The drums, the drums!

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the biggest tropical thunderstorm you’ve ever heard, looked outside to see clear skies and bright sunshine and slowly realised that the ‘boom boom’ is NOT thunder, but a more organised rhythmic, human phenomenon; have you witnessed the sound of 40+ African drummers laying down the baddest, primal, IMMENSE grooves you’ve ever heard? If you haven’t, then you’ve never heard real drumming.”

“I do strongly believe that growing up in West Africa gave me a head start with understanding and feeling rhythm and perhaps not entirely coincidentally, I’ve been lucky enough to tour with two of Africa’s most amazing performers – Francis Fuster (master percussionist with Fela Kuti and on Paul Simon’s Graceland tour) and Hugh Masekela. Working with Universal France on remixes for the Salif Keita album ‘Moffou’ was a real privilege and an amazing learning experience and working with Warner signed Different Tribes around the same time was also a real education. Band leader Dodo Nkishi (drummer with Mouse On Mars and singer with Stewart Copland) had the most amazing ears and attention to detail and taught me a lot.”

“How this translates to every day life is that as a musical director I often have to work with grooves to make them sit and that can mean asking the drummer to pull the snare or high hat back a nanosecond, or analysing how the rhythm section is sitting together. Or in the studio making a sequencer sound more ‘human’ – I very rarely leave drum parts on the grid, but will mess with different parts, dragging them back or forward to create a better groove, or play with the velocities. So it feels like the culmination of these various influences has allowed me to get a real edge with grooves and gain a deeper understanding of the most important elements that contribute to them.”

Why not listen and decide for yourself?