Drums, NYC Music Scene (w/ Graham Doby) Ep044

Welcome back to another episode of Fret
Buzz The Podcast. My name is Aaron Sefchick, I’m Joe McMurray and today we have
an awesome episode for you today. A good friend of mine from the past worked with
me at Bach to Rock, Joe as well at one point, kind of in passing but yeah. Mr Graham
Doby. Hello sir, how are you? Not too bad.
Graham comes from… you are actually from originally from Arlington? I was actually
born in Boston and kind of raised Charlottesville. Okay there you go.
A beautiful place, great musicians. My family’s still there
so I always love to try to get back there again.
Cool, now Graham is up in New York City jamming it out with a bunch of
people. So yeah, welcome to Fret Buzz The Podcast Graham. Thank you! Thank you,
thanks for having me guys. Yeah, so I obviously met you at Bach
to Rock a long time ago and I was, and I still am, I was actually just telling
Joe before the show I am still impressed by your skills. I don’t I honestly don’t
know that I’ve I mean I’ve seen as Helen Jo I’ve seen a lot of drummers but in
terms of your dedication to drums and how you go about practicing and how much
you’re into the actual experience of drums always astounded me you were
always just that cool guy down the hall was just like always practicing
anytime that there was a moment that you could have to just kind of jam out to
the metronome or whatever you were always doing it was like wow that that
cat is dedicated yeah that was definitely that was
definitely the height of like when I was practicing like like six six to seven
hours a day I know that was the height of it but that’s that’s you know I’ve uh
I’ve been practicing that as much I’ve been uh just doing like a little more
playing it’s tough but yeah yeah yeah yeah okay getting back to getting back
to it get back to more more of that that element of shedding well I mean I think
there’s a time and a place for that I think we all go through these you know
hills and valleys of when through life when you have to when you get to
practice a lot and then because of you know certain circumstances you don’t get
to practice as much it’s more work oriented or whatever it is kids for me
so yeah obviously we goes through hills and valleys yeah your practice but that
yeah I’ve always I will always remember you and your practice regimen in terms
of yeah good time yeah like a boxer Rock yeah yeah yeah so it’s where did it
where did this all begin where did you which go over a brief history of what
you’ve got in terms of where it all started and and what got you into drums
per se so it’s funny I was playing I would started playing piano yeah yeah
parents were both pianists that um no I’m not professionals but you know they
played in church and my mom used to like direct that the youth choir sometimes
and um so I was playing and then one day it was like it was like that Blues
Brothers moment where I was I was playing at this talent show and this guy
kid came up played played drums along to like a Dave Matthews song and it was
just like oh I was like that’s it I want to do that and so I just like
pounded my parents to like I didn’t even want them to buy me drops it I just
wanted them to like take me to Sam Ash or play back I just played the drums I
was like I need to like play drums like right now and then and then so my
parents got me they’ve got me a drum set and then they couldn’t they couldn’t
stand to hear me just like bashing away so they started getting me
lessons and I’m I figured out pretty early like you know a by about about
eighth grade I think I think the three things I wanted to do though was I
either professional basketball player professional scooter er because I would
go to skate parks with like a razor scooter okay Oh a skateboard or anything
I was I was definitely a dork but um and drums so and then when I got to high
school it was it was dead clear-cut that I was gonna do this for the rest of my
life though and then yeah then just going going up to it’s going up to high
school it was just still practicing still practicing like as much as I
possibly could playing with bunch of musicians what we
saying what genre were you playing then I was playing all jazz okay really
really just like heavy set on jazz it wasn’t until I was I mean I had like
rock bands and stuff that I have played with you know Nicole France but like
once I was really starting to get the jazz it was like that was that was
everyday no that’s interesting why jazz you know um I just it just really spoke
with me you know I mean I was also like you know surrounded by a lot of great
jazz musicians mom when I when I was like learning your study – Robert jaws
fee for a while oh and then I was I played a lot with John dearth and he
really he really helped me out and then and then also like Greg Thomas of more
high school I mean he really he really paved the path for me of just like just
like really delving into this music and under and like being professional it was
all about professionalism and being on time and and knowing your parts and
practicing you know making sure that you didn’t uh you would never take a never
half-ass it you know and you know and so yeah so I just started getting into it I
just you know I started playing once I started playing with dearth I think I
really started to be like wow I really like really like feel this music and
just like was just like it’s just a feeling that just came over me and just
you know I just love I just loved it you know started playing piano learning and
