An interview with Ben O'Brien Smith and Cody Rahn who host the new drum based YouTube channel, Sounds Like A Drum. Full article, and socials are below.
Sounds Like A Drum Socials
Cadence Independant Media Socials
Ben O’Brien Smith and Cody Rahn are the hosts and developers of a new content channel called Sounds Like A Drum. Both of these dudes have extensive experience in the music industry. Ben is a former employee of D’Addario for 6.5 years and during his time at D’Addario, Ben was in charge of the social networks of both Evans drum heads and Promark drumsticks. He also was involved with product development, which includes many of the innovations that we are all familiar with today from Evans including the UV1, Black Chrome, and Level 360 technology. It is also important to note that besides the multimedia end of the industry, Ben is also a drummer with over twenty years experience and also studied classical percussion at Crane School of Music. However, in the role of Sounds Like A Drum, Ben is primarily assuming the role of content creator, brand developer, and social media strategist through his company Cadence Independent Media. Due to Ben’s extensive knowledge of drumhead technology he also hosts some of the content that is focused on these subjects.
What Cody Rahn brings to the table is years of studio and live music performance experience where he has utilized his long-term obsession with tinkering with drums to find all of what they can offer him as a player. Cody presents incredibly informed methods in the Sounds Like A Drum YouTube series, and they tend to lean on more practical solutions, other than the whole "what you need to buy to get this to work" type of solution that finds its way into a lot of content usually. Together with Ben and Cody’s strengths, they have combined forces to create an incredibly insightful resource for the drumming community.
With podcasts, normally a host says that their episode is jammed packed with the good stuff. Almost every podcaster is really trying to convince you that you should listen to the show for a multitude of reasons. Whether it is because there is tons of information, or it is inspirational, or it was a natural conversation...you get the point. So it is difficult for me to write down exactly what this episode is without coming off as canned but believe me when I say this....actually let's back up just a second. If you listened to Episode 77 with Tim Buell you will have a good idea of how this episode with Ben & Cody went. It is again, kind of a textbook style episode. There are stories and it is fun and all that, but there are some things said in this episode that are basically giveaways to the audience and it is coming from Ben & Cody's long-term and professional experience. I was so happy with how easygoing, comfortable, professional, and value-packed this episode was.
You will learn about why the drum set's sound is so absolutely crucial. And it actually goes beyond just tuning methods, and drum head/drumstick, the drum kit, the cymbal selections, etc. Cody, in particular, gets into some detail about the sound of someone's playing. The sound is such an overall thing that is made up of many small components. The interpretations, the application of creativity, the execution of technique, the implication of time and feel, and of course every little piece of hardware, and of course the musical instruments that you selected to play. If a musician is thoughtful and caring about their sound and can also do everything else well that is required, you will be in good shape hopefully. So make sure you listen closely to this episode and take some mental notes.
Well, it's time for round two with my dude Scott Pellegrom. You may recall our chat back in Episode 23. That episode was a fun and memorable hang and funny enough, we kept running into each other at NAMM 2018 and every time we'd end up chatting for long periods of time. It turns out that we both had a mutual interest in chatting again on the podcast, so that's a bonus. It's always a pleasure having Scott on the show.
If you listened to our original episode and enjoyed it, this is probably not going to disappoint. In this session, we catch up and chat about what has happened in a year's time, including some cool events happening with Dream cymbals that Scott is heavily involved in developing. Scott also talks a bit about how he is finding himself as an artist and musician more and more as well.
This episode is actually quite "drummy" for this podcast. We discuss a lot about drumming and some creative approaches to playing. But of course, with Scott, it gets deep and conceptual. There is a very interesting way that he looks at drumming and music, it is a unique approach and it's worth giving consideration to adding to one's creativity. We also talk about destiny and where Scott falls on that one. Scott also talks about how he feels about society and what he would change if he could.
With Scott, it's all convo....no interview really. He just has a tendency to say a lot of really compelling shit and I kept having questions for him. There is so much of what I had prepped that I didn't touch and then a bunch of improvised questions that just came to me while we chatted. This is a great little episode and I highly recommend it. It's good for you.
Tim Buell is a drummer based out of Nashville, TN who studied at Belmont University and has worked with many artists over the years including Remedy Drive, Gloriana, The Grand Hotel, and Brinley Addington but over the last couple of years, Tim has focused on making his living from home using the internet. He is a great example of someone who has managed to creatively find a way to leverage his exceptional talents to make his living at home as an artist/musician.
In this episode we discuss whether or not music school is worthwhile, social media balance, the intent behind people's actions on social media, the positive effects of deep work, whether drummers are entrepreneurs, and the balance between money and the stress that is associated with making more of it. This episode is lengthy, deep, inspiring, and overall it is a healthy perspective on some subjects that are rarely tackled by anyone in the drumming podcast scene. Take notes on this episode.
Samples in the episode include:
Fallin' by Madlib
Simon Sinek on Millennials interview
Drumming performances by Tim Buell
Nick Baglio is an incredibly skilled drummer hailing from Raleigh, NC who is the owner and operator of The Fill Station studio. He also plays drums for a variety of artists including the jazz trio The Hot at Nights, The Foreign Exchange, Nicolay, Laura Reed, Boulevards, and Roosevelt Collier. He also teaches drums privately and through Skype.
In this interview, we explore the new release "Glaciers" by Nicolay and The Hot At Nights, which Nick had performed on. We discuss his childhood with music and his Father's studio "Power Tracks". We take a look at music schools and what value they provide and whether or not musicians are better off learning as cost-free as possible and instead investing in educational programs such as business, graphic/web design, etc. to fuse creatively to our music creating a more self-sufficient means for our careers as musicians.
I then go on to explain how I feel entrepreneurship is on the rise of popularity but whether it is nothing more than young people migrating their social media addictions over to business oriented pages and whether or not that is truly a business or not. This segment of the interview is rather harsh in its delivery but believe me when I say it is all out of passion on the subject. I have serious concerns about social media addiction. I feel that many people are being distracted and "deep work" is not happening as often as it should be because of social media distractions. Please read my essay on this subject on my website www.drumgab.com under this episode. You can read in detail about my feelings on this subject.
