Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Volume 35 - David Dusseault

David Dusseault

We're off to the great North West to check out a young man who is laying down some heavy grooves for a band called Avoid the Void.(say that 3x's fast)
David is a drummer who is definitely passionate about his band and their success and rightly so. He is a solid driving force and has the chops to back it up. I was digging his studio sound, as it a bit different for the genre and I think, refreshing. As usual, meeting David was a friend of a friend kinda thing and I got to pitch my schpeel about chatting it up about his drum life. He agreed and now you guys get to read all about him and his band, right here on Talkin' Chop!

Name or Stage Name:
My name is David Dusseault.

Where are you from?
I'm from Kirkland, Washington.

How long have you been playing?

I've been playing for about 11 years now. I started in 5th grade!

Have you had any formal training? (private lessons or music school)
In terms of musical training, I haven't received real formal training. I'm mainly self taught with the exception of elementary through high school. I did have some tips and coaching along the way, attended some clinics, and had a pretty amazing drum line instructor that taught me the concepts of practicing correctly! Other than that, mostly self taught.

What is or are your main genre of playing?
The main genre I like to play is metal. I like to play a little more on the progressive and groovy side.

How did you get where you are now?
I just practiced a lot and played a lot of shows with my band! 

What are your goals, short & long term?
Short term, my goals are to get a few tours under my belt and continuing to practice as hard as I can to further tighten up my playing, enhance my creative side, and increase my overall skill level. Long term I look forward to even bigger tours, educating, having the chance to endorse my favorite companies, and furthering my skills even more. I love to learn new chops, new concepts and I hope to eventually develop my own method of double bridging between pedals to teach!

Artists you would like to play for?
At the top of my list is always my band Avoid the Void, but if I had the chance I'd love to play with Periphery, even just one song. It would be awesome. I would also love to play with some really heavy bands at some point, or just play something like that live someday. I would also love to play for a band similar to Snarky Puppy, or some band similar to Moving Parts. I would also love to play in a group similar to Phantagram or Tycho. Even though Tycho is mostly electronic, I'd love to play an ambient style like that. 

List some of your accomplishments:
My accomplishments so far have been recording my band's debut EP The Trench, playing Slipknot's Knotfest in California, playing a day on the All Stars Tour also in California, going on a tour through the west coast, and soon to be a tour through half of the US.

Avoid the Void at Knotfest 2015

Your currently in a band called Avoid the Void, What kind of band is this?
It is a metal band. We're more on the progressive side of things. Dare I jump into the pool of sub-genres, progressive metal core? Basically we like to get heavy, play some complicated riffs, play some simple driving riffs, play some really melodic riffs, and sing! It's pretty hard to describe our sound. Soon enough though, there will be songs coming out that describe our sound a little more than even the Trench does.

How did the band come about?
The band was formed a very long time ago by our Vocalist and guitarist at the time, they formed it as a jam group in middle school. They eventually wrote their own material and began to gain members. At some time later I joined and we decided that we were going to be a metal band because why not? We then wrote our first song as a band. Then we started playing shows and trying to show what we had, we of course, were still trying to figure out what kind of band we were, dealing with member changes, and trying to write new music. After a while we gained a couple more members and the lineup feels more solid than ever. Our new music is really personifying our sound and feeling good. But all in all, we practiced hard and never let anything get us down and now it's only up from here!

Avoid the Void

Are you one of the songwriters in the band?
I help write songs sometimes. My guitarist does most of the writing. The rest of the band helps organize and decide what parts fit or flow correctly. I help reorganize drum parts and rewrite them to fit my playing style or make them more realistic.

As Indie bands, you have to hustle to make things happen... do you perform any other roles in the band, other than drummer?
I definitely agree with the hustle. As for roles, I'm definitely a gear head so I help find gear that'll be useful and great for the band. I'm also very good about loading gear in and out, but I guess that comes alongside being a drummer. Other than that, no other roles!

How would you describe the bands dynamics? Do you guys work well together?
I'd actually describe our band as having one of the greatest dynamics around. Not to sound too arrogant, but I believe it's true. We are all great working together, we have just the right amount of fun and work. We all put in our share, and vibe really well together on and off stage. Outside of the band, we all hang out and are best friends. I feel it helps the dynamic incredibly. I love my bros.

