Thoughts on Technique

In no way I ‘m gonna imply here that I know technique. What I ‘ll do is describe how I feel about technique.

First of all, let’s admit it’s a big taboo issue among musicians. Some of us don’t wanna talk about it ever, others talk about it too much and there’s the middle ground of confused people that are trying to find themselves a sense of belonging in between.

Personaly I spent a lot of time fighting my insecurities regarding the subject. Until I started talking with local heroes of the drumming scene. People with different backgrounds, different sense of musicianship, different levels of expertise that for some reason seemed to respect each other genuinely regardless of all these differences. What binds them all together is a simple fact: they all have something specific to say with their instrument.

You see, to me music is like language. When you play a certain genre/type/song/whatever, you speak its language, you tell the story from your point of view, you ‘re a narrator.

Now, technique is actually the glue between the things you have in your head and the things you do with your body. The best word to describe is vocabulary.

In the non-music related world you have to communicate with different people. Each one of them uses his method of saying what he wants. One could be an academic with words using intricate and complex phrasing while another can be more poetic by utilising romantic words of big value. Same goes with street talk, rural idioms, inside jokes etc. These are all methods of saying something.

Back to drums now. If you can match the scenarios to any musical situation you can get a type of player that should be respected in his own field. The academic could be a clinician or a drummer who tours the world with his fusion trio. The poet could be a devoted old school jazz player. The street talker could be the world’s favourite rock n’ roll/punk rock drummer. Good session players speak the language in an understandable (for the majority) way while being able to incorporate samples of academics, poetry, idioms, street talk etc whenever they ‘re asked to.

Each and every one of them uses the words he needs to get his meaning across. For me that’s technique. The more types of people you can communicate well to the bigger your vocabulary gets. It’ s all a matter of acknowledging the things you want to express each time.

ps. in no way I ‘m gonna imply here that I know technique…

Drum Cam Footage #3 Spectralfire Live

Spectralfire is the trip-hopish project of a man I really admire who goes by the name of Labis Kountourogiannis. The selft-titled debut record is a real eye-opener for fans of alternative pop genres. Have a listen here (drums played by that guy Serafeim Giannakopoulos).

I have the honor of being the gigging drummer of Spectralfire for two years now which is something I paricularly enjoy since the band is consisted of extremely talented people. Special shoutout to Giorgos Bouldis, a BEAST on the bass. The gig is pretty demanding considering that I have to be consistently tight with a click track + loops which I dont control. Room for mistakes: none.

ps. Lost my balance there in the 5.58 mark but saved in the last moment.

Vox/Guitar/Synths – Labis Kountourogiannis

Guitar – Orestis Falireas

Keys – Matina Kountourogianni

Bass – Giorgos Bouldis

Gear Used: Gabriel Custom Bass Drum 22×16, Premier Royal Ace ’69 Snare 14×5.5

Bosphorus Cymbals: 15″ Traditional Dark Hats, 20″ Traditional Thin Ride

Roland SPD-SX (not used on this paricular video)

Major Influences #1 : Jean-Paul Gaster

Since this is a personal blog, its kinda obligatory to talk about influences. That’s why I’m starting the “Major Influences” series. Now, let me first explain that by “Major” I mean literally big influences. Drummers that I’ve spent days listening from a small age until now and have kinda ripped off in a good way.

Post no.1 is about the groove-machine behind Clutch, Jean-Paul Gaster. It all starts eight or nine years ago when I firstly discovered the application. Back then you could just type a name of a band and it would stream a whole playlist of music that was genre-relevant to it. I cant remember what I had put in at that time but around the third or fourth song of the playlist I just stop and listen closely to this:

I was blown away. Drumming-wise its still my favourite Clutch song and perhaps one of my favourite songs ever. Now that I think of it, Big Fat Pig has opened a whole new world about rock drumming for me. The new world was more “pocket-oriented”, it had funk and soul elements. Starting from there I started to search intel about Jean-Paul Gaster.

As it turned out he was a beast allover. His style is a mix of Go-go funk along with a Bad Brains’ punk rock attitude with some really deep jazz knowledge on the instrument as a topping.

Lucky as I could be, Clutch eventually became pretty popular amongst the Greek audience especially after the rise of the local stoner and heavy rock bands here. As a result, I got to see Jean-Paul Gaster play in my city for four times now. First time I saw him, he played about two or three drum solos during the show. And NOBODY.GOT.BORED. Needless to say he also changed my point of view on soloing back then.

Clutch is a very productive band so luckily you can delve into their vast discography and be amazed by Jean-Paul’s talent a whole lot. He has played in various side projects as well, notably: The Bakerton Group and King Hobo.