The last portion of the interview is in regards to The Fill Station, which is Nick's home studio that he provides drum tracks, lessons, and produces his content from. Nick is fairly new to engineering and before The Fill Station he had no experience with it, so I had to ask about how scared he was with investing in thousands of dollars in recording equipment and how the experience has been so far with learning the trade.
You can listen to Glaciers by Nicolay and The Hot At Nights here.
Ralph Rolle is the current and long standing drummer for Nile Rodgers and Chic. He has worked with legendary artists such as Lady Gaga, Elvis Costello, Al Green, Sting, Slash, Queen Latifah, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Chaka Khan, and Lauryn Hill to name a few.
We discuss his cookie company The Soul Snacks Cookie Company, how he landed the Chic gig (which spans a thirty year time frame), a great story about how Ralph became endorsed with Yamaha through an encounter with the great Steve Gadd, and his experiences as the house drummer for the Apollo Theatre that spanned nearly two decades. We round off the interview with a heartfelt story about the NY Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps and the corps director, Carmelo Saez.
Matt Davis creates audio/video presentations using found footage and sampling original drum performances from the likes of Paul Mabury, Mike Johnston, Aaron Sterling, Dan Mayo, Ash Soan, Brody Simpson, Steve Nadler and many others. Since August of 2017, Matt has created over 200 of these short videos.
Audio samples for the podcast are sourced from the following....
Bloody Well Right by Supertramp
Heather and her Husband
Monty Python's Flying Circus
The Residents One-Minute Movies
A NASA recording of the Sun
Harmony Korine interview with Dave Letterman
Bunny Boy playing accordian in Gummo
Bjork 1988 interview where she disassembles a TV
DJ Shadow Endtroducing... Best Foot Forward and Changeling/Transmission 1
The clips I selected of Matt's Instagram feature the following drummers.....
EMAN (Emmanuel Cervantes) is the current touring drummer for the pop artist Andy Grammer. This interview was captured in the tour bus at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, ON.
Recorded on April 2, 2018
Drummer and music educator, Juan "Carlito" Mendoza is famously known as the 2012 Guitar Center Drum Solo Grand Champion. That YouTube video has over 3.5 million views. Juan has also written his own educational book titled, Rudiment Creativity Vol. 1: Rolls and Paradiddles. Volume Two is planned to be the works this coming fall.
In this interview we discuss the importance of patience, being genuine and authentic and why having a creative outlet is beneficial for people.
Recorded March 30, 2018
The story told in this podcast with Devin Sumner is one that so many drummers, musicians, and entrepreneurs can relate to. Maybe you have just begun your quest with little to no feedback on whether your idea will work, or you have already cleared your first major milestone and by receiving those affirmations you become even more dedicated to your brand and vision. Where ever you are in your journey, this podcast will probably spark a reminder of where you are heading and where you have already been.
So Devin had never been interviewed for a drumming podcast before, which I still cannot believe because he is an amazing drummer and he has a pretty steady following on Instagram. But regardless of that, I gotta say that I am so glad that I set this one up. The reason is that he has an incredible story and he was so forthcoming with the honest truths of his journey and I am certain that a lot of people can likely relate to this story and understand it. As a side note, I always enjoy when people are transparent about their life because how are we to believe that anyone succeeds in their first attempt at anything? It is not realistic to think that, nor should anyone assume that people get to where they are without some bumps along the way. With that being said, Devin explains how he moved in with Mike Johnston for a year in Sacramento and in the beginning stages of his first attempt moving out to establish himself life was grand. He had left home for the first time ever and he was living with his hero. So what could go wrong, right!? To the outsiders looking in at Devin, it must have seemed larger than life. Devin explains that it was in fact quite the opposite for him. He felt a lot of pressure to "keep up" with Mike, not by comparing himself to Mike necessarily, but by having such a strong influence around him revealed many insecurities about himself. Overall, Devin got hit pretty hard with the first move to Sacramento and ended up moving back to Orlando and began living, what Devin would describe as being "a normal life."
What would follow for Devin was ultimately needed for him to understand the contrast of living as a pedestrian citizen, versus what he knew he was truly capable of achieving for himself. The truth is, Devin fell down and stayed there for a little while. He met a girl, they moved in together, prepared their lives for marriage, he went back to school, he quit drums for almost two years, and as he explains in the interview, he was very unhappy with his life.
So what do you do when life seems to have you in a checkmate? Do you assume defeat and say, "Well, I guess this just wasn't meant for me", or do you realize that there is something missing within you that you need to reobtain and pursue with more vigor than ever before? I hope you chose the latter.
Even though a person's journey is uncertain, we need to realize that by actively including our passions in our lifestyle brings a healthy state of mind and a purpose to us all. There is nothing worse than ignoring what will bring us success, and I don't mean financial, but rather the success of knowing that we are doing what is right for ourselves. If we as people recognize what we are meant to do and we work hard towards our goals we, in turn, become better people for our spouses, family, colleagues, and friends. We also become a beacon for other people to recognize what good can come from being aware of our interests and living through them.
With all of the people who admire Devin for his ability to play drums and teach drums to his students, what we ought to do is look at ourselves and relate to the reality of his progress in his career. Simply put, it didn't just "happen". He struggled. He gave up. He tried again, and eventually, he recognized his purpose with the instrument and he is now working harder than ever before to make sure that he stays the on the course.
Overall, I really enjoyed speaking with Devin. He is as humble and genuine as they come and his story is quite inspiring to say the least. This dude has seen a lot of shit in his life and I think he has used it to his advantage to build his character and to appreciate himself for how far he has come along in his journey with this instrument. I hope you all get a tingly feeling and that each of you relate to his story with your own.
Modern Drummer magazine is something that most drummers grow up with. I remember watching the 2000 Modern Drummer Festival DVD over and over when I was a teen. I learned and tried to mimic so much of what I saw in that video, always trying to aspire to produce anything remotely similar to Billy Ward’s sound….and failing miserably of course. But, regardless of how it came out, the most important thing was that a lot of my inspiration that came from that video.
