Jon Tuitt is a busy drummer and Musical Director on the road with Freya Ridings. In this interview we get into the strong mindset required to separate roles of both an MD & drummer, how to approach different varying artists and growing musically with an act. Jon has an impressive CV playing with artists like Emili Sandé, Kamaal Williams, Sam Calver, Fatima, Mahalia and Nao to name a few.
"The Walnut De Broize 14"x6" snare is an amazing snare, one that has definitely joined my collection of snares. The snare is a very versatile snare that is perfect for different styles of music. Whether your after a cranked snare or a low pitched snare this snare gives you just that. The snare has a great tone to it and really cuts through nicely but still keeps its warm tone. Its a great snare that is loved by drummers, musicians, techs and front of house engineers."
You have been touring with Freya Ridings for a while now, how has this experience been since the early releases?
It’s been an amazing experience watching this project grow over the past year. From selling out 700 capacity venues in 2018 to now 5000 capacity venues in November 2019. The project just keeps growing and growing and reaches audience all over the world.
As she is a rapidly growing artist, how do you see this developing and what steps are you taking to get to the next level?
I see Freya becoming a well-known international artist touring arenas around the world. As the project and venues grow, I have to ensure the show grows musically and all artists musical ideas and visions become reality
What other artists have you been working with recently and how do they differ to previous acts?
Other than Freya Ridings I’ve been working with an artist by the name of Fatima for the last three years. Fatima music has elements of Jazz fusion and Neo Soul combined. Fatima's gig has a lot of room for musicians to open up and become creative. It a very fun and expressive gig. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Kamaal Williams who is a well-known pianist. He's music is very fun and expressive and has really stretched me creatively. It has allowed me to improve my soloing and musical conversation with other instruments over different styles of music. I’ve also worked with Mahalia and Nao who are amazing song writers and performers. Covering on these gigs always pushes me to improve my groove and pocket. I’ve just began working and putting a show together for a new artist by the name of Sam Calver who's soulful gig is one to watch out for.
As a Musical Director, how do you approach this role and how do you separate it from the role of a drummer?
As a musical director my main job is to lead the band and singers on and off the stage. I’m there to create and portray musical ideas the artist may or may not have while remaining authentic to the style of music I'm arranging. I have to work with management and crew to build a show that will captivate audiences. I try as a MD to have good communication with people and have good energy that can be felt by others around me. It is important to have a sharp ear and a creative mind and be knowledgeable in different styles of music
What advice can you give to people either pursuing or currently struggling with the Drummer/MD role?
Keep pursuing and practicing your craft, even when unmotivated still press through and pursue. The more time you put in the role the easier it gets. As an MD your as good as your team, build a strong team around you as it again makes your job easier in the long run. Don't be afraid to take ideas from other band members and ask for help if there’s areas you struggle in. Lastly listen to different types of music to constantly keep your music mind creative.
You have been using a 14x6 Black Walnut snare recently on the European leg with Freya. How did this snare hold up to your standards?
On the last Freya European Tour I use the De Broize 14 x 6 Walnut snare with a Remo Coated Emperor Head as my second snare. I had the snare tuned rather low and was used for most of Freya's Ballad songs. The snare has a very warm tone even when tuned low and lots of depth so it worked very well with Freya songs. The Walnut De Broize 14"x6" snare is an amazing snare, one that has definitely joined my collection of snares. The snare is a very versatile snare that is perfect for different styles of music. Whether you’re after a cranked snare or a low pitched snare this snare gives you just that. The snare has a great tone to it and really cuts through nicely but still keeps its warm tone. It’s a great snare that is loved by drummers, musicians, techs and front of house engineers.