Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Volume 64 - Chris Langan








CHRIS LANGAN












Hey Everybody!
We're baaak!
Sorry for the long absence but life & music has kept
 me away from my duties. But fear not! I have returned and ready to bring you more great drummers from around the world. This particular interview came by way of another interview I did with Robb Ryan. Robb was on Chris' podcast and Chris found me thru researching Robb. As you can see we have a great community and we're all doing our part to promote the drum life. I found Chris to be an interesting kat. A great player, Teacher, Podcaster...I mean what can't he do?! Well, let's see if we can find out. Chris Langan is here and he's Talkin' Chop!




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Name or Stage Name: Chris Langan 


Where are you from? Scranton, Pennsylvania


How long have you been playing? 33 Years


What is or are your main genre of playing?
I have played in all sorts of bands throughout the years ranging from Funk, Alternative, Pop, Classic Rock, Jam Band, and so on. I'm currently playing with an Outlaw Country Group, a Blues Band, and a Classic Rock Band.



How did you get where you are now?
Many years of hard work. I'm pretty well known locally, hence the number of bands I've played in. I'm also a Drum Teacher. It started as a side thing just teaching some friends of the family but has developed into me working full-time at The Scranton Music Academy and Privately. Not to mention all of the educational content I post on the internet.



What are some of your goals, short & long term? 
Well, there are a few. I'm gearing up to launch my website which will be a one-stop shop for a few different things - Online Video Drum Lessons, Remote Drum Tracking, and Private Lessons. I'm hoping for success with that. My Podcast, "The Up & Coming Drummer Podcast" has been doing very well. We just released episode #23 . I just hope that continues to do well. I hope the gigging continues to go well and lands us in some bigger, better venues. I've become endorsed by some incredible companies. I hope to continue working with them all, and become a part of a few more families which I really believe in, and would love to work with. 







Artists you would like to play for?
I play with some of the coolest cats in the area. I always surround myself with the best of the best. Of course, I'd love to play with some of the bigger touring acts and maybe someday I'll get that phone call! 



Any of your accomplishments you would like to share?Oh man...I'm sure I'll miss something here. So many great things I've gotten the chance to experience. Been nominated for Drummer of the Year twice. Played in Nashville a few times. All the cool bars during CMA Fest, and once at Nissan Stadium. Been endorsed by some amazing companies. I host "The Up & Coming Drummer Podcast". I teach drums full-time. My social media pages are growing by the day. 



How did the podcast "The Up & Coming Drummer" come about?Well, as I started to get more into creating content for YouTube and Instagram, I realized that there were literally hundreds if not thousands of other drummers out there just like myself. I thought it would be cool to chat with these folks, hear their stories, and maybe create a little community of Drummers.



As someone speaking with drummers and delving into the drum world, How do you see the state of drumming today?
I don't think it's ever been better or stronger! The community is super supportive of each other. With platforms like Instagram, you can reach out to your favorite drummer for advice or even lessons. There are more drum companies popping up than ever! Lots of cool custom products out there now. It's no longer just Zildjian or Pearls game. You've got guys like Predator Percussion, Low Boy Beaters, Big Fat Snare Drum who are super supportive of the up and coming drummer as well. It's a great time to be a part of the industry.



You're 23 episodes in, do you have a favorite show to date? 
I love them all. But I think I really felt like I had something of value when Siros Vaziri decided to come on as a guest. He has created a massive following for himself by being the "Fill Guy" on YouTube and Instagram. He certainly could have blown off this little, unheard of podcast. But it just goes to show what a great group of people we have here. He was more than happy to come on and also give away one of his video lesson packs to a lucky winner. 



I dig that you're featuring up & coming players. That's one of the things I do with TC. What was your motivation behind starting the podcast? 
Well, it's exactly that..The Up & Coming Player. I feel like we have plenty of Podcasts that talk about the Legends, and the Famous Drummers. Don't get me wrong, I love those podcasts. But I find it interesting to hear the hustle of guys like myself who are doing big things. I think it inspires the young players who want to take their drumming to the next level.






Have you done the band thing? Plenty! Haha.