So, I'm listening to your single "Prototype" from 2013. You drum sound in pretty open and natural, was that your idea or the producers?
Oh Prototype, that's a story. So as you know it was our first single. It was all our first real time in the studio so we didn't really have any idea what we were doing or what we were supposed to do. We were all so young, I was 18 and our singer was 14 at the time. That was the first song we wrote together as a band. It was also the first real band experience besides shows we had. So to answer the question it was the producer's choice to have the drums sound like that. But the single no longer really reflects the band or our sound much any more. It was fun experience and a good memory though!
I mention this because sometimes bands in this genre, the drums are so processed, that you can't tell if there is an actual person playing:
It's true, a lot of times you can't. The band and I like to record real drums for our music. For future recordings we are planning on having a full and real sounding drums. I'm a really big fan of the drum sounds on Periphery's Alpha and Omega. They are really big, but natural. I'm looking forward to powerful and human sounding drums on future recordings.

Has the band done any touring?
Yes! We've only done one real tour as of right now, but we have a second one almost fully booked for this coming summer. We also plan on touring a lot more in the near future.

Is Avoid the Void the only project you're working on at this time?
It is the only project at the moment, but I look forward to working on side projects or maybe doing some session work on the side in the future!

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect?
My current setup is:

DW Collector's series 4 piece. 8x10 and 9x12 rack toms, 14x16 floor tom, and 18x22 kick.
I have the 10in tom mounted to the left of my hi hat stand, and the 12in and 16in toms in a two floor tom configuration.

DW Collector's series Black Nickel over Brass 5.5x14 Snare Drum

I use Evans heads, EC2 Clears for tom batters, Genera Resos for tom resonants, Emad 2 and Emad Reso for the Kick, HD Dry for snare batter and Hazy 300 for snare side.

Cymbals from left to right. Meinl 14in Byzance Vintage Sand Hats Meinl 18in Byzance Vintage Sand Medium Crash. Meinl 10in Byzance Dark Splash Meinl 20in Byzance Jazz Thin Crash. Meinl 21in Byzance Extra Dry Transition Ride. Meinl 20in Byzance Extra Dry China. Meinl 18in Byzance Vintage Trash Crash on top of upside down Meinl 18in Byzance Extra Dry China.

I have all DW 9000 stands and pedals with a hi hat stand, double pedal, and remote hi hat stand on the right foot side for the trash stack hats.

I also use Promark DC17 marching sticks to warm up with and Promark DC17i indoor marching sticks for the kit.

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I don't have many drums yet, but I just have my Collector's kit and snare, and I have a 1961 Slingerland snare that I'm going to fix, shine, and replace the throw off for soon! 

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
I definitely have a dream kit. Though I have pretty much my dream kit at the moment, I would like to order a more unique collector's series and a more unique top edge snare some day. I would also like to build many cymbal sets and different customizations and kits for different situations! 

How do you describe your drumming style?
The way I've heard my style described is powerful, hard hitting, and intricate. I try to include as many nuances such as ghost notes and hi hat clicks all while being powerful live. I do hit pretty hard as well. I try to hit ever note with confidence and I also try to make my beats comfortable for other musicians to play over. Giving a solid groove and powerful backbeat without sacrificing technicality and spice!

"Breathe" from their EP TheTrench

Why did you choose the drums?
I chose the drums because my mom wouldn't let me play the flute! And I also could never keep still and drumming helps with that a lot. Plus I just love the sound of drums!

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
If I wasn't playing drums I would have loved to be an astronomer. I love space and science. I've always been interested in science and all things space related.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
Drumming has given me the chance to play music for people across the world someday, it has also given me some of the best experiences I've ever had. I wouldn't give it up for anything. And someday I hope to inspire people through teaching, playing and many other things and hopefully change some lives for the better.

Is the music business your career?
It is not my career yet, it is my career goal for sure however. Currently I work at Guitar Center, but I hope to someday make a living off of playing, touring, and teaching!

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown, other than just playing in your band?
I am! I interact with many people in the scene in the area. And recently I've been trying to go to more shows to support the other musicians in the area who also support what my band and I are doing.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
The first is definitely Matt Halpern of Periphery, he is my main influence and is a main reason I started developing the techniques I have. Along with the unparalleled groove and feel behind each beat, it's amazing. The second is Matt Garstka of Animals as Leaders, he is incredibly good, and I just love watching him play because he includes so much emotion and feel in his playing, he is also one of the most technical drummers of this age. Through this I've tried to develops my own emotion through my playing which is why my playing is powerful, I hit hard and I really feel each hit. A third influence is Alex Rudinger of Good Tiger. His playing is so accurate and precise all while not losing power or emotion. He has encouraged my playing to be precise with each action and really placing an actual note value to everything I play. A fourth is Benny Greb, he is a master of groove and feel. He also has many innovative ideas for new sounds on the kit that inspire me all the time. And finally there is Terry Bozzio. Not so much with the massive kit as with the more percussive playing style and technique. Before I really knew who he was I doing many things he did, and coming up with similar stylings and phrasings naturally. After I watched his videos I took after those percussive elements to certain aspects of my playing.

