Monday, October 12, 2015
Volume 2 - Matthew Foos
This installment of Talkin' Chop introduces a unique character to the scene.
Matthew Foos is a kat I met a couple years ago, as my band was touring through AZ.
His band FAIRY BONES were on the same bill and we also played the same festival last year. (Side Pony Music Fest)
So, I got a chance to really hear this kat get down in his own special way.
Since then they have released their first album DRAMABOT and have been doing some regional touring on the west coast. They are definitely the kind of band you need to see live.
They bring great energy and fun to the stage. The crowd goes nuts and there is a good time had by all. They are a group of talented musicians who are very confident and know exactly who they are as a band, and the guy driving this krazze, quirky but very kool band...
Matthew Foos and he is Talkin' Chop
Name or Stage Name: Matthew Foos, Matt, pain in the butt, the one that's always rushing everyone else.
Where are you from? Born in Burlington Vermont, raised in Phoenix Arizona since 1990.
How long have you been playing? I've been playing drums since I was about five year's old, so that's going on twenty five years now.
What is or are your main genre of playing? People would probably say rock, but I think my style leans more to funk/hiphop/gospel.
How did you get where you are now? Relentless practice and work. It's taken along time for me to become the musician I am today, and as I turn thirty soon I realize I have a whole new life ahead of me. So in the end, I'm never finished and always on my way somewhere.
What are your goals, short & long term? My only goals, have always been, and will always be the same. I want to be the best writer and performer I can be. I want to create the best music I can, and I want to be able to perform it at the highest of levels. Keeping it simple works for me. Sure there are lots of things I would like to accomplish, but in the end those are the only two goals I have any real control over. Everything else just comes down to timing and luck.
Artists you would like to play for? This is such a hard question. Most of my favorite bands have amazing drummers, and I would never want to take their places. But if forced to decide, I would say Queens of the stone age. Their full tilt boogie get's me going like no one else.
List some of your accomplishments Drumming has taken me all around the world, I've played in France and Germany. I've performed my favorite piece of classical music, Gustav Holst's “Jupiter” on the Great Wall of China. I've been all around America, both in high school and college, and now with my current band Fairy Bones.
Do you have your own band? genre? Details…. My current and favorite band of all time, is Fairy Bones. We are a freaky little foursome, with the wonderful Chelsey Louise on vocals, my good friend Robert Cuica on guitar and key's, and my little brother Benjamin on bass and keys. We've always struggled with defining our genre, which in my opinion is a good thing. Instead of having a specific style, we've natural grown into our own sound. Which in the long run will pay off for us. But as of now we like to joke that were creepy three minute pop/funk musicals in a grunge Halloween costume.
FAIRY BONES - MUSIC VIDEO FOR "BANSHEE"
Do you play any other instruments? Level? I've been playing guitar since I was about eleven, and in all honesty I took playing guitar far more serious than I did drums at first. I didn't start taking percussion seriously till high school, and if I would have been able to play guitar in marching band, I probably would have never become the drummer I am today. I also play bass, piano, keys, I've dabbled with other orchestral stringed instruments. But it's mainly just guitar and drums.
What are your touring experiences, if any? I've been through Europe and China with high school organizations, and I've toured most of the south and northwest with Fairy Bones. I've done the most touring recently with Fairy Bones as we've expanded our reach.
Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items? I play an old pearl export series kit. 12, 16, and 22in kick. I play a 14in Ludwig Acrilite snare, which all the drum nerds drool over. I try and play Evans heads, but being a starving musician I take what I can get. I play mainly Zildjian cymbals, a 24in ride and 16in vintage crash, I also have some dingy pawn shop china. I tend to buy Sound Percussion sticks, and I have a full set of Pearl stands thanks to a close personal friend. I come from the mindset that if you can make something terrible sound great, then you can make anything sound good. Nothing irks me more, than a terrible musician on amazing equipment. It just feels wrong in so many ways.
Do you have multiple kits and snares? I don't have multiple kits as of right now, maybe someday. I do have a few extra Ludwig snares in case I need one in a pinch.
Which wood shells do you prefer? I'm not very picky on the wood choice, but I've always been a big fan of maple drums.
What would be your ideal gear setup? list manufacturers and items. I've always been a huge fan of pearl, I would love a nice Mapex kit, or DW. Recently I've been getting into Q Drums as well.
How do you describe your drumming style? I think my style as grown more from being a songwriter than anything else. I've always respected the really technically great drummers, with the flash and chops, but I've always been more interested in serving the song first. I guess I would say my style is mostly funk and hip hop, something about staying in the pocket and making the least amount of notes go the farthest has always interested me the most.