What are your touring experiences, if any? Played up and down the East Coast, Nashville with a Country band, and have played just about every venue locally.







Tools of the trade: 

Predator Percussion Custom Snare, Los Cabos Drumsticks, Yamaha Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Gibraltar Hardware, Drumtacs, Lowboy Beaters, TnR Products, Audix Mics, Shure Mics and In-Ears, Tama Iron Cobra Pedal, and a bunch of other odds and ends!










Do you have multiple kits and snares?I have multiple snares. At the moment, my Predator Percussion Custom made 7X14 Walnut. Ludwig Supralite, Yamaha Birch, a Pearl steel snare, and a Pork Pie Little Squealer. I have multiple kits. My main Yamaha Stage Custom, a couple Alesis Electronic kits, a Sonor kit that is outfitted in mesh heads and Zildjian Low Volume Cymbals (The after midnight kit).





Do you have a "Dream Kit"?I'm looking at some custom drum companies right now to see who I really want to build my "Dream" kit.



How do you describe your drumming style? Extremely versatile and adaptable to any situation! Solid Groove!!!



Salsa Drumless Playalong - Chris Langan



Why the drums?I was given my first kit at the age of 4 because I really liked "The Monkees" tv show and albums. Especially the drummer. I haven't been able to stop playing since!



If you weren't playing drums, what would you be doing?If I couldn't play drums, I'd somehow try to teach them, or work as a producer or engineer.





How has drumming impacted or changed your life?It is my life. It's how I survive. It's my job so it's pretty important!



Are you doing music full time?Yes. Teaching and Performing.



As an educator, doing private lessons as well as video tutorials. What are some of the common things your students are working on or want to learn?  
I'm working on double stroke rolls with a lot of them. I have a structure that seems to work most of the time with students. Once I get them doing some basic reading, keeping time, playing some fills, and have a bunch of beats under their belts, I like to introduce doubles. I feel like good doubles are the key to making that transition from beginner drummer to intermediate.





There are a lot of katz doing instructional vids. How do you distinguish yourself in that world?  That's a great question. It's a pretty saturated market. I think you need to really focus on getting yourself out there first. Get a Youtube and an Instagram. Don't do it for the money. Be yourself and let your audience like you because they like you. I'm just now about to release a website with some paid education. You definitely have to build up a bit of a fan base first. You have to build trust. If people like your personality, and the way you deliver information, they will want to help you out by paying for your services.




You got drum covers, groove of the week, drum fill friday as well as product reviews...you a one stop shop:You could say that! Lol. Going back to the building relationships and trust thing. I want people to know I'm invested in helping them learn the drums. I want people to get to know me and my style of doing things. If they like what they are getting for free, they will love what I have over in the paid section of my lessons. 

Drum Cover - "Warmth" by INCUBUS




And how has recording your sessions helped you?I can't stress enough the importance of recording yourself. You can pick apart your playing from an outside point of view. There's no better way to document your progress.



Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?1-Carter Beauford 2-John Bonham 3-Dave Grohl 
4-Chad Sexton 5-Benny Greb

With the exception of Benny Greb, I grew up listening to all of them. They have all had a huge part in shaping me into the drummer I am today. Benny Greb is someone I really look up to presently. The guy has an undeniable groove. I've learned a lot from him, and I use his books a lot in my own teaching practice.



Drum Lesson - "Rock n Roll" by Led Zeppelin




Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?Any 311 show! I've seen them a bunch and they have been my all time favorite band for quite some time!



How much time do you practice?I'm on the kit at a minimum of 4 hours every day. Someday's more!







What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?It depends. Some days are focused on creating lessons for my students. Recently I've been diving into the Gary Chaffee books and trying to apply his concepts to my playing.


Drum Fill Friday - Fill #38




Do you have a preference of studio sessions, local live gigs or touring?I don't...I love them all!



Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?I enjoy being in a band. I find enjoyment in serving the music.



Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?Many crazy ones, but I'd have to say the gigs in Nashville were some of the coolest ever. I mean Nissan Stadium, The Schermerhorn Symphony Hall, Tootsie's...You can't beat that!



