Thursday, July 28, 2016

Volume 43 - Eric Downs



Once again it is my pleasure to introduce to some and present to others, another great talent making his way in the music world. This kat is skilled in the drumming arts and uses his versatile approach to Pop, HipHop and Electronic music to carve his own niche in the L.A. music scene. Also possessing a great professional attitude, which is another reason he gets hired. If he's not on a gig, he's creating drum vids and creating something he calls Downs Duets a very interesting take on the "drum video" scene. Well versed in the ways recording and programming, Eric will never be out of work. Thx to a mutual friend, Devin Beaman (Vol. 40) he sent me a video link and said I needed to connect with Eric. So I did. The next thing I knew he was the 43rd interview on TC and I'm so glad he agreed. Here he is in his own words, Eric Downs...Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name: Eric Downs

Where are you from? Hershey, Pennsylvania

How long have you been playing? 14 years

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
Pretty much anything with "pop" in the genre name. I particularly like electronic or urban/hip hop influenced pop.

How did you get where you are now? 
I got my first drumset at 15 (after 4 straight years of nagging my dad to let me put one in the house). I spent hours and hours in the basement playing to my favorite CDs and recording myself on a tape recorded I found. I went to college in Pittsburgh, PA, and there, I met my first and only drum teacher, Greg Humphries, who exposed me to jazz and latin music, but most importantly, taught me the vocabulary of rhythm and how to apply it and teach myself (very similar to Benny Greb's Language of Drumming). I played in the jazz big band and small combos on campus, then slowly moved into the local Pittsburgh music scene playing everything including progressive rock, jazz, singer/songwriter, and even Caribbean steel pan music. I moved to LA from Pittsburgh in 2012 with a band who broke up shortly thereafter. After getting a taste of the vibe, though, I knew I wanted to stay here for a long time. There's so much creativity, everyone knows someone (which is critical to landing work), and everyone also seems to be hustling. Since then, I've been honing my playing, recording, production, and engineering chops, which have led me to touring opportunities, production and scoring credits, and commercial and film music placements. At this point, I simply strive to get better at all of those things every day.

What are your goals, short & long term? 
Recently, I've been "leveling up" (as I like to put it) with the artists I play with and the production projects I've been involved with. Simply enough, I'd like to continue that trajectory, hopefully finding that a gig that plays big and pays big.

Long term, I'd like to find a way to create a lasting impact on the world. I know that's vague, and that's all I've got at the moment, but that's what I want to do, haha. 

Artists you would like to play for? 
Phantogram. Phantogram. Phantogram.

What is you're obsession with Phantogram, lol? 
They just encapsulate everything I like in music. Great singer, great songwriting, hip hop production style, pop sensibility. Love it. For that matter, I'd also love to play for Kimbra for all the same reasons. She's incredible. A true artist.

List some of your accomplishments: 
I recently recorded and released my own Loop & Sample pack entitled "BeatDowns." I created this because I felt like I had a voice to offer that I haven't heard covered a lot and I wanted to create something that demonstrated my playing, my sound choices, and my recording/engineering/production chops. It contains 70 unique grooves, one shots, and hi hat loops that are great for giving a song a more real, live feel. 

What kind of projects do you have going on right now? 
I currently tour with 4 LA-based artists: Satchmode, Allison Weiss, Olivver the Kid, and AJ Lehrman. During the day, I mix/produce music for a production studio called Bridge Compositions and record drums for people out of my studio in Downtown LA. On the back burner, I've been working on an album of cinematic drum scores geared for film. 

So, how do find it being a musician in the L.A. scene? 
I think the LA musician scene is more of a spectrum. There are those who are cutting their teeth and building their reputation by gigging out and doing session work, and then there are those who stay in and work on their craft in the studio, then find a connect who pushes them up the ladder. Neither is better than the other. In Pittsburgh, I was definitely the former, but when I moved to LA, I started transitioning to the latter. I think because there is such a large pop scene that is cultured here along with all of the people who can make it happen, it's much more acceptable to stay inside and labor over your craft until it reaches perfection, when you can pass it along to one of those people who can build a machine around it (as opposed to a scene like New York, where there are a ton of clubs and artists and a musician can play multiple gigs in one night).