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Oh man, well, I love Periphery. They played a show in Seattle at El Corazon. I took a lesson from Matt Halpern, then saw them play. It was the most intense show I've ever seen. It was incredible! And they were so tight and in sync. It made me want to smash some drums for sure. 

Avoid The Void "The Trench"

How much time do you practice?
As much as possible, when I get a good chunk I like to practice at the very least three hours. I mainly practice outside however due to my apartment living. So it is all dependent on what the weather is like unfortunately. But soon I will find a real indoors place to practice my kit and I will do at least those three hours.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?
The first thing I do is warm up, I like to do various speeds and exercises to get all warm, the I do some rigorous independence exercises, then I may start practicing and tightening my band's material or begin learning another groups song. After I feel I've reached a point where my brain needs a rest I'll take a break then do bass drum control/speed exercises. Then I may go back to learning the material, a new chop, a new groove, or whatever I feel like learning!

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
I have! It really helps me hear what I could be doing better and look at my technique. Soon I will be recording a couple play-throughs and a Periphery cover. After I record those I will be judging my self based on performance pretty harshly to see what I can improve on!

Do you prefer studio sessions or live gigs?
At the moment I prefer playing live gigs. I think this because I like to be as solid as possible in the studio. I also have not had much time in the studio actually doing my own recordings other than 3 days worth. I'm very excited to spend a lot more time in the studio in the coming years though! Whether it be with my band or other projects!

Have you done the "sideman" gig, if so, do you prefer being in a band (being the artists)?

I haven't had much experience in the whole sideman gig. I hope to have some hired gigs in the future, but I'd imagine that I'd love being in a single band where I am the artist than being a hired musician for the most part. That doesn't close the door though! I'd love to experiment some day! 

Any crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
The most interesting gig I've done so far would have to be Knotfest. It was held at the San Manuel Amphitheater in California. I did play a smaller stage, but we spent a lot of the day going to see artists we like, warming up, meeting new friends also playing our stage, and running around the place with a sign that had our time and stage on it. We were standing at the bottom of a hill near our stage and in between the two main areas and yelling our time slot. Our bassist would yell random things like "wanna see how many grapes I can fit in my mouth? Come see Avoid the Void at the Headbang stage at 4!" Or "Come see Avoid the Void at the Headbang stage at 4 to see me play the bass with my feet!" That actually helped our turnout for sure though! We had about 300 people at our stage! 

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
My best words are to always practice. Never let your current playing level get the best of you. You can always improve, get better and succeed as long as you work hard and practice. Never give up. Lastly, have fun! This is an instrument, it's hard but very rewarding with time and effort!

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
I'd like to thank you for interviewing me and to thank Sean(Moriarty) from Varna for the recommendation! I'd also like to thank my band for all the support and love! 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AvoidtheVoidBand/

Avoid The Void - The Trench EP
Avail @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-trench-ep/id1047924765


I really dig seeing these katz go after it! Regardless of the genre or situation, seeing musicians follow their dreams is always a kool thing. David and his band Avoid The Void have a promising future. I want to wish David success in all his future endeavors.Thank You David for sharing!!

Yet again another kool drummer, sharing his story with us. I hope you guys check out David and Avoid The Void. Make sure you support them and encourage their efforts. Join them on Soc. Med. and drop by David's page and say Hello!

Would you like to share your drum life?
Contact me, so we can make it happen.
Help promote your career or your band and get interviewed by Talkin' Chop.

DeHaven - de@oliomusic.com




#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Volume 34 - Veronica Bellino


This next artist is someone I have been paying attention to ever since I joined the Soultone Cymbals family, about 6yrs ago. I would always see her pic or vid on the website and I started watching some of her videos...you know how we drummers like to do?! lol.
Fast fwd to last December and I was attending the Soultone 10th Anniversary, where a number of the artists played with with their projects. Veronica was one of them and I was excited, I would get to see her live. More interesting to me was she was playing with her band Halo Circus, which I am a big fan of Allison Iraheta(singer) and wanted to see what this new project was all about. Well, they were great and Veronica was very impressive. I was so glad I got to witness her and the band throw down.
When I started this project she was def one of the drummers I wanted to get to interview because I knew she had a lot going on in her drum life and is a very talented musician. We finally got connected and she's her to give us a little insight into the world of Veronica Bellino. Right Here on Talkin' Chop!

Name or Stage Name: 
Veronica Bellino.. most people call me V. 