learning like you know learning how to the core all the coral structures worked
and everything and and I just yeah I think I just
fell in love with it still still to this day like when I hear any Thai style of
music I really like that book jazz still it’s always to stop my it’s
not my heart yeah whether I I don’t play jazz as much as I used to
unfortunately um but uh but every chance I get I go play jazz anytime no I’m
sorry I’m starting I’m actually about to start a jazz trio right now so and the
process of doing that cool keep me tuned were you playing in a like a high school
big band or did they have compost for you we had we had both we had combos in
high school um it was yeah was cool because you know we did but we did we
did combo competitions you know but we also really would like me through the
school and we would do that and then we would just go gig uptown you know and we
removed play um we had a rock band – so it was like a
rock band then we would play jazz as like you know but we knew each other
really well so like you know obviously like you go to play jazz you know if you
have this like you know this connection through other means music you’re going
to yeah you’re just gonna link up really well so so we did that so I was playing
with them and I just go I had the big band and a combo and the combo was
gigging we were gigging all the time and Wow
and what like what types of tunes replaying is there certain era you were
into or certain oh I think we’re playing you know it kind of progressed you know
but we’re playing standards and I think we which I took a lot from from like
like the Miles Davis Tony Williams era like that yeah like that that since the
late 50s can I hear yeah you know and so in an LL Bean – I got that style just
I’m very like you know very really into like metric modulation if that’s a huge
thing that I like you know I’m really into hard time signatures and all this
like weird stuff that nobody wants you to play
I just can’t help it I love it you know I
I love superimposing seven over you know 15 16 so I don’t know weirdo but uh but
yes so you know as I started as I started developing started you know was
always into that kind of like you know you know I mean this in the Tony
Williams I mean he’s getting into all kinds of metric modulation and all kinds
of stuff but he always did it in a very like musical you know musical way so I
had to I just learn how to do it musically it took years I’m still
working on it but you know but you know you can’t can’t just like you know be
grooving and then all of a sudden going some weird I won’t hate you when you do
that but yeah so I guess that’s that’s the style I was playing and then as it
as it as if I was woman on I just progressed you know more contemporary
and stuff like that so yeah I’m jealous didn’t have any of that in my school
which number I wish somebody had come to me and taught me this when I was here
that age I was very fortunate I was very lucky to have great teachers and to
start so early yeah it sounds great well sweet all
right so where did you go from high school then so high school then I was
then I went to George Mason that wasn’t yet the George Mason for four years and
then literally right after that and by uh enough to graduate and I literally
moved up up here the suitcase in a backpack and the initial moves my it was
a graduation present right my big graduation present for my parents was uh
what they’re gonna pay for my rent for tuning to two months in New York and I
the original goal was I was gonna be here for two months and then I was I
think I’ll come back save some money and then move back up there and I came back
out for the first week and I said I’m never leaving was it I was like you know
I was just sold I was just like the city like you know I’ve always it’s funny
I’ve always I’ve always felt like New York was home to me it was a you
probably ever I was going to New York all the time
yeah like goes in and hosts you know had a I
was I was dating someone appears although that was a big reason coming up
here then also I had a really really close friend and in college and he moved
up here and after and so I just would come to visit him and I just remember
this like defining moment for me where I stepped off the bus and it was probably
like at the time the bus station was like I mean it was like 34th and like
6th Avenue or something and I just submitted orders like move it very close
to Penn Station I just remember step I was like very stressed out like school
for whatever my paper that I hadn’t turned in yet like you know
well I stepped off the bus I was super stressed I just remember stepping off
the bus to all these people just like just like I was crazy its Penn Station
so there’s tons of people just moving it I just remember feeling so relaxed I
don’t know for some reason like knowing the fact that there’s so many people
here and they’re all like doing their own thing
it’s like a very like Zen thing for me she’s very this is very strange like I
just feel a very comfortable and like like knowing that like Oh everyone’s
everyone’s working everyone’s doing her thing you know it’s not like like you
know just I was very comfortable with it so so yeah that’s uh that’s where I went
from there you know with the during during during college I was playing I
played with a band funk arc and I played with a panda stop status those are like
my two was about two big bands I was playing with as long as as well as I was
playing ahead I had a steady gig on U Street at Jo Jo’s every Tuesday yeah and