Why the drums? Honestly they kind of just came into my life. But the moment that changed everything for me was when I saw the local high schools drumline perform at one of my middle school band shows. Seeing that many drummers all in sync with each other changed my whole perspective.
If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? I'd probably be a guitar player.
How has drumming impacted or changed your life? Over the last few years drumming has really taught me the greatest lesson of all. You'll go so much farther in life if you use your talents to help others. I always wanted to be the singer/songwriter of a band, but after years of struggling to find the right musicians it took playing the drums to see the error in my ways. As soon as I realized that I could do more, and help others more, by being the best drummer I could. I stopped wanting to be anything else, and now everything seems to be falling into place.
Is the music business your career? Music is my career, the business is just part of that.
Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Yeah, I've played in several bands and sit in to help other groups out from time to time. I don't go out as much as I use to, but I'm always out supporting my friends when they need it. The community in Phoenix is pretty amazing and close. It's really nice knowing there are so many great people in my city.
Name 5 of your drumming influences? Why? Ringo, because he's pretty much the shining example of what it means to serve the song first. Buddy Rich, because well he's just the wild child. Billy Cobham, because if you don't like the Mahavishnu Orchestra you are seriously missing out. Jon Theodore, because the Mars Volta is a monster and the current Queens of the stone age lineup is ridiculous with him. And lastly Thomas Pridgen, because he is a one man army behind the kit.
FAIRY BONES ( Robert Ciuca, Ben Foos, Chelsey Louise, Matthew Foos )
Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? Seeing the Mars Volta really made me want to push my chops to the next level. I got to see Peter Erskine do a clinic when I was in high school, just listening to him talk about playing really opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't think about before.
How much time do you practice? I don't practice as much as I use to, but I'm constantly working little things here and there. I'm at a place in my life now, where I realize the importance of a strong mental attitude. If my mind is clear and focused I can really do anything I set my mind to. If I'm unfocused or something is stressing me out, it really hinders my playing. So right now I'm more focused keeping my mind and body in a good place, than I am at forcing myself to practice as much as I use to.
Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? what do you get out of those sessions? No unfortunately I'm not, but I've been looking for some and hopefully someday soon I'll find some. I use to do shed session in high school, and it taught me a lot about playing with others and giving other people the space to do their thing.
Describe your current gig(s) I mainly play with Fairy Bones now, so most of our gigs are just our own shows or opening for bigger bands.
DRAMABOT - Available Now!
Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you? I use to, lots of people film us now so I usually watch those. It's helped me realize my posture could use work. I played the kit at first too much like a marching percussionist, it took me some time to really approach the kit like a drum-set player. It also really helps me understand how I'm fitting into a song.
Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? Always the groove. Chops are great, and I love seeing someone with great command of their chops. But I've seen too many drummers care more about their fills than actually being in the pocket, so I always focus on the song and the groove first. If there is time for some fancy things, then there's time for them, but I never loose sight of the groove.
Are you into electronic drums? I don't really like electronic kits.
Do you program drums? I don't like electronic kits, but I love drum machines. I have the abelton push, and spend hours fiddling around with it. I love programming beats, and soundscapes.
Are you a songwriter as well? Yup, I think it's crucial as a drummer to have some sort of handle on songwriting. It helps me learn songs faster, and find my place in the song as well. Plus it helps me approach the song from a better perspective, where most drummers just bash away and play over the whole song, songwriting has taught me how to fit into a song without over powering the whole ensemble.
Do you sing and play? Until recently no, but some of our new songs are forcing me to sing background while I play. Which is a lot more fun than I expected it to be.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? All of the above, and for different reasons. I love playing, I love writing, and I love performing. I love working in the studio, I love performing to a good crowd, and I love performing to people who don't know us. Nothing like converting the masses.
Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? I like playing with good musicians, who have a strong personal vision. So it doesn't really matter to me. But at the end of the day, I'd rather be in a great band. Something about creating a world in and of itself attracts me to bands. I've always wanted to be in a ragtag bunch of weirdo's creating something intensely interesting.
Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? Every gig is different, some are stranger than others. We've played everything from baby showers to fashion shows to everything in between. My band Fairy Bones tends to be the craziest thing at most shows, so we just bring the weird and interesting with us.
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? Be the best you can be for other people and you will go far. And always remember, you may want to sing, you may want to be the guitarist or front man. But you will have a much more lucrative career as a drummer, great drummers are hard to fine, and everyone is always looking for a great drummer.
Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? Thanks to my band and family first and foremost, without them I'd be nothing. You can check out my band Fairy Bones at www.fairybones.com, plus you can Google us and were everywhere music is found online. As for hashtags, I don't have any good appropriate ones, #sorrynotsorry.
A big Thank You to Matthew!
I wish him well on his success with Fairy Bones and i'm sure i'll see him soon on the road.