What would be some of the things you learned in how to be successful? 
You can't rely on your talent alone to get you work. It's a safe assumption that everyone in the scene can play. It's an afterthought. What will you get you work will be the things outside of your playing. Are you cool/easy/fun to hang out with? Are you easy to tour with? Do you show up on time? Did you practice? Are you prepared? How much do you know about music theory? Recording? DAWs? Production? Playing with an artist/band requires a lot more than simply playing your instrument. Creating a comfortable, supportive vibe with your fellow musicians requires humility, trust, listening, and the ability to take criticism. Furthermore, in this majorly content driven world we live in, the ability to record audio, record and edit a video for Instagram/YouTube or even simply how to adjust a mic's placement or tune a drum will make you way more valuable than those paradiddles that you can almost play clean at 108bpm. 

Are you doing music full time? 

Do you like the freedom of doing different projects or would you prefer to land that one really kool gig and then just do some stuff on the side? 
I want the kool gig with side projects. Maybe I'm materialistic, but who doesn't want to go fly to some foreign city, play for thousands of people, and make a few grand?

CHVRCHES "Bury It" (feat. Hayley Williams) drum cover

Do you play any other instruments? 
The computer, haha. That used to be more of a joke than it is now. Many of the gigs I have these days require knowledge of how to build and run an Ableton set, and teaching myself that has easily led to opportunities I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I even get hired occasionally to build Ableton sets/rigs for other artists/bands since it's become that popular.

What are your touring experiences, if any? 
Several regional and national tours. One international tour. Got 3-5 more lined up for the rest of the year, regional, national, and one international (got my fingers crossed that the booking pulls through on that one!)

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect? 
I play a Tama Starclassic Performer B/B kit, Meinl cymbals, Evans drumheads, Vic Firth sticks, MOTU audio equipment, and a SPD-SX. I also have a shelf full of stuff like bandanas, tambourines, togo seed rattles, and other weird stuff that I'll put on my drums and cymbals to make them sound more unique. When possible/necessary, I like to try to create a unique sound for recordings as somewhat of a signature.

Do you consider yourself a "gear junkie"? 
No. A friend once told me "a bad performance through great gear is still a bad performance. A great performance through bad gear just give it vibe". When you listen to The Beatles or Stevie Wonder or J Dilla, nobody talks about the tape hiss or weird EQ or bad phase relationships. Most people don't even know what kind of gear was used to record that stuff. All they know is the songs are good and the music feels good. Gear will never make or break a good song.
On a personal note, when I started recording, I bought an intermediate audio interface from Craigslist and got a intermediate mic kit from a company nobody's ever heard of based in Illinois called KAM. Initially, when I compared my recordings to those made with more expensive equipment, I could hear the difference, for sure. But, having less-than-expensive equipment forced me to build my engineering chops and my production ear. When a mic has a weird EQ profile, you learn how to move it to get the best sound. When your pre-amps aren't super expensive, you learn how to use EQ and compression to shape and improve your audio. I've since upgraded a lot of my gear simply to save time in recording, but working with less-than-ideal recordings forces you to develop a very important side of your ear rather than relying on the price of a microphone to convince you that the sound is good. 

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
I think most of my peers would rattle off some sort of vintage Ludwig something-or-other, but for me, a Tama Star Bubinga would be awesome. To me, it's a lot easier to make a great, modern sounding kit sound old (using muffling and tuning) than to try to make an old kit sound new. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE the vibe and character of an old 1960s Gretsch Round Badge, but the spectrum of music I play is far too wide to be sonically limited to one era. Top that with a bunch of Meinl Dual Extra dry cymbals and I'm in heaven. Those things are exactly what I think a cymbal should sound like.

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Progressive Urban White Boy Pocket? My style is an amalgamation of everything I've been involved with. I play a lot of pop, so I don't chop a lot. I used to play progressive rock, so I'm used to listening for musical figures, melodies, and space to fill (or not fill!). D'Angelo is one of my top 3 favorite artists, so I love a Questlove pocket. I love the programming in trap music, and I've been working for a while to get that vocabulary into my hands. J Dilla is a god, so I'll give you strung loops all day and I try to find important lyrics or melodies to "cut" on, which I'd say is my favorite move in my playing (not playing, haha!).

LORDE "Royals" drum cover
(I dig this cover bcuz it shows how much better the track sounds with a live drummer, putting some feel into it.)