we read that was that was really where I learned how to play you know and I was
always always already you know playing and stuff but that was really we had
like a bunch of you know heavy musicians ever come in the whole point the we uh
one point four years we had John Lee you know John you know gently gently
yeah and when I was playing those guys so those are my three main bands I was
playing with John Lee experience funk art and I stopped status and yeah
so it’s just playing yeah I was I was a woman that was like you know going to
bed at five o’clock in the morning showing up to class like you know it no
sleep after after just you know playing gigs all night all
night long I was like as well as teaching to us I was a teeny gigging
like you know crazy time I can’t believe I made it for years but I did so and you
were you had a you had like 9:00 a.m. ear training with what’s-his-name the
old Italian guy oh it’s brutal he’s good but yeah good morning yeah oh man they
they they changed it though I’m glad that he’s doing one now because what
would happen before is he was only doing ear training for oh so you know not yeah
it’s like like not that not that like do our teachers were necessarily like my
yellow yes like my hellos is like you know he’s saying he really gets you to
do it you know like your teachers was like I mean it’s pretty much it was a B
or F I know that’s what that’s where he knows where his grading policies you
know and F was a zero it wasn’t it wasn’t like one guy it was either zero
or like a B or like an a do or don’t or you just you just I think your training
super important and I’m glad he’s I’m glad I’m glad they switched that to
teach him work because I remember like if you know I got it to his cost and I
was like oh I not prepared for this you know so but uh but yeah basically it was
a good school when did you graduate graduate graduated in 2014 thank you yes
I started at Mason in 2015 okay so I mean that’s how I missed you by just a
little bit this is over yeah that was dad I’ve been we’ve all been up in New
York by this yeah that was post Bacharach for me okay yeah
did you have Darden Purcell was there I assume yeah
Suzanne Joe McCarthy hmm is she she’s the Dean now and she’s
actually coming on the show in April oh really that’s great yeah and her
husband dr. Shawn Percel yeah was just on a few weeks yeah oh that’s awesome
yeah they’re great yeah I know a music triple yeah oh yeah
I haven’t talked to them in a while I should catch up guys up with them let
me talk to them yeah so the good people that we’ve uh we’ve also had the
opportunity to have a couple Berklee grads on Oh nurse and it’s been
interesting to talk about the differences in music programs and yeah
you know the Berklee folks love to I mean they love their experience all
right I always felt like Mason was a great
program and maybe we didn’t have as many all the extra me calme combos you know
doing specific styles of music but we had great jazz combos and the the
afro-cuban ensemble and oh yeah steel pans stuff was really cool yeah
Victor’s one day be there yeah yeah it was a great program I learned a lot
while I was there and I also met I just met a lot of very close friends I met a
lot of great people like some of my closest friends and you know over in the
world I meant there so why that was actually it was a fun I’d you know TJ
turkmen I domed he’s a he’s a bass player that I played with a lot he
became like one of my closest friends and he was funny he was one of the
biggest reasons I went to Mason because I saw him play bass they say he did this
bass and drum duo thing hanging with um with his drummer and I just remember
being like I saw him play at Chantilly and I just remember being like oh my god
I was like what was that it was this like and I got was like a Bell’s like a
big defining moment I was like no because I had gotten into the new school
and but it just was too expensive no it’s just like I said I guess that’s my
is is kind of my opinion on like like jad cool or like that it’s like you know
I would I’m so expense time you can I mean it’s a
play you can you play or not play you can learn how to play on your own you
know this bike is going to meet all the all the people out there and I think
it’s important to go to school because like you’re surrounded by I people that
are all trying to get to a different level and that’s the same level and uh
and so I think it’s really important but but yeah I think you can you could go to
school it’s not doesn’t cost 50,000 to 60,000 dollars a year you know yeah to
get a good education I mean yeah nothing against Berkeley or anything because I
know it’s an amazing school but it’s just like you know telly you’re
guaranteed like like a like a you know a successful career oh yeah that’s gonna
be able to pay that off you know so yeah unfortunately musicians don’t make it
well you can’t make a lot of money but it’s a far between that’s hard when you
$80,000 in debt they might be 200 yeah right yeah I mean I’ve heard a lot
of podcasts lately in terms of the whole education thing for and against and it
doesn’t matter what field you’re in an obviously listen to a lot of recording
podcasts and that guitar and whatnot like that for musicians and there’s this
it’s like you can spend the money to go to college which obviously is extremely
important because yes you learn a lot of things and there’s tons of networking
right yes that’s and that’s extremely important if you take advantage of it
yeah there’s a lot of people and students out there who just don’t you
