I’d say on the practical level I play every day for about an hour, more or less. I’m always thinking about music and I always have a song stuck in my head. Not necessarily because I want to, but because it’s always been that way. It feels like music chose me, and forced me to play music, rather than me wanting to play music. I feel like this because the only way to get rid of the song stuck in my head is to play it.
How long have you been a musician?
This is my forth year playing. I started playing music during my junior year in high school. In the very beginning I started off playing Rock Band, the video game, on the drums, and I liked that a lot. But when I was able to do expert on the game I wanted to do more. Now I think it was stupid because I got really good at the game and if I had spent the same time on a real instrument it would have been something productive.
Around the same time I went to my first concert and saw Slipknot with a friend. It’s the best concert I've ever been to. It was so intense. I love their drummer, even before I went to their concert. After that it became an obsession listening to everything and memorizing everything in my head. I wanted to figure out how he played drums like he did and how he even had enough hands to do it.
How have you grown in your journey with music?
My physical skills grow slowly. Speed, creativity and everything like that comes with time. I want to get to the point where if I can think it, I can also do it. Complete mind-body coordination, just being one. I’ll never even get there, but I can just get closer and closer. It develops slowly.
Music has always been an outward picture of an inward condition, representing what’s going on within me. In high school I loved Slipknot and I felt like… I mean I didn't feel that angry all the time, but being stuck in high school and all there was some element of anger.
Who has been your greatest musical influence?
My favorite musician nowadays is Dream Theater Not many people are into them, but people who are into them are totally obsessed. They make very long, detailed, epic music. I feel like that has a parallel to me because I like things that no one else has the patience for but yet if you invest the time into it it’s worth it in the long run, for sure. Their music inspires absolute chaos while at the same time being totally controlled. I think that’s a good skill.
When I watch drummers in videos, and watch these super ridiculous metal drummers, their face is always so bored and calm and into it. I always imagined them in my head crazy and sweating and their whole body moving. When you actually watch them they’re very efficient and it’s just their fingertips doing all the work, and not their full body. In order to have that controlled chaos, you have to be able to keep your calm no matter how ridiculous or intense the music becomes.
What is it that you want to convey with the music you play?
It’s hard to answer because I want to convey what I couldn't convey with words. It’s communicating with a different language. It’s deeper and more direct. It’s sharing some of my inner thoughts and experiences. For some reason, I don’t know why, when I translate that into a series of noises and if someone else hears that, it makes them have that same feeling too. I don’t know why it is that way, but it is. It’s a way of communicating my inner feelings.
Describe your best experience with music
It was at the variety show in Fairfield, Iowa April 2012. It was in front of two or three hundred people. I’m still surprised that I wasn't nervous for that show at all and it was my third show ever. I think it was because the two before. The first one I was nervous because it was my first one and the second because I had no idea what I was doing. I came up to you ten minutes before and asked if you wanted a drummer and I just improvised the song, without knowing what you were going to play. I think it was because I did that ridiculous thing that the variety show was so easy, plus that we were so well prepared. I envisioned that moment for so long and I was more than ready for it for a long time. I had the feeling on stage that this is my shot at glory and I can take it and nothing can stop me.
The lights were really bright, so I couldn't see anyone. I didn't feel like I was in front of a bunch of people. That helped. Everyone had to pay attention to me and they had no choice, so I could do exactly what I wanted on stage and they would have to listen. That was the first time I've truly been myself, because I had the space to express anything and all these people would listen, no matter what I did.