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 ( 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 ( 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



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

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife


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