know they’re just going to school because they have to and their
concentration might be on partying or the social aspect of it or whatever it
is but if you go to school for you know actually learning in class and doing the
absolute best that you can and then on top of that doing the you know the
networking that goes along with it sure college is worth it um and it’s
extremely expensive but sure but then the other hand of it is is like okay
let’s just say you have 80 to $200,000 right instead of spending
that in you know education well why not just take 80 grand and go to New York
and get your and you know just night after night Network get your chops up
and start putting yourself in the scene or like within a recordings a recording
scene let’s just say you spend $80,000 or not even $40,000 on a recording
studio and then you start getting yourself in that way and you start
getting your chops up and you start networking that way is it better to do
it one way or the other it all really depends on your persona in terms of how
driven you are towards you know that’s one thing that you want to do yeah it’s
it’s you know it’s a juggle and just like sorry it’s hard – yeah hard to come
up but I think being uh being surrounded by that being like in that scene of like
you know you’re doing music every day all day you know I think it’s important
and then the people the people that you meet the teachers that you meet just
getting different perspectives you know I think I think it is I think you know
it is important oh yeah it’s extremely important and you you know you have to
be in touch with who you are as a person with school you know there’s you know
you’re being graded you know you there are papers that are
due there are classes that you have to show up for well whereas if you’re going
to New York City with 80 grand there’s nobody pushing you yeah you have
to have that kind of personality that you you have to push yourself on the
daily and you know you’re gonna go through those months where it’s like oh
I don’t feel like doing this what you have to you can find the best coach and
you know for their lesson rates are up there but you know for $70 for an hour
lesson with somebody who’s really good a year might cost you a few grand in the
end a lot cheaper than tuition I just somebody’s gonna hold you
accountable you could hire somebody I just listened to a podcast where this
guy went up to Berkeley let me listen to that and hired all the
top Berklee teachers on a private one one on one basis for like a couple
months at a time and then he would go home and then he would do it all over
again but never actually going to Berkeley so we got a higher than Berklee
education because it was all one-on-one oh right yeah yeah
all top Berklee guys and it was all one-on-one any spit yeah I don’t
remember what the total was but in terms of like the cost was like next nothing
in terms of you know going to God Berkeley for a college education
yeah and coming out on the other side just like stellar I was just oh my gosh
that what a way to do it you have to send it to me yeah pick it up yeah
so okay so oh so yeah I’d like to dive into New York I mean we have people from
all over the world listening to us and New York is a beacon it really is always
has been and I imagine always will be it’s a thriving city in terms of tons of
stuff to do but especially when it comes to music I mean when I think about the
states I think about three places I think about New York LA and Nashville
and New Orleans ya know New Orleans I mean yes I could
go into like all the other ones but I’m in terms of the the beacons the huge
beacons I I really think New York is like just one of the biggest ones out
there and that experience of walking into New York City and being like and
like just like you were saying before at Graham it’s always going all the time
it’s chaotic but in a good way there’s a great vibe to it and you know there’s
there’s tons of talent there and if you are going to go to muse New York for
music I believe at least I’m led to believe I always have been that you need
to be on your game and because there there are a lot of
people there who are looking for the same thing as you are and you know in
order to stand out amongst the masses you got to be kind of good yeah sure you
know daddies that is you know that can be the the overwhelming thing sometimes
coming to New York is like well I have to like always be on my best but and
then it can be very very competitive in that way you know where where where
people don’t want to like some people necessarily want to help you out because
because they don’t want you to you know like like they won’t want you to take
their gigs pretty much you know yeah I’ve really tried to like did not be
intimidated by it I feel like when I do that and I just kind of like like just
go with you know playing with the best players I can plan as you know as well
as I can you know oh yeah when it comes down to but playing music you know what
a man’s own like you know getting that getting that competitive attitude know
I’m a competitive person too but I like you know I’ll never like you know five
anyone for like four not being able to play very well like I like to tell
people because I can oh I’d be offended if someone didn’t wasn’t giving me like
like wasn’t telling me something about my plane right you know like III would
have want everyone to tell me you know what they what they think you know but
I’ve uh I found that you know just just kind of like going through it and just
and just and not getting bogged down by like by like competitiveness or like you
know oh man this guy’s like this guy can play better than I can like because it’s
because you know when you’re surrounded by when you’re small fish you know it’s
just you can sometimes be a little like you know it can be very hard and like
that sometimes a little depressing but would you just have to you know push
through and keep keep doing your thing and and that’s what that’s just that’s
how I’ve been able to like kind of get through my low points you know I’ve been
here about five years I’ve been about about five years now and so now I feel
like I’ve I’ve got my base you know now it’s like knocking like it’s almost like
now I’m just getting started you know it’s like five years
just kind of you know getting settled settle in you know so kind of a two-part
question are there are there circles within the landscape there are there are
there many circles or is it just a few little circles that you kind of try to
have to nudge yourself into and for someone who is you know fresh on the
scene how hard it is how hard is it to get into one of those circles oh I think
it I think it really depends on which circle you want to get into like you
know there’s like you know there’s I really want to have a music complaint
you know they’re guys there’s a dress circle there’s like the wedding band and
circle or there’s like you know I and I’ve really tried to you know I was like
crying it was like running those circles for a while and then I kind of just
realized that like for me what what what what was more fulfilling for me it’s
just to find like groups of musicians or bands that I really like and I just play
with them you know like I could I could technically that could be I could be
gigging every single night if I wanted to but but like you know I don’t
necessarily want to go out and play like like a gig for like $7 and I mean I
would like to like I’m just kind of I’m kind of thinking more of it’s a I get on
get a group of people and like you know then I mean this the music scene is
small like once you’re watching people start to know you is like all the
circles kind of like run together you know okay and so yeah that’s kind of
that’s just the way I’ve gone about those circles because because is you
know as someone new coming on the scene it can be really challenging it’d be
really hard because you know some people might just just might not want like you
know might not want you to be in a circle it could be sinking sometimes be
a little bit like that you know and so it’s been I think it’s just really
important to UM to find to find people that you really that you like you really
like and then you really like playing with and that are your friends – you
know like I’d much rather the musician who’s like was like you
know not as good but it’s great hangs you know over somebody who’s just like
the best player in the world but a total asshole like I you know I know I would
rather like you know I saw that that’s very important to me and I also find
that you know once you do that you find people that are better musicians you
know because you know they’re they’re good people like and so like the music
comes out better because you’re just hanging out you just you just have a
connection so like you know and then and then all the worry
like anything ends up like the musicianship cause goes higher no like
like every everyone it’s like like when you were doing that and you’re and you
you know you don’t worry about making mistakes because if you make a mistake
well well it’s too late to do anything about it so you should keep moving on
anyway but but you don’t have to worry about someone like super vibing you and
I never want ever gonna speak to you again because like you like best made
like missing one of those section which happens well and and so that’s I think
that’s okay it is your question but yeah yeah yeah do you ever brush shoulders
with people like like bigger names like Mike Stern and I got to see up there a
couple times and like some of the more famous people do they have their own
like thing going Oh – I use actually these around that seems you Justin Tyson
drummer don’t ya Johnny played with um Esperanza for a little bit no come on
yeah he’s uh great drummer Iranians it was actually just at my gigs just
hanging up and uh and I was playing it’s funny I
I actually don’t get like you know my love people get like nervous if they
have like a their Idol comes in or something it’s funny if another drummer
walks in I don’t get as nervous for that but it was like another like bass player
or like someone that could hire me for a gig Clarkson that’s enough like oh boy
gotta be on it you know then that person could be like oh I’m like why don’t you
like come on tour with me okay you know like but you know you see though the
drummer’s like I want to hang out but I don’t necessarily get as nervous
shurik Tucker was another one who came to my jam
but yeah all these cats are there this like just hanging around you know like I
ran into Robert Glasper a couple times but jealous I mean they’re all just
people just people and was just just Hank hanging out so so uh but I thought
I was funny I never I never get intimidated by like you need famous
people or anything it’s just ya know fact I remember correctly you were you
were doing a tour or hanging out with the guys with me
Funkadelic is that right I did I did I did a little eye open for went on a few
tours with with parlor wasn’t wasn’t I was yeah we were opening today but that
was with funk Ark so we had uh I remember there’s one moment like we were
playing at a Tallyho theater and and and George Clinton came off the stage and I
just remember going up to another hey like you know started to meet you thank
you so much much for having us and he shook my hands like yeah y’all sound
real good that’s not real good I was like look there we go I was like that
was like it was very very special moment for him to actually like take time and
and then it was funny then I we went to this mr. Kincaid he went to the bar and
he was like ideas I had like a whiskey or something and uh yeah oh I’m sorry
the bar is closed and some some manager come fine I don’t
know somewhere I was like do you realize this is out there George Clint had cut
off all his hair off for like so like like it’s funny the second tour that we
did with them yeah second string of shows we did they uh they you know they
have they like the announcer stuff they have like the back attractive of like
you know they had their ii twitter like in case you didn’t know the man in the
middle with the suit this is george clinton
like people who recognize who he was because he cut off his did he cut off
his dreads right and so it was really funny to the guy was like oh sorry gave
a bottle of maker’s mark oh yeah we did they player did did hang out with those
guys for a while he’s he’s pretty nuts isn’t he I mean in just like like very
out there is what I’ve gotten from interviews yeah yeah I talked to a very
oh just very briefly you know I went into his judgment one time as they begin
a picture with them you know I’m not super into taking pictures of
celebrities or whatnot but the time I was like yeah you know like it was uh
yeah I need to talk to him too much but uh but yeah he’s still crazy dude you
know but uh yeah they were very nice they’re they’re really they’re really
nice to us I remember one point we were playing and
I look back in the entire band it’s just standing there watching us play nice
know the little nerve-racking but it was good that’s an experience I think
experience I’ll never forget for sure very cool so do you want to
jump back up to New York City yeah what so I’ve had the chance to go and like
I’ve been to fat hat and I’ve been to the Iridium I’ve done I’ve been to some
jazz clubs and it the scene is so cool because like the village there’s so many
clubs around is that where you typically get to play or you I guess you’re not
doing all jazz like you said yeah typically play like like places I’m
playing like I play at Rockwood Music Hall or like I played Silvana it’s
trying a lot play and I play like uh I play more of like the like to picked up
in like not that fat cat and and smalls aren’t venues as something just more
like you know we’re like more and more state like bigger stages and stuff yeah
have you played the Endor moon yeah I actually played Brooklyn Bowl three
weeks ago that’s my brimming bowl is my favorite place to play and in New York
but hands down like like the people are great they treat you well
yeah like Brooklyn Bowl a few times it’s a cool concept to have probably listen
is out there that don’t know like there’s literally a bowling alley and a
stage yeah yep bowling on stage right next right next to each other and the
place is huge so yeah yeah I I like I like that yeah but but yeah I’ve just
been kind of you know going back to like the bands I’ve been playing with
just just really right now I’m really focused you know like like two main
bands that I have as I’m in and uh and then just just practicing and just
trying to like like have people see me or just just pick me up on by hear me
play you know like with those bands or something you know but not necessarily
you know anything I know I need to go back out I need I need to go back out
there a little bit more but I’ve just kind of been focusing on just like you
know my my music and I also have a recording studio in Washington Heights
so I’ve been focusing on that as well just like you know getting recording
clients and getting like you know able to edit and record that’s cool like runs
and stuff and so and so yes it’s I think it’s important I feel like every like
every musician really should should know a little bit about recording so you
don’t have to be you want to be able to walk in there and like dial in you know
compression and be able to like EQ and do everything but I feel like everybody
should know a little bit about it because you know that’s just how you’re
gonna make a good record you know if you want view you’re walking through a
recording studio especially with like how contemporary music getting with
electronics and like you know like how things are being produced now it’s like
I feel like it’s important if you want the best the best result I think it’s
very important to know a little bit about it know are you doing that on your
own are you doing without a group of guys
I’m doing it with its me my it’s me my partner Dylan Cameco okay it’s a bass
player he’s basically I play with a lot he’s like my he’s like my one of my
go-to he’s like is my go-to got here up here amazing the amazing bass but I
studied with John Pat – chief ER for a while so he’s just like yeah he’s got
he’s okay he’s great he’s a great up white player he’s a great electric
player too we can really do both and so yeah I mean him me it’s in his apartment
so we have one it’s a three bedroom apartment and one bedroom is dedicated
to the control room and that living rooms like the life room suite