Where are you from? 
Long Island, New York 

How long have you been playing? 
About 20 years 

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
Most of the genres I play are rock, pop and some hip hop 

How did your drumming career unfold?, are there some specific events that led you to where you are now?
Cool question... aside from practicing and perfecting your craft as much as possible, there are little things we do that have a huge impact on where we are today and what direction our life goes. The universe will take you places and give you choices. Something that you did can seem so in significant at the time, but could actually change your life or take you on a path you would have never been on if you didn't do that thing. When I was 15 I went with my friend who had a car, to Tower Records. I picked up a drum magazine and an ad fell right out of it. I picked it up, looked at the ad and it said " Looking for drummer for band, influences - Korn, Sepultura, Pantera, The Deftones" - I said to myself - woah cool, I love all those bands! I took the number down and called them when I got home. I ended up going to meet them at Lyric Studios in Long Island for an audition. Long story short, they wanted me in the band, and I played with them for a few years. Being in that band led me to meet other musicians and friends (who I still hang with today) who by hanging with them, led me to meet someone who told me Carmine Appice was looking for drummers for a new drum group called SLAMM!!. I ended up being a member of SLAMM!!, and the video audition I made for it was seen by Jeff Beck on YouTube which is how he discovered me and we ended up working together. Of course there was many other timelines and branches to this, but the short version is.. If I never went to Tower Records that day, maybe none of this would have ever happened?? 

What are your goals, short & long term? 
I have a few goals.. I would love to have a song placed as a theme song for a TV show, I have been close! Also a goal is for a major artist to record a song I had written and have it go number 1! 

You have already played for some Big names in music, are there any other artists you would like to play for? 
Sure, plenty. I would love to work with Lady Gaga. Imogen Heap is one of my favorite artists. It would be a dream to play for Sia.

Speaking of Big names, you worked with a legend in Jeff Beck. How did that come about? 
Jeff had actually come across one of my drum videos on YouTube and had his management email me. I was living in New York at the time and working in an office for my Father's company. I saw the email and thought it was a joke... so I replied with my cell number and asked if Jeff could give me a call ( to see if it was real).. and sure enough he did! He said he was very impressed by my video and wanted to work on a new album with me. Of course I accepted :) Some time later we ended up working together in the studio and playing shows. 

Veronica, Jeff Beck & Rhonda Smith

What were some of the things that you learned working with Jeff? 
One thing I learned for sure was to overcome insecurity and be more sure of myself. Obviously I am no Vinnie Coliauta LOL... nobody is Vinnie but Vinnie, so I had to just do what I do and think "You would not be here if you weren't good." It was also very cool that Jeff is so down to earth..there is sort of this stigma attached to people who are considered legendary and you expect them to be a certain way. I will admit I was pretty nervous to meet Jeff for the first time, but he was very easy going, funny and made me feel comfortable. It's always cool to work with people like that. 

You're in a band called Halo Circus and you guys have album coming out in June, i believe? 

Will you guys do a National Tour? 
Yes.. we are working on dates for a west coast run starting in August, and I believe late September we will do the rest of the dates. 30 cites total. 

Do you enjoy touring? 
I do. I lose track of time and it can be exhausting but its fun. 

Being in Halo Circus, is this a project where you can really express yourself as a drummer and musician? 
There is freedom for me to express myself as a drummer.. I have fun, I may do some flashy stuff with my sticks and move around, that's just me and the band appreciates that. I definitely add my own flare to the songs.

Halo Circus - "Do You Believe In Shame?" 

Tell us about the songwriting process, is it collaborative or is there a central writer? 
Matthew ( bass player) and Allison ( singer) mostly wrote the songs on the album. Those songs were pre-existing when I joined the band.. but some of the arrangements we modified together as a band, such as the song "Yo Me Voy" 

What kind of band is Halo Circus? What kind of musical journey are you guys taking us on? 
Halo Circus is a bilingual, alternative rock band with an electric, compelling stage presence. I think the type of journey the audience experiences at our shows and with our music is that of an Alice In Wonderland vibe.. Halo Circus represents the "beauty and the chaos".. that's what Allison sings about and the music represents that balance. 

Halo Circus @ Soultone 10th Anniversary

How did the band form? 
The band formed in 2012, after Allison (Iraheta) had her solo release from her success of being top 4 on season 8 of American Idol. She had taken a hiatus from music and had met producer, Matthew Hager, and starting writing with him. I think they both realized they were writing "different" type of songs and had to form a band. I had heard the band was looking for a drummer. I heard Allison's voice and was blown away. I didn't realize until after the fact that she was even on Idol.. I don't watch the show really, but the bits that I have seen I did remember her and she stuck out to me. I remember thinking to myself at the time something like "that girl is freakin' awesome".. who knew later on that I would be in a band with her! ( that sort of thing has happened to me a bunch actually! ) 

As Indie bands, you have to hustle to make things happen... do you find it more rewarding when the band accomplishes one of the goals you guys set? 
Yes definitely... actually this tour that we are doing is from a completely new platform. We teamed up with Road Nation to make it happen. Basically all through social media and word of mouth. No booking agencies, no labels, no mangers.. just the band and the fans. Fans actually pick the cities they want us to play and contribute to get us there! I was shocked when we had 30 cities confirmed. For an indie band to accomplish that is incredible. 

Do you play any other instruments? 
yes I sing, play piano, guitar and bass. 

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect? 
My current set up is a Yamaha Stage Custom Birch kit.. lately I have been playing a 5 piece - 22" kick with a KickPort, 12" rack tom, 14" and 16" floor toms with a 13" Oak Musashi snare. I use Evans heads, I like the clear EC2s on my toms and the coated G2s on my snare. Always played Vic Firth 5A American Classics. Soultone Cymbals - 14" hi hats ( sometimes 13") 17" and 18" crash, 21" ride and a 12 FXO splash. I also use the Porter and Davies throne with vibration monitor from the kick drum. 

Veronica Bellino - Soultone Artist

VIC FIRTH: Performance Spotlight feat. Veronica

Do you have multiple kits and snares? 
I have 2 other drum kits and some gear from other companies that I have accumulated over the years before but because I'm endorsed... I should probably only list the Yamaha items though haha - I have a 14" Yamaha Birch snare as well, and a 10" rack tom that I add to my kit sometimes when I want more toms. 

Which wood shells do you prefer? 
My birch kit always sounded great... lately I have been into the Oak drums that Yamaha put out. Very deep, full sound but still good attach. They sound awesome. 

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
Not really... I was never one for big and flashy drum kits.. I'll add different sounds and colors depending on what I am playing, however I wouldn't mind having crazy looking chrome hardware like octopus tentacles swirling around the kit!

How do you describe your drumming style? 
This is a tough question for me! I try to play whatever the music calls for, but if I was just going to jam and do my own style, I probably mix funk with rock.. so lets call it Runk :) 

Why the drums? 
I actually started off on the guitar. I had a few friends that played the drums and when I went to their house I would sit at their kit and mess around. I could play beats right away, it just felt cool and natural. Just one of those things, you don't really know why, it just is. 

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? 
If you are asking what my alternative career would be if I wasn't a musician - not an easy answer, but there are things that could possibly satisfy that question. Actress, Chef, astrophysicist, fitness instructor, video editor possibly. 

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
I started so young.. when I first started knowing who I was and what I wanted, I realized I wanted to be a drummer and be on stage. That was pretty much it for me. I never stopped. It was always something that gave me hope, especially when people could see that I had talent and it wasn't just a phase or something dumb to do. There was always something to look forward to.. a show or writing new songs with my band, or recording songs on my own. I think it kept me in place.. I never did hard drugs or felt like I needed a crutch if there was something negative going on, because I guess music was that crutch and that therapy. It is such a huge part of my life now and I'm always looking to grow and improve.

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown, other than just playing in your band? 
Yes. I always try to support my friends, either going to the shows or jamming and playing with them spontaneously. There are plenty of jam nights in LA that have a huge following and are great to meet people, network or just hang and have a good time. 

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
Dave Weckl - He is one of those guys I can watch play on his own all day. I love his dynamics, syncopation and finesse. 
Carter Beauford - LOVE his use of the hi hat. He won't just play the 8th notes or the 16ths, he breaks it up in a way that's just so groovy. 
David Silveria - Korn was one of my favorite bands growing up. David brought more to that band than just hard rock drums.. sometimes his drums sounded small, he used piccolo snare drums in certain songs.. for metal!! I had never heard that type of drum sound in a heavy rock band. It was so cool to me... a bunch of my drummer friends in high school would try to sound like David and tune their drums like his.. including me haha, I loved his little nuances with the cymbals and splashes as well. 
Sammy Watson - The Apex Theory was a huge influence.. the whole band had an interesting perspective on rhythm. Sometimes what what you thought was the downbeat was actually the upbeat. The guitar player would play polyrhythms over Sammy's grooves, all being super melodic at the same time. Sammy is just a beast haha.. what more can I say... he sort of has a "break beat' style, its very unique. I actually had the pleasure of meeting him at an event a few years ago.. super nice guy. Believe we had a 20 minute conversation before I even knew who I was talking to! I asked him what band he was in and when he said "oh it was called The Apex Theory"... my jaw dropped to the floor.. I felt so stupid, and he was surprised that I was a big fan of the band, I don't know why.. they were underrated I guess. 
Benny Greb - smooth as butter that guy 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
I was very inspired by Blue Man Group, I loved everything about it

Would you say, sometimes we forget about these types of musical experiences because they're not the "mainstream"?
I can't speak for others, but I definitely don't rule anything out. Sometimes I get inspiration when I am driving. Everybody is different and get inspired by different means.. but I appreciate every kind of music or performance art. Just because something is not considered "mainstream" doesn't mean anything, really. 

