Just back from China from a three week clinic tour and in two weeks heading back to Australia and New Zealand with his band Childish Japes to perform clinics and band performances, not to mention ANOTHER album. JP Bouvet maintains a high level of productivity and has for years. JP is a really prime example of someone who respects the principle of “earning your place” as he realizes to be top tier in the drumming/music industry, you have to make sure people don’t forget you and move on. So he keeps his schedule full and is always working at evolving and pushing the envelope.
This interview goes over some of what he experienced in China during his clinic tour and what touring the world is like for him. Being that the week that this podcast is published, Childish Japes’ new album is being released to add to the three singles that you may have heard up until this point. I think as a band they are really on to something and as it develops further, I anticipate that we will be continuing to hear good sounds from them. We get into quite a lot of detail about the band’s formation and what the general mission was for this band. In my opinion, I feel their reason for making music will generate great results and they will enjoy doing it for longer than had they simply created music for fame.
At the end of the episode JP and I talk about the reality behind his 2011 Guitar Centre Drum Off and Roland V-Drums competition wins, in the same year, and what that ACTUALLY meant to his career. JP makes a lot of sense here and I hope people listening remember this part of the interview specifically. The facts presented by JP are not projections. When you win a major competition you will have people’s attention for a little while and eventually, if you make no effort to preserve your popularity, you will be forgotten. This message is so key to understand. It takes years of your life to even be skilled enough to win a competition like Guitar Centre drum off… You have to then try to win and lose…and then try again and lose again. In JP’s case it took him multiple attempts before he won. All of this prepares you for the many letdowns your life and career will throw at you. And then finally you win. But that is just the beginning for the workload to now execute and carve a career. Which then takes the rest of your life.
JP is a drummers’ drummer. He’s really honest with himself with who he is but also who he wants to be and he knows there aren’t shortcuts…if you want to last. He is most definitely on a good path for longevity and good public interest. I think on a level beyond simply playing drums, he understands the moves he needs to continue making and the work that goes along with that and is fully committed to that.
Music by: Childish Japes
Songs: After your born (feat. Courtney Swain), Insight (feat. Joanna Teters)
Halloween is in August this year apparently. This episode is filled with chilling sounds and an overall soundscape that brings a haunting tone. A specific goal for the last while has been to make each episode as an offering to the guest and I make them special for them. Zack Austin is a death metal drummer who is all about the dark side. Hell, we even use a song by Devourment to cap off the episode.
So we kick things off by discussing the incredible “GHOUL” snare drum that was just built for him by Mike at Predator Percussion. Zack had just received the coffee nut wood 14”x 6.5” snare drum and he couldn’t be happier with it. We discuss the sounds, the looks and the special hand carved Jack O’ Latern faces that are featured on it. This drum has been in the making for quite a while and now that it has arrived, Zack is like a kid at Christmas about it.
Moving along, we discuss how Zack’s sound has changed over the years through his influences and his evolution of gear. Zack has a very unique setup with beautiful Istanbul Agop cymbals, DW Drums and of course his centrepiece snare from Predator Percussion. It isn’t often that I discuss gear on this podcast, but this had to be explored with Zack and we learn a lot about his setup and why he selected the gear he owns.
With a popular Instagram account comes many many questions from fans. We explore a few questions submitted by fans but prior to that I had to ask what Zack is asked about most often, to which he replies….SPEED and how you develop it. This section of the podcast is loaded with incredibly valuable advice and knowledge from one of the very best blasters in the game. There is definitely something to be learned from Zack in this respect, as he has spent many years developing his speed and endurance to play with the level or control and precision that he does.
So there was something that Zack and I had prepared ahead of time and it concerns literature. A particular book that Zack swears by for advice on living your life and gaining perspective. It is titled Emanuel’s Book - A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos. I had requested that Zack look up an excerpt from this book and expand on how it may factor into his life. I knew that by exploring this with Zack would lead to some very interesting conversation and I wasn’t disappointed….this is definitely the highlight to the interview and again, YOU WILL LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS.
Closing things out I ask Zack a million dollar question. If your favourite band asked you to do a 30 week tour for $30,000, would you do it? You will have to listen to his response because it says a lot about who he is as a person.
Despite Zack’s love for the macabre, he is a very positive and uplifting person. He clearly enjoys the creativity of darker subject matter and he likes the high energy of death metal but it doesn’t mean that Zack is a reflection of his musical interests. This is one of the best hangs I have had on the show and we just had a blast on here. It was an absolute treat featuring Zack and I wish him all the best in his future on and off the kit.
Music by: Devourment
Song: Festering Vomitous Mass
The goal with DrumGAB is to find the fire in the belly of the artists that I feature. Every person has baggage and experiences that make them unique and ultimately, interesting. Normally I dig deep ahead of time to find the key to the doors that contain great conversation and true honest perspective. With Billy, things went a little differently. I have been listening to MMW for years and have always enjoyed their performances and Billy Martin has been an artist that I have admired for years. Now, I must confess that beyond Billy’s music, I am not very familiar with his complete range of work.
For me personally, I have been curious about his process of creating, his philosophies on improvising and what life means to him and how being an artist fits into that. In all honesty, while this episode may feel like it’s an interview, the reason for that is because Illy B has so much wisdom to shed on every single question I had. I discovered quickly that if I were to continue peeling layers on a single topic, this could have easily become a two hour plus episode and I have to keep brevity in mind for the sake of my monthly podcast allowance. So we explore a handful of interesting ideas that are unfolded with unprecedented detail on a DrumGAB podcast. This is a podcast you may find yourself replaying just to capture the depth of his explanations. It is nothing short of incredible. Billy shapes his responses into a powerful string of sentences that are coupled with vivid metaphors time and time again that gets your brain moving.
