How do you tell if the stage is level? The drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth.
Drummers always get a bum rap. Why is that? Ever seen a good band with a shitty drummer? No. Know why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T FUCKING EXIST (with exception for The Beatles.)
Drummers rule. We hit stuff, get peoples’ butts shaking, and ultimately determine whether or not the band is going to perform well. You CANNOT have a solid band without a solid drummer, so all you 6-string wankers out there with your tapping and flooded solos can suck it… This one is for the hitters. I’ll be sitting down and chatting with several drummers of note in the future to give them a bit more exposure and some insight as to what they do. Here’s one with drumming phenom Kiel Feher, who will be the session guy everyone is calling for sooner than not. Be nice now and secure a good rate… His’ll be skyrocketing in the future.
G- How long have you been playing drums and when did you get started?
K- I started making cardboard box drum kits and playing along to the radio when I was 8. My parents bought my first drum kit when I was 10 or 11 years old.
G- How long have you been playing professionally and what was your first project?? Do you remember the moment that you really felt that drum performance was your calling?
K- Going on ten years. I made all types of rock bands with my friends that never left the garage in my teens. Going into the studio for the first time, that changed me. I started playing around town with whoever I could, and tried to absorb everything. Music always felt like a natural, honest expression for me. I didn’t conceptualize it as being a career, it was just a force that overtook me everyday. It still does.
G- Are you working on any releases right now? When will you be heading back to the studio or on the road? Can you tell us about the projects you currently have in the works?
K- L.A.’s Hotel Cinema (hotelcinemamusic.com) just released a record that i’m pretty proud of. Blondfire (Warner) is releasing a record in early 2013 that was incredibly fun to make. I joined them on the road for some promotional dates at the end of last year.
Satellite (wearesatellite.com) is another band project i’m very excited about. I have a studio space at home as well, so i’ve been sending out drum tracks and writing some of my own music on the side.
G- Let’s talk gear for a second… What is your current rig looking like? What kind of drums and cymbals are you using primarily, what configurations, and what companies are backing you up at this time?
K- It’s a varying beast. I’ve been excited about making kits from random objects lately. Suitcase kick drums, saw blades for cymbals, anything. You probably won’t use that for a pop record, but it’s fun.
I generally just bring out a four piece kit, some snare options, and a bunch of cymbals. Occasionally, I get to add on the 2nd floor tom, or side snare, but it’s not that frequent for me. The music always dictates what you should be using.
I’m currently endorsing Craviotto Drums and Istanbul Agop Cymbals.
Craviotto Cherry / Walnut Hybrid Kit.
24×16 Kick drum
14×10 Rack Tom
16×16 Floor Tom
18×16 Floor Tom
6.5 x 14 NOB Diamond Series Snare
16″ Traditional Light Hats
20.5 25th Anniversary Crash.
26″ Signature Agop Ride
22″ Traditional Dark Crash
Regal Tip Sticks
G- What are your approaches to live performance versus studio sessions, and how do they differ given the different types of projects you are involved with?
K- I approach it all from the same place. Session work lends itself to making more tasteful choices, if you’re supporting the music properly. There’s space to explore in certain live settings, but it should never get in the way of the song. I’m always striving to be as transparent as possible, while sounding authentic in whatever genre I’m working in. That foundation is rooted in being a fan of all types of music, and exploring how to get those sounds and feels inside you.
G- How does international performance compare with your performances stateside, both in terms of how you play and the audience reaction?
K- More jetlag. The playing stays the same for me. But no matter where you go, there are cities where people are excited about any music that comes in town, and there are the cities where you’ll struggle to get anything back from the crowd.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future?
K- Radiohead would be fun. Bjork, too. And the timeless guys like Paul Simon, James Taylor.. McCartney would be great. So many!
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
K- The most memorable are never the biggest or craziest for me. There’s something really magical in playing with your close friends, in those moments where everyone is connected, listening, and responding to each other. It’s jazz, while not having to be “Jazz”.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
K- Find your voice. There’s room for everyone to be successful if you can offer a unique perspective on whatever your craft is. It truly levels the playing field and allows for the whole spectrum of art to be valid.
Wear Today Hear Tomorrow Question:
Do you wear hearing protection when you perform? Why or why not? Do you think it is important for your fans to protect their ears?
K- It depends on the room. I’m using in-ears on a lot of the live stuff I do, but it’s great to have nothing in when the stage volume is just right. It’s crucial for the audience to have some protection though. Sound guys tend to push PA’s to their limit, and it’s absolutely going to do some damage if you’re exposed to it.