Photo: Chris Stenner (The MU)
Do you have a preferred style of music to play?
I’m happy to play the song whatever that might be, and I concentrate on how to make that exciting dynamically. If there’s room for some chops or fills that make it a bit more expressive then that’s great, but to be able to pull that out the bag without ever playing the song before is more what I’m about. That doesn’t come naturally though, it takes hours of practice to get to the level where you can just do that.
It keeps it exciting as well. You don’t get bored of playing the same things. People say to me ‘I don’t get how you can play music for your job, it takes the fun out of it’ but for me playing such a variety puts the fun into it and means you never really stop learning. You can discover a band or a drummer that floors you and that can be in any genre. I remember years ago discovering Death Cab for Cutie and thinking ‘that drummer is so understated yet so technically amazing’, and that often goes unnoticed but is something that I’ve definitely learnt from.
Are they a big inspiration for you? And who else are your drum heroes?
They’re definitely an inspiration in terms of songwriting. Similarly, Mick Fleetwood is a huge influence in terms of my style and when I’m playing for bands such as the Wandering Hearts and Jessie Buckley it helps me to translate what they do into a live performance. The songs are never exactly the same, they always morph and change a bit so there’s a full band feel, so Mick Fleetwood inspired me in terms of playing for the song and keeping my part interesting. There’s quite a big difference between being a studio drummer and playing live, but keeping it so that it’s a part that works for both settings.
Originally when I was learning The Police were a big influence too. Stuart Copeland inspired me in terms of getting those tasty little fills into a song, as well as having a tight, punchy sound.