Early in this episode, we discuss Billy’s music camp, Rhythm, Sound, and Magic, which I mistakenly addressed as a festival, oops. Illy B discusses the purpose of the camp and what campers can expect to take home with them and the concept is simply wonderful. This camp attracts all walks of life who share the love of rhythm, sound and the magic of creating in the moment with your peers. The result is a beautiful celebration that I can only imagine leaves the campers feeling inspired and fulfilled. Billy seems to have a strong inclination to implant radical ideas into people to help them find their true path for creating and find themselves in the process. It is one thing to copy someone else and shape yourself around someone else, but it is another thing to gather and store knowledge as your tools and use those tools to experiment, fail, succeed and eventually develop something that is truly you, which acts as a genuine and sincere contribution to the world.
Bob Moses is also a topic of discussion in this podcast. Billy has known and mentored, unintentionally, with Bob for many many years. The stories about Bob and Billy are treasures. It is pure gold what Billy shares with us. I won't spoil any details here, you'll just have to listen. Although I will say that I do ask about the reason why Bob and Billy both often use branches and sticks to play the drums and how it changes your playing from using conventional drumsticks. In my ignorance, I referred to the branches as "twigs" so I am somewhat regretful of how I addressed my question, however, the reasons for using this technique surely has opened my mind considerably to this idea.
There is one more particularly special element to this episode as well that I would like to share. I have a friend that I have made through creating DrumGAB and he has become a devout listener and I am grateful for him. Mayo Coates created the intro music for Ep.35 with Freddy Charles and I was so impressed with the results that I asked him if he would like to create an intro for this episode with Billy. Mayo probably thought about the offer for about a second because his response was a resounding YES! He told me he would spend the week working on something and because Mayo is an enormous fan of Billy, he wanted to make it perfect in honor of the opportunity. So he sent me the tracks and while I loved them, I didn’t see it as an intro this time around but rather one piece in particular, “Grooves for Whales” as an outro piece. It features the beloved Morfbeats Marvin in action and it just works, so instead of going the usual route of featuring the guests’ music I decided to use Mayo’s music as he saw it as a tribute to Billy and I personally believe in sharing and adding value to people’s lives whenever I can. I am sure that Mayo will treasure the experience and I love how it is a true extension of Billy’s teachings as Mayo has been indirectly mentoring from Billy for years through his books, videos, artwork, and music. You can also hear Mayo’s creative sounds when the call drops between Billy and I, in a trippy void of technological misfortune.
As for the intro that I put together, there is a small reflection of myself in this. I am an only child and I spent a lot of time experimenting with recordings and sounds as a child and I feel that as we age and we become more and more objective and realistic and as a result, we lose the ability to be open to our imagination. The man in the interview is Captain Beefheart, whom I am fascinated with and have been for years. Beefheart had an often brutal, dictatorial approach to controlling his creative environment but one thing cannot be denied. He pursued his creativity with no barriers and with a childlike nature that made him one of the greatest creative minds in the 20th century. I find that there are mild parallels to Illy B and Beefheart in terms of exploration and their prolific catalog of work but beyond that, this intro was simply interesting and fun to create, albeit dark and sinister in tone but I like that sort of thing.
As a final thought, I will never forget my involvement with this podcast. Besides the incredible experience of speaking with someone that I have been admiring and listening to for so many years, I was in the Bruce Peninsula cottaging during the editing process and I found myself in the perfect headspace for working out this episode. While I was up there I kept thinking about how honored I am for the responsibility of making this special episode. The task of creating media that features Billy's wisdom and knowledge for people who truly appreciate Billy is something I don't take lightly. I consider this episode as one of the most important episodes that I have done so far and I am completely humbled to have been the director of such a thing. Amazing. Thank you for this opportunity Illy B, it has been a slice.
Billy Martin Media
Music By Mayo Coates
Freddy Charles is old hat. If I could sum up our conversation quickly, I would simply say that Freddy respects traditional values and he finds the world is a place that is quickly removing themselves from this frame of mind. Freddy is a nomad and has been to over 200 countries in his lifetime and has seen a lot of culture. He draws comparisons to the many societies that exist in the world and how ours just isn’t that great in many ways.
Now, this stems also to drumming as well. I throw a Steve Gadd tweet at him and as you will hear, Freddy gets excited about the subject matter and he just goes for it. Freddy discusses the decline of innovation, dynamics and musicality in the majority of modern drumming. The Steve Gadd tweet was certainly suggesting that drumming is devolving and Freddy is convinced that this is true. It is difficult to pinpoint one reason why this is the case, but Freddy and I generally believe that the gold standard is whack.
I have to mention that I feel that Instagram sometimes feels like a diluted format for drumming. I see a lot of the same content. I see a lot of the same drumming and the overall engagement is lousy. You also can’t make a living in the drumming community with Instagram either and it more or less is a place for people to feel validation in their skills. That is definitely a lot of major points against it but there are things that happen that can’t happen without it. I feel if people are truly engaged in their community on IG, you can make some real friends and you develop your own fold of “true followers”, and that is pretty dope. It is because of Instagram that I am able to do this show and I have met some great friends along the way. I guess you can say that both Freddy and I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram.
In many ways conversation is just what is on our minds and what we wish things would be and what it could be if more people became truly involved. It’s also an example of unapologetic truth.
Opening music by Mayo Coates
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