternative band Errorists @erroristsband
Experimental improv band RRestlers @rrestlers
Dublin blues legend Mary Stokes @mary_stokesblues

What advice would you give someone wanting to play drums?

For anyone thinking of playing drums I’d suggest getting lessons. Try out a few different teachers and find out which teacher suits you best. Go into Musicmaker and make friends with the lads in there. They are a great source of info and advice for all levels of drummers alike. 
Also try and remember that no matter how serious you do or don’t take it, it’s only drums!! It’s supposed to feel great and be fun always! If it doesn’t enrich your life and soul it mightn’t be for you. 

How did you cope during the COVID-19 lockdown?

I know it may seem a little strange but I really enjoyed the lockdown. I didn’t realise how much I needed a recharge and a rest. I’d been grinding and working flat out for quite some time whether cutting hair in Trench or drumming with various acts and artists. So when the lockdown happened I took a breather and was mindful of getting into a daily routine. I didn’t drink any alcohol, started practicing yoga and spent a lot of time with my practice pad a sticks. I revisited a lot of my pipe band tunes which was great!! 
I know that gigs won’t be happening any time soon so I’ll keep up my practice and enjoy working in the barber shop now that we’ve reopened. 

Rob  is regarded as a great drum tuner and can still be found working with some of Ireland’s top bands/drummers/studios. His @kungfudrumming classes are a popular fixture in @yellowdoormusicstudios and has brought a sense of community for the resident drummers while refining their craft.