How much time do you practice? 
It varies.. if I go practice at my drum studio I'm usually behind the kit for a few hours.. maybe 2- 3 hours at a time a few times a week, plus I keep a practice pad and foot pedal in my living room in case I get bored I'll start noodling with rudiments.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions? 
If there is new music I have to learn for a gig then I will practice the material over and over. If I am just practicing on my own, I will play along with new music or songs that I like, practice different pocket grooves, and linear patterns between hands and foot. All different things. 

What other projects do you have going on? 
I have been working with Darryl McDaniels ( DMC of RunDMC) for a few years on his solo rock project. I play drums and sing. We also play all the RunDMC hits as a full on rock band! I have had a few cool new gigs this year such as playing a cruise with Orianthi. She's is freakin' awesome.. I hope to play more with her in the future. I am also playing in and producing a visual performance drum/cirque group. It includes 2 drummers, a fire breather, LED technology, and an aerialist. We will be launching the social media and a launch party in LA this summer. Also I am always working on songwriting projects, either for TV/Film or for artists. 

Darryl McDaniels (DMC) & Veronica

"Give Into Me" with Orianthi on the Rock Legends Cruise 4

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you? 
Sometimes. If there is a groove I want to remember then I will video myself playing it, or if I am preparing for a gig I may record myself playing the material to get a new perspective. 

I heard you sing on the track "My Tiled White Floor" which is on Jeff Beck's Live album (2015) 
Great Voice btw! Do you plan on doing some more projects showcasing your vocals skills? 
Thank you for the compliment! I have written and sang songs for DMC's solo rock band. I play drums and sing the hooks in the songs we write. I sing them live at the shows as well, hopfully at some point there will be a release with the songs. My voice will be showcased on those for sure. I do have a song currently on itunes called "Under Water" that I released in 2011. Also I have a soundcloud page with a few songs that I wrote and produced. That link is soundcloud.com/Veromusica

"My Tiled White Floor" (studio) by Jeff Beck

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? 
I like them all! I do enjoy traveling to different places so touring might be number 1. 

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a hired gun? 
Depends on the situation.. I only join bands if I really love the music and the people. Hired gigs are great if the budget is good and can be a lot of fun. I also enjoy playing with different artists and different styles so its cool to vibe with people you haven't played with before. 

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
One that definitely comes to mind is an EDM/Drumming group called Rhythm Monks that I did a few years ago. The audition was the most physically demanding experience I've ever had. It was a very high-energy show with 3 drummers
(it started with 2 drummers and a DJ). Anyway, the first day of auditions was the drumming day.. then the next day was the choreography day. So when I went through the choreography day.. who knew we would basically be mixing P90X with drumming! They actually told us during the audition that if we needed to take a break to throw up we can do so, then to make sure we come back to the audition room! We ran one of the songs over and over as they watch all of use thoroughly, there was about 10 of us all in the room performing the routine. We ran the routine as a group of 10, then they broke us up into groups on 2, and ran the routine again. I am in pretty good shape and am used to performance type drumming, which throws basic playing technique out the window because you have to use your arms more dramatically and raise them high in the air so people can see from a distance.. we call it "big arms." So, I am used to this type of playing, but let me tell you, I was sweating hard... there were a few bigger dudes at the audition that you could tell were having a bit of a hard time. So long story short, I made the group.. not only was the routine strenuous as hell, but on top of that, for the show we had to wear heavy masks! The front of the masks have LED technology and light up with different patterns... so they were about 5 pounds in the front, then we had to have a counter weight behind our heads that was a few more pounds so the mask wouldn't fall forward from its own weight. The show was about 45 minutes long.. and the first show I did there were problems with the power, so the show actually stopped during almost the end of the set. We were told that if there was any issues to just stand in a certain pose and wait for the sound to start again.. well when that happened it felt like an eternity. It was almost worse to stand there and do nothing in a costume and heavy ass mask rather than be mobile and playing the show.. at least your mind is focused on the show, and not how shitty you feel. Yeah so that ended up happening twice in the set, and the first time when it came back on, it brought us back to the beginning of the last track the we played! So we ended up being on stage for over an hour. I was so close to throwing in the towel and getting out of there, but didn't want to look like a wimp, especially on the first gig. I stuck it out and finally the show was over. I contemplated quitting the group after that, but the good thing is, after that, the production crew ended up reconstructing the masks so they were way more comfortable, and the show was diminished to 2 15 minute sets. Way better for the performers! The show was actually super fun when that happened haha!

