Monday, December 21, 2015
It seems appropriate that this installment is the 7th one, considering this weekend we experienced another Episode 7... but i digress. Let's talk about Drummers & Drums!
Our latest artist comes to us all the way from South Africa and is now planted in Los Angeles. A veteran of the road and the studio. Steven is ready to embark on a busy journey is this thing we call the music business. As we all know, it's not easy making it doing this, it can be even more difficult coming from another country and having to "restart" your career, so to speak. Well, Steven is doing a great job! Let's see what he has to say about all this...
Steven Bozz is Talkin' Chop!
Name or Stage Name: Steven Bozz
Where are you from? Nelspruit, South Africa (RSA)
How long have you been playing? I started when I was 13. So, 13 years.
What is or are your main genre of playing?
I like to keep pretty versatile in terms of genre playing, but I have two that are my favorite. Pop and Math Rock. Pop is just so much fun for when you just hit that pocket and stay there.
Math Rock kind of stems from a fusion style for me, so I feel free to express myself across polyrhythms and odd time signature playing.
How did you get where you are now?
Just some heavy amount of practice and finding every musician you like and try work with them. I am a new kid on the block in LA. But.. that means I am hungry.
So, tell us more about South Africa. What's the music scene like? What are some of tgeh differences between the RSA & the USA?
I love it there! It is substantially smaller in comparison.
I think the biggest difference is the closed mindedness to new genres in SA. I went on a tour where I was privileged enough to be playing for both of the bands.
Savage Lucy (Post Rock)
Follow Me Follow you (Math Rock).
We played in some smaller towns to try and play to crowds, that don't get the opportunity to experience different types of genres, like the bigger cities are accustomed to. We quickly learned that we had to change something as simple as the genre name for the crowd to come to the show.
One show we said that both bands were jazz bands, it worked! The whole town was there, the whole town. I mean, from much much older people down to toddlers. They were blown away and probably one of the most amazing crowds, because they wanted more and more.
I think that it is just the fact that you find yourself having to adapt. I am not saying that it doesn't happen here in the USA, but the scene is just bigger here.
Follow Me Follow You - "Big Trees"
Are the a lot of bands & venues to play there?
There are tons of bands there. You get the more popular indie sorts or Afrikaans sort of music (which is more like a country music, in a different language called Afrikaans) and the big African music movement. The bands are generally pretty good. The festivals in SA are out in the countryside. You stand there not knowing what to look at. . The band, the view or the beautiful people.
Smoking Dragon is probably the best festival out of them all. Not the biggest, but just in terms of all aspects on what a festival should be.
What adjustments have you had to make from RSA to USA?
The biggest thing right now is being known for what I do back in SA and being a small unknown in the big pond that LA.
Just shows in SA speaking:
7 shows in a week, but your first show is on Thursday and some shows are two hours excluding sound check and set up.
Right now it is all about networking and time. I just have to figure out how to bury myself into being just as busy, as I was back in SA. So, if you have any suggestions for being out in LA, I am all ears. My rates are decent and I am always up for a jam or shed session.
What are your goals, short & long term?
Short term would need to be, trying to tour the USA. I hear this country is gorgeous and has a lot to offer in terms of it's people and culture.
Long term, I want to play with all the musicians I respect and jam with them. Who knows, something might actually work out to be good.
Can you name some artists you would like to play for?
That is a list that is way too long be written. Haha, I would really be keen to work with Omar Rodriguez Lopez (Mars Votla, At the Drive in). That guy pushes all of his drummers really hard and I think that may be a serious test of character.
Would you list some of your accomplishments for us?
Fastest hands, drummer 3 years in RSA.
Managing to play 21 shows in 2 weeks.
7 shows in 3 days.
4 shows in one night.
Do you have your own band? genre?
I got together with a buddy of mine Kaz Le Bihan to do an electronic project called 'Bound by Soap'. It is kind of a mix between Tycho, Team Sleep and Ben Frost. At least, that is what I am hoping to attempt. The album should be out soon with some free downloads.
Do you play any other instruments? level? I try play the piano. Not well, but I really do love such a beautiful instrument.
What are your touring experiences, if any? I have done a bunch of tours in and around with multiple bands ranging genres. I am a big fan of touring. Maybe not the whole get in a car and stay there for the day, but the bonding with other players whilst struggling to get to the next show and the relief of playing.
Follow Me Follow You - "Chief Bengo Noorani's Magic"
Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
Vic Firth SD2 Bolero
Tama Iron cobra pedals
I have always been a serious fan of the Brady snare sound. Look at all of your favourite drummers and I bet one of them has used a Brady in an album.
SD2 BOLERO is thick and light stick made of Maple. Just seriously amazing sticks.
Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I like to jump between my
Brady 12x7 Jarrah block snare
Just bought myself a Gretsch renown pure wood series. African Wengei. They only do limited edition of each series. There were only 100 made. Really excited about jamming this kit!
