I've been playing and tutoring drums for 46 years. My first exposure was way back in 73, when the Napier City Pipe Band marched past during the annual Christmas parade. 73 was a phenomenal year, Pink Floyd released ‘Dark Side of the Moon” which left a very deep impression on me.
As the Pipe band passed by, the timing and resonant power from the assembled drum corps was an absolutely awe inspiring and seminal moment in my life! That’s it….drumming ….. I needed to do this, I had to do this …… 46 years later, drums are still my passion and I play and tutor pipe band drumming and play with Hastings pipe band. My drum set moment was while at High School. No one else played drum set and although I was a bit nervous I felt compelled. I was a bit clumsy at first and just got on with it. I am to this day pretty much ‘self-taught’ although to be fair, I've had lots of mentoring opportunities over the years. I've been with some of the greats as well as contemporary players, read many books, pored over drumming videos, attended may concerts and gigs and above all else, practised my heart out. I have played with musicians that I respect and without really trying, finding myself adopting aspects of their playing style and soon enough you have a huge body of knowledge and influences. These various factors have come together to what has for me has felt like a community learning experience.
We met in Hastings, New Zealand around 2003 when Cameron filled in for our regular drummer at a covers band gig. I was playing bass and singing and recall Cam's visceral presence in the music. We took these old songs to refreshing and often strange places and got pretty crazy with some of the grooves. Funny that the gig was a theme night – 'Outer Space' and we had our faces and white T-shirts painted with vibrant crazy patterns. We were the same age, had similar backgrounds, liked the same bands and became firm friends. There was a period of about 3 months in 2006 where Cam and I worked on original material with different players and though the projects ended abruptly for the usual reasons it became clear that we shared a vision of a music with a particular sound and arrangement of elements.
It was perfect timing when in 2014 Cam turned up at my house suggesting we start something. We began immediately and our band ’Infinity’ has moved effortlessly forward since. At that time popular music had become very 'wordy' with an abundance of rappers and the whole 'Idol' show phenomenon. We chose to do instrumental music – we were hanging out to play. Our objective became to create a kind of music that permitted indulgence in that regard, while remaining highly listenable for an audience but with a rock feel . We were both huge fans of the late sixties – early seventies experimental bands like Yes, Genesis, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others. As we jammed, tunes formed. We held house parties and tried the tunes out. People liked where we were headed so we decided to record a demo and put on a few gigs at local bars. We jammed with our various backing tracks for two days at Aaron Cash's 'New Song' Studio in Hastings then sat back for a few days to listen to the outcome. Together we captured some magic and much of that demo went on to become the 'Infinity' album.
Today, I consider it an honour to be a part of Infinity. My musical partner Pat Hura does most of the work. He is a multi instrumentalist and a very smart composer with an incredible creative dialogue and is able to not only write but convey arrangement and emotional background to the songs he writes. I am spoilt for choice with the drum lines and we freely discuss how the song can evolve and improve through our rehearsal hours. Infinity allows me to say something new (new for me), without clutter and with freedom of expression. Considering I've been a ‘busy pipe-band drummer’ it has taken many years to really learn how to reduce my playing to what I consider the vital groove. This is of course keeping it simple whilst trying to manifest some charm in my playing. As we know this is a life pursuit and that’s just fine by me. Today I teach full time. I teach all ages and I value my job. It is responsible to teach kids, and adults, how to read and be creative.
Cam and Pat sent us their CD titled 'Infinity' and we had a listen to it. It is not some catchy tune thing, so it took a while for it to grow on us. It's an instrumental piece, which showcases their abundant talents, not however at the expense of being overly flashy or showy. As Cameron touched on earlier, it's about restraint and reducing output to distill the vital groove. To us it has hallmarks of the music of Santana and Yes and we really enjoy it. It's one of those timeless CD's which we would be comfortable playing in 2 or even 5 years from now and it would not have dated. Congratulations on an excellent performance and great CD compilation of enjoyable tracks.
Cameron says 'The name Perreaux has always held a special aura for me'. Perreaux was first formed in Napier in 1973 and has since moved to Dunedin and represents highest levels of audio quality. My journey with Perreaux started several years ago when I purchased an Audiant 80i integrated amplifier and a pair of their SR35 floorstanding loudspeakers. Wow what a great sound … I was absolutely hooked.
The problem with high end audio is that you get a taste for it and you invariably end up desiring bigger and better systems.
My next step was to bi-amp my existing system with the addition of the Audiant 100p power amplifier being driven by the pre outs from the 80i. The SR35 has got the ability to split the tweeters from the mid/bass drivers and that extra current drive from the 100p was instantly noticeable.
Audiant 80i …. digital/analogue source selection, volume control and amplification and driving the SR58 tweeters.
Audiant 100p ….. driving the SR58 mid range drivers
Prisma 350 …. driving the SR58 woofers
SR58 ...... Perreaux loudspeakers
Perreaux cabling … fully cabled using Perreaux audio cables.
Tri amped systems are not commonly seen, however many have done so, invariably achieving superior results. Key to any tri amped system is having the ability to independently access the bass, mids and tweeters (as in the SR58) so that each amplifier can drive one element. We will discuss this in the next article called 'tri amping'.