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
Stay true to yourself and be real. Be professional and respectful, be on time, practice hard, don't be a diva. You will get more work and recommendations if you are a likable person as well as a great player. 

Any Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Thanks for reading! Anyone who would like to follow me on social media! -- 

FB: Facebook.com/Vrock888 / Facebook.com/Veromusica


Big Thx to Veronica for doing this interview!
For a busy person like her to take the time and share with all us, it is very appreciated.
This is a very accomplished musician and a very inspiring one as well. As you can see, if you want a result of success, you must put in the hard work to go along with the talent.
You can tell that V has a tenacity when it comes to her career but she also knows how to embrace the moments and have some fun. Much respect to her and the musicians like her, who don't just sit around waiting for opportunities...they create them.

Now, I need you guys to hook up with Veronica on her soc. med. pages as well as Halo Circus. Pre-order their new album and go see them on tour this Summer!
This is another band that is making some noise and is going to do some things, don't be left out!

Are you in a band? Are you a drum educator? Maybe a studio session player? or you do the "weekend warrior" thing?
Whatever your drumming situation...Talkin' Chop wants to interview you.
Contact: DeHaven  de@oliomusic.com





**On May 21st, 2016 we lost another great musician. 
Nick Menza - A drummer best known for his work with Megadeth. He also had a very kool project called OHM.
I had the pleasure of meeting Nick a couple of times via our relationship with Soultone Cymbals. I also got a chance to see & hear him play with Megadeth and OHM. All I can say is he was a really kool guy and very gracious with his time. He will be missed but his mark has been left and we are all appreciative of his work and influence. Prayers for his family at this time.
Rest Well my brother.

Nick @ Soultone 10th Anniversary with his band OHM.

I asked Veronica if she would like to say a few words about Nick and she offered this sentiment...
I would just like to say that the music industry has suffered great losses this year. Yet another has been taken just recently, Nick Menza. I did not know Nick well, but we had met a few times at shows and events. He was a super cool guy, my cousin actually used to work with Megadeth so he knew Nick pretty well. The Soultone Cymbals community is tight knit, so it definitely hits home. My condolences go out to his family and I know that his drumming resonated and influenced many people. Rest in peace, Nick Menza.

Thank you guys for reading and supporting this project!

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife


Monday, May 23, 2016

Volume 33 - Drum DJ Chow?


So, I'm bringing something a little different to the table today.

Taking a trip to Singapore to find this artist who is putting a new spin on spinning. He studied at Musicians Institute in L.A. and took his talent back to the Garden City. We all like to get our dance on and Chow wants to keep the party moving with his unique brand of dance music and drumming. He puts on a show with with lights in his drums and stage production, so there is a visual component as well as the music.
I have only known a few guys who do this type of gig but they all do it differently and Chow is one of them. He took some time out of his day to discuss his work and his drum life, right here on Talkin' Chop


Name or Stage Name:
Drum DJ Chow? Or Chow

Where are you from?

How long have you been playing?
14 years 

What is or are your main genre of playing?
I try to play everything but my main focus or what I enjoy playing (at least to me) is Pop, Rock and some of the Singer-Songwriter stuff. I did spend quite a bit of time learning to play Fusion/Jazz and Church music in my earlier years of drumming. 

How did you get where you are now?
Long story short, I guess lots of hard work and meeting the right people. I’m really fortunate to work with some of the best talents both in Singapore and Internationally. I also think you need to be humble and real/genuine in building relationships with the people working in the industry. I can’t stress that enough. Having great character and attitude is a huge plus in the music business.

List some of your accomplishments:
Recipient of Musicians Institute Full Ride Scholarship and Outstanding Student Award (Drum Program) from M.I. 

Getting signed at the age of 19 with Yamaha Drums (Singapore) and Zildjian Company (International) just last year in 2015. 

I was also featured on local newspaper and Drum Talk TV

You are a Drum DJ. Tell us what that means exactly…
Its basically me spinning some music and playing my custom designed LED drums standing up at the same time!