Which wood shells do you prefer?
I am a big maple fan, especially when it has some age to it. Then its warm and loving. Jarrah wood has to be my favourite for the snare. It just let's you create all types of sounds. It really opens up your creativity.
What would be your ideal gear setup? list manufacturers and items...
I am really happy with my set up right now. I really take time in looking through the sound I really want.
How do you describe your drumming style?
Energetic with flare!
Why the drums?
Why not the drums. (Exactly!)
If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
Uhmmm. I would have to say a chef, but that is just because that is my favourite pass time.
How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
It has taught me discipline and how to love life. Everything feels better when I get to play drums. If it is a good or bad day. Everything just feels right in the world.
Is the music business your career? Yes. A tough one, but yes.
Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? I was pretty involved in the music scene back home, but I have just moved from South Africa out to LA, so I have less influence than I used to. The music is pretty small there in comparison, but it is thriving and growing at an alarming rate.
Blue Bird Theory - "New World"
Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
-Abe Cunningham from The Deftones. The man has subtle changes and clever grooves.
-Eric Moore. A killer drummer with mad speed
-Aaron Spears for Usher. That guy has the best chops. I enjoy all of his work.
-Benny Grebb. His thinking behind his playing is just so wonderful
-Thomas Pridgen... but when he played for the Mars Volta was his best work.
-Shannon Lucus. He is just the most amazing metal player. I am not a big fan of metal players, but he just adds so much feel, that it is hard to ignore.
Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Saw Benny Grebb in a clinic. That guy is just one of the best educators out there. He grasps all the thinking behind it all.
How much time do you practice?
I practice as much as I can. I used to practice about 10 hours a day, but now with a busier schedule I try get at least 20 hours/week or more.
Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? what do you get out of those sessions?
No, not yet locally in LA. If it is with the right drummers, then it is a sharing of ideas and learning on the fly.
Describe your current gig(s)
At the moment I have had to quit quite a few sessions, as I was working with about 8 artists/bands. Right now, I am working with Crimson Chrysalis. I have some upcoming tours to China and India. Really excited about checking out new countries.
Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you?
When I can. I mainly try record my shows for two reasons. To see where I can improve on my playing live. Everyone changes their playing from the practice room to the stage. The filming really helps you understanding what you were actually doing.
There are always shows that you walk away thinking were terrible or didn't feel right. You watch the footage (with reluctance I might add) and it actually might be fine.
Steven Bozz - Krewella - Killin' It (Drum Cover)
Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves?
I tend to go through phases. I try keep them equal, but you will always favour whichever you are better at. I stay disciplined and focused and what needs work.
Are you into electronic drums?
I love electronics. It makes your playing interesting and widens your sounds. Ableton is probably the best thing to have. That DAW can be your best friend.
Do you program drums?
Yes, but I try make it humanized as possible. Like changing the dynamic between hits. It takes a bit more takes more time, but definitely worth it.
Are you a songwriter as well?
Well my project Bound by Soap is my project with Kaz, as said earlier. We write everything together and collaborate with a few artists. I also wrote some corporate jingles and won an international award for some of the writing/playing/recording everything myself.
Do you sing and play?
That is one instrument I love (singing), but cannot do... well I just haven't found a sound I like.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring?
Touring! No doubt. I get to see the world and jam out with new and interesting human beings. There are always more new interesting things happening.
Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
They both have their advantages.
Sideman is always fun and challenging to learn something on the fly or understand the player you are standing in for and how he came to that particular decision. Then on top of all of that, make it your own, but not too much to throw off the band. It is sometimes a tricky balance.
In a band, Well that is something that is great, because you get the opportunity for more time to become intimate with the music. That is is a really beautiful thing on its own.
I would prefer to be part of a band, because you then have somewhere to call home. I think that is a strong importance to have for a balance in your mind and emotional state.
Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
There a few, but I think right now I have two. There is a band I played for called Follow Me Follow You. The bassist Jade has a strong political belief and wanst to make a good change on the world. The one show we played on the beach side of Durban to protest against Xenophobia.
An even more recent experience was the student protest outside Parliament of Cape Town. We were playing a gig just up the road and then all we heard was tear gas grenades and people screaming. There were cops lined up in riot gear and having to take action. It was pretty intense.
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
My father's words always help me get through tough times.
"Get up one more time than you have fallen down, and only then in life are you successful."
Any Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
Be persistent! ! ! And play with conviction.
Thank you to my friends and family back home. I miss you all so much!
Thank you for taking the time in reading this,
(818) 438 8060
Hey, we want to thank Steven for taking the time to share with everyone. Please make sure you check out his YouTube page. He has some kool vids of him playing various genres, good stuff!
Fellow drummers, make sure you network with our brother from South Africa. Share contact info. and so on...
I would like to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!
SEE YOU IN 2016!
If you would like to be profiled on Talkin' Chop
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org