Why the drums? 
I remember way back, when I was like 3-5 years old, my mom used to take me to a babysitter when she went to work and the babysitter's son had a drum set in his room. I don't remember what kind it was, but I remember staring at it and just thinking about how amazingly cool it looked to be surrounded by all these shiny, colorful, noise-making things. From that point on, it was only a matter of time.

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

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
Man, its kept me sane and given my life purpose. Every day, I see frustrated people I know living mundane lives that are short of their potential, feeling caught in the rat race, unable to see a reason why they're on this planet. I may not be a famous drummer (or a famous anything for that matter), but when I go into the studio, I enter my sanctuary. Regardless of what's happening in the outside world, I'm in there with myself, exploring my own creativity and building confidence in my creative efficacy. If I never become rich and famous, I'll still feel great knowing that I've created music that will live on long after I'm gone.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
Daru Jones - unbeatable Detroit hip hop pocket. Chris Dave - stretching the limits of what we can nod our head to. Thomas Pridgen - brutally raw and ferocious. Eric Harland - textural sorcerer. Kiel Feher - the feel.
Dana Hawkins - phrasing, dexterity and vocabulary.

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
Tool. No one can create such musical melody on drums better than Danny Carey.

How much time do you practice? 
Between 2-5 hours a day.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions? Everything that is important to me. Trying to develop a killer feel and pocket. Expression and variation within a groove. Some days its just speed and dexterity around the kit. My favorite exercise is to do rudiments on my floor tom and accent various phrases and figures on my ride cymbal with the kick. Rudiments on the floor tom forces your hands to be smooth, strong, and solid, and the cymbal accents expand your capability to phrase in and out of the barline while building coordination between your hands and feel.

Lately, I've been doing a bunch of collaboration videos on Instagram where find someone playing something that I think is cool and try to write, record, and film a drum part to it. Sometimes I'll just spend time doing that, working on composition, finding grooves that accent and support a part, creating or filling space, creating a feeling (whether it be excitement or chill groove), and just working on my pocket. 

You've got some kool drum videos on youtube. what do you learn from watching your videos? 
Thanks! Making those videos is easily one of the most valuable things I do with my free time, and I strongly recommend that every drummer does it. Not only will it give you an opportunity to analyze your playing, but it'll expose you and give you the opportunity to develop your tuning, recording, and production chops as well as your video production skills. Then, on top of that, you have a one-stop promo package that demonstrates all of those things for potential artists to look at if your name gets passed to them through a connect (and they do look for these!). 

Meghan Trainor "Me Too" drum cover

How do go about deciding what songs to choose for your drum videos? 
First and foremost, the song has to have a simple percussion part in it with lots of space. If it has big, crazy drums, it's just going to sound like two drummers playing at the same time, which, more often than not, would sound terrible. I typically lean toward pop songs because I like pop music so much and those are the kinds of gigs I'd like to see myself on. Also, they tend to get more hits, haha.

Have the videos helped in getting you gigs? 
Absolutely. I'd say the majority of the gigs I've gotten have come along with "Yeah, I saw some of your videos online." And not just performing/recording gigs! On occasion, I've been hired to record and mix other people's playing, and boy does that pay!

You recently launched a series on Instagram called Downs Duets. How did this come about and what is the focus of this project? 
Downs Duets came about when my very close friend and one of my favorite musicians of all time, Dave Yarkovsky, posted a video of a groove he was playing on a new Telecaster he bought. Dave is from Pittsburgh, and he and I have unfortunately had fewer opportunities to create music together than we wish, but we're totally on the same wavelength. We're 70% soul, 30% prog. When I saw the video, I thought to myself, man, I'd love to record drums to that. Then I decided to do so. It received great response and I realized that this could be a really fun way to compose music with people that I may never meet, whether they are famous or just live in other cities. Plus, if they like what I do, who knows what it could lead to? Since it started, I've done videos "with" John Mayer, the guitarist for Tori Kelly (who is apparently a big deal in the guitar world), and a bunch of other blazingly talented players from all over the country. It's been massively fun and very gratifying.

@eldowns x @johnmayer (Downs Duet)

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? All of the above, although I particularly like touring. It's particularly gratifying to travel to different cities/countries to play for people who came because they like the music you're playing. 