How did you come up with this idea?
I was studying (sitting in the library when this idea hit me, no joke!) at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA at that time. I thought, why not try and fuse drums and music in one show - almost like a one man band. Of course, the custom design of LED lights idea came in to give an extra edge to the show. The core of it though, is the drumming and music. That’s the most important thing.

Drums are obviously a huge part of dance music but you don't always see acoustic drums in this type setting. Did you use electronic drums in the past?
I have always owned an electronic drum kit (Yamaha DTX900K to be exact) as majority of us Singaporeans live in apartments here. I use it more for teaching and doing basic sessions (drum covers and short videos) in my little home studio. But I have always liked playing acoustic drums so that has never changed.

You have really worked up your production value with acrylic drums and using lights in your drums. Do find that made a big difference in the overall show? 
Yes. I always feel that we should put up a show and give 110% to the audience. Ray Luzier (drummer of Korn) always says “Give the audience a show.” - that quote has stayed with me till this very day.

Bubble Glow 5K Run Highlights

Being a solo performer, is it more stressful to deal with all the business and music issues?
I feel like its easier but then again there are so many things to do. Paperwork, replying emails, setting up gigs and etc. I guess hiring a manager would be ideal in the future.

Do you play any other instruments?
Trumpet (was part of the symphonic band in my high school) and a little bit of keys. 

Have you been touring?
Not yet! I want to get this project out there though.

What's the overall music scene like in Singapore? It's actually not too bad as compared to 10 years ago. The scene is definitely growing and better music is being made here in recent years.

What kind of music are the people in to?

Mainstream Music (Pop/Rock, EDM & The Top 40)

Do people make request for songs when you're doing your thing or do they just dance and enjoy the show?
They just enjoy the show and dance.

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks…ect?
Im using a 5 piece acrylic drum kit (with custom LED lights) that I bought off the shelf from a local drum store (www.singaporedrumshop.com) here in Singapore. I use all Zildjian cymbals, Vater Drumsticks, 64 Audio in-ear-monitors and Newfolder Cases.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?
I’m constantly trying to add more stuff like adding Yamaha DTX pads to my Drum DJ set up (thinking about making it a Hybrid) but we shall see.

How do you describe your drumming style?

Why the drums?
I don’t know. I have always been drawn towards great groove, energy and rhythms. 

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
No idea! Seriously!

Is the music business your career?
Yes. I also teach drums in the day (www.drumtutor.sg) at my home studio. Music is the center of it all. Can’t think of anything else I would be doing to be honest.

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown, other than just your project?
Yes. I do session work for various local artistes and bands when they need drummer for gigs.

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
So many of them. I once saw Steve Gadd with his band at Catalina Jazz Club (Hollywood) and that made me go back to the school to practice for a bit. It also reminded me to always do your own thing, don’t let what other people say get in to you and do it to the best that you can be.

How much time do you practice?
I used to practice 3-4 hours per day while I was studying at M.I. It’s a little bit harder now as I have to juggle both gigging and teaching at the same time.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?
Rudiments, groove, time, reading, solo ideas, playing along with songs and more.

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
Yes. It has helped me a lot in various ways - to look at my body posture while playing (funny faces too), my mistakes and dynamics. I highly recommend drummers to record while practicing. It does wonders!

"Enjoy the Ride/Kyoto" Drum DJ Chow?

Have you done the band thing or being a hired gun for shows or studio work?
Yes. Not so much the band thing but more of a hired gun for shows and studio work.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
I once played in Church (about 8,000 people) and the bass drum beater came off in the middle of the first song. Needless to say I panicked and did my best to finish up the songs (using floor tom). It was an interesting Easter weekend..

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Productive practice. Set goals/check-list and write down what you have practiced for the day - you can then look back and see what you have accomplished in a month. Oh yes, always practice in various tempos. Tempos like 50, 100 or 140/150 aren’t the most favorable tempo to practice in.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??
Big thanks to all my sponsors Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, 64 Audio and Newfolder Cases. You can follow me on the links provided below and I hope to see you soon! 

Instagram/Twitter: @isthatchow

Website: www.isthatchow.com


That was pretty kool! Thx Drum DJ Chow!!
There are various ways to play drums and create a different platform. This is music and there is no wrong way to express yourself. Find your thing, work on your craft, have a vision and go for it!
My thx to Chow for sharing his drumming and dj'ing life with us.
I think he's gonna be a successful kat out there in the dance music world but it's also nice to know that he throw down in the studio as well...and he's teaching the next generations.
As always Big Props to all the music teachers!!! 

Are you a drummer with a unique approach or maybe you rock it traditional? It doesn't matter, Talkin' Chop wants to interview and promote you and your drum life.

Contact: DeHaven  de@oliomusic.com




#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife