This past week Indian Drummer caught up with one of the most talented and upcoming drummers Luke Snyder whose videos on youtube are quite a hit. Here’s what Luke had to say. Check it out!!
Luke - Hello! I’ve been doing quite well, lately I have been working on a lot of things all at once. I recently started learning the guitar, so I’ve been putting in quite a few practice hours trying to get my skills to a presentable level!
ID – I did an interview with Aaron Edgar a month back, how much of an influence has he had on you?
Luke- Aaron is a good friend of mine; he’s definitely influenced me a lot! Every time I talk to that guy I wind up sitting down at the drum set later and working on something, haha. Aaron knows his stuff, inside and out. Go subscribe to his channel for sure!
ID – You guys are having a fun online drum battle going on youtube, how did that come up?
Luke – Honestly, I don’t remember exactly how it happened! I know he made a video about play seven stroke rolls as 16th triplets leading with the left hand. After I saw it, I told him that I thought it was a great idea, but it would be fun to play a paradiddlediddle right after it. Somehow, we decided to have a contest to see who could play it the fastest! Here is the tail end of that drum battle, haha:
Luke – Well, I began drumming at an extremely young age. My dad was into drumming at the time, and was even building his own e-kits. This was before I was even a year old.
So I just sort of tagged along with that, and gradually grew more and more interested as I went. Around the age of 16 or so, I started to get really serious about it. I began buying DVDs and books, and watching a lot of footage online. I wasn’t influenced by any specific bands so much, but there are TONS of drummers… Gavin Harrison, Jojo Mayer, Derek Roddy, Tomas Haake, Benny Greb, George Kollias, Morgan Agren, Virgil Donati, Bobby Jarzombek, Marco Minneman… the list goes on and on!
ID – From your videos one can see a lot of ground being covered musically. Were you always an open minded listener or was it a conscious decision at some point of time? Also how important is it to be open minded to ideas?
Luke – It just happened naturally, I want to be a musical chameleon, to be able to blend in and be comfortable on the drums in almost any musical context. Actually, this applies to everything I do with music, it is my ultimate goal on the guitar, keyboard, bass, and in my composing as well. I think being well rounded like that will give you the best understanding of music as a whole, being open minded will allow you to learn so much faster, and be more creative.
ID – You have 2 musical projects as well, Paradox and DjentStep. Do you compose all the music yourself?
Luke - Haha, yes, I did all of the composition on those songs. To tell you the truth though, those are actually more of a test than anything else, I just put those songs up on my Bandcamp (http://lukesnyder.bandcamp.com) to see how everything works. I have actually written a couple hours of music, and I have some big projects I am working on. For example, I’m in the middle of writing an album of Dubstep/Electronic music. I’ve been writing music almost as long as I’ve played the drums!
ID – Take us through the writing process you go through.
Luke - Probably my favorite way to write is just by sitting down with a keyboard and experimenting. Once I get some ideas recorded, then I will go back and play along. I can put a song together like that very quickly and painlessly. However, I sometimes also write my music with nothing by my mouse and computer keyboard!
ID – How hard is to combine two elements like Djent and Dubstep?
Luke – It’s not easy! Really, I’m still in the learning process when it comes to writing and producing these two styles, even at a basic level. I’ll get there though, it just takes more studying.
Luke - I’m pretty sure that nothing I ever write will fit nicely into a single genre or style of music, I have way too much fun experimenting!
ID – Syncopation is the main thing that comes to mind while talking about Djent, any tips to develop this art to make the rhythm section sound really solid?
Luke - Practice new coordination and syncopation problems very slowly with a metronome and gradually speed up. Then, its just a matter of repetition. If you do this, you will sound solid. Recording yourself and listening back to what you have played will help you hear your mistakes as well, that will speed up the process.
ID – How essential is it to branch out of the paradiddles (gotta love this rudiment), singles and doubles and learn the other rudiments? Which one do you think makes for a great tool in you arsenal?
Luke - Ah yes, I do love the paradiddle family! I use them almost every single time I play; there are countless grooves that they can build. Personally, I think It is useful to learn every different sticking pattern you possibly can! The PAS 40 is a good place to start, but then take a look at the hybrid rudiments. Then get a copy of Stick Control and Syncopation, and treat each exercise like a rudiment! Then, combine different rudiments together! The process is endless, but whatever you can learn is a great tool to have!
ID - You have close to 450,000 views on youtube now. What was your objective when you started of uploading videos?
Luke - When I started, it was mainly just to get feedback in order to help me improve. Now, I’m getting a bit more exposure so, my plans have branched out a bit more. Having other people watching me helps me keep honest, and makes me want to practice more!
ID – Do you teach drums apart from putting up online videos?
Luke - Yes, I do! I’ve been teaching private lessons for some years now. In fact, my plan is to teach private lessons for the rest of my life. I would love to make a career out of it!
Luke - My main drum set is made by Monolith drums. They are carbon fiber shells, with a pseudo free floating lug system. The company is still around, but these drum sets are extremely hard to find! I was very blessed to be able to get ahold of one. I actually got it on Cragslist, believe it or not! The main snare I use is a custom spacer snare, it has no shell! In fact, here is a link to an article I wrote about the spacer:
As far as cymbals, I have all different brands. My main hats are Paiste Prototypes, my rides are Zildjian, my crashes are Sabian, and my china is a Wuhan. I’ve just mixed and matched cymbals that I like! For heads, I use both Evans and Remo. I’m using an Evans Hybrid marching snare batter, and black suede Emperors on the toms. The kick is a black suede PST3. My pedals are Axis A longboards, and I use Vic Firth 5AN drumsticks.
ID – There’s always the talk about an artist as good as the equipment he uses. What’s your take on this?
Luke – It’s not true, haha. You put an incredible drummer on the crappiest drum set, and they will still sound like an incredible drummer. That’s not to minimize how important good gear is though! Especially with cymbals, there’s no getting around the fact that they sound as good as what you paid for. Higher quality gear just sounds better, feels better, and lasts longer.
ID – What concept in drumming are you working on at the moment? Can you elaborate upon it a bit?
Luke - Right now, I’m working in a lot of independence and interdependence. Marco Minneman’s DVD Extreme Drumming is kicking my butt! I’m also working on my foot speed and control a lot. Now that I have my Axis, I have no more excuses, haha. My left foot needs a lot of work still!
ID – What’s the music you’re currently into? Any upcoming releases you’re eagerly awaiting?
Luke - Lately I’ve been into Animals as Leaders. I got to hang out with those guys at one of their shows, what amazing musicians! I just got their new album, Weightless, and its truly awesome! Thats something else I’m working on as a drummer, trying to play some of those drum parts! Navene, you’re killing me!
ID – Can you suggest some good instructional DVDs that’ve helped you over the years?
Luke - Jojo Mayer’s Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer, Tommy Igoe’s Groove Essentials 1.0 and 2.0, and Benny Greb’s Language of Drumming. There are TONS more, but those four will keep you busy for the rest of your life… haha. I’d also like to recommend the books Stick Control, Syncopation, and The New Breed. Those will give anyone plenty of work too; I still haven’t gotten through them all!
Luke - I have, in fact! One in particular that I saw you also interviewed, Anup Sastry. That guy is amazing! There’s another channel that everyone should check out:
ID – What’s in store for Luke Snyder in the future?
Luke - I really don’t know for sure specifically, but I feel supremely confident that it directly involves drumming and music, it is my calling! My current plan is to teach full time, as I mentioned earlier. I would also like to do online session work, sell some albums, and continue to grow my networks. Also, there are some other exciting things that are in the works, but I can’t quite talk about them yet! We’ll see what happens!
ID – This is your space Luke, feel free to say anything to your fans, friends, family, etc.
Luke - Well thank you guys so much for doing this interview! I’ve very much enjoyed answering your questions! I’d of course like to thank my parents for their continued love and support all of these years. I’d also like to thank all of the people who I’ve been able to hang out with online. I’ve been on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, or on the Drummerworld forum quite a lot, it’s been so awesome to get to know you all and get such great feedback! Most importantly though, I want to give the glory to God. I’m not a particularly smart or naturally talented person, I can only do what I do be cause I have been incredibly blessed!
Thanks a ton for doing this interview Luke, a pleasure talking to you. Indian Drummer wishes you the very best in all your projects.