Monday, 9 July 2018

July/August Update

British Drum Company
I'm very proud to announce that I am now a British Drum Company artist.
I have been keenly following BDC since they arrived on the scene in 2015.
Set up by the legendary drum-maker Keith Keough, Ian Matthews of Kasabian and the comedian/drummer Al Murray, the rise of and excitment surrounding BDC has been a joy to watch. In those 3 short years they have risen to the status of innovators and creators of a wealth of 'future classic' drums, the stunning Bluebird snare being just one of them.
I had met up and chatted with them a few times before being invited up to Manchester for a tour of their factory. The passion, love and expertise is there for all to see.
The kit that I settle on was a 22x16, 12x8 and 16x16 Legend Series in Kensington Knight with a 14x6 Bluebird snare. Once it was ready for me I headed up again to collect it in person, turns out they christened him Bruno for me. He is a beauty. Check out the video below made by the ever brilliant Charlie Wallis. Thanks again one more time to Keith, Mel and everyone else at BDC. Love you.
You can find out more about BDC and what they have to offer here.

Ducking Punches. Summer Tour dates.
Really excited to announce a couple of tour dates over the next two months. First we'll be heading out to play a handful of shows around Mighty Sounds Festival that happens in Prague on 14th July. The line-up includes some of my favourites including Anti-Flag, Sick Of It All, A Wilhelm Scream and The Heptones. Next up I'll be doing double drum duties for a Ducking Punches/I Said Goodbye run in August which will include my first time at the outstanding looking Punk Rock Holiday in Slovenia. Again, it's such a strong line-up and I can't wait to get out there. Also coming up in August will be a few other festivals, one of these being Beautiful Days in Devon. This is a festival run by The Levellers and we'll be playing the main stage along-side Manic Street Preachers, The Hives, Feeder, The Wildhearts and Gogol Bordello. On a side note, I've just added a live dates tab along the top!

The Compound test recordings.
Carrying on from last months post; I am now fully set up and able to record at my home studio which I've christened The Compound. My first project is tracking drums for the Summer Now album which will happen over the next few weeks around my touring schedule. Using only a pack of Shure DMK6 drum mics and using my Zoom R16 as my Audio Interface, I am really very happy with the first test recordings I have done. I guess having a great sounding kit and a decent room means that half the battle has been fought. This is a massive learning curve for me, but I've enjoyed the challenge and all the research I've done has definitely made me use my ears a lot more than in the past. There is something hugely satisfying about recording yourself in your own space. The final tracks will be done by the end of August and the album should be out late 2018 or early 2019.

New BDC snare drum arrives!
As mentioned above I am now happily using and endorsing British Drum Company drums. I was so bowled over by my gear that I just had to order another snare drum. I wanted to add their Merlin snare to my collection so that I had a wooden snare to sit beside my brass Bluebird snare. The Merlin is a hefty 20 ply mix of maple and birch, finished with a tulip outer veneer and double inlay of maple. The beauty of this snare is obvious and it's a hugely versatile drum, responsive, warm, yet cutting and powerful. Once again they added my name around the air-vent. This is one very special drum.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

May/June Updates

The Compound
So in my last post I mentioned about how I was in the process of conveting the annex in my garden into a studio. Well, I was meant to take the whole year to research and gradually build it, but I ended up so engrossed and excited by the thought that by May the room was ready for me to move into. Yes, by mid-May my gear was all set up and I was ready to move all of my work there meaning that I can track drums, practice and teach any time I want by literally walking out of my back door.
I've got some people who I am in debt to for giving me their time and knowledge and helping this come to fruition, so thank you to James Easey, Ryan Hillier, Paul Weston, Joe Russell, Stephen Larke, PMT Norwich and Pete Fellowes for all your help.

Summer Now project
I'm really excited to announce that the first sessions at The Compound will be tracking drums for a project called Summer Now. Pete from the almighty Southpaw has written an album of 'Punkstrumental' bangers which I will be playing and recording over the Summer. 
If you or anyone you know needs drums tracked for anything then give me a message!