You also work with electronics. Is it an important part of your arsenal? 
Absolutely. As I had mentioned earlier, using an SPD-SX, triggers, and pads are pretty much a requirement for most artists I play with. If you're not only willing to use these things, but have the ability and knowledge to integrate them with an Ableton live set, select/manipulate/adjust sounds, etc., your value can grow significantly.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
I do, but I signed an NDA that said I wouldn't talk about it.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
Basically what I mentioned earlier about the lessons I've learned. Don't stop at the drums. Learn how to produce music - aside from learning how to create/manipulate sounds, it'll teach you about what drum part a song needs rather than what you think the coolest thing would be. Learn how to edit a video. Learn how to use Photoshop. Put yourself on the internet - you never know who will see your video and offer you a gig. Get to rehearsal prepared and set up before anyone gets there, then nail it. Take criticism with grace. Go to the guitarist's 4th of July barbecue and meet all of his/her friends. If you're cool, they'll ask about you and give you more work. Repeat.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Thanks to DeHaven for your great support of the musician community. Shoutout to my homie and monster drummer, Devin Beaman for being a killer inspiration and solid friend.


Simply put, we'll be hearing about Eric Downs on some kool, high profile gig soon, I'm sure of it!

Eric, thx for taking the time to do this interview and share your drum life with us. I think there is some really good stuff in there for those of us out there hustling in this game, especially our up & coming young kats.

Remember you can catch with Eric on his Soc. Med sites:



Connect with him and network.

I'm always looking for new drummers to interview.
So if you're interested, contact me:
DeHaven - 

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Volume 42 - Myron Carlos

Myron Carlos


All aboard! It's time to take a vacation to Paradise.
That's were heading to Maui, Hawaii.
As you can imagine a land rich with a musical culture, heavily involving drums, it's no mistake that we would get to some drummers from this beautiful place.
I met Myron through another connection via Facebook, and so our "drumship" (is that a thing?) began.
As you know, I dig having educators on the Chop. They give different perspectives and remind us of how important it is to going and growing. Myron has been growing some of his own drummers in Maui and has an extensive background in music and teaching. Now with the age of YouTube, he has jumped in full throttle and is still reaching those who want to learn.  So let's enjoy the palm trees, tropical drinks, roasted pig and some drums with our host Myron Carlos, right here on Talkin' Chop.(who know's we might get lei'd)

Name or Stage Name: Myron Carlos (Xymbalreborn)

Where are you from? Maui, Hawaii

How long have you been playing? 28 years

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
Virtually all but for argument's sake: pop, rock and metal. I'll be honest though, certain Latin rhythms and fantasy metal give me a hard time.  Soloing is weird for me too.

How did you get where you are now? 
I started getting into music in elementary school. Decided to take drum lessons. Joined the intermediate school band and just kept going. Ended up enjoying music so much, I decided to make a career to inspire others to reap the benefits of music.

What are your goals, short & long term? 
I plan to continue teaching and putting up drum videos unless of course, I get recruited into a drumming gig that pays well.  Haha!

You talk about wanting to be a "rock star" back in the day, what did or does that mean to you? 
I use the term "rock star" synonymously with "doing your best".  "Rock star student", "Rock star teacher", "Rock star dad".....It's something I use to describe doing what you have to or need to do to the best of your ability with the resources you have.

Were you in a lot of bands before you started teaching? 
Aside from school bands and playing at the University of Hawaii at Manoa bands, I think I've been in about a dozen bands or so.  Not even playing drums for some of them.  I've been in bands where I've been on guitar, bass, ukulele, keyboard....even singing.  The thing about the bands that I've been in though is that we actually HAD gigs to play.  Never joined a band "just because".  They've been bands that just needed someone to play (whatever) and I fit the bill.  I played in a band with George Kahumoku Jr. (3 time Grammy Award winner) for a bit where I started on drums, moved to guitar, ukulele, bass and eventually ended up singing some tunes.  It was interesting!

What or who was the artists you wanted to play for back in the day? 
As a kid, I would have loved to drum for Metallica or Motley Crue.  As I got older, I fancied the idea for playing for one of those late night show bands.  Recently, I actually contacted the management for Avenged Sevenfold (when Arin left) to see if they were looking.  Got an email back from them saying that they had someone they've been working with.

Myron w/ James Hetfield of Metallica

"Without You" by Mötley Crüe Motley Crue Drum Cover

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Eclectic I suppose.  Since I've been mainly doing covers, I try to do a little of everything (even though most requests are for pop, rock and metal).  I think it has something to do with being a band and choir director and music teacher.  We've been exposed to EVERY type of music you've heard of (and some you haven' me, some are completely off the wall) and it's kind of bled into my style.  In any given concert season, I'd have my Marching Band doing a pop show, an English Madrigal with the Choir, Big Band with the Jazz Band, a multi-metered contemporary composition with the Concert Band all while studying a bunch of songs to cover on my free time.  My mind is a mess of sounds.  Haha!

What was the motivation to become an educator in music and drums? 
Believe it or not, I was planning on being an Architect or Civil Engineer (like my father) up until my senior year in high school.  It was actually my dad who convinced me to look into studying music.  Even then, I was thinking of going into music composition.  Music education wasn't something I thought about until my second year in college. I helped out a friend's drumline (he was a high school music teacher at the time) and I really enjoyed seeing the progress the students made and knowing that I helped them with that. Besides, the odds of becoming a half decent composer seemed as  good as dropping out of school to become a rock star and I at least wanted to get a degree.  I also remembered having some really (I wouldn't say "bad") teachers but I thought it was appalling that some of these yahoos were actually TEACHING kids.  Kids (society in general) deserve better than that.  

You have really accomplished a lot in this field. Did you ever think you would make such an impact? 
I'm humbled!  To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure how much of an impact I've made.  I know of some students that went on and continued in music and many that still perform in their respective communities.  

There is a long list of your accomplishments but can you name a few that stand out to you? 
Difficult to say but one of the most unique experiences I'd have to say is assisting with the Mick Fleetwood instructional video.  The producer is from Vegas and we connected on Craigslist (of all places) after a student of mine at the time forwarded me the link.  He was looking for someone who knew drumming that could help verify some of the info Mick would talk about.  Basically, steer the conversation from "rock star talk" into using "musical layman's terms".  Funny story....During one of the breaks, Mick and I went to the restroom and we were talking about where we live.  I've known for years where he lives.  He lives right down the street from me and my mother (a seamstress) occasionally tailors some of his clothes.  I mean, here I am, using the restroom with one of the world's most famous drummers and we're talking about how nice the weather is where we live.
Myron w/ Mick Fleetwood

Can you share some of your core principles you give your students?  
It varies from moment to moment but in general I hope that students come out of studying music with an appreciation of the art, learn and work on a skill, learn to communicate, learn to work together for the betterment of the whole and pride for their craft and school and community.  You'll probably get different answers from them though.  Haha!  

Do you have the time to do any gigs? If so, what kind of gigs are you doing? 
I've tried to.  It's tough.  Running a full fledged school music program with 200 to 260 students, wife, 3 kids and finding some time for myself leaves me with little time to gig.  I can do sit in things but I cannot commit to repetitive entire group practices.  Give me the sheet music or track to practice along to (the earlier the better), have an hour or two long rehearsal as a group and do the gig.  A lot of musicians I find find think that MORE entire ensemble practice makes you better when in actuality, QUALITY practice makes you better.  You get QUALITY ensemble rehearsals from focused practice by yourself first.  I can't tell you how much it bothers me (as a director or a performer) when we do the same thing over and over again because someone hasn't worked on their part on their own time that we have to waste group time to do it.

How would you describe the music scene in Hawaii? 
It's different from island to island.  Hawaiian music and reggae is huge all over the state.  Cover bands are particularly popular. Even then, it's usually a straight up cover or a reggafied version. There are way more "diverse" opportunities on Oahu.  Oahu is comparable to most other big cities on the mainland (rock, ska, jazz, theater), just smaller in scale and with a whole lot more "local music" gigs.  Even the Hard Rock on Maui has more reggae bands performing than rock or metal (if any).  We don't have much concerts like on the mainland.  It's the cost of travel that shy many acts away.  If anything, Oahu gets a few big names here and then, Maui gets a lot of the classic rock acts from the 70's and 80's, even less acts on the other islands.

"Stitches" by Shawn Mendes Drum Cover

Do you get a chance to see any of your students in action, on their gigs?
I have.  It's kind of fun seeing them "put on the act".  I had students some years ago perform at our local Hard Rock for some competition.  All covers of rock and metal songs.  A lot of my other students are restaurant musicians too (guitar or ukulele during dinner at a restaurant).  Besides that, Youtube has been the only way I can see some of my other former students perform (many of them move off the island).

With the string of cultural influence in HI, do you see a difference in the drumming style there versus what happens here on the mainland?
Not so much in the world of drumming. The internet seems to have "streamlined" drumming in general worldwide.  Other forms of art and music is a different story.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?  
I like my current kit setup but would change some things around and add more to it.  I am really happy with my endorsers. I could use a few more crashes, splashes and stacks.  I really would like a set of trigger pads for sound effects and bass drops. I don't have a drum endorsement but I really like Tama.  I'd like to have smaller and shorter toms and slightly larger bass drums.  Maybe add a couple more smaller bass drums (tuned differently) and a popcorn snare or two. Definitely add a set of octoban type drums.

Why did you choose the drums? 
Tommy Lee.  It was the stick twirling that hooked me in.  I've always had guitars around the house as a kid (my father played a little) but I never had the patience at the time to learn.  Tuning was the hardest part.  I had the right fingers in the right places but my ears weren't good at tuning (again, I was a ears are MUCH better now) so I got frustrated easily.  Decided to put my guitar hero dreams to the side and play the drums instead.

Myron's Gear List:

Tama Rockstar DX 1990
14" Snare, 10" Tom, 12" Tom, 13" Tom, 16" Floor Tom, 

22" Bass (2) 

Pearl Concert Toms
6" 8" 10” 12" 

Cymbals  Endorsement 
22" Extreme Ride, 18" Extreme Crash, 16" Extreme Crash
10" Extreme Splash, 6" Extreme Splash, 18" Extreme China
14" Extreme Hi Hats, 13" Gospel Hi Hats, 16" FXO6 China
6" FX Bell, 12" Extreme China/14" FXO6 Stack

Sticks Endorsement
SilverFox 1A 

Drumheads Endorsement
Snare: Black X top; Black Suede Snare Side resonant
Toms: Clear Pinstripe top ; Starfire Chrome resonant
Bass: Clear Powersonic top with Remo Falam Slam Padstop; Starfire
Chrome resonant
Concert Toms: Clear Ambassador

Hardware Endorsement
Gibraltar Custom Rack

Roc N Soc Drum Throne

Gibraltar Intruder 9611DD Direct Drive Single Pedal (2)
Gibraltar 9607NL

LD Liquid Drive No Leg Hi-Hat Stand

Vic Firth SIH1 Stereo Isolation Drummer’s 


LP Black Beauty Cowbell, LP Red Jam Block, 

Unknown Cowbell 

Audio Endorsement
Samson R21 Vocal/Recording Microphones
Samson C02 Pencil Condenser Microphones
Samson TXM16 Tabletop Powered Mixer

Samsung RF511 Laptop
Sony Vegas Pro 11 (software)

Accessories Endorsement
Cympad cymbal pads
Footwear: Endorsement
Keen A86 TR in Gargoyle/Super Lemon

If you weren’t playing drums and teaching, what would you be doing?
If I stuck to my original plan as a kid, I'd probably be an architect or civil engineer.  If I knew it was a possibility when I was in high school, maybe something in video game development

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
It's pretty much paved my life thus far.  If I didn't get into drumming, I would have never: gotten into music, join my school bands, meet my future wife, have three beautiful kids, got a job that can support my family and hobbies.  

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Ooh....that's tough....If it were JUST drummers:
Tommy Lee - Theatrics got me hooked.  I learned how to twirl sticks way before I even sat behind a kit.
Lars Ulrich - Say what you will about the guy but we all had a gateway drug to something bigger. It was all about the sextuplet bass drum part in "One".  We didn't have Youtube back then and Metallica was accessible back in the day.  I mean, the word "Metal" was in their name afterall! He did EXACTLY what a thrash metal drummer should more, no less (let's forget for a second his choice of snare sound from St. Anger).  He (that entire band for that matter) is basically the "template" for metal.
Mike Portnoy - I actually didn't hear of him until college.  I realized that he and I had similar interpretations on fills and patterns.  I never thought too highly of my technique to be honest because it's something I thought I made up.  It was like a mix of Lars meets hip-hop.  It was just 5 years ago or so that we both abused linear fills.  Even the term: "linear fill" was something I just learned about recently. Always learning I suppose.
All funk drummers - It's just rock but displace a few things an eight note or sixteenth note away....GENIUS!  There are too many to name but just about every funk band's drummer had aspects of their playing that was so unique that I loved emulating it.
Drumlines - Not the movie (don't get me started).  Marching drumlines.  Real, legit drumlines from all over the world.  I was first exposed to drumlines late in my life (Maui [school] bands never had the enrollment numbers for large drumlines and Youtube then).  Not just their show music either.  Great drumlines can grab your attention from a simple 8 on a hand warm up.  Us UH (University of Hawaii) drumline guys used to watch bootleg dubs of Drum Corps International (DCI) drumlines.  In fact, our captain used to march Santa Clara Vanguard.  Then when Youtube came around, I got to watching more and more college lines, high school lines, lines from Europe, even lines from Japan made up of 7 year old kids.

"Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains Drum Cover

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Sadly, I've only been to a handful of legit "concerts" with a big name artist.  Like I's Hawaii.  What I actually watched a lot as a kid though was the 2 volume Metallica video set: "A Year and a Half in the Life of....".  Hey man, you gotta get fired up with what you have to work with.

How much time do you practice?
I actually don't practice a lot the way I'm supposed to.  Since my playing nowadays are just to other songs, I just try to get the basic blue print of a song and play along to it until I get the sections set in my head.  A lot of the times I mess around behind my kit between classes or while the students are setting up for class.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?
Aside from figuring out a songs form, I did actually try for a couple of months to develop my foot speed while still maintaining a relatively strong punch (fantasy metal).  Used a metronome and slowly increased the tempo, taking rests when needed.

You record drum videos, for education purposes but have you been able to use them as a tool for yourself? What do you learn from your own videos?
I learn that I do the "same tricks".  I'm pretty predictable.  Even some of my students can tell if it's me playing from outside the bandroom.  I've been trying to watch other drummers online to see what I could "steal" from them.  I've also learned A LOT about recording drums and editing tracks.  That's something I realized on accident.  Cardioid vs. Condenser mics; polar patterns; phantom power; mic placement; EQ.....I've gained an enormous amount of respect for audio engineers!

"Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King Drum Cover

Are you doing any studio sessions?
Currently, no.  Just things for myself and my current and former students.  

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
The converstion I had with Mick Fleetwood is pretty high up there!  Actually, I was in a band and we had a gig at a bar.  It was on a Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving).  The night before, I was out shopping with my wife until sunrise and we had a setup around lunch.  The gig was after dinner.  Mind you, all the shopping and the gig is about an hour drive away from home so I was completely wiped.  I must have driven over 100 miles that day going back and forth from home.  At the gig, there was about 10 people total including the bar staff.  We felt like we were set up for a bad turnout.  

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Have fun but do take time to learn your craft and hone your skills.  Don't necessarily try to be better than the next different.  If you have nothing unique to bring to the table, what use are you?  A lot of drummers say that they're "rock drummers" or "jazz drummers" or "orchestral percussionists" or "drumline guys"....what have you.  Don't be THAT guy.  Be all of them. Be more than all of them.  "I can groove but not read music"..."I can read music but not groove"...blah, blah, BOTH.  Since when was it wrong for a drummer to play a wind instrument, or learn to sing, or learn to dance?  Be more than a "one trick pony".  

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity to share some of my thoughts!  Much mahalo to my family for their support and letting me do what I do and to my students (former and current) who join me on this road of learning life though music education and performance. Finally, thank you to the online friends that keep watching those vids!

Big MAHALO to our new friend Myron Carlos.
He's doing some great work in Maui and I'm sure his students appreciate his efforts to make them better.
U really dig his versatility and attitude for the craft. Myron is definitely a drummer who works hard and is making an impression, whether in a classroom or using a drum video.
Keep It Strong my friend!


Hey drummers, there are always spots available for interviews. Do you have a band that needs some extra promo or maybe your doing some kool drum videos or your a weekend warrior...makes no difference.
Hit me up and let's share your drum life.

DeHaven -

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife