Month: January 2016

Wise Words From Stewart Copeland

This instalment of “Wise Words” features an excellent quote from the game-changing Stewart Copeland, who once drummed for a mega Rock band, The Police, and is one of my all-time heroes.

Here he talks about the mechanics of playing successfully: Playing the music and not worrying about your technique or the mechanics of your instrument.

You once talked about “playing outside your instrument.” When did you come up with this idea, and can you speak about what it means to you?

“It came to me when I was playing polo – you ‘play outside your horse.’ If you’re thinking about your horse and your equestrian skills, and things like proper riding and hitting the ball, let alone playing the game and putting your horse in the right place on the field…

“See, you shouldn’t even be thinking about the horse. You have to be outside the horse. Your body and horse are one. You shouldn’t be thinking about riding. You have to think, ‘Here’s the ball. I need to get it there. I need to stop that guy from getting to the ball. Uh-oh, there’s a pass and that’s where I gotta be.’ When you do that, you’re thinking outside your horse. You’re playing the game.

“Put this to music: The mechanics of playing an instrument should be furthest from your mind. You’ve got to think outside your instrument, play outside your instrument. You’ve got to think about the music: ‘What is the music? Where are the other players are? What’s going on? Where’s the groove?’ – things like that. What drum you’re hitting, what your technique is – that should be completely subliminal.”

Complete interview at: http://www.musicradar.com/news/drums/stewart-copeland-on-the-police-drum-solos-rush-double-bass-pedals-and-more-546175

David Bowie: The definition of Cutting Edge in music

The music world has lost a game changing hero.

In these past two days since discovering the news of his all-too-sudden and shocking death, I reflected on what David Bowie’s music means to me – how it affected and influenced my musical path and life.

One thing is for sure, he was a great Rocker who wrote some really cool Rock songs that I would listen to right beside my other favourite Rock artists (most of whom are 70’s acts). The riffs and the grooves spoke to me right away. The lyrics were poetic.  It challenged my understanding of what Rock music could be. These are some of my favourite Rock songs by David:

Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Rebel Rebel, Suffragette City, and Jean Genie.

Just as I thought he was a cutting edge Rocker, he came up with a cutting edge Dance-Pop album called Let’s Dance. It’s one of my top favourite drumming albums and I used to play along to all the tracks on my drums.

David Bowie again challenged my notion of his music when I heard the gorgeous “This Is Not America”. He collaborated with the Pat Metheny Group, themselves a cutting edge Jazz-Fusion band, and the result was a piece of music with such a stunning ambience and truly moving/reflective lyrics.

David Bowie delivered one final album masterpiece called Blackstar. Even in the face of death, not one iota of his staggering creativity was lost. No stone was left unturned thematically, and even his death became such an artful exposition on the track, Lazarus. Some peope dismiss it as a gimmick to sell records. To that, I simply say, don’t listen to the record then.

It is no surprise to me by now that David Bowie could make truly powerful and moving art out of any theme, object, storyline in his music. He knew who he was and where he stood artistically. He never compromised on his artistic vision but his genius lay in his ability to make that vision assessable and commercially viable. How does one do that? Unfortunately we won’t have David around to show us the way, but we still have his music – his greatest message.

Rest in peace, Major Tom.

 

 

Gabriel Liew, another great student achieves distinction in Grade 7 Trinity/Guildhall Drumset exam

Every once in a while, a student comes along who is really hungry to improve in his/her craft and become a better musician. He or she sees Music as a career and not merely a hobby. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with viewing Music as a hobby, but Music is so much more…It’s life…

Gabriel is one such student. He listens, he practices his butt off, and he applies what he learns effectively.

So, a big congratulations to you, Gabriel. You deserve this fantastic result.

Gabriel is currently studying for a diploma in music and audio technology at the Singapore Polytechnic. He also has his own youtube channel and soundcloud page:

youtube.com/user/Gab12357

soundcloud.com/gabriel-liew.

Image of Gabriel’s exam transcript shown here with his kind permission.

 

 

New Album Out: Sunny Deo And The Ninth Order’s Mystic String

Hope your new year started off on a good footing.

It’s with great pride that I announce the release of a newalbum that I worked on between the fall of 2014 and May of 2015. It’s called Mystic String and it features a diverse set of 10 songs which run the gamut from Pop to Rock to Jazz to even abit of World Music.

Working on developing the song arrangements with the band and producer as well as recording the drum tracks are certainly two of the greatest highlights in my career so far. I learnt so much more about recording with greater precision and consistency from working with a grammy-nominated producer, Duke Purisima, who presided over the production of this album; and grammy-nominated recording and mixing engineer, Jerry Chua, who designed the sound of this album. Jerry is also a very well respected drummer, thus alot of scrutiny was naturally placed on my performances!

All in all, this album captures some of my best drumming in the studio so far in terms of creative drum parts, versatility with different styles, time, feel, and consistency. I certainly look forward to doing another album with this band and this production team.

Here’s the link to previewing the album online and purchasing it as a digital download:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/sunnydeoandtheninthorder.

Feel free to give me your feedback on the album!