I discovered Pete through his work with Kaz Rodriguez. Pete is an incredibly talented and busy session musician having a wealth of experience and drive to hone his skills. Lockdown has been a tricky one for most musicians but it has not held back by collaborating with Se Electronics on videos at Orange Tree Studios. Read about Pete's musical journey below.
"Also works not only in the studio but live also, really cutting through the mix to get that nice “feel” you want on a show. As I said previously, definitely something worth having in your arsenal, I enjoyed every minute of playing this snare."
Firstly I’d love to know your drumming story; how did you start and develop?
I started drumming at aged 7 years old, since the age of 5 I had wanted to play after seeing a couple of guys at church play. Since then I slowly developed over time, also learning to play classical piano & music theory at the same time. From this foundation I started to perform orchestras and pit bands in amateur dramatic shows such as Godspell, Les Misérables, and many others alike with the goal to one day play bigger shows. This then took me to RNCM where I studied amongst some incredible musicians, giving me a great foundation to network and to practice towards my future goals. After that I then moved to the Middle East for my first contract abroad which unfortunately the worst time of my career to date, but still a great learning opportunity and experience, even if it was a bad one! After that I then did a stint in the orchestra for Princess Cruises touring across China, Japan, and South Korea. I think it was around that time I landed my first pop gig with Julian Perretta in Paris which was fun! After then I moved to London and met Kaz Rodriguez who started to mentor me towards the Pop scene. Did a load of stuff over the years with Kaz and learned a lot, between artist sessions and mixing/producing a lot of his sessions you see on his social media, including sessions for Tama, Zildjian, and the Jammcard sessions with Aaron Spears, Stixx Taylor, Rico Nichols, and of course Kaz Rodriguez himself. To wrap up and try and keep this relatively brief I then had an incredible time touring the world with Okiem from arenas and other incredible venues across Europe and the UK, incredible time working with Gracey who is absolutely killing it now, also did some work for some massive Persian Pop stars for a huge event in London and also for MBC. Additional TV work to date has alongside MBC has been The Voice with winner Mo Jamil for the semi final guest appearance, the X factor Celebrity series, and also Britains Got Talent. It has been quite the privilege!
How would you describe your playing style? What do you do to stay creative?
Hard to say, it has changed so much over the years, I would like to say fusion/funk/ rock based but more recently it has just gone back to simple groove based playing. No flashy fills or big chops. Chops are fun to do and technically are very impressive but these days I am more impressed with a good groove and a solid vibe. Wether that be a 4 to the floor or something a little more funky it doesn’t matter. As long as it is locked in and grooves.
What artists / drummers have inspired you? Who has had the most impact on your playing?
Very tricky question to answer I think. Inspiration comes from all players, drummers and other musicians alike. Kaz Rodriguez has been a very big influence, and of course from that comes the likes of Aaron Spears, Stixx Taylor, Chris Coleman etc. Additionally Carter Beaford, and pretty much all of the Dave Matthews Band are a major influence on my playing since I was a child. Not forgetting some of the greats like Buddy Rich, Sammy Davis Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Gerry Brown and all those legends. But also other musicians are inspirations, my friends who are killing the music industry right now should be watched and learned from and see how they grow.... not just the musicians of the past. Learn from everyone, pick up as much as you can from everyone and then that will help mould your own “sound” as people keep saying.
However, if we have to pick one it has to be Animal from the muppets! The original GOAT haha.
How was your experience at RNCM? Would you recommend the course and how has it helped you develop?
RNCM is an incredible place and I was very fortunate to be able to study there. The course has changed quite a bit since I was there back in 2012 so I am not too sure how it works these days but I am sure it is just as good if not better since I left. It gives you an amazing platform to practice, hone your craft, and meet/ network with other musicians and professionals in the industry. However, if you are considering going to RNCM as a pop musician I would strongly recommend joining in with the classical side of things too. I took a classical orchestral composition elective in my last year and it was by far my favourite course as it really pushed my comfort zone out there.
