Hi, I’m Ben! I’ve been playing drums for Lorde for around 2 years and while she is making a new album and having a much deserved break. At the moment I’ve been playing for my good friend's band Halfnoise. In the past I have played with various bands in New Zealand, Kingston, The Wyld (Now called No Wyld) and Kidz In Space.
Why did you decide to become a drummer?
I just always did it when I was young, I didn’t really ever make a decision to play the drums. I got a drum kit when I was about 5 and before that it was pots, pans and cardboard boxes.
How does someone become a professional drummer?
For me it’s all been about relationships with people I’ve grown up with or worked with. A lot of them have gone on to do some amazing things in music and given me the opportunity to be a part of something they have been involved with. I got really good lessons all through High School and practice a lot when I have time to. You can go to music school though and it’s a great way to meet people and start bands, but I studied architecture and met the guitarist of my first band there.
What is the pay like?
It’s very varied, it can be around $100 per show and then up to $100,000 a year according to Berkley Music School, but it totally depends on whats going on and who you play with.
What are the best parts of being a drummer?
I enjoy the fact I get to just play drums the most. It’s the thing that makes me the happiest. But I love the travel and making friends along the way. The people you tour with become like a family which is really fun. Being able to see other bands play is great also.
What are the biggest challenges in being a drummer?
Often there can be a lot of downtime between tours so it can be touch and go sometimes whether you’ll have anything lined up after a tour. That can be stressful, not knowing what you’ll be doing in a month or where you’ll be. Being apart from family or loved ones is also really hard a lot of the time so finding someone that can put up with you being away a lot is important and worth looking after!
Best advice you've ever received?
I think the older I get the more I realize that the most important thing as a drummer is feel, it’s not flashy drum fills or solos. You’ll do fancy stuff about 2% of the time depending on who you play for but making a simple beat sound good is one of the most important things for me. Anyone can learn fancy fills but not everyone can make a basic beat, let alone some thing more technical, sound great. That’s the advice I’ve gotten a lot from good drummers. Also just as important as your playing is your personality and learning to get on with all types of people and having fun. When you tour you are with the same people all day for months at a time so your going to have to learn to be nice if your not already haha.
Any helpful resources or links on this topic?
Not really for getting drumming jobs as such, but there are so many books out there to learn from. A couple I learnt from were Portraits in Rhythm by Anthony J. Cirone and Progressive Steps to Syncopation for the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed. Here’s a list of great books
photo via: Modern Drummer