Be as humble as you can be and stay passionate about your craft.
AH: You drum in Headwires. I have featured the other members of Headwires before, tell me a little about Headwires from your perspective.
NB: Well where do I start? Headwires is a group of us four dudes (Dakota, Lucas, Jesse, and I) playing some honest and loud rock and roll music. If I could staple it to a certain genre or a couple of sub-genres I guess I’d say that we have some roots in hardcore and punk rock. You know it’s actually kinda weird to try and place a certain sound on us, in my opinion, because we have so many different influences all across the board that we all reference to for our sound. Let’s just stick with rock and roll. Haha! I joined Headwires back in May of last year. I’ve known Jesse ever since we were in seventh grade (we met at county honor band) and we’ve been good friends ever since so when the dudes got word that Dylan was out, Jesse got in touch with me and asked if I would come practice with them. Adam Fields also called me and told me that I needed to try out for them that very same day as well. When I joined, the band had just released their EP Phrenology so I had to learn the material and pretty quick too because they were about to head out on a week long run out west with Men and Mountains. My first show I ever played with Headwires was actually in Conway, Arkansas. At first I really only knew Jesse so I was in a vehicle with two other dudes for a week that I hardly knew. Actually, I didn’t know Lucas or Dakota at all! Needless to say we all became a lot closer after that week. I think it’s been a really good fit for me because we all like a lot of the same music. I think each person brings something different to the table when it comes to our sound and that’s always good to have. Another reason why I think it’s been a good fit for me is because right before I got the call from Jesse to come try out, I had just about gotten rid of all of my drum equipment. The only thing I had left was a set of DW3000 double pedals. That was it. I was about to go on with life and just put drumming on the back burner, but I’m glad the opportunity came around for me to join the band. I feel like it kinda rekindled my passion for drumming and music. It’s been a heck of a good time ever since.
AH: I know Jesse has done some home recordings, one of which was a cover you did. I thought your cover was really good! How does playing drums differ from playing the guitar, personally and musically?
NB: Ah, yeah I love those home covers. What happened was I was at Jesse’s house one night and we were just hanging out watching stupid YouTube videos and playing Xbox and we were talking about music stuff and I had mentioned to him that I wanted to get with Lucas to record an Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties song that I really liked. About that time he looked at me and said, “Why don’t we just do it right now?” and like some kind of Houdini, he pulled out a snowball USB recording microphone from behind his easy chair and we just went to work. It actually turned out a lot better than I had in my head and so we did another one called Like You Said by a band called Tiger Lou. We would have kept doing more but sadly the house we did the recordings in burned down the night before this past Thanksgiving. I started playing guitar when I was 10. A friend of mine was selling a Kustom amp and a Jackson guitar and my mom has always said that she saw musicality in me since before I could speak full sentences, so she bought it for me and I just messed around with it for a few years until the Internet started to become a household thing and YouTube took off. That is where I learned my first song and chords. As far as singing goes, I’ve always just sang in the car or the shower so that just meshed right with the guitar playing. I like playing guitar and singing, but drums will always be my home. They have their pros and cons because with guitar and singing, I can get in front of a crowd of people or a microphone in a studio (or a living room in my friends house for that matter) and just sing or scream out whatever I’m feeling, but with drums it’s a different element, obviously. With drums I feel more chaotic physical emotion. I feel more physically connected with whatever music I’m playing; whereas with singing where I feel the emotion and presence of the music in my chest and in my throat. It’s difficult to express with words. There’s nothing like getting sweaty behind a kit! Regardless, I never put more emotion into one than I do another. I love both equally, they just have different ways of conveying the feelings to the listener.
AH: One thing our friends ALWAYS talk about is guitar gear. It is seriously the biggest topic of conversation. As a drummer, how do you feel about this? Do you ever wish that there were more conversations about drums?
NB: Gear is a HUGE topic within our friends, you got that right for sure. They’re gear heads down to the bone and I think it’s great! I love that I have a bunch of friends who are so enthralled with their musical craft because it helps me learn about it as well. I can’t even tell you how much I have learned about guitar gear and how it all works in the past six months. Also, I think the fact that they’re so intrigued by their gear is a great example of just how passionate they are when it comes to being a musician and if my band mates are great musicians, which they are, and care about the details like they do then that’s part of how you know that whatever music you guys make is going to be good… At least that’s part of how I see it. Like our friends, I’m just as interested about gear as they are but about drum gear rather than amps, heads, and such. It’s cool because the guys in Headwires all take an interest about drum gear when I talk about it as well. I’m a big nerd when it comes to drums and what makes them sound certain ways, but not many of my friends are the same way about drums, so whenever we cross paths with other bands I like to talk to other drummers about that kind of stuff and get different takes on certain things. That’s part of how I’ve learned what I know about drums. Fellow drummers like Shane Riley from Borrowed Spirit or Austin Jiles from Mainstream Filth are awesome dudes to talk to about drum gear and you can go on and on about it. I swear I never get bored of the stuff.
