Erik Smith Clinic

12:55 Waiting to start

1:00 Guys are out adjusting the kit.

1:01 PAS rep introducing Yamaha rep. He insists on pronouncing it pa-sic (as in classic).

1:03 Yamaha rep gives mini bio on Smith. Erik is from Norway.

1:05 Smith takes the stage on brushes. He is playing a 6 piece Yammy oak custom. The kit drum is booming. He lays down minimal brushes grooves.

1:06 Switches to sticks and lays down 4/4 groove. Lots of dynamics. Minimal and spacious. Istanbul hats sound nice. 15″?

1:09 Jazz swing solo with backbeats. I can’t get over this bass drum sound. It’s kicking me in the chest here on the front row.

1:11 Wraps up solo and takes the mic. The clinic is called “Discover Yourself.”

Erik: Drummers play time and groove, but how do we develop this? Metronomes? CDs? I realized I’d only scratched the surface as a musician. I had to get deeper. 1st thing-where is my groove? I’m playing the correct patterns but sometimes doesn’t feel right. I had to figure it out without the instrument. I brought a recorder and made sounds, sang a drum groove. I tried to groove along with it. Then I went to play my leg, or a tabletop. I realized it felt better than when I was playing my drums. It helped me know what I was playing. We need to deliver this when we are hired.

To transfer it, I used brushes.

1:16 Demonstrates groove on brushes. Sings groove as he plays it on the kit.

Erik: this made me mig more confident. I am the music. I didn’t have to rely on the instrument. I also did this to fond ideas when playing. I ask students if they hear ideas in their head. Think of simple ideas to build on.

Don’t play and perform for just the 1 or 2 drummers in the room. We are in the service business

With fills, I would play a simple groove and try to come up with thing that weren’t in conext.

1:23 Groove in 4 with fills every 4 bars. The fills are asymmetrical and very syncopated, sometimes stretching over the barline.

1:24 Erik: practice creativity. Books won’t do that, and videos can’t give that to you.

I think the same drummers are always mentioned when drummers get together. It’s always the same guys. Why? They have a great feel and groove.

Try to think of things in a more musical way. I got more calls from other styles. Don’t be put in a “bag” (ed. I think he means box).

Another thing, I learned to avoid autopilot playing. Like HH 8ths with the foot. Ghost notes we aren’t aware of. Things that lie underneath and disturb the groove. We aren’t listening to what we’re playing.

If we go deeper inside ourselves we find emotions. Playing in front if a lot of drunmers :). In my early years I was more nervous. I had to tell myself it’s no way I can get 50% better so all I can do is focus on making good music.

We all have this enthusiasm for this instrument. We have to put that into what we do all the time. (Demonstrates joy-less groove.)

1:33 Tells story about John Robinson.

Erik: He was always into it and focused. If you get bored, or you drift off, you wills hear it. Use all your senses.

Another part of this process was to go back to the music that got me first excited (big band).

1:36 Performs to big band track, “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

1:42 Q&A

Q: Who where your influences?
Erik: my dad. Buddy rich. Louis Belleson Krupa. Roach. Jones. Erskunes. Sonny Payne. Gadd. All these guys who give me a certain feeling. As if they’re playing for me-in the moment. Pure music delivered to you. Listen to your favorite drummers with fresh ears.

Q: Traditional grip vs matched
Erik: I use matched for pop and rock, bit trad for jazz

1:45 Sponsor Thank yous. Plays last song. It’s a big band hip-hop. “Mr. JPA”. Kind of a gospel type of feel. Rap section. Cool mambo section in the end.

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