So speaking with Mike Dawson, who is the managing editor at Modern Drummer, I found that there was an association of nostalgia that came along with this interview. Like many of us, Mike grew up with the magazine as well and fortunately through hard work, a chain of fortunate events, and perhaps even a bit of luck, Mike found himself a seat at the Modern Drummer table.
In this conversation, which is important to note that this is much more of a conversation than an interview, we sprawl over so many different topics. Our chat ranges from how Mike found himself at Modern Drummer, the truth about how Mike felt initially about the Mike and Mike podcast, the fleeting muse of a musician, and parallel universes…yes you read that correctly.
During the conversation there are many moments where Mike and I discover we are so similar in ways and this lead to many improvised moments of true conversation and I feel that is the magic of podcasting. When you find a kindred spirit on your line and you just spend most of the time relating and deliberating about whatever comes to mind. This one is full of that.
I hope you enjoy this one and have some takeaways from it. I’ll catch you all next week!
This interview session with Dom Famularo is one that I hold in high regard. As many of you know, Dom is Drumming's Global Ambassador. Dom has earned that title because for so many years he has traveled the globe sharing his wisdom, educating drummers and using his communication skills to motivate and inspire drummers to reach their full potential.
So, with this interview I really wanted to capitalize on the unique qualities that Dom holds. Through him I wanted to provide a message to listeners and that message is to find your passion and persevere. None of us who embark on following our passions have any real idea where it can take us but we all have to believe in what we do and why we do it. We have to understand that regardless of how long the journey takes to reach a destination, that we appreciate and enjoy our journey. By believing in ourselves and the unique gift that we hold, we can all succeed in what we are passionate about. Through hard work and genuine love for what we do, opportunities will cross our path eventually.
However, the opportunities will not come to you unless you dedicate yourself to your passions and persevere. Many people check out when the success they are striving for doesn’t happen as quickly as they had hoped and that is really unfortunate. The truth is that you need to be consistent and go into it thinking that it will take a while and you have to be okay with that. We all possess the ability to influence and impact people with our creative passions but it can take a lot of time before anything becomes established and where you can feel like you are going somewhere.
If your dreams aren’t being realized right away, don’t give up on them. Keep pushing and keep believing. The reason for doing it in the first place shouldn’t be about the money, the public success or the influence you have. It should be about you honouring what you body and mind need in order to thrive. We all have this and it is a shame if it is discarded because you haven’t reached the destination right away or because you have talked yourself out of it before you ever began.
I hope you read this and reference it to the conversation that I had with Dom. What is incredible is that great moments are awaiting you if you discover the vehicle that will take you there. We have one chance in life to live and to make differences within our circle of friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances and even possibly a large group of people. The power of believing both in yourself and your passions and following that is incredibly important if we want to limit the amount of regret we may experience later in life once time has run out. I encourage everyone that if there is a burning desire somewhere deep inside you to pursue a dream, DO IT! Why wouldn’t you? Why would you prefer to walk through life admiring others and then telling yourself you can’t be admirable too? Or that you can’t do something because someone else’s success seems so untouchable.
It all takes time and dedication and if you really love it, you too can empower others and yourself by taking action in your life. Chances are that everyone who had succeeded also failed many times and had to rebuild or rethink their path. Challenge yourself, don’t settle on mediocrity, believe in yourself and understand that this could take years to become what you have always wanted to be.
I hope you all enjoy this podcast and even re-listen later on if you need a boost in your spirit. This podcast has that quality to it. I have now recorded 69 podcast episodes and while they all feature takeaways, knowledge and wisdom…this is the episode that stands among them as the most valuable episode to date. Dom’s ability to address his thoughts, using words that have impact and delivering everything with conviction, I believe you too will find the power in this episode. Maybe this interview is the thing you need to light the fire in your belly and take charge of your passions and persevere.
Much love to all.
If you know about drumming podcasts, even if only a little bit….it is almost impossible not to know about Drummer’s Resource. With over 360 episodes recorded, Nick Ruffini has never failed to release a podcast every single Monday since November 2013. Some of the guests that Nick has had on the show include Mike Portnoy, Thomas Lang, Ndugu Chancler, Steve Gadd, Chad Smith, Nate Smith and Lenny White. Any of the guests listed above gives you the impression that Nick has made some deep contact within the industry. It is not a small task to book those caliber of shows, as I can relate to the process myself.
So I have to share a small story to explain to you why this episode is pretty special to me as a podcaster. Over a year ago when I started DrumGAB podcast I had never listened to a podcast before. I knew what they were but that is all I knew. So when I decided to develop my own podcast I had no references initially which was a problem because I had no idea if I was doing it correctly and so it was time to start listening to them.
I didn’t know of any drumming podcasts so I went to Google to search and the first result that came up was Drummer’s Resource, so I clicked on it. I can’t remember the first episode I listened to but I do remember my first impressions of the show upon first listening. The host was comfortable, the audio is good, the episode list is stacked with legacy players and I had a lot to learn.
For about three months I listened heavily to the podcast picking up some nuances of flow, the delivery of questions, responding organically through careful listening to the guest and some production stuff. It wasn’t that Drummer’s Resource was a blueprint but I felt that I was gaining experience by listening.
Eventually I reduced my listening to Drummer’s Resource and other podcasts and began isolating myself to my own project so that I could be as original as possible and find my own way in podcasting. I think that was a wise move because I didn’t want other podcasts to be my source of creative inspiration.
It was November of last year when Nick reached out and in our first conversation had said that he was digging what I was doing with the show. I must say that because his show was the first podcast I had ever listened to and originally obsessed with when I started mine, receiving a compliment like that was pretty awesome.
Fast forward up to a couple of weeks ago….I recorded a solo show about social media engagement and influence building and sat on it for a week. The show is actually assembled and I could have published it by now, but I kept holding onto it. Then a lightbulb moment happened and just figured, why not talk to Nick about this stuff? I caught a couple of his live feeds on Instagram and he was talking about this stuff and I figured he would be a great guest to have on to discuss this stuff and besides that I wanted to talk some podcast shop too. That brings us up to the present.
