Paulo Stagnaro is the percussionist for Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin and has also performed with many tremendous artists such as Sting, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Paquito D'Rivera, and Angelique Kidjo. Paulo is certainly one of the leading voices in Latin percussion today. Paulo was kind enough to spend a considerable amount of his time speaking with me about all kinds of great topics that I personally felt would serve the drumming community in a valuable way. If you are either a percussionist, drummer, aspiring to be either, or you perform in a band that features both drum set player and percussionist you will want to listen closely to this episode.
What you will learn in this episode:
- a brief overview on Paulo's website and membership service Conga Chops and everything that went into making that website and what you can expect from it if you are looking for a solid percussion based curriculum.
- Paulo's story about how he found his passion for percussion while attending Berklee's 5-week summer camp. He also shares his point of view on being the worst musician on the bandstand at all times in order to grow as a musician and why we must walk through our fears.
- Paulo attended Berklee for a total of four years and then he visited Cuba for about four months. In this portion of the interview, Paulo tells us the story of how he managed to stay in Cuba, or even enter for that matter as a USA citizen and the incredible life experience he gained by staying in Cuba and how that affected him musically.
- Following some terrific storytelling and providing a solid foundation as to why Paulo is a voice of authority on the subject of percussion, we now dive into the role of a percussionist. Paulo explains this in so much fantastic detail and I can't imagine anyone not learning a great deal whether you play drum set or percussion. This is some really great stuff in this section.
- Finally, we conclude our conversation with some motivationally driven dialogue. The anchor for this portion of the podcast is how Paulo, and his bandmates, bring the heat to each and every Ricky Martin performance even if he/they are exhausted both mentally and physically. The question that kicked off this part of the interview happened some 45 minutes before our chat ended. It gets deep and a bit heavy as it evolved into Paulo and I discussing pursuing anything with intent. We both feel that intent is what makes our goals become reality. Nothing can truly manifest into reality without intent. It is a terrific way to end this amazing conversation.
If you want to learn more about Paulo and his membership website please visit www.congachops.com.
Thank you for tuning in and I will catch you next week!
Today's guest is Paul Hermann, who is a drummer and also a sales rep for Roland Canada in British Columbia. We began talking a little while ago about the Electronic vs Acoustic drums debate that seems to be very popularly responded to on social media. It just seems to me that drummers have a lot of interest in this subject, so I thought that Paul would be a good person to share some of his opinions on the matter.
By the end of the interview we both agreed that electronic drum sets are different instruments than acoustic drums. In the same sense of any electric instrument compared to it's acoustic counterpart, we use our knowledge and facility to play the instrument but the applications are a bit different. If we go into an electronic kit wanting to recreate the sound and feel of acoustic, and that's all that matters to you, it may be a somewhat diminished experience. Rather, what applications really cater to electronic drums? Or how can we incorporate electronics into our acoustic setups and how does that alter the experience of playing?
The big takeaway is really about removing the context of "vs" when talking about how electronic and acoustic kits are different from one another. Kind of taking a line of equality and suggesting that they both have a place, whether it suits your goals, preferences, or just the ethos of them in general is all that really matters. For me, I'll always need/prefer acoustic shells but sprinkling in electronics is even better than straight acoustic. It's just more options to utilize musically and I am totally cool with that.
Today's show is with not one but TWO builders. Yes, that's right, we have a two-part episode this week with two incredibly skilled builders in the industry. First up is John from Cherry Hill Custom Drums and the second interview is with David from CaseBass Drum Co. Both of these gentlemen are building incredibly high-end custom products that have been taking the industry by storm with their unique style, attention to detail, innovations, and overall quality. No corners are cut with the work that they do and everything is handmade.
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Well, it turns out that the people behind the companies are interesting as well and we get right into it with both John and David. They share the humble beginnings, the trial, and errors in developing their ideas into reality, and how they are growing so fast to the point where they need to problem solve to evolve their companies into the next stages. Both John and David are becoming in demand for the quality products they produce and have found a market for clientele who want the best product possible. It is great to see that there is still room for new companies and that there is, in fact, a market for boutique equipment.
Follow CaseBass Drum Co. on Instagram
Dylan Elise, native to New Zealand, is probably (and to a point, unfortunately) best known for his viral busking videos on YouTube from when he was a teenager, as well as his hi-hat trick performances. Here's the thing though...if that is all you know Dylan as you are missing out. Dylan is an extraordinary talent who plays for Blood, Sweat, and Tears and has done so for nearly four years. Bobby Colomby (the original drummer and co-founder of BS&T) actually noticed and auditioned Dylan because of those busking videos, which is kind of hard to believe considering the busking videos were an old representation of Dylan's playing and they were not musical. It was quite an opportunity, and it may not have happened if it weren't for technology.
In this interview, Dylan talks a lot about New Zealand culture, the process of landing the BS&T gig, his work visa struggles and just how difficult it is for a foreigner to stay in the United States, his experiences while busking, the fire in Chicago, and how he feels about his own playing.
As Stan Bicknell said to me, Dylan was considered as the child prodigy of NZ drummers. Dylan is a true player and was even homeschooled so it is safe to say that Dylan spent most of his life playing drums and that is simply the reason why he is so good. I also feel that Dylan flies under the radar amongst the company of other high-level players for some reason. I am not sure if it is because of his busking videos took precedence over his "real" stuff or what, but Dylan is so much more than what those busking videos illustrated to fans. He has developed into an incredibly musical, fast, powerful, and groovy player. His work with BS&T is a testament to what he is truly capable of and hence why he has been with them for almost four years, even despite the fact that Dylan would be an expensive option due to the fact that the band covers all of his immigration expenses. I really hope that the industry begins to take more notice of Dylan as an extraordinary talent.
Music and samples featured in this episode.
Dylan Elise drum solo LIVE with BS&T 2016
Dylan Elise with the Hipstamatics (fun fact...the bass player is Dylan's Sister) Recorded LIVE in Auckland, NZ
BS&T - Surreptitious