Ga­bor Dornyei

The polyrhyth­mic wiz­ard on 30 years of play­ing

Rhythm - - FEATURE -

You just opened the Har­row Drum School. What else is keep­ing you busy?

“I’m on my 30 Years Drum­ming tour, be­cause I started play­ing when I was 10 and I’ve played for 30 years. The Lon­don Drum Show is go­ing to be a pin­na­cle event, but it’s re­ally part of an in­ter­na­tional tour. I’m do­ing the UK, Ger­many, Hun­gary... I’ve al­ready done the Czech Repub­lic with Aaron Spears, and I’m go­ing to Italy and Switzer­land. It’s a mir­a­cle it’s hap­pen­ing be­cause times are not easy and it’s dif­fi­cult to or­gan­ise any­thing, but I man­aged to pull this off. I’ve been or­gan­is­ing it since Jan­uary when I went to the NAM show in LA.

“I’m do­ing a lot of clin­ics and I’ve got two schools now. Har­row Drum School is the new­est: it’s aimed at be­gin­ners and we’re lo­cated in the Har­row Arts Cen­tre. And I’ve got my pri­vate stu­dio in my gar­den also in Har­row, that’s called Gabbey Road Stu­dio.”

What do you have planned for the Lon­don Drum Show this year?

“I’m plan­ning to play all the hits from my Drumeo film ti­tled Per­cus­sive Drum ming And In­de­pen­dence, and I’m also go­ing to play the new tracks that I filmed this Jan­uary for Drum Chan­nel in LA with Don Lom­bardi. That les­son is ti­tled 30 Years Drum­ming: that was sort of the launch of the tour.

“I’m also do­ing a clinic the fol­low­ing day; that’s 12.15 on Sun­day. My plan is to per­form the hit songs and drum so­los on the main stage, and on the Sun­day dis­cuss what hap­pened the day be­fore, break it down.”

What drum kit will you be bring­ing?

“I’ve got a beau­ti­ful Pearl Ref­er­ence Pure in a nat­u­ral matte fin­ish. It’s a dou­ble kick set, so I’ve got a 22” main bass drum, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14”, 16” toms, and an 18” aux­il­iary kick with a dou­ble pedal.It’s like a Terry Bozzio thing when you’ve got a jazz bass drum on the side. Multi-pedal or­ches­tra­tions will be fea­tured: I’m play­ing dou­ble hi-hat things, I’ve got a cable hi-hat on my right foot side, and a lot of foot cow­bell in­de­pen­dence. That’s mainly go­ing to be for the solo stuff, but I also use it in some of the tracks.”

What song will you per­form for the Keith Moon trib­ute ses­sion?

“I’m play­ing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’: it’s my favourite tune from The Who. I was re­ally lucky be­cause I got in early so I could choose my favourite. I’m very ex­cited about that. It’s a plea­sure to be in­vited to do that gig.”

What can peo­ple ex­pect to learn from you at clin­ics and mas­ter­classes?

“It varies, but most of the time I get tech­ni­cal ques­tions; ‘How do you do this? How did you achieve bal­ance and a roughly equal level be­tween the right and left hands and the feet, and also the co­or­di­na­tion, multi-pedal or­ches­tra­tions, how do you achieve free­dom over the clave, what are the group­ings?’ And break­downs of my orig­i­nal groove com­po­si­tions, so mainly those.

“I re­ally en­joy shar­ing, I’m an en­thu­si­ast for ed­u­ca­tion. I’ve been giv­ing drum lessons for 24 years, be­cause when I was 17 peo­ple started ap­proach­ing me for drum lessons and I re­ally en­joy see­ing peo­ple grow and progress. I think we drum­mers are cool in that sense, we’re not jeal­ous, try­ing to hide our licks and fills: we’re more of a shar­ing bunch and I’ve re­ally en­joyed talk­ing about these things.

“My clin­ics and mas­ter­classes are very in­ter­ac­tive, so it’s not like it’s just me work­ing there. I get peo­ple to clap the dif­fer­ent cross-rhythms and polyrhythms, and I’ve got a good in­de­pen­dence, co­or­di­na­tion ex­er­cise ev­ery­body can prac­tise with­out even hav­ing a kit. I get peo­ple in­volved, that’s my method.”

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