 Ducking Punches

After a really busy few months on the road around the UK and mainland Europe it was really nice to take stock and have a couple of weeks at home. It has been such a whirlwind time and you can get so caught up in the moment that you can easily lose track of how lucky you are to be in this position. From those very early moments of getting on a drum kit for the first time, I never truly imagined that I'd be living my life playing and touring around the world in a band. I feel so humbled and thankful to travel the world and meet so many amazing people and play with some incredible bands along the way. 2018 has included a lot of my personal favourite shows so far and I am really excited to see what the rest of the year is going to bring. Also a shout out to my best buddies in Ducking Punches, having these experiences with your closest friends in tow is heartwarming.  

Very excited to announce these extra special couple of shows.
In September we'll be hitting our 999th and 1000th shows and to celebrate we're playing London and Norwich with all of our favourite bands.
London tickets; here
Norwich tickets; here

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

March/April Updates

One of the biggest dreams for any musician is surely to have their own studio at their house. It has certainly always been one of mine. I have been fortunate since leaving school to teach and work in some of the best studios out there but I have always wanted a space to truly call my own. So at the beginning of the year I decided that it was finally time to make that happen. 
Calling in a couple of builder friends, we decided the best way to convert and soundproof the existing annex would be to first of all scale back the double french doors and the sizeable window. These were replaced with a heavy acoustic steel door and a triple and double glazed small slot window. Once this was done we put in an addition internal concrete wall with two firedoors to create an airlock.
It will be another month or two until I have time to put the floor down and acoustically treat the room as I'm having to fit all this around a busy touring schedule, but it is super exciting to watch the room slowly come together. I'm aiming that The Compound (as I'm calling it) should be open for business by late summer.

Ducking Punches - I Ruin Everything video.
To celebrate the release of our album Alamort, our friend Charlie Wallis shot this lovely video of the song I Ruin Everything. In it we chat about what this album means to us and shows footage from our release show at the Norwich Arts Centre.
We have been touring through Europe and the UK clocking in nearly 9000 miles in 6 weeks. It was great to get the new songs out there, revisiting cities and seeing old friends and making a bunch of new ones along the way. This journey is always the most humbling.

March. European Tour Dates
April. UK Tour Dates

Ducking Punches. May Tour
I'm really excited to announce that we are heading off on tour again in May. This short run will include some brilliant looking German Festivals as well as Camden Rocks and Sunday Sessions in Norwich, where we'll be on the main stage alongside Kaiser Chiefs! We have been on the road a lot already this year and played some incredible shows, but this one is shaping up to look extra special.

New Protection Racket cases arrive!
I just need to say a huge thank you to Dean, Mandy and the rest of the Protection Racket team for hooking me up with their awesome AAA cases. I have used Protection Racket cases for over ten years now and to be a small part of their amazing Artist Roster is truly humbling. These rigid soft cases are hands down the best I've ever owned. The design and build is pure brilliance and I feel 100% safe in the knowledge that my beautiful gear is now fully protected. Check em out here 

Monday, 29 January 2018

January/February Updates

First of all I'd like to say Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a good break and are feeling energised and prepared for the year ahead.
On a personal note, 2017 was an exciting yet somewhat scary one in many ways. My decision to stop teaching regular timetabled lessons felt a little like a step into the unknown, yet this allowed me to play more shows and tour more than ever, as well as being involved in projects that I just wouldn't have had the time for before. Even though I don't see my students as often, they have been working really hard and achieving great results this years. I love using my teaching brain, it gives me a chance to share some knowledge, play around with ideas and push my own way of playing and thinking.
2018 is looking like the busiest one yet with tours, festivals and shows being booked in pretty much to the end of the year, I have some new projects to work on this year (live and studio work) which will be announced over the coming months as they are ready to go.
Again, it's a huge pleasure and privilege to work alongside some of the best in the business and I want to take this opportunity to give a huge thanks to the following companies for their support and help this past year; North Custom Drums, Amedia Cymbals, Balbex sticks, Remo and Protection Racket.

Ducking Punches
Our new album Alamort is due for release on the 16th February. You can pre-order this via Xtra Mile on either CD or vinyl from their website We have a couple of special shows planned for the release, I hope to see some of you there. I'm also very excited to announce our first tour of the year. On the 1st March we are heading out to mainland Europe in support of the new album. We are taking our good friend We Bless This Mess with us to open the shows which will see us showcasing plenty of new songs off Alamort.

I Said Goodbye

Our new album Fairweather is available to pre-order now. The official release date is the 23rd February and you can grab a copy on either CD or on a rather beautiful clear/blue splatter vinyl. The album comes out on Little Rocket Records and is available here. 
I'm very proud of the songs on here and can't wait for everyone to hear them.
To celebrate the release of Fairweather we have just released our debut video for the track 'Take Me Home' You can check this out below.