AH: okay, tell me about your dream kit. How does it differ from the one you have now?
NB: The kit I have now is a Gretsch Club Rock mod kit. I got it from my friend Adam Fields a couple months back and it’s a pretty nice little kit. It’s a four piece kit (12×8 rack tom, 16×14 floor tom, 22×20 kick drum, and 14×7 Black Panther maple snare) and according to the research I’ve done on it, the wood is Philippine mahogany but I have no idea what ply the drums are. The thing that sets this kit apart from every other one like it is that the whole kit has been modg-podged entirely in Spiderman comics. Pretty neat if you ask me, even though I’m not a big comic book fan. While this kit is pretty nice, it’s not my dream kit. I’m not a fan of deep bass drums or smaller rack toms. I should be getting a C&C kit within the next couple of months that I’m super stoked about and it’s actually really close to my dream kit standards. It’s a walnut stained bonzo sized Player Date I from C&C. It’s a 7 ply Maple/Mahogany kit that comes in bonzo sizes. 14×9 upper tom, 18×15 floor tom, and a 24×14 kick drum. I’m a huge fan of mahogany shells for their warm tones and deep tuning capabilities and maple added with that will give it a good mid range and help with sound projection. It features aged white pearl inlayed bass drum hoops, triple flange tom hoops, and traditional C&C centered lugs. As of right now, this is the kit that I’m dying to have but I hope to own a Truth Custom Drums kit one day but my ABSOLUTE dream kit would have to be an all vintage mahogany Craviotto kit. If I ever get rich, I’ll buy one.
AH: Musically, who have been some of your biggest influences?
NB: The first big influence I remember having for inspiring to do music I think was either Nirvana or AC/DC, but anyone that has ever mentioned music around me knows that my all time biggest influence and favorite band has been and always will be a band called Underoath. Growing up, I listened to their records non-stop. I lived and breathed everything they did, man, I was such a fan girl and I still am, haha! I got a ticket to go see them in Atlanta in April on their Rebirth tour literally within minutes that the general admission tickets went on sale. Anyway, Aaron Gillespie inspired me to start playing drums. The way he approaches the drums and plays them, to me, is very inspiring to watch. I watched his drumming so much during the time that I first started learning how to play that I’ve actually been told a time or two that I drum like Aaron which is a HUGE compliment to me, but then again I want to be my own person when it comes to the way I drum which I believe I am. (Aaron, if by some crazy chance you found this and you’re reading it, I swear I’m not trying to jack your style. Let’s drum sometime.) Aside from UØ, my other influences consist of many different types. The Killers, Blink 182, Lydia, Death Cab for Cutie, Chance the Rapper, and Old Crow Medicine Show, just to name a few. There are lots of different types of music that influence me in different ways but it all influences me to do the same thing and that’s to do whatever I do, musically, the way I want to, 100 percent.
AH: I can only hope that the amount of passion our friends have for music will rub off to the next generation. That being said, I have asked some of the other features what advice they would give to someone younger trying to become a musician, be in a band, etc. What advice would you give to those wanting to start playing drums?
NB: To anyone that wants to start playing drums, I have one thing to say to you: do it. If you like drums then there is absolutely no reason as to why you should not get a drum kit for Christmas or your birthday or any time and start learning how to play. Drums are the perfect remedy for a lot of situations in life. A lot of people think that drums are a great way to let out anger and they are but I think that there is so much more to it. If you like drums then go for it. It’s an awesome instrument to learn but don’t ever get a big head, and that goes for anyone doing anything. You can be absolutely amazing at drums or your band can be the best darn band around but the minute you start getting an ego is the minute people stop listening to you. Be as humble as you can be and stay passionate about your craft. Strive to become an artist. I think when it comes to the music industry that you could sit down and weigh out the pros and cons like what amount of money you could make/not make and what kind of sacrifices you would make but if you’re truly wanting to pursue this type of art then no amount of money or lack thereof will matter to you. You’ll find a way to manage. Everything worth having in life isn’t going to be free and taking risks to achieve what you truly want will build your character and make it worth your hard work and efforts in the end. You just better make sure it’s something you truly want to do because you’ll find out the hard way if it isn’t, but if it’s what you are passionate for then you’ll work hard and your hard work can pay off. The feeling of doing what you truly love is second to none. Let your passion speak to you.
Playlist by Nick for you:
Other features from Headwires: