What’s the hardest part about being a musician and what’s the best?
I think the hardest part is probably handling uncertainty. As a working musician you necessarily have to be a freelancer. Therefore you’ll have busy times and quiet times and can never really know what’s going to happen 2 month in the future. This is stressful and beautiful at the same time. Of course I’m talking in very general since we are all different, for some people the artistic improvement is the most important, for some money, others want to be rock stars and all face different struggles.
The best part is that you (hopefully) do what you love. That is for me anyway. This is the single most important thing in my view because in our limited time on this world I think there’s an enormous difference between spending 1/3 of it on something you love or on something you don’t. A major factor in how you’ll think back on your life when you grow old.
How important is practicing instrumental technique for achieving your musical goals?
Essential. The lack of it equals probably to trying to speak, but having no voice. There’s a lot of misconceptions about technique out there, but I’d rather not discuss them because that could take up a whole essay…
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
I learned to be in the moment as much as possible, which means not judging on the band stage. If a mistake happens I try to move on without attaching any emotion to the event. At least while the performance is on.
Who has musically influenced you the most and why?
This is one of those really hard and long discussions… There were/are many. I know you expect some names, so let me make a list instead of trying to explain a way too complicated process! Early Years: Beethoven, Vivaldi, Ferenc Erkel, Dvořák, Michael Jackson, Green Day, Metallica, Pantera, Control Denied, Dream Theater, etc…
Later years: Victor Bailey, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Steps Ahead, Yellowjackets, Return to Forever, Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius, Bobby McFerrin, Tribal Tech, Scott Henderson, Gary Willis, Irakere, Chucho Valdés, Michel Camilo and sooooo many more…
More recent years: Robert Glasper, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Branford Marsalis, John Coltrane, Gerald Clayton, etc…
Drummers specifically: Omar Hakim, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Horacio Hernandez, Cliff Almond, Steve Smith, Steve Gadd, Steve Jordan, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Bill Stewart Elvin Jones, Justin Brown, Dafnis Prieto etc…
What do you consider to be the most important concepts to impart to beginning students, and to advanced students?
Any aspect of playing music can be developed through pretty much a lifetime, therefore there’s a great deepness to all of those, which can be achieved. This means that it’s pretty much a question of decision. However of course there are certain steps necessary to achieve an other. So just very generally speaking for a beginner it is crucial to develop hearing/perception, the ability to FOCUS for a long period of time, to make effort towards goals and through all these: a control over the instrument.
I think these are evergreen topics, for an advanced player they are still valid, but on another level. Vocabulary comes in and eventually building an own sound, an own musical personality. Probably it’s even more so important to play with people. Develop the „musical-social” skills. That should be the ultimate goal in the first place, but besides that there’s certain things (the most important ones btw) that come only by live playing.
Do you practice regularly? Do you recommend a certain amount of time that one should practice? Each day? 4 days a week? And how much time in each setting.
Yes, in the beginning as much as you can. Actually as much as you can anyways… Again generally: Regularity is much more important than hours counted. I don’t really care about time: Practicing is a goal oriented process. Your done when the goal is reached.
How did you know the drums was the instrument you wanted to play?
I don’t really know. I’ve been hitting my mother’s kitchenware when I was a kid, I know that. I guess it’s just an instinctive gravitation towards the instrument…
Any example of drum solos that you like to transcribe?
Any solo I like at the moment….
Why did you choose to come to India and how has your experience been so far?
I would say India choose me. The opportunity came from here and not New Zealand for instance and I’m adventurous enough by now so I took it. So far it’s very welcoming to me, no complains really. I’d like to play more in the future though…
How was your experience at the conservatory of Amsterdam? What was your practice routine?
That was a tough lesson to me about paying attention to detail, pushing something and letting it go at the same time… Was rather a spiritual and life experience about being a real grown up…. Of course I got some muses in terms of music and drumming as well. My practice routine was even more so like I have today: Do as much as you can, no matter the circumstances.
What is your mantra for dealing with stress?
That you need to ask me personally!
In your opinion can anyone be a pro musician through hard work and practice or is it something one is born with?
Absolutely can. Many people debate this against my opinion with me though. Including my father, who’s been a teacher all his life. Still I rest my case. I’m not so sure about being a really meaningful artist or a genius if you will…(I don’t like the term, but most people use it, so there you go)