Amedia Day
February 24th will see Amedia Cymbals hosting a Pop-in & Play Day at Create Norwich. We ran one of these events last year and it was a brilliant day of showing local drummers what they have to offer. Again, the entire UK stock will be there so you'll have the opportunity to chat with the experts and hear all of the many different ranges that are available. Not only will there be special show deals, but there will be a testing room in which you can play and hear these specials cymbals within the context of an acoustic kit. This is a free entry event and there will be plenty of tea/coffee and biscuits, so please feel free to pop in any time for a chat and a play!

Monday, 27 November 2017

November/December update

Protection Racket announcement

I'm thrilled to announce that I am now officially a Protection Racket artist. I have been using their cases, rugs and accessories for well over ten years now and I wouldn't choose anything else to protect my precious gear with. My personal choices are the AAA semi-rigid cases which really are outstanding. I would like to say a huge thank you to Dean, Mandy and the rest of the team for having me on board. You can find much more about them on their website as well as seeing my personal profile here. 

Ducking Punches
As previously mentioned, our up-coming album Alamort is now available to pre-order from Xtra Mile Recordings. You will receive the instant grat of our first single 'Sobriety' which is also available to stream on Spotify. Last night it also had its first play on Radio One thanks to Daniel P Carters' Rock Show. I'm supremely proud and excited for the album to be released so that everyone else can finally hear it. The official release date is 16th February.
The first music video has also been filmed (at the beautiful beach that is Waxham, in Norfolk), by the lovely Charlie Wallis. It's for a song called Smoking Spot and the video will be released this side of the New Year.

London Drum Show
2017 has with it not one, but two major drum shows. The UK Drum Show happened in September (see below) and as far as I was concerned was a huge success, especially given that this was their first year running it anything like this size. There has been lots of 'backroom' politics, online discussions and various commentaries about the inpact of having two shows would/will be in terms of audience draws/company budgets etc etc. I for one try to sit on the fence and try to take the positives and merits from having two shows. The Manchester one was certainly a great weekend and this was the 7th LDS in a row that I had attended and I'm sure if both continue, then I'll happily stick my head into both.
Yes a lot of companies weren't exhibiting and yes it does cost a lot as a punter and certainly audience numbers seemed kind of low compared to previous years (but maybe stats will prove me wrong) but there were some really greaat drummers playing and overall it had a really good vibe to it.
I headed down for the most part to catch a drummer called Jimmy Chamberlin. When I was 13 I saw a video on The Chart Show (ITVs music video show) for a song called 'Tonight, Tonight' by the Smashing Pumpkins. That song changed me and the way I looked upon music. It was so unique; powerful, yet melodic and I fell in love with it. I took up drumming and tried to recreate the parts and play along (really badly) Then I bought the double album that the song was off "Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness". It was/is so diverse and the drumming just sublime. Dynamics, technique, texture, thoughtful orchestration, it well and truly blew my mind. I never saw the Pumpkins with Jimmy Chamberlin behind the kit, but this was to be the very next best thing.
The masterclass started with a discussion about trying to define yourself as an individual drummer rather than just being a clone of your favourite player(s) before he launched into two songs from his Jimmy Chamberlin Complex project (jazz/rock/fusion) and then two Pumpkins songs including Tonight, Tonight. To get to see him play this up close and to then actually meet him afterwards was just incredible.
The rest of the day was just spent wandering about, looking at some cool gear and catching up with friends old and new. But in truth, my day had peaked already and nothing was going to touch that.
Let me just give a shout out to the following for being great though; Mel and co @ British Drum Company, Steve @ Natal, Gary @ Remo, Stacy Gow, Mark @ Rusty Drums, Chris Young Drums, Nick Hopkin.

Meeting Jimmy Chamberlin!

New Video
Today I finally found five minutes to upload a video demonstrating my Amedia Cymbals mini Hi-Hats. A few people had been asking me about them, so check out the link below. While you're there, please do subscibe to my YouTube channel. Many more videos will be going up in 2018!

Vintage Drums Legendary Drums
Nick Hopkin is generally regarded as the most schooled guy in the UK when it comes to vintage drum gear. Not only does he source, repair, and sell pretty much anything off any drum kit you can think of, but he has also written a tonne of articles in various publications and online. He is also the brain-child behind this latest magazine Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds. This is a quarterly publication covering all aspects of vintage gear (obviously) and is available to buy either by download or print which I think is a real smart move to cater everyones' preference.

I picked up issues 1 and 2 at the same time and was instantly drawn in by the layout and styling behind them, they are just gorgeous to look at, with stunning pictures of beautiful gear. The design reminded me a little bit of the glorious The Drummers Journal and surpasses every other print magazine that is available by a mile. For £6 a piece you get a lot of content as well as style. Issue 1 sees articles as varied as the Supraphonic 400, vintage drum badges, desert island drums with Steve White, an interview with Hal Blaine, recording vintage drums and a tonne more. Whereas Issue 2 features include amongst them; Carmine Appice, Ludwig Speed King, British Drum Co and AK Drums.
Both issues are over 50 pages and retail at £6 (print) or less online via their website.
Well priced, well written, and an absolute must buy for anyone with even a passing interest in vintage drum equipment. Very excited to see where this magazine goes over the next few issues.

Clown Smash Everything
Great to finally see this official release of The Bombs Are Getting Closer by Norwich band Clown Smash Everthing. This was an album that I tracked drums on a couple of years back and am so glad to see that with a finalised line-up that they are ready to play their first shows as well as releasing this. You can stream on spotify or buy on iTunes or on CD from here.

Ducking Punches - Smoking Spot Video
Our latest video has just gone live. It's for the song Smoking Spot and can be viewed below. The album Alamort is now available to pre-order from Xtra Mile Recordings from here. 


Thursday, 28 September 2017

September/October Updates

Remo announcement
I'm very excited to announce that I have joined the Remo Artist roster! I've spent the majority of my career using Remo heads so it's an incredible honour to be part of the team.
After going to their UK base and trying their vast ranges, I settled on the P77 snare head, coated emperors for the toms and a P4 for the kick drum, although there are so many different models I'm bound to use different ones in different situations.

The UK Drum Show. 23rd/24th September
Meeting Thomas Lang!
The UK Drum Show was a two day event that ran at Manchester Central towards the end of September. The show brought together some of the best artists from around the world alongside a plethora of companies. I was enlisted to help on the Amedia Cymbals stand; displaying and demonstrating these beautiful Turkish cymbals to a wide range of drummers. These events are always a highlight for me, I love meeting and chatting to such a variety of drummers, you learn a lot from people from all walks of life. We received some great feedback, met a lot of the Amedia Artists and caught up with old friends. What always sticks to me is the faces that you see just walking about, playing and chatting; Thomas Lang, Dennis Chambers, Simon Phillips, Al Murray, Dion Dublin, Craig Blundell, the list just goes on. It really is a communal feeling being at a show like this and the venue, staff and layout I found to be perfect. Very excited to hear plans for the 2018 UK Drum Show.

A lot of big shoutouts, but just a few include; Chris and Alex @ Amedia, Gary @ Remo, Simon @ Pearl, Gareth @ Highwood, Tim @ Provenance Drums, Stu @ British Drum Company, Dion @ The Dube, Nick Hopkin Drums, Low Boy Beaters, Rusty Drums, Mike Dolbear, Chris Young Drums.
You can check me chatting about some of the Amedia Cymbals here.

Ducking Punches - Alamort
I left Manchester Drum Show and headed straight to Leeds to begin tracking drums for our latest album. Bob Cooper is one of my favourite producers and this would be my first time working alongside him, which was super exciting. The first day was a blur of trying different combinations of kit, snares, heads and cymbals. In the end my North Bubinga kit, North Beech Snare drum and various Amedias were selected. We kept with Remo Coated Emperors (toms) and Coated Ambassadors (snare) plus a P4 for the kick.

Once sounds were chosen and cemented and levels and everything adjusted, we were all good to go by the afternoon. Bob was a master to work with, pushing me hard to make sure I achieved the best possible takes, but all with a gentle and friendly nudge. He was also incredibly meticulous with his tuning; coming in after each take and checking with both his ears and a tune-bot. It took until halfway through the third day to get all 11 tracks down, but I was incredibly proud of the results.
Over the next week and a half we could then hear the songs really come alive. Recording is my favourite experience, especially when you have a bunch of songs that you feel proud about.
You can watch some of the footage we took on this tour video.
Since recording it's been mastered by the ever amazing Mass from Sonic Iguana studios (who's recorded and mastered a lot of my favourite albums) and is availble to pre-order from Xtra Mile, with a release date of 16th Feb 2018. You can pre-order Alamort via this link.
We have also just confirmed two album release shows, one in Norwich, one in London. Our good buddies Nervus and Grieving will be playing both shows as well.