I think listeners will recognize a few things relatable to themselves in this episode. One concept that I think people should take away from this episode is not to limit yourself by having a restricted way of thinking. You have to decide how badly you want something and then understand that it is not impossible at all but that it will be difficult and you will have to deal with personal tests that will challenge your passions.
Another strong message in this podcast is how too much information and not enough action can create an unhealthy cycle of over motivating your mind but underachieving as a result.
We also go over the importance of engagement on social media and that big numbers don’t always mean big engagement or meaningful connections. There are more examples of great points being addressed that are beneficial to the modern drummer, whether it is practical application or state of mind, this episode touches on a lot of quality subjects that lead to great conversation with a veteran in the podcast game.
Drummer’s Resource Socials
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Philip Guay from Los Cabos Drumsticks in this mini podcast episode.
A little bit about Los Cabos
Los Cabos is a family run operation from New Brunswick, Canada. They have been in operation since 2005, however, it was a wood working business that had been around for years before it became Los Cabos operating as Lawrence Wood Products. Originally the shop produced spindles and business was very good. But eventually the clients took their business to China and things fell apart pretty quickly forcing the company to find another way.
They had all the tools they needed to start making drumsticks and so they did. Phil's parents hustled those drumsticks wherever they could making road trips out of it. It's a pretty cool little story and I always like hearing about the ma and pa small business stories.
The company also makes a conscious effort to reduce waste by using their wood scraps to heat the shop with their wood stove in the cold winter months, selling their “wood nubbins” to a company that makes fire starters and lastly by donating their sawdust to a local farmer to provide bedding to the farmer’s horses.
Los Cabos is also the only drum stick manufacturer that offers a Red Hickory line that is available in most models in their regular Hickory line. Red Hickory offers an advantage over the regular Hickory in that the wood molecules are denser and thus a little bit heavier and offer more durability over the regular Hickory and Maple lines. I currently use these Red Hickory sticks and so far I am loving them.
Who is Phil?
Phil Guay is the Resource Manager and Artist Relations Representative for Los Cabos. A Canadian Armed Forces Vet, Phil served our country for ten years before working for his family business.
It is no secret that I am a very proud Canadian. With that bias aside, these are great drumsticks. I am the kind of person that just likes shit that works and doesn’t have gimmicks attached to it. That goes for anything, just to be clear. I am just kind of a simple no frills type of person.
These sticks feel incredibly natural and “real” in my hand. They are well balanced and their drumstick line has everything I would personally want. I have been using these sticks for a short while and I have made up my mind that I will only buy Los Cabos sticks going forward.
Another point I will make is that my wife and I run a ma and pa flower shop in a small Canadian community, I have empathy for family run businesses and I want to support that. It is fantastic that the sticks are great and that I like how they perform, but the fact that they are Canadian, offer a no frills product, retail for a fair price and finally because it is a family run business.
Check out their full line of products at www.loscabosdrumsticks.com
Beats performed by: Cameron Fleury // Los Cabos Artist
Los Cabos’ Socials
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! Today’s episode should be listened to with headphones or at the very least…not in an environment where expletives aren’t welcome.
So I had the pleasure of meeting Randy at the Yamaha 50th anniversary party in Toronto late last year. My first impressions of Randy were really special…lemme explain. Randy had absolutely no judgements when he first met me and when I told him that I would love to have him on the show (I had already heard his session with Dave from I’d Hit That Podcast…which was great) Randy didn’t even think about it. He just smiled and said “f*** yeah! Anyways, Randy is a champ and this session went fantastically.
Who is Randy?
Randy flies under the radar for most drummers. However, Randy is a rock solid player who can blend into many musical situations and through that ability has had a successful 30 plus year career as a session/live musician. Some of the artists you may recognize that Randy has performed with include Kim Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Smash Mouth, Lee Aaron, Edwin and the list literally goes on and on with over 200 recordings to his credit.
Originally from Toronto, ON, Randy was one of the most in demand session players in the city for over a decade. Then in 2004 he moved to L.A. to expand his opportunities and likely to flee from the freezing cold winters. Overall, Randy is a great example of someone with cumulative experience working as a musician and preserving the love for playing drums in any situation.
When I first heard Randy on I’d Hit That, I knew that our personalities would gel well for a podcast, so months ago I knew eventually I would invite him for a session. Then I met him and was like “Yup, this is going down for sure.”
This episode is basically a recording of a couple of dudes becoming friends while we reflect on Randy’s career. There is a lot of great story telling with some major highlights that you could only imagine and plenty of great advice that’s coming from 30 years experience as a pro drummer.
Music clip featured: Max Webster: Battle Scar
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week we go international with Siros Vaziri from Sweden. In this episode we cover the story of Siros' month long clinic tour and how it impacted him. We discuss the journey of creating his Instagram page and how he is converting that into a business for himself to relieve many aspects of his drumming career that he feels isn’t as important as forming his brand. I believe that many listeners, especially who inhabit the Instagram community, will find this episode particularly inspiring and helpful.
Who is Siros?
Siros is popularly known as “The Fill Guy” which is something he didn’t fully recognize until he went to NAMM and was repeatedly approached with his famous hand gesture. He creates “Fill Packs” that contain 100 fills in each lesson pack as well as mini packs to get people started. Beyond that, Siros is a self taught drummer who has incorporated YouTube and Instagram for educational aid, which seems to be popular with drummers of his generation. By teaching himself he has managed to become a very capable player and before I understood that he was self taught, I would not have thought that.
Siros is also a very wise and tactical thinker when it comes to internet marketing and creating influence through social media. Along with many others, he has proven that it is more than possible to create a brand and market yourself to create your own career with drumming content. I believe that Siros will continue to develop his brand and he won’t be permanently known as “The Fill Guy” as he understands the importance to be in the moment and constantly evolve.
