On Tuesday 30th January we welcomed Josh Dion to our studios to hold his first London Drum Clinic of 2018. Renowned for his skill in performing three instruments simultaneously (vocals, keys and drums), he is a Yamaha, Meinl and Vic Firth endorsed artist. Working alongside friend and musician Geoff Kraly, the pair form the music partnership that is ‘Paris Monster’.
The clinic began with two songs from Paris monster, showcasing their unique sound and incredible partnership as a two-man band. On opening the floor to questions, Josh was faced with numerous queries from how to stay motivated to practice, to how to keep control of the timing in an ensemble. Below are a few pointers from the night that stood out to us:
- When performing, fill the room
“You don’t want to [just] think musically, but also about the frequency, and what you can create with all [of] that.”
This was not only in relation to drums but vocals too, when performing think of your sound travelling to the back of the room and filling it. Remember that it isn't just about how musically you can play your drum kit, it's also the different frequencies you can create with a kit during a performance.
- When you need to find some motivation
“I remind myself how good it feels to be playing behind my kit.”
Everyone faces days they just want to rest, or are struggling to get back into a practice routine after time away. Josh Dion stated he reminds himself how great it feels when you are back behind your kit, and that the best thing is to find ways to remind yourself of this feeling, so to motivate yourself to start again.
- Drum fills are not everything
“Sometimes you have to let the band bring the funk, not you. You don’t need to fill everything.”
Simplicity can indeed be the key, when speaking of different drum techniques and rhythms Josh Dion mentioned how there are times in his career he has realised a band sounded so much better when the drums are simple. Keeping the beat and allowing the band to groove allows for so much "funk" to be produced by other band members, which constant drum fills just wouldn't allow.
- Timing is key
“You have the power when you think of the actual length of the notes.”
Josh advised that when practising, try singing along lengthening different notes and trying different rhythms that enable you to find your own sound and version of songs.
- What made you want to play drums and sing?
“People ask about playing the drums and singing together, but these were the first two instruments we had. They were made to be played together!”
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