Out of all the roles in a band, the drummer isn't exactly known for being the most glamorous or attention-grabbing (Ringo Starr anyone?) However, we’re telling the truth when we say a drummer can make or break a performance. While they’re responsible for keeping a band in time, being a drummer is more than just a background role. A good drummer will know when to embellish the core parts of a song. Their sense of rhythm can embellish a sonorous bass line, or accentuate vocals. To pull this off while keeping in with the main rhythm takes sharp reflexes, to say the least. While it’s worth taking your time, you’re probably eager to find a new drummer and bring them up to speed. So without further ado, here are our tips for finding a new drummer.
Drumming up interest
When it comes to scouting for talent, of course, advertising on the Internet will be your first port of call. There are websites for recruiting musicians, such as Bandmix and Join My Band, Gumtree is always a safe bet for advertising... well, pretty much anything. And, finally, you can always turn to Facebook. The London Musicians Network has over 25,000 members, with bands regularly looking for new members and collaborators.
But how do you stop getting inundated with DMs from unsuitable candidates? For instance, they may model themselves after Buddy Rich when you’ve got your eyes on the next Travis Barker. You can make it clear what you’re looking for in your ad, but consider who you’re looking to attract when you go to post it. For example, does your local hardcore venue have a Facebook group? While this means fewer eyes in front of your ad, it does reduce the number of aspiring drummers to sift through to a collection of people who actually know what grindcore is.
There is a risk of being a little too discerning in your selection process. Music history is littered with artists who were classically trained before breaking out into new genres. If someone is interested in your sound and they seem to have the skills, why not let them throw their hi-hat into the ring?
If you’re taking yourselves seriously as a band, you should have a respectable social media presence. Out of your followers, there’s bound to at least be a handful dying to say ‘I’m with the band’. Enthusiasm doesn’t always equal skill. However, knowledge of your style and back-catalogue is always going to be beneficial.
You should also never underestimate the power of word of mouth. A person coming across your ad may think a kick pedal belongs on a motorbike, but perhaps they’ve got a talented mate you can ensnare. This brings us to our next point - many bands met either at gigs or were introduced through peers on the scene. We’re sure that, as music-lovers yourselves, you’re attending as many gigs as you are playing. While you’re likely there for pints in the pit, it never hurts to look out for networking opportunities.
Need any more help thinning the herd before the audition process? Ask your aspiring drummers if they can provide any videos. These could be recordings of them playing at a recent gig, or even a video of them in their bedroom.
If you’ve formed a band with a couple of mates, it might be that you’ve never held auditions before. If this is the case, it’s important to remember that you aren’t just looking for a skilled drummer. You need to find a drummer who is going to be the right fit for your band long-term.
Being ‘fashionably late’ might seem part and parcel of a rockstar lifestyle. But if a drummer shows up late for an audition, how hard is it going to be to get them to a rehearsal or an important gig on time?
Of course, this isn’t the most important time-keeping skill your next drummer will need. You should place the most scrutiny on their ability to stay in tempo. A drummer looking to make a good first impression should not try and dictate the tempo. Can they adjust their tempo based on how the song flows? Can they drop straight back into their tempo after a break? These are the questions you’ll have to be asking yourself throughout the audition.
Overall, they must be a cohesive fit within your band. Creative flair is a must, as it shows a genuine passion for the instrument. But a drummer eager to make a winning impression can easily go overboard. If they start throwing in every beat they have in their repertoire, they could be more interested in showboating than being the right fit, and chances are they aren’t Tommy Lee...
Finally, remember that you’re also going to be spending a lot of time with this new drummer. How do they come across in the audition? Do they seem laid back enough to roll with the punches, but on it enough that you think you can count on them? Does their enthusiasm come through in their playing? Are they likeable? If you’re just starting out, you’re probably not picturing your new drummer with you on a month-long tour. However, you’ll want to be sure you can spend an evening with them rehearsing and not want to shove their sticks where it doesn’t shine.
Once you’ve found your drummer, we’re sure you’ll want to test their skills in a professional recording studio. Our London recording studio is an ideal fit. Contact Kore Studios today to find out more.