Siros has taught himself everything that he knows that pertains to his content. Filming, recording and the playing. He also lives in a small city of 16,000 people in Sweden that virtually has no music scene, yet he has an engaged following online that is five times that amount. I can relate to this myself. Hosting a podcast that is listened to worldwide and yet I live in a country neighbourhood in a town of just over 12,000 people and there is NO music scene whatsoever.
So what is interesting is that location has so little to do with what a musician can accomplish with hard work, quality content and a vision. It is a topic that a feel many of us are contemplating when things will break through or what is “my thing?” but remember….Siros has been doing this for 3.5 years and has worked very hard at developing his content and pays close attention to what people aren’t doing and fills those gaps (no pun intended).
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast. If you are a Canadian drummer from Ontario, and you take drumming even mildly seriously…you probably know about Mark Kelso. For me, I have known about Mark for years and have wanted to speak to him since starting this podcast. You just don’t start with Mark, ya know what I mean?
I invited Mark to the podcast when I got a chance to meet with him at a Yamaha party in Toronto. Ask my friend/past guest/past student of Mark’s, Aaron Spink….he calls me the buffet bandit. A little backstory is in order. At the Yamaha party there was a buffet table for the performing artists. I was near the front of the stage and next to the buffet table and I spotted Mark eating some fried calamari and decided I would join him and introduce myself. I indulged in some buffet, against my better judgement and Aaron spotted me chowin’ down and dubs me, BB.
Who is Mark?
Mark Kelso has been playing drums for over 40 years, has been featured on over 400 recordings, currently plays in 40 bands (that’s a lot of fours). He is the leader of his own band, Mark Kelso and the Jazz Exiles, he is the head of the drum department at Humber College and he is a husband and father of two children. In other words, a really busy guy that I can’t believe even had time to be on my podcast.
He is an enormous fan of Bruce Lee. Mark finds the famous martial artist as his main influence for his approach to drumming, which may seem odd at first, but he provides an very clear and understandable reason for this as he discusses the parallels between martial arts and drumming in this episode.
Overall, Mark is a Canadian legend that is highly skilled, educated and has a prolific career with music, drumming and education.
I have said this numerous times before, whenever I hit a new height with podcasting and that is this episode simply better than anything else I have recorded up until now. There are some gems in the DrumGAB library for sure, but this episode was incredible. That is largely because Mark was a great guest to be interviewed by me. I have known about him for so long and have done extensive research on him, I just knew that the questions I like to ask were ones that he would like to answer. Sometimes you just know.
Many times I found myself in the zone with this conversation and it lead to more interesting spur of the moment questions than some of the other episodes I have made. Mark is DEEP and I like deep people.
Starting the podcast with his poem that he wrote the night before his Drumeo appearance was a touch that I am glad makes contextual sense to our episode and how we discussed it in our chat. I want people to hear what Mark had to say because it is worth listening to…and to whoever made the YouTube comment “shut the fuck up and play” can suck my arse. It’s all the more reason to put it upfront in this episode because I felt empathetic to Mark on that one. He’s a thoughtful guy and I really enjoy what he has to say.
Overall, this is an interview that I am extremely proud of. I am glad that Mark and I had this chat and that it is now stamped in time as a thing we all can listen to whenever we want. Please enjoy the show, this one is special.
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week I decided to bring you all a solo show with my thoughts and experiences on my first NAMM trip. To add some spice to the show I have included some dope Dan Mayo clips throughout.
Big S/O to the following people:
Austin Burcham, Gabe Helguera, TJ Hartmann, Adam Tuminaro, Dan Silver, Love Custom Drums, Legado Cymbals, Sugar Percussion, A&F Drum Co., Ramy Antoun, Dan Mayo, Evan Ryan, Earl Talbot, Ryan Claxton, Brandon Green, Dom Toso, Kelly Voelkel, Siros Vaziri, Cam Fleury, Joey Bones, Jared Falk and Drumeo
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This weeks episode goes international with Polish drumming sensation Wojtek Deregowski. For the first time ever Wojtek’s unique story is told through a podcast interview and we go through all of the stages of how his career is forming and what exciting things are to come for him.
Who is Wojtek?
This twenty-two-year-old drummer hails from Poland and has only been playing for eight years. While he took private lessons early on he later decided to utilize the internet to continue his path of learning the drums and has continued to search and develop on his terms by using YouTube and Instagram for material to inspire himself and learn from over the years. He attended Berklee for one semester before finding himself having to return to Poland, however, this was good enough for him to use his experience at Berklee to his advantage. Currently he is developing online lessons that will be released sometime this year.
Key Moments in this episode
- Wojtek unravels the story of how he found drums through the popular “Rock Band” video game and shortly thereafter received a drum set for Christmas. With noise restrictions from neighbours and his parents, Wojtek spent the first two years playing very little. Eventually he and his father built his practice space with soundproofing to isolate the racket and Wojtek then began taking the drums very seriously. He would seek private lessons initially but later found that learning on his own through online resources was his preferred method to learn.
- At the age of eighteen, Wojtek travelled across the world to the coveted music school Berklee to study. Leaving his family, friends and girlfriend behind was a challenge for him and Wojtek explains some of the hurdles he had to overcome to adapt to his new environment. We also learn why he had to return to Poland after one semester of school and what followed.
- So after returning to Poland the opportunities for Wojtek became quite steady and it was apparent to him that there was an impressive “perceived value” associated with going to Berklee. Then came Instagram where he used originally to record his ideas, use his followers to help him determine whether something was cool or a good idea or not and eventually develop a massive following.
- A social media account with the proportions of Wojtek’s and also the incredible surge in popularity I must wonder “how do you manage that and is it really addictive to receive so much praise and be that popular?” We discuss at length how social media triggers us and how it can become very distracting and addictive but by managing ourselves and our socials we can remain productive in our “real” lives while still adding value to others with our content.
- We conclude our chat with some information about Wojtek’s new lessons plans that he is going to release very soon and how he is coming up with a creative way to distribute this content and package it for consumers. We also discuss how important it is to leverage our accounts to promote our own products for fans as well.
There are a few European “Instagram Drumming Stars” in our midst, and I plan to interview at least one other as well. These people are the next generation of young entrepreneurial thinkers that are passionate about drums and education but also realizing that with large Instagram profiles, they can focus on a specific goal and attempt to make it their job.