USA Tour
After the fun of recording was over, it was time to turn our attention to heading back stateside for the third year in a row. We had only covered the East Coast before, this time we were going to work our way down the West Coast, starting in Seattle and going all the way down to San Diego, before an internal flight to finish at FEST in Gainesville, Florida. As usual, it always takes so much planning for these kind of trips and they inevitably end up zipping by way too quickly. Luckily a lot of the equipment and transport logistics were being covered by a band from LA called Spanish Love Songs who we were going to co-tour with. First up, they deserve the biggest shout out, not only are they a group of lovely people, but they are one of the best bands I've heard in a long time. Not only did they lend us every single piece of equipment, but they arranged all the drives, places to stay and even took us on some wonderful sight seeing tours. There is so much to talk about, but here are some tour highlights; Star Trek exhibition at MPop Seattle, playing Death By Stereos' skateboard shop, getting tattooed at Scapegoat in Portland, gambling in Las Vegas, vegan punk rock doughnuts in LA, Patrick Stewarts' Hollywood star, 39 degrees heatwave, FEST!

Monday, 18 September 2017

July/August Updates

Guilty Party - Jacksons Lane. 17th July
Just got back from Jacksons Lane Theatre in London where we took over the entire venue with our Guilty Party show. It was my first time at Jacksons Lane and straight away everyone made us feel really welcomed, it's a great venue ran by a a core group of very passionate people. I decided to take my 'bop' kit for this event as we were a little pressed for space (sometimes up to 15 of us on stage at any given time) Plus with the mixture of hoop acts, aerials, dance and theatre I wanted to keep it all compact. All in all, a great evening and hopefully the start of more Guilty Party events to come.

Ducking Punches
Another hugely busy couple of months with Ducking Punches which begun with our first time playing 2000 Trees Festival in Cheltenham. I had heard a lot about this festival over the last few years but had never made it down so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. To make things even more special we were opening up the Main Stage on the Saturday.
First impressions were amazing, it was one of the most friendly and well organised festivals I have attended and we were made to feel welcome straight away. After catching a few bands (including our buddies Muncie Girls) we got a fairly early night on the Friday so we were fresh for the show.
I was humbled by how many people showed up to watch us. It felt so special looking out and seeing so many people singing along as well. I have vowed to come back to 2000 Trees next year, it really is a special little festival.
Another highlight was getting back over to Germany for a few shows. It was my first time in Trier, which really is a spectacular city. In fact it's the oldest city in Germany and for once we got a rare full day to explore as well as try plenty of local mosel wine. Another first foe me was Ulm, which has the tallest spire in the world which we went to the top of. The shows were excellent and as usual, the people and venues went beyond expectations and treated us wonderfully.
We have also just finished demo-ing up the 3rd album. Drums were recorded at mine using my Zoom r16 before everything else was laid down at our guitarists. Really happy with how the new songs are sounding and even more excited to get to the studio in September to start recording.

Drum Shows
Over the next few months there will be two huge UK drum shows happening. The first one is happening the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September at Manchester Central and will see the likes of Thomas Lang, Dennis Chambers, Gerald Heyward and Simon Phillips amongst many others performing. There will also be all the major companies showing their gear (as well as plenty of independants) a vintage room, clinics etc. It's shaping up to look like the best show we've had in the UK for years. I'll be there for the weekend on the Amedia stand so come and say hi.
More info at ukdrumshow
Then on the 11th and 12th November, the London Drum Show will be making it's return to the Olympia. It's always been a great weekend and there are some really big names confirmed including Anika Nilles, Aaron Spears, Steve White and Jimmy Chamberlain. Jimmy (from Smashing Pumpkins) is always at the top of my list when it comes to influences so I am especially excited to see him, for what will be my first time. A lot of exhibitors haven't confirmed yet, but hopefully we'll start to hear of some companies being involved soon.
More info at londondrumshow