This week at Indian Drummer we’ve decided to focus on Asian Drummers. Indian Drummer caught up with young talented drummer from Indonesia - Ade Sulaiman Kramadibrata . Here’s what the young gun from Indonesia had to say.
Ade - Namaste. Hey guys, first I want to thank you all! Whew..I am very busy!! Last week I recorded my solo album “Saltirova Project”, and it’s still in progress, and I play “Sundanese Kendang” for my friend’s band called “La Belle” a pop jazzy group as an additional player and I play regularly in Beerhouse in my town every Saturday night and with my twin brother we’re always making music for “Iman brata trio” a rock band with a jazz background. We get help from a friend of mine fromMexico who plays piano and some private drums teaching.
ID – Tell us a bit about when you began drumming?
Ade - Yes, Actually I start drumming at 13. Before that I learnt to play Piano at 6. When I was little, I always heard my uncle play The Beatles records, Genesis, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones etc and my uncle can play the guitar really good, and my first impression was the whole Band and not exactly at the drummer. At that time my hero was Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury, but when I saw Genesis live from a video, I saw that Phil Collins is an amazing drummer and I love when he did the solo. From there I always thought of learning the drum set.
ID – Piano was the first instrument you learnt, how did you move on to the drums?
Ade - When I was 13, I didn’t know why friends of my father gave me my first drum set! I guess it was a mistake, he actually thought I could play the drums, but at that time I played Piano and Guitar. I remember I sat and tried to bang each drum, snare, tom toms, and crash and suddenly I could play my first 8 beat and I felt in Love. From that moment all I wanted was to play drums.
ID - Was it hard when you made this transition considering the fact that you had learnt the piano for quite a while at that point?
Ade - No, it wasn’t that hard. Just took sometime to be comfortable with it. I love music and for me whatever your instrument it is, you have to take a mental decision that you have to give a 100 percent commitment.
ID – Do you play a pro-active role while writing the music for your band?
Ade - In my project “Saltirova Project”, I wrote all the songs. My friend helped me with lyrics and arrangement. In “Iman brata trio” I just give a rhythm idea, because this band is my twin brother “baby”.
ID – I heard the music you’ve released online, some really good music there. Well arranged and produced. How did the songs evolve while writing?
Ade - All the songs came from Jamming. We love to play as a band, and we record a 5 hours jam and we find a bit of song ideas. Sometimes I found it, sometimes my brothers, but it was all from the guitar riff. Oh yeah you can check it at –
Listen demo – www.myspace.com/listenbandindonesia
I have some physical copies of albums that we sold here inIndonesiaas an Indie label and some singles from my old band Listen which no longer exists.
ID – There’s some jazz influence in the music, how did you go about writing your parts?
Ade - I studied jazz atVencheMusicSchool around 1997 inBandung. They teach only Jazz music so I guess I got my influence from there. I don’t consider myself only a jazz drummer, but I try to find a perfect beat for each song, for example if the songs have a heavy metal classic feel, I play drum with Ingo Schwichtenberg in my mind (great late drummer from Helloween).
ID – You’ve got a sound that is really human on the songs, which is missing in a lot of bands these days. How did you capture this tone?
Ade - Are bands these days not Human? Hahaha! Okay I’ll try to answer that. Hmmm… try to jam and record. Really, we always copied what the legendary groups did on how to write songs. They Jam. Look at The Beatles videos, look at Queen, Nirvana and all Jazz greats Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk, they jam and record, that’s it. Always practice with the band before you record it.
ID - Another question related to jazz drumming which has a stark difference in dynamics compared to the other genres. What do you think is the most important factor while approaching this style of drumming?
Ade - When I first played the drums, I had a private teacher who played exactly like John Bonham, so I learnt all Led Zeppelin licks, it was rocking hard, and I got my nickname “Ade Bonzo” until now. And when Metallica and Sepultura came toIndonesia, like a gazillion Indonesian teenagers I played their music as well. Then I got to know Jazz in my twenties, the important factor to play Jazz is TO SOUND AUTHENTIC. If you play standard jazz, try to change heavy sticks to 7A sticks, a smaller bass drum (16″-18″) with minimal damper or none at all and a thinner cymbal. Always keep attention to the ride cymbals and play the bass drum and snare drum as an accent; you must be able to keep “swinging”. Always listen to the piano player, the trumpets, and try to understand how they phrase and comp it, not just keep the beat. What makes a rhythm interesting is not the notes, but the space between them. If you playing too many complicated notes, it will detract from the music and became boring to the listener. Musicianship must be supreme.
I remember what Steve Gadd said in his interview “Rock comes from under. Bass drum and Snare. Jazz comes from upper, cymbals and Hi-hat”. I am not saying rock drumming is bad, it is just a different style and you have to make an authentic sound. Try to hear what other musicians phrasing. Rock drumming is right on the click, sometimes very brutal and very precise. A lot of Jazz drummers have a difficulty to play exactly on the click, to play hard, because Jazz is much free in timing. So we must learn from each other.
ID – From what I’ve read you have a Bachelor’s degree in economics and a Master’s degree in marketing, do these come in handy while promoting the band?
Ade - Oh yes sir, I have to say that musicians must have the “standard knowledge” so we can understand the business as well, not just being a player. It is a weapon you have in your arsenal beside the drum set. But this is like an abstract weapon. This is just my opinion. Anyone must do what they feel is best for themselves.
ID – So you manage a day job as well apart from music?
Ade - My day job is teaching drums at day and playing at night. I was working in a bank as a Credit Officer but I resigned. That is not me, my heart, my passion is music.
ID – Are there any other percussion instruments you play?
Ade - Yes, a Sundanese Kendang, a traditional percussion. From there you can learn lots of polyrhythm patterns, because left hand and right hand always play against each other. Sometimes 3 against 2, 5 against 4, 7 against 5. It helps you a lot after practice with kendang when you play the drum set. It gives you more ideas.
ID – What’s your setup at the moment?
Ade - I have a self-made custom 18″ bass drum with no hole in the skins, a Mapex Black Panther piccolo snare, Zildjian Avedis thin cymbals for Jazz set up, and for all around gig I have a 1992 Tama Rockstar with 22″ bass drum, Sabian B8 pro cymbals, hardware from Tama, Rogers and Mapex twin pedal.
For sticks I use a Vic Firth 5B, 7A with wood tips and sticks that my friends made, a pro mark brush and acoustic sticks, and for an acoustic performance I use a Cajon.
Ade - We just finished touring in December last year with all members from Klab Jazz community, my band Iman brata trio, La Belle and all the other bands. For this year I must finish recording the songs for “Saltirova Project” and Iman brata trio is now recording as well, and of course there will be touring, but the schedule is in a confirmation process.
ID - Can you name a few other bands from you country that you think people should check out?
Ade – Of course! Beside my band “Iman Brata Trio”, you should check my friend’s band “La Belle”, my cousin’s band “Simak Dialog” and also my friend’s band “Malire”. For me these bands deserve more.
Almost forgot my friend’s band “Pure Saturday”.
ID – This is your space. Feel free to say anything to your family, friends, fans, etc.
Ade - I thank God the Almighty that gives me the talent, the music. To my friends in Indonesia and outside Indonesia who believe in what I do, to my fans, to all the girls thanks for choosing drummer not the guitarist!! Be positive, feel the music inside you, feel the groove, you’ll find that you already have that groove!!
Thanks a lot for doing this interview Ade! Indian Drummer Team wished you the very best. Looking forward to chat again soon.