What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?I'm a teacher so I think the biggest thing is to have patience. We will never master this instrument. We can only hope to be a little better than we were the day before. Don't compare yourself, and when you practice...Really focus. Get off the phone and get to business. 



Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You's???
Thanks to everyone checking out this interview! Thanks to all my students, bandmates, and anyone I've ever worked with for allowing me to do what I love for a living. If you are thinking about improving your skills on the drums, then please check out the following pages:

If you would like to listen to my drum podcast featuring interviews with drummers on the rise from all around the world, than head to:
Itunes, Google Play, or Stitcher --The Up and Coming Drummer Podcast


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Well, there you have it! Chris Langan the multifaceted drummer.
I want to Thank Chris for sharing his drum life with us all and for contacting me, so we could make this happen. I hope you guys check out Chris' links and support his work. Especially the podcast, because he is promoting up & coming drummers and I dig that!


Once again, thank all of you for reading this interview. Please tell all your drummer friends about Talkin' Chop. And if you or anyone you know would like to be interviewed, please hit me up. It's FREE promo for you and your band (if your in one) or if you just want to do it for fun.




DeHaven - de@oliomusic.com


You can also find me here:

#TalkinChop #DrummersSupportDrummers #DrumLife


I'M OUT!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Volume 63 - Mike Spencer









MIKE SPENCER








So back to Atlanta, GA we go...
Thx 2 our friend Andre Boyd, I was able to hook up with this talented young man, who is definitely on his way to doing some great things in this industry. Not satisfied with being a drummer on a gig, he has his eyes set on be involved in all parts of the production.
I dig it when we see katz getting into more than just being a side-man. We are more than drummers (don't 4get that)
With that being said, let's see what this musical entrepreneur is up to and how he is creating and managing opportunities for himself 





Name or Stage Name: 

Mike Spencer



Where are you from? 

Born and Raised In Atlanta, GA



How long have you been playing? 

18 years.



Do you have a genre preference? 

To be a great musician all genres need to be your preference, but if i had to choose, it would be pop music.



How did you get where you are now? 

Developing relationships. Being nice and respectful to anybody I work with.



Why the drums? 

I saw my Aunt and older brother playing the drums and having fun with it. Seeing my cousin Puncho Stewart and knowing how far he got with it was the icing on the cake for me.



Hold old were you when you first started playing at your father's church? 

I was 8 years old. Played my first Wednesday night bible study at my pop’s church



How would you describe that first time you got to play at church? 

A rush of energy mixed in with nervousness. A girl I had a crush on at the time went to my dad’s church and she was there and I didn’t want to mess up and embarrass myself in front of her



I read that your Aunt and your brother were big influences on you. What types of things did you learn from them and are you still using that knowledge? 

I learned the basics from my Aunt and brother. You can never go without using the basics first. I'm definitely still using all of that knowledge everytime I get behind a kit.





What are some of your goals, short & long term? 

Short term: I want to finally get on a major tour and share my gift in front of huge crowds of people. Traveling with my talent. Room service, and long rehearsals and getting comfortable with a show I can make my own. Long term: I want to build the company I have with my best friend. Its called Room 442 Productions. Its a company that does everything music. You have the 442 Band for live shows, Studio production, Backline Rental, Artist Development, Rehearsal Space ect.



You have a nice resume of artists played for, are there any gigs that stand out? 

When I Played For Chico Debarge. It was like my first big gig at the time. I was so nervous to meet him and play his music. But he was the most down to earth person. SO much that he walked past me a few times and didn’t even know it was him. He made me feel comfortable with everything that was going on. Treated me like he would one of his friends. I appreciate a boss such as him. SO when I got on stage, I had no nervousness. I played and smashed the gig and played for him a few more times after. Great times!



What are your touring experiences, if any? 

I have toured with number of bands. College tours, doing cover pop music for Frats and Sororities. That's pretty much it.





Doing the college tours, what was that like? How did you keep it fresh every night?
I like to change up my set ups quite a bit. Adding more interesting things to use to make the show bigger. More samples, more sounds coming from the drum kit. My thing is, if the space allows it, set it up. I also like to come up with new fills and as an MD of the band, I like to arrange more hits and breaks in the music to make it not become boring to me and the rest of the band and singers.


Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks…ect? 
I have a number of kits sitting in my living room as we speak. I have a Tama Hyperdrive, Pearl Masters, Sonor 2007, Orange County Avalon, Mapex Armory,, Pearl Export. And all of my configurations come in 10, 12, 14, 16 toms. I love Evans Hydraulic Series heads for my toms. The hydraulic blues, and reds really bring a warms and tone to my toms. I use Remo Powerstroke 77 Clear and Coated on my snares. Those snare heads bring the right amount of body and pop I needs for the Pop gigs and R&B gigs. My cymbals are strictly Sabian. I used to have variety of cymbals. But I recently sold a lot of them to go with just Sabian. A dream to be a part of that lovely company. I used DW 9000 Kick Pedal, and Hihat Stand. I Love Vic Firth 85A drumsticks. They make me feel really comfortable behind the kit. Makes me feel like I can do anything behind a kit. 



Good lord, why do you have so many kits, lol?

I like to get up in the morning and sip my coffee and choose whatever kit I want to play that day, LOL. But seriously. Some kits were actually designed for a certain sound. Some are used for church. Some are used for hip hop, and jazz. Its just about what kind of sound I am going for with that particular gig. I am a musician of all genres. I play everything. So when I get the call for a gig, I have the kit to make the gig more efficient. Like I have a lot of cymbals too. Do I use all of them at the same time? Heck no! But I have the cymbal I need for every gig that I do. I will never compromise my sound because of what I don’t have.




Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
My dream kit has to be a Pearl Reference Kit. 10, 12, 14, 16 toms. I have seen so many people use those kits and the sound amazing when they are mixed correctly. And of course with the right tuning and heads. 


Rihanna x Mr.E. Worldwide - Same Ol' Mistakes (Cover)





How do you describe your drumming style? 
My style ranges from a lot of different influences in my life. I've watched and learned from many different people. So to describe my style, I would say that it aggressive and sure. Laid back when needed to be. But I always use my jazz style of playing with mostly everything I do. Now when i say Jazz, I don’t mean swinging every song I come in contact with. I mean, I like to approach every song with a level of tastefulness. Not using too much but just enough to make the song feel really good, and makes you want to stay in there for a little while. A lot of drummers I see coming up are killing chops but when you ask them to play a song, they have no feel. Groove is nowhere to be found. And you look at them as if you want to ask the question, "What are you practicing?"





You talk about "playing the song" why do you think so many drummers haven't grabbed that concept yet?
Here’s a good example. I was doing an audition about a week ago. I was hired to look at drummers for this particular band. So one of the guys that was auditioning came in and I asked him, Do you know Rock With You by Michael Jackson? He told me with confidence, Yes, I do know it. Ok play it for me, I said. Everybody should know that song and how to start it. He started that song and did not play the intro nearly as right as it should be. I don’t even think he even knew that there was an intro for that song that started out with a quick drum fill. I said that to say, that when some drummers listen to songs, they are not listening to learn the song, they are listening for a beat to play over it. Playing it their way. Even in Gospel, back in the day you could kinda get away with it, but now its becoming more controlled and you have to actually sit and learn these songs, and people want to hear the song, not your version of it. The artist that you are playing for wants to hear their song, not your version of it.




If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? 

If i wasn’t playing drums. I would probably find myself designing houses and skyscrapers. I went to school and got a degree in Computer Drafting and Design. 



How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 

I was always thought that you had to work a 9-5 job to survive and make it in the world. But music has shown me that you can make it, have a family, and support them through your dreams. A lot of people were not afforded the opportunity to live a dream. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to live a dream and make good money doing it.





Are playing music full time? 

Yes, I do play music full time.



Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? Todd Sucherman is one of my influences. He is majorly aggressive being his kit. He is very sure as to what he wants to do and he makes sure he is comfortable. 
Mike Clemons is another one of my favorites. Going from R&B and then hitting the gospel scene. He knows how to be discipline in both genres of music. He knows when to lay it back and knows when to come out. He is also aggressive behind his kit. 
Terry Baker taught me a valuable lesson. Bigger cymbals keep the gigs coming in. 
Chris Coleman is another influence I would love to have a sit down talk with and pick his brain. He fills up the music so much. His feel behind the kit is amazing. He makes all the music feel good. Something to dance to. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
I went to go see Snarky Puppy a couple years ago. That changed my life, but went to see them a second time a year later and made a decision to start practicing more to things that make me uncomfortable to get me out of a comfort zone.



The "Comfort Zone" what types of things take you out of your comfort zone? is Time Signatures, Tempos, Arrangements...???

I like to take artist songs and actually learn the songs. When I get that major tour call, I want to be ready to go. Have the discipline to sit down and learn what I am hearing. The challenge comes when you have to find sounds. Especially with this pop and R&B and other types of music with all the sounds in there. You have to find those sounds and play them. After I learn the song, I would take them and arrange them to be tasteful and put enough of myself in there to where it doesn’t take away from the show and make sure it something the artist would like added to their show. 







How much time do you practice? 

I take at least a couple hours out of my week to practice. I also have gigs that I do when I can get practice in. Using more of my pocket and making music fell better to play with other musicians 



What types of things do you work on, in those sessions? 

I like to work on my feel. Making everything very clean as I execute them. I’m not a great chopper at all. I am known for making my pocket work for me.



Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you? 
I haven’t recorded any drum videos of me. I have a couple good friends that do it and they constantly push me to do drum videos. One of them even went as far as to even show me how to get started recording myself in logic. I know its something that will help me in the long run.


Mr.E. Worldwide - Secret Room (Live at 3 Shades of Soul ATL)






Have you been doing any studio work? 
Yes. My band, The 442 Band has just recorded some promo for our social media. And I always record for a band that I work with called Mr. E. Worldwide (above)
 I have done at least 12 records with them. I also do other sideline work in the studio for various artist in Atlanta. I have been told that my studio work is excellent. Of course, you are your worse critic.



Looks like you have a strong studio career happening. Are you enjoying that creative space? 
I enjoy my creative space in more of a live setting. Creating arrangements and getting everybody’s input to build a great show. I love being in the studio, but when I am in the studio I want the artist to be satisfied with what the music feels and sounds like other than myself being satisfied. Not saying that there is no creative space in the studio, but most of my studio time was with an artist that wanted something specific. 





Aside from playing at church, do you like doing the sideman gigs? 

I love doing sideman gigs. I helps with building connections wherever you are. I love doing sideman gigs more than I like doing my gig. Build relationships and your catalog for people to call if you need them. 



Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 

Yes! Me and my friends were doing the Jackson R&B Festival not too long ago, and we had the worst time preparing for it and everything. First off, the artist had a manager that knew nothing about music and would just talk to us and we had no idea what was supposed to be done. Keep in mind, we can’t reach the artist at all. So we get to our first rehearsal and its in a room where you can hear an echo from here to Texas. So we begin to do the rehearsal and we begin the track and the track has a live band already recorded into it. 



What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 

Study your craft and be the best you can be at it. Do whatever you can to develop good meaningful relationships with people that only want to see you succeed. Always do things the right way. Never cut any corners because it will always be something in the end to mess everything up. 



Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Let me first say thank you to DeHaven Carrington for giving me this opportunity, and Andre Boyd for the introduction. I Love to play drums and want nothing more than to be great and successful at it. You can find me on Facebook as Mike Spencer. My Instagram is mk_guts. Please find a befriend and follow me, inbox me. Ask questions. I’m and open book.

Well, there you have it peeps...Mike Spence in all of his drumming glory. It's always a pleasure to help promote katz who are really doing things and making it happen in various ways.
Mike, Thx so much for being a part of TC and sharing your drum life with all of us. Respect & Appreciation.



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Remember, if you or someone you know needs some attention in the drum world...Hit Me Up!

DeHaven - de@oliomusic.com
www.facebook.com/talkinchop
http://twitter.com/talkinchopblog



#DrummersSupportDrummers #TalkinChop #DrumLife



I'M OUT!!






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