It is great to see young people apply themselves in a thoughtful way like this. They utilize their technological strengths along with their incredible drumming and popular socials to create opportunities for themselves. Session work and touring may be more scarce but it also just may not work for everyone. It is becoming increasingly popular for drummers to create content online and find ways to create their own path with music through utilizing the internet instead.
Welcome to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week we are speaking to J-Rod Sullivan from the Atlanta based jazz fusion group, The 4 Korners. J-Rod is also the man behind “Got Pocket” apparel. We talk about creating opportunities for yourself, how education can serve a player, diversifying within your industry and influencing others in a positive way.
J-Rod plays Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals and Vic Firth drum sticks.
Who is J-Rod?
J-Rod began exploring rhythm and drums at the very young age of two years old and stuck with him ever since. Over the years of playing church services, his roots in music are R&B and gospel music. Currently he is the drummer for the Atlanta based jazz fusion group The 4 Korners.
Throughout his experiences with this band, he has found a way to apply what he already understood musically and refine his approach and sound to meet the high demands of performing jazz fusion. J-Rod also studied at AIM to further his understanding of music. J-Rod studied during the time that Tom Knight was faculty, who is a past guest and dear friend of DrumGAB. Overall, J-Rod possesses the spirit of music and wishes to inspire as many people as possible with his gift.
Key Moments in this Episode
- J-Rod explains the story behind how he became the drummer for The 4 Korners. A trip to Best Buy lead to a call which lead to him to join the band. It is a story that shows that opportunities are created and earned, not gifted.
- J-Rod spent most of his musical life not understanding how to read music, knowing what it was he played or why he played it. He decided to change that by attending AIM. J-Rod explains how attending school served him well and how it was also a significant challenge for him.
- We get back to The 4 Korners and the bands’ writing process for new compositions. J-Rod breaks down their organic and open formula to create their music.
- Besides being a musician, J-Rod also programs live shows and produces artists under the name “J-Rod Sullivan Productions”. J-Rod talks about how he began doing this type of work and what programming a live show is.
- J-Rod also teaches drum lessons online and so I ask about the challenges with instructing a Skype lesson and the benefits and deficits of an online lesson versus an in person lesson.
- We talk about how it is his hope to inspire people all over the world with his music. I ask him if there is anything else that he does in life that can affect people like his drumming does.
At the end of the day you have to recognize your passions and keep them a priority in your life. Once you develop your craft you then have to begin creating opportunities for yourself and somehow make it your career. Jerrod had a strategy in mind when he asked Clarence and Isaac to help him out with a gig. He wanted to put himself in front of the people that he admires and if the opportunity ever happened, be in the band.
Between that milestone and the fact that he went to AIM to up his theory and learn how to read music, constantly diversifying in other areas of the music industry and teaching online….J-Rod is cornering his success. J-Rod is living in his purpose and spreading positivity around with the gift that he has.
Music by: The 4 Korners
Order of tracks:
Table for 2
Portal of Gold
Opening interview sample “The Pace Report” with The 4 Korners
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week is a very special interview with one of my personal favorite modern drummers, Eric Harland. In this episode the discussion is deep. We break down some components of drumming in an interactive exercise that I also explored with Aric Improta recently, being in the moment with music and if there are influences unrelated to music that inspire Eric’s playing, to name a few. Then in the second portion of our interview, we explore spirituality, why we are here and self-perception. This is a very insightful episode and ranks as one of the best episodes to date, IMO.
Who is Eric?
Eric Harland is a multi-grammy nominated drummer and is one of the most in-demand drummers of his generation. Already in his career, he has been featured on close to 200 recordings, including Joshua Redman’s “James Farm”, “Prism” from Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks and his very own group “Voyager”. Overall, Eric is an incredibly ethereal musician who has inspired players all over the world.
Key Moments in this Episode
- We begin by examining 8 components to drumming. Creativity, Timekeeping, Endurance, Independence, Coordination, Groove, Chops, Technique. Eric’s interpretation is far different from what we heard previously on Aric Improta’s episode but each player expresses very convincing points of view that opens up our own minds towards this question.
- Next, we explore nonmusical influences towards his music making. Eric explains that everything acts as an influence. As our minds process our surroundings, our moods, and personal circumstances, it all affects how we create music.
- What follows is the moment of music. Eric expresses how this varies for him. Sometimes he is hired to fulfill a role musically and how it is not always a situation that he relates to internally and how he wishes to convey creativity through the instrument. Another component of this discussion is subconscious listening and how we can enter “the zone” with music and be on another level of listening.
- To wrap up our discussion with music and performance, we talk about musical freedom. How do we obtain freedom on the instrument? Eric breaks down how time is simply a measurement. Anything can happen within time as long as you have internalized it. He encourages people to understand that we as players do not need to lock into time with our playing but rather internalize the space of time and play within that in order to be free.
- The second chapter of this episode deals with life and spirituality. We start things off with the beginnings of his spiritual quest, where he grew up in a very religious household and would eventually study theology and become an ordained minister. However, after some time he began to feel that he could do something wrong and ended up leaving the church to explore other spiritual possibilities. To this day he remains open to receive and process what is possible with spirituality.
- I ask Eric, “If someone were to approach you who struggled with inner peace, how would you respond?” Eric in all his wisdom replied to me with “What is so important about inner peace?” Now that may seem like he disregarded my question, but believe me, his reasoning behind that statement was what blew my mind in this interview.
- Eric had recently received an award from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and he selflessly gave his award away to someone he felt deserved it more. In his speech, he talks about how we don’t really know how we see ourselves, instead we just experience life. So this made me want to ask him his opinion on self-perception and whether we know how we truly live as people. Again, another part of this interview that is so deep and so wise.
- To conclude, I ask Eric what the most impactful advice he had received in his life was. At first he had difficulty recalling something specific but eventually, he recalled elderly women telling him “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Simple but very true and he elaborates a bit on that to bring more substance to the point.
Eric Harland is a musician that I noticed quite a number of years ago and instantly enjoyed how he played. While I wasn’t incredibly familiar with all of the work he has done, the preparation for this interview really allowed me the chance to see more into his life and his values through all of the interviews I have watched or listened to before speaking to him. So typically for me, my favorite conversations are ones that surround spirituality, the beauty of life and music and Eric is all of those things and a perfect guest to explore these topics with.
This was definitely one of my favorite interview experiences as a host and how it translated as a listening experience, it encapsulated the essence of my podcast. Eric is a truly wonderful human being and I am very thankful that he took some time to speak with me and explore some interesting subject matter on the podcast.
Music featured in this podcast is from Eric Harland's Journey.
Album is titled Vipassana
Other music is from Eric Harland's loop pack from The Loop Loft
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week I spoke with Etienne Mason from Montreal, Canada. We discuss his process with making a daily video series that he calls “Night Improvisation” and the trials, the successes and the overall vision with this series and what he hopes to achieve with his efforts.
Who is Etienne?
Etienne is a fellow that I met through interesting circumstances. Back in 2016 I competed in a drum solo contest for the Victoria Drum Festival and through those efforts DrumGAB was born. A year later I checked 2017’s winners and Etienne was one of them. After looking at his Facebook profile I decided to reach out to him and make a connection. This started a friendship and I have been very interested in his journey since then.
Etienne is a jazz enthusiast that goes about his own way in learning about music, making videos, recording audio and using social media to distribute his content. Through his efforts he has created a very unique sound and visual aesthetic to his videos. He also incorporates keyboards into his music and controls everything live. I have heard several times that people find Etienne to be mysterious and so hopefully this podcast will allow people to understand him better.
Key moments in this episode
- Etienne begins by explaining how he developed his drumming abilities, which for the record are impressive. After one year at McGill University, Etienne dropped out because he felt he couldn’t have fun practicing anymore. Etienne prefers to learn his own way and likes to explore and mess around to learn new things. He used the money saved from leaving school to find his own place to rehearse.
- Next we discuss the level of composition that goes into a musical piece. We debate a little about whether he a drummer first or a composer first. Etienne walks us through how he goes about creating his music and what is revealed as a very lengthy process that he does every single day.
- So how does Etienne make these videos? What exactly did he have to do to make it happen daily? Well, the story to that may be the most important aspect of the interview. He literally had to set up and tear down every single day. He would ride his skateboard for twenty minutes with all of his gear in his hands to get to the space that he only had access to from 10 PM to 5 AM. He didn’t sleep much to say the least and whenever he had band rehearsals, he didn’t really sleep at all. I have never really heard of a story like this of how difficult it would have been to uphold a daily routine like this for the first eighty videos he would make. He had to make a change to survive the winter and continue with this series.
- Before these videos and his EP’s, Etienne played in TWENTY bands! All original music and it was up to him to keep it all organized. When he told me this, I was impressed with his will to work. It is nearly impossible for me to imagine how difficult that had to have been. He eventually burned out and had to remove himself from that situation and so he began making his own music again to fix himself.
- We then discuss what brought him to the Victoria Drum Festival and how that experience changed his outlook with his career that he is now trying really hard to establish.
- Our final point that we discuss is the topic of failure. Why is failure so important to personal growth and whether Etienne feels regret for any of the decisions he has made up until now.
I think the thing that people will take from this conversation is that we as artists and musicians need to approach our projects and develop our skills from an internal perspective. There is nothing wrong with referencing other people to help inspire us, but ultimately we have to be okay with who we are and what we want to create. Once that is identified, we have to push as hard as we can to become noticed. There will be many times when we all question our efforts and whether they are a waste of time, but every once in a while a wave will come by and introduce us to the next stage of our journey.
It is the hardest part of doing this. The not knowing part. Believing that we are moving in the right direction and whether anyone really cares or not. Etienne is not quite halfway through his daily series and it will be interesting to see what comes of his efforts. But whatever the case may be, it cannot be denied that what he is doing is unique, good quality and is a testament to what he is prepared to endure to see it through.
Tracks featured (in order) all performed by MaySun
2. Black Silver
3. White Peafowl
5. One Sky
Welcome back to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast! This week’s episode is particularly special. Noam and his wife Louise are authors of a children’s book series called Jungle Jam and Noam has graciously provided the book series to my son Harrison and so I have dedicated this episode to my little boy.
Who is Noam?
Noam is someone that is quite inspiring and if you were to simply watch his Instagram feed you would have no idea to what degree this man has achieved in life so far. He served in the Army, published over 100 books (mostly musical education publications), he and his wife Louise have created a children’s book series called “Jungle Jam”, he is the Principal of a musical enrichment school called “Academy of Rock” and is also a very active professional musician and plays for the chart topping band Captain SKA. He is also a father and a husband and finds time for everything that he closely values in his life. After spending time with him through the creation of this episode we have become very good friends and I find his approach to life very inspiring and left me with some very good feelings about my own life and my personal goals.
Key Moments in this Episode
- Noam talks about his time in the Army and how it was illegal to play in a band if you were involved with the Army. Do you think that stopped Noam from following his heart? Listen to the incredible story of how he performed on national Israeli television for over a year thinking he had fooled the Army and his CO.
- Next we dive into his band Captain SKA. They have topped the charts with their song “Liar, Liar” and made waves with the press. BBC banned them from being played but that didn’t stop the flood of views and support from listeners all over the world. Noam also shares how the band has evolved since then and their new song “Sons and Daughters”.
- Noam is the Principal of the musical enrichment school named “Academy of Rock”. Noam gets into significant detail about both his own vision of how he wishes to teach students and the values of this music school. Noam makes a very important point that teaching music to our youth is far too important to half-ass. You MUST be passionate about education and not just look at it as a means of providing yourself with income. This is a great segment.
- That leads us to Jungle Jam. Noam explains that Jungle Jam was all about giving back to people. He and his wife work on these books together as a family and it has filled their home with more love and support for one another and I just love this. It is heartwarming to hear him explain what Jungle Jam means to him and his family and how this will hopefully become an animated series for television and there are other plans for it as well.
- Noam then talks a bit about his gear and some of the common questions he receives on Instagram. He also shares the purpose of his Instagram page. It is literally just a place for him to experiment with sounds and uses the feedback to help him decide what to keep and what to scrap. He uses Instagram as a large sounding board for his experiments and musical ideas.
- We conclude by discussing social media and this is where I pipe in on DrumGAB’s vision with social media and connectivity between myself and my audience and what I hope to provide to them. By this point Noam and I are just talking and reflecting on how we can make social media more “social” and provide value to our community.
This is the last podcast for Season 1 of the podcast and it marks an important milestone for DrumGAB. Going into 2018 I have discovered the purpose of this podcast and my socials. It is all about providing value and experiences for our community through content and engagement. Much like Noam’s philosophies on life, we share a great deal of common ideas when it comes to giving back and how we view ourselves in our work and our purpose.
I hope that you all enjoyed this past year of content and thank you all for your continued love and support. My goal is to develop further in order to bring more meaningful content to you. It is a journey and I hope that by sharing myself and the guests with you that you find inspiration to stoke your own fire. Make your life what you want it to be. Do the things you want to do. See the results you want to see. Life is precious and incredibly rare so grab life by the horns and make your mark with the opportunity life has given you and shine through. God bless.
Music by: Captain SKA
Song: Sons and Daughters
Welcome to another episode of DrumGAB podcast! My release dates fell on the Christmas holidays this year so I felt it would be nice to have a Christmas themed episode with my good pal Tim Baltes.
A message for listeners
Tim and I wanted to encorporate his quirky karaoke mishaps into this episode. We had a lot of fun putting this one together and even though with the silly karaoke bits, this podcast is actually quite heavy at times. Something that Tim addresses at the very beginning of the episode is how he wondered what people would say when they hear Tim and not "Timbo". Overall a really solid chat about Tim's life, vintage drums and social media marketing.
Also, I just wanted to say Happy Holidays to all you fine listeners out there. I am happy that Tim and I were able to make a Christmas special to mark the near end of season one. I am very excited about what next year will bring and I am very happy with how things have gone this past year. I hope you folks cozy up with some coffee and relax to this fun and informative episode!
Welcome to another episode of the DrumGAB podcast. This week we are taking a close look into the life of Aric Improta. Aric is the drummer his long time passion project band Night Verses and more recently has taken the throne for Goldfinger and is also the drummer for The Fever 333. This conversation takes a deep look into his highly diversified year in 2017, his philosophies on his approach to drumming and many stories about his journey over the years and what inspires him.
Who is Aric?
I feel that a lot of people found Aric through his viral Guitar Centre Drum Off video, where he placed second to the incredible Juan Carlito Mendoza (which for the record is probably the most incredible champion solo from that event). Beyond that, people will know him for his video series ADD (Attention Deficit Drumming) that has had well over 100K views in total and then of course he is the drummer for Night Verses.
Aric’s style of play is rather extreme in every aspect. He mixes his love for skateboarding and free running/athleticism with drumming, LIKE NO ONE ELSE. Aric is a one of a kind player. He has made headlines with being the drummer to backflip from one drum set to another during a solo and soon to come Meinl will be releasing a 40 minute drum solo of Aric pulling ideas from his six month creative binge that lead to the ADD video series. All in all, Aric is ALWAYS pushing the boundaries of what is possible on a drum set.
Key Moments in this episode
- Before we even really “begin” the interview we talk about the major changes for him in 2017. He joined two bands, Goldfinger and The Fever 333 and he talks about how a Night Verses had to cancel a tour, which resulted in a six month creative binge. This was the time that he released the ADD videos and a slew of other creative projects. We also talk about how these additions to his work schedule has forced him to be more focused with his time and how he utilizes it to ensure that he is always prepared for gigs, recording, practice and illustrative work.
- Because Aric has such a unique approach and sound, I ask about how much time he invests in discovering new techniques and the development of his sound. Basically his point to the question of discovering “your sound” is about the importance of finding a unique way to blend in. How can you be “you” and still remain inclusive to others and to be an adaptive musician. That is difficult to pull off I think but Aric has some great thoughts on this that listeners can apply to their mental game.
- The next section was an activity that we have never done on the podcast and it may be interesting for you to give this thought as well. I had Aric organize the following components in order of most important to least important - Creativity, Time keeping, Endurance, Independence, Coordination, Groove, Chops, Technique - This is a killer part of the episode.
- Along with drumming, Aric also draws a lot. Something that you often see in his drawings is the “Eye of Providence.” We talk about why he draws this symbol so often and we also explore the three common meanings to the symbol and what it means to Aric. Long story short, Aric will tell me a few years from now. It spirals into a deeper conversation about “creating your own world”. Brian Eno references and the discussion of science vs art for example.
- We wind down by talking about the effect of music. How music can transform your perspectives and how people click with music in their own personal way. At this point great moments were captured and there was weight to this part of the conversation.
- Recapping 2017 and how Aric’s 2018 is looking.
There are times when I speak with a guest and there is just undeniable synergy. For me, it is tough to relate to most people because I tend to have unpopular tastes and I am very personal with how I feel about most things. So it is rare when I sense someone else comes from a similar place. What this synergy created was a very spontaneous and free flowing conversation that is packed with good vibes. Great points were touched upon and there is a very unique angle to a lot of Aric’s thoughts and I really enjoyed listening to his reasonings.
Another fun aspect of this show was the editing of it. I am a very big fan of abrupt and “vibey” production. I enjoy Aric’s approach with his ADD videos. There is an intangible grime to those videos and I really wanted to model this podcast after that “vibe” and so I used a lot of clips from the ADD videos and they will abruptly come in and partition the conversation at key points that were very intentional and there was an effect I was looking for with each one. Overall, I spent more time on this episode than most because I related to it a lot and it was very fulfilling to make. This is one of my favourite shows I have made so far, Top pick.
Music by: Night Verses
Song: Introducing: The Rot Under The Sun
Album: Lift Your Existence (2013)
Aric’s Bands (Soundcloud links)