Kicking off the month of August with an interview featuring drummer Alex Kaufman. You may remember him from my interview I did with him last summer and his other band Light Warriors. Currently out on tour with Zuli, Alex is a handsome and phenomenally talented drummer who has an diverse and immense skill set that allows him to adapt to any genre of music that he sees fit. I was blown away with his talents in Light Warriors, and how his personality really brings out the best in everyone around him. I got a chance to interview Alex recently and touched upon his early interest in drums, his early musical influences, who he tries to emulate his style after, and general advice he instills upon up and coming drummers. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your name and how long you've been playing drums?
Alexander David Kaufman, I’ve been playing drums for 13 years!
How did you first become interested in playing drums?
I became interested when I first sat down at my best friends drum set on Christmas Eve, 2004. My first hey man Zuli, and I were jamming playing the simplest beat, and I was just enthralled with how much fun I was having.
Who were some drummers you try emulating your style from?
Chad Smith - monster pocket, funky laid back groove. Plays the hi hat the same time he steps on it.
Benny Greb - incredible fluidity, touch, and groove in his playing. Such a musical player.
Mark Guiliana - most expressive, dynamic drummer I have ever heard. He takes rhythm and improvisation to a whole other level and leaves you on your toes wondering what he will play next.
What types of music do you listen to on a daily basis and try to derive a sense of workmanship from?
I listen to a lot of the underground NYC Jazz Electronica scene. The musicianship is incredible and very inspiring to listen to. Artists range from Jason Lindner, Donny Mccaslin, Big Yuki, Now vs Now, Mark Guiliana Beat Music, Mehliana
Also really inspired by the artists on the GroundUp Music label. I went to the GroundUp Music Festival for the first time this past February. It was hands down the best music festival I’ve ever attended so far. Artists range from Snarky Puppy, Sirintip, FORQ, Bill Laurance, Becca Stevens, Roosevelt Collier.
Other favorite bands I draw inspiration from:
Hiatus Kaiyote - incredibly unique
Dirty Projectors - David Longstreth’s melodies are so fresh and unique.
Robert Glasper Experiment
Are there a lot of venues around NYC to play in and how much of a rush do you get from playing small venues?
There are so many venues to play around NYC especially in Brooklyn. Really cool scene in the lower east side where you can see so many amazing NYC/Brooklyn artists. It keeps you incredible humble. Some of the most popular venues are Rockwood Music Hall, Pianos, Mercury Lounge, Baby’s All Right, Elsewhere.
Do you give private drum lessons and what do you try to instill for up and coming drummers along with general advice?
I do give private lessons. I teach a lot of beginners and intermediate players. I try to instill the importance of keeping time; playing for the music; developing your own personality on the instrument; the most effective ways to practice and how to get to where you want to be; mastering the fundamentals; playing in the pocket.
Do you have general superstitions or general habits as a drummer that people pick up on when people see you play?
I would hope people pick up on that I am very passionate, I have a lot of fun, can sometimes be unpredictable, and loves to smile.
Who are your Top 3 favorite drummers of all time?
Top 3 are tough but here we go: Mark Guiliana, Benny Greb, and Chad Smith
How can people find out more info about you online?
You can say hey man at AlCarpeDrumming.com
Lastly, how has playing drums changed your life?
Playing drums has changed my life in many ways. It has given me the opportunity to travel to new intriguing places, and positively impact others through my passion. I’ve attended a few drum camps: Benny Greb Master-Session (March 2015), Common Thread Drum Camp (February, 2016), and 21 Drums (August 2016) in Ireland. I met the coolest people and fostered so many friendships from all over the world because of these camps.
Lastly, I get to create art I’m truly proud of with my best friends.
Thanks once again to Alex for being so gracious with his time in doing this interview! You can see how passionate Alex is about his craft, and how he seeks to create a culture and brand for himself that shows everyone around how exceptionally gifted and talented he is. For more on Alex Kaufman, reach out to him via the aforementioned web address above.