About The Torch: A monthly series, The Torch aims to help musicians of all ages and talent levels learn more about their respective instruments. Each issue features band members from around the world discussing their craft. They provide our readers with advice and insight towards their person experiences, as well as talking about the tool of their livelihood. Whether you’re an aspiring musician, beginner, fan, or expert, there’s something here for everyone. I truly believe it takes one generation to inspire another. With each issue, I hope we can motivate more and more readers to become the forces they admire.
Written & Produced by Meryl "LJ" DeWitt | Edited by Rachel Rosell | Photos credit to owners
LJ: Biggest stage nightmare you've had so far?
Jared: Last weekend actually. I was setting up my kit on stage and my throne or drum seat actually fell apart as I was going to sit down in front of everybody. That's probably the worst thing that's happened so far.
Kevin: I once wacked myself in the face and broke my glasses, and then couldn't see (I'm blind without them) lol. Now I wear contacts, so we're all good!
Pao: House kits. Kaonashi was playing a show in Kentucky, and the sound guy insisted that I used his kit because "it sounded really good to him". I ended up breaking the pedals, a crash, and striped some hardware.
LJ: What's your current stage set up?
Jared: I play a four piece Pearl Sound Check kit two toned red and black, I recommend it to any and all beginner drummers.
Kevin: Yeah, so I went through a few kits before landing on my current setup, which is a DDRUM Dios Maple kit in a green sparkle finish. I use a 20x20 bass drum with a 12x8 rack tom, which is suspended by the boom stand for the cymbal. A 16x14 floor tom, and a 13x8 snare. I still use Tama hardware, with an Iron Cobra Jr. kick pedal. My cymbals are all Zildjiian 20 inch crashes with 14 inch hi hats.
Pao: I proudly play my custom 4 piece Dark Horse Percussion drums, Zildjian cymbals, Evans heads and Vater sticks.
Dark Horse Percussion Drums
15" A Custom Mastersound Hi-Hats
21" A Series Sweet Ride
22" A Custom Ping Ride
23" A Series Sweet Ride
19" K Custom Hybrid China
Vater 1A sticks
LJ: Best piece you've ever owned? / Worst piece you've ever owned?
Jared: The pearl I use now because it came out of my money, I treat it like it's my child. I'd put that kit before myself any day of the week.
Pao: My favorite piece of equipment I've ever owned would probably be 19" K Dark China I used to own or the 23" Sweet Ride. Sadly worst thing I ever owned, and still own, is a 13x7 Walnut/Maple OCDP snare, just never liked it.
Kevin: My new kit. Worst would be my 2nd kit, which was different Tama models in 3 different colors; black, red, and blue.
LJ: Dream pieces to own one day? (Collectors, customs, etc)
Pao: Already have it! Dark Horse Percussion!
Kevin: Definitely that Pearl Free Floating snare that Chris Daly from Texas is the Reason used to record Do You Know Who You Are? with. I saw he sold the Ludwig chrome wrap kit he used to tour with and record the album on Instagram a few years back, but I missed the boat on that one.
Jared: I own an old Pearl and a newer Pearl. The old one is roughly 30 years old but has a newer shell pack on it and my Pearl Soundcheck is about 2 1/2 years old now.
LJ: Some drummers think I'm crazy for asking this & others find it a perfectly normal question… Do you name your pieces? If so, what are their names?
Pao: I actually haven't named my drums, although in High School Marching Band, we use to name them.
Kevin: I don't name them.
Jared: I didn't even think about naming my set. If I were to name each individual piece I'd go insane trying to remember which is which.
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The East Coast is coming in strong this week with Connecticut natives Through Obscurity and Philadelphia acts Autumn Passing and Kaonashi. From Deathcore to Alternativecore, these three bands run the gamut of diversity. For this issue, their drummers have eagerly stepped up to the plate to discuss their craft.
Meryl "LJ" DeWitt: How old were you when you first started playing? / What was your first drum set?
Jared Rodriguez: I started actually drumming when I was around 3 years old. My parents bought me a few children's play kits. Of course this was 14 years ago, so I can't exactly say what type they were, but I stopped for a while and when I picked it back up I started up again on a old custom pearl with a almost brand new shell pack. That was back when I was maybe 12 or 13.
Kevin Piece: I was 17, so that was 2005, lol. So, about 12 years. My first kit was a Tama Stage Star kit, which I sold on MySpace about 6 months after, since the drum sizes ended up being a bit too small for me.
Ryan "Pao" Paolilli: I first started playing drums at the age of 10. I got my first drum set at the age of 12-13. It was a no-named beginner kit 5 piece, with really bad hi hats and a crash ride.
LJ: Through trial & error in your career, are there any mistakes you would warn young drummers to be cautious of?
Kevin: Not to assume anything and let your hard work speak for itself.
Pao: The only mistakes I would be cautious of is making bad playing habits. Other than that, trial & error is the way to become a great musician. You're bound to make mistakes.
Jared: Never stop, even when you think you can take a break for a little while, don't. You'll end up going through everything all over again. Also if you lose your "drummers touch" take a breather for a few minutes, stretch out a little, make yourself some coffee or grab yourself a nice glass of water, then get right back to it. Never give up, you're only as good as you want yourself to be.
LJ: Who's your personal drummer hero?
Jared: Jimmy the rev Sullivan or The Rev (R.I.P). He was the old drummer to A7X. I suggest searching up videos of him playing if you're a newer drummer, you could learn a lot from watching him and listening to his music, I know I did.
Pao: On a day to day basis, Seamus Menihane of Vanna plus 500 other bands or Austin Archey of Lorna Shore. Those are some hardworking people.
Kevin: Honest Abraham Cunningham (Deftones).
LJ: What, for you, makes it worth it to keep playing? What's your favorite part about being a drummer?
Kevin: Just the thrill of playing. It's like a release to go up and just hit things and create energy that the people watching can feel and feed off of.
Jared: This is an easy question. Drumming is probably one of the best ways to relieve stress without going to a gym or going on runs and it's also an amazing feeling when you see yourself progressing. I did something I suggest all musicians should do and that is constantly record yourself from the very beginning and very end of your music career. Seeing yourself thrive in music is probably the most amazing feeling that I personally have had. There's also that feeling all throughout your body when you think about playing on stage again. Playing on stage is my favorite thing to do and I'd literally do anything to keep that going for myself even if it means starting all over again with new people. I just love playing my music for other people as an entertainer.
Pao: My drums and music will always be there, it's always be something I can count on, it will always be fun and exciting for me. My favorite part of being a drummer is being a thousand miles away from home and being able to make someone bang their heads or move a little, make them feel something.