The bands and drum­mers you need to have on your radar this month

Con­tem­po­rary jazz with an elec­tronic twist

Rhythm - - CONTENTS -

Aussie com­poser, per­cus­sion­ist and drum­mer Lau­rence Pike stud­ied un­der jazz leg­end Mike Nock at Syd­ney’s Con­ser­va­to­rium of Mu­sic, and has since pro­duced two al­bums with his for­mer men­tor. He has fea­tured on nu­mer­ous other al­bums, tours and sound­tracks, fo­cus­ing on the elec­tronic and jazz mu­sic worlds, and has per­formed with the Syd­ney Sym­phony Orches­tra and as part of the Su­per­sense Fes­ti­val in Mel­bourne.

What are you up to at the mo­ment?

“I’m cur­rently per­form­ing solo un­der my own name us­ing drums and elec­tron­ics, hav­ing re­leased my de­but al­bum Dis­tan­tEar­lyWarn­ing in March this year. I’ve also been play­ing with the im­pro­vis­ing group, Szun Waves, who are based in Lon­don and whose sec­ond al­bum

NewHym­nToFree­dom is out 31Au­gust 2018 on The Leaf La­bel.”

What was your in­tro­duc­tion to drum­ming?

“See­ing Buddy Rich have a drum bat­tle with An­i­mal on TheMup­petShow. I was hooked af­ter that.”

When did you first start com­pos­ing as well as play­ing drums?

“Ever since I was able to I’ve al­ways had my own bands. My brother and I started our first one when I was 11. The drums have al­ways been a means to make mu­sic for me, not an end, so com­pos­ing and play­ing have al­ways been in­ter­twined.”

Who are your drum­ming he­roes?

“Jack DeJohnette has been my hero since I was very young, but Tony Wil­liams, Simon Barker, Jon Chris­tensen, Elvin Jones, Tony Buck, Jaki Liebezeit, Den­nis Davis (Bowie), Ste­wart Copeland, and John Her­don and John McEn­tire of Tor­toise have all had a sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence.”

Which elec­tronic artists do you take in­spi­ra­tion from?

“Autechre, Aphex Twin and Oval were very for­ma­tive in­flu­ences on me, as well Clus­ter, Kraftwerk, and more re­cently the Ja­panese am­bi­ent com­poser Hiroshi Yoshimura. I’ve also been lucky to work with some of my favourite con­tem­po­rary elec­tronic mu­si­cians, such as Jan Je­linek, James Holden and Luke Ab­bott, who I now play with in Szun Waves.”

Which song per­fectly cap­tures your sound and style?

“Prob­a­bly ‘Life Hacks’ from my al­bum Dis­tan­tEarly

Warn­ing. I like to try and bring a bit of my­self into the sound of ev­ery­thing I do, but I’d say the solo stuff would def­i­nitely be the most per­sonal.”

What gear are you us­ing?

“I am re­ally lucky to en­dorse C&C drums, Remo drum­heads and Zild­jian cym­bals to help me shift gears be­tween the dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions I work in. Although for my re­cent solo record­ing I used my Yamaha Maple Cus­tom Ab­so­lute kit in jazz sizes, which I’ve had for a decade or so, with Zild­jian Kerope and Avedis series cym­bals, and the Roland SPD-SX drum pad sam­pler.”

How do you ap­proach play­ing your solo ma­te­rial live?

“My solo mu­sic is en­tirely driven by live per­for­mance, so the ap­proach in the stu­dio is ex­actly the same as live. I don’t use over­dub­bing or post pro­duc­tion for the elec­tronic com­po­nent; I per­form the pieces as live takes and trig­ger the sam­pler as part of the kit whileI track. So the set-up is a ba­sic be­bop-size drum kit with the Roland SPD-SX and some ad­di­tional hand per­cus­sion, bells and chimes.

“From a cre­ative point of view, the solo stuff is all about mak­ing things in the mo­ment, and get­ting my­self into a head­s­pace of aware­ness, which I think is ex­cit­ing and re­ward­ing for both my­self and an au­di­ence.”

What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t live with­out?

“It’s prob­a­bly deeply un­fash­ion­able these days, but I’ve got an old pro­to­type flat ride cym­bal which has com­pletely trans­formed my sound and the bal­ance of the kit for me, I can’t imag­ine be­ing with­out it. On a more prag­matic note, the SPD-SX drum pad sam­pler is an in­cred­i­ble piece of gear, and en­ables me to use elec­tron­ics in per­for­mance and bring another di­men­sion to the drum kit in a very sim­ple way.”

What was the first kit you ever owned?

“It was a hy­brid of old bits and pieces my mum bought for me when I was 10 for $50 off an older kid in the neigh­bour­hood, mainly no name stuff from the ’70s and ’80s. My grand­fa­ther took it to his shed and stripped off all the old wraps, painted it a uni­form black and cleaned up the hard­ware for me. I must have played that kit for two hours a day un­til, af­ter a few months, my par­ents were con­vinced I was se­ri­ous enough about drum­ming to up­grade!”

What’s the key to a great live per­for­mance?

“For me it’s about feel­ing like I am in a place men­tally where the mu­sic can make it­self, and ide­ally, the mem­brane be­tween my­self and the au­di­ence can be re­moved. I want it to be a hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence.”

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