Talk us through your project called FTT.
FTT or Fly The Train is a personal project I have with my friends Adam Dowd (The Colourline, Ravenface), Leah Woodward (Aliases, Ravenface) , and Joe Rosser (Aliases, Sikth) which is influenced by bands such as Bring Me The Horizon, Portishead, and 30 Seconds To Mars. Originally this was started by Leah who then got me involved and it progressed to the 4 piece band it is today. Quite an interesting journey so far as we started writing in Manchester, finished up most of the demos in Stuttgart, and then recorded an albums worth of material in Orange Tree Studios in Norwich. We have our first single out and a few cover tracks, but will be releasing some further singles very very soon so keep an eye out for them!
Recently joining the Se Electronics family, and also an Evans artist. How did you build and work on relationships? Tell us about your time in Orange Tree studios. What advice would you give younger drummers in regard to brand relationships?
Evans drumheads was an introduction made by Kaz Rodriguez at the UK Drum show and sE started from Ian Aguado-Bush from Tama who lent me the arena pack and asked me to give the mics out for an airing on social media. From there the relationships built after creating a lot of content over time, and just staying in touch building the relationship over time, same with Evans, and then the opportunity to join the family arose which is a privilege! This lead to a session at my friend Andy’s incredible studio Orange Tree Studios where we got do a full breakdown of pretty much every mic sE has and a performance piece. If you haven’t seen the behind the scenes video or performance piece definitely check it out! (Hopefully the BTS video will have been released by the time this comes out, it is pretty dope!) In regard to advice to brand relationships you may have heard this a thousand times but I do believe it is the most important view to have. Don’t look for an endorsement or ask for free gear, just represent that brand or that product because you love it and that is something you would be willing to stand by. Even if they don’t represent you at that present moment. In time the endorsements will come naturally as they will notice that you are constantly using and repping their gear on social media and shows, and if they don’t it doesn’t matter as you already love the gear and have purchased it to support whoever that brand is. If you accept a deal because you think you may get free stuff, or because you think it will make you sound more “pro” or “cool” then that is the wrong mentality to have. It is much better to have no deals, or only a few, because you love the brand and let your work speak volumes about yourself as a person. I could lose all my deals with Roland, Evans, sE, & Promark, Protection Racket, & Read Audio, and I would still want to use their equipment regardless as I love what they do.
Lockdown has been a new situation for most, how have you been adapting?
Apart from the sE session with Orange Tree Studios, I have done a lot of production for myself recently, and a lot of study back into math of all things.... Because apparently I am not bullied enough it seems haha.
Could you talk us through your go to setup and how you’ve utilised the snare?
The set ups have varied quite a bit, from the medium to deep tone for the sE session, or medium to high tuning for the recording session for producer Kiris Houston (Disciples, Kylie) this snare has been quite versatile. Definitely something worth considering to have in your arsenal!
Can you give us an in-depth review of the Beech & Black Locust De Broize snare? Have you used a stave snare drum before? What did you think overall?
I hadn’t used a stave snare before this no but I enjoyed it for sure! Beautiful snare and incredibly built. Easy to tune and work with and can keep its tuning for quite some time with little effort. My personal preference is I quite liked this snare medium tight tuned up to get that nice sharp crisp attack whilst still keeping some of the body. But it works just as well if you are after that deep fat sound either for your own personal use or if you need it for a record. Also works not only in the studio but live also, really cutting through the mix to get that nice “feel” you want on a show. As I said previously, definitely something worth having in your arsenal, I enjoyed every minute of playing this snare.
What can we expect from you in the future? New music? New bands? What are your ambitions?
Honestly, I am not too sure what the future has to offer right now in these crazy times. So until the world opens in whatever kind of new normal it offers us I will just keep working hard and see what presents itself. I toured with Okiem quite extensively and I think there may be a few shows lined up in the near future so we shall see what happens there. In the mean time, just try and keep my mind calm and productive and be there for the family.