yeah how do you deal with neighbors like you want to crank it ham what how does
that work Joe this is is Washington Heights and so Washington Heights is uh
it’s just a loud lively place it’s you your cards in your recording
random sirens and your recording in your elbow it’s New York man wouldn’t what is
there not a siren going yeah yes I good but but no uh you know the heights is
like you know they’ll throw like his neighbors they’ll throw big parties to
like and they’ll be up like sometimes they’ll be like bumpin but shot the
music until like you know or like something you know you music up to like
you know like 3:00 in the morning so it’s like it’s like you know it goes
both ways you know like and also it’s not like that’s a ball well it’s not
like we’re playing shitty music either it’s not like you know I mean like it’s
not it’s like if they’re like it’s like it’s like you know that I think they
kind of enjoy it and then Dylan Dylan’s been there for almost 10 years so like
an econ that he’s gotten to know all the neighbors and everyone knows him and
everything so so yeah we as long as the each other we don’t try not to go much
past much later than 10 so it’s always it’s always during the day now are you
recording all kinds of Acts are you guys geared towards more of a rock tone or a
chaste Ron or everything right now we’re doing with Ken Thompson we’re doing his
record it’s like a power power trio rock rock thing and so we’ve been doing it
we’ve been doing that and then I mean the the main vision of this is we we
wanted to do this because we want to like produce our own music so that’s AB
it’s a big part of it too is that it’s that you know we’ve got this we’re
starting this new this new trio and and what kind of just kind of trying to do
enough so that we can pay for the studio you know make make a little bit of make
a little bit of money but really just to get our own music out there and prove
ourselves as musician way to get our music out there as well as well as like
you know showing that like oh we can produce our own music really well
no so what what is for future people coming into New York City what is it
what is the name of your Studios Autobahn lab what is it Autobahn lab
Autobahn lab honey it’s on 170 is an Autobahn that’s
why it’s called uh okay I called the out of my lap it’s literally on Autobahn
okay I’ve just been doing that yeah I just think I’ve learned I’ve learned a
lot the studio I just being able to like I think it’s really important to record
yourself and listen yourself playback be able to like understand how to make
other people’s recording sound good oh yeah I love it yeah that’s it’s great
it really is so um when when you are looking to because obviously you do a
lot of plane yeah do you go out and look for bands do you go out and do a lot of
listening oh I do you know I uh you know I like to support I like to you know
support my friends when I when I when I when I can’t and then you know having I
haven’t gone out to as many shows that as I would like you know I used to I
used to more but you know you know what you just they starts to add up after a
while yeah yeah my I guess my main my main
reason for asking is is that you know for someone who is looking to come into
New York and they’re looking to nudge their way into something you know going
out to listening and listening to a bunch of different shows and that are
within that genre that you’re looking to kind of get into how how did you go cuz
obviously when you started off in New York
you may have known a couple of people if any how did you go about nudging your
way into that I mean do you literally just go out and watch a band and then at
the after the show say hey man I really take your stuff wonder if we could play
sometime oh really play oh you know I actually I did do that I was very you
know it’s very like you know I think and like we play like that’s like let’s go but um but there are a lot of
times like you know just get in there just like hanging out with people just
like you know getting to know somebody or or I think that I think going to jam
sessions is really important like in the beginning people like do gets it you get
to meet people and others jam sessions and like and so like I mean going to a
jam session and playing a little bit being it with like you know have your
and I think I think I think that was the point I used to go to jam sessions all
the time and then staying and hanging just meeting as many people as you can
and you know if you meet the right people and you say oh listen like I’m
new to New York and if you can actually play like you know this the scene will
reward you know like you will start to you will start to meet the right people
and like you know if you work hard enough at it you’re not like and you’re
not a jerk or like you know a drunk you you’re like you’re gonna like you know
you can uh yeah people people like you know these people will start to notice
you but yeah I used to go out to a lot of shows and I did used to go out a lot
of shows and I think it’s important you know just like getting to know people
and talk to them but I think you know I think it’s more important to to get to
know somebody then like you know like be like hey let’s play like right now oh
yeah yeah yeah absolutely it’s more important to just like to like you know
get go to these shows and then afterwards just like hang out I know
it’s like kick it kick it with them and just just like you know you know they’ll
be like I’ll let you know where the next shows are you start to make friends you
know and then like then you start a band you get give your group people they come
check you out like you know tell so now are you ever the person going out and
getting like dealing with the venue’s yes when I do a lot of that their love I
do a lot of the booking with the venue’s so a lot of a lot of connections to
different different venues over here um it’s just it’s just hard because I mean
the man you just don’t pay they just no no like like I mean the the door deals
up here just like I just crazy you know like it’ll be like I think what’s the
one that like there’s a few where it’s like we take we take the
first 20 tickets that are sold we take and then after that Andy tickets sold
you only get like 60 or like 70% like and it’s like for a small club
where the capacity is like like I’m like you know a hundred I think you know
fifty to a hundred people it’s like can you make any money right like you know
these it’s it’s just it’s hard it’s hard to want to do these but uh but I think
it’s I think it’s you know that’s why I kind of like like like stock plans as
much you know really only doing the gigs and I want to do with my with like the
people that I know and people that want want to play with and then just like
booking gigs here and there and uh and then setting up tours you know torn torn
up and down the East Coast I’ve gone down to New Orleans and back twice on a
tour that I that I set up and so but yeah let me deal with all the the venues
I’m trying to go more in a direction of finding like places that will have music
but that will pay so not necessary like a music venue but like example tonight
you know I’m booking I I’m playing over it but it’s called arrogant swine I’m
playing over there but I also book over there – so it’s
like some bands will pull you know they hit me up and I just let them know when
they want to play and stuff oh but uh but there but there it’s like a
restaurant and a bar so like bill they’ll have a budget to pay musicians
which is just nice no kind of kind of been focusing more on that private
parties playing playing like private events to play a little more so it’s
it’s so different from I mean I was in DC and it was much more like that from
the scene that I was involved in where I’m I’m in Virginia Beach now and living
in a town like this like it’s just there’s so much more money for music I
mean they put I think they have at least ten blocks where there’s a musician on
every corner yeah made by the city and you get to you
know they give you a contract for fifteen gigs at the beginning this
summer there’s bands at all the main stages playing that are all being paid
that music at almost every bar and you’re all it’s almost always a flat
rate because none of these places are it’s like they’re not music venues where
people buy tickets I mean there are a couple but just a very different scene
so I mean when you’ve gone through or have you come across places like this
have you considered touring through you know more touristy towns yeah definitely
when I go on it’s so funny yeah once I think once you leave New York City it’s
like you can get you can people will pay for music oh yeah it just seems a little
it’s a little crazy but uh yeah definitely I set up when I set up tours
like that I’d definitely try to find my places like that you know I this place I
play it’s a frat house in Princeton but I called the terrace Club and I play
there and that’s that’s a real that’s a really cool gig because they mean it’s
like a big big mansion and they have like a full sound system and everything
so but yeah well you know I haven’t I might you know we set it up these DS
like to the three week tours I think I’m gonna start doing less less stuff like
that and more just like little runs like a week max or like you know to like one
weekend you know back back in and back out so I think that’s what I’m gonna
want to try to do a little more else yeah you I just think I would always be
trying to get in tours places like any I’ve seen
they’ve got barges with bands playing for the all the bars at the fishing
tournaments and on the beach there’s just so many places like that seems like
just picking the right place is half the battle dairy town that’s true
sure and then finding an event and then trying to try to contact him in the
right time because these things booked up no yeah so yeah make sure you like
like once in advance you know get out and then you know sometimes they don’t
know you like if they don’t know who you are becoming different you know
sometimes can be a little difficult depending on the style of music you’re
playing so like it’s a like I was booking tours that I’ve booked have been
like a like a funk like mostly funk and like fusion RnB stuff but but now trying
to book a little tour for for like a rock band it’s very different you know
because you’re not gonna be I don’t necessarily want to look like you know a
gigs where we’re gonna play a bunch of covers you know like I want to look like
like like venue you know but some of those menus necessarily don’t
necessarily pay as much so existed just difficult client finding when you get
knowing people you can bring out yeah yeah exactly different different
different scenes in the different different places to play yes that is
true the downside of a place like Virginia
Beach is the the expectation of more covers
yep and uh and which is cool nothing wrong with doing those gigs it’s just
like you know I just there’s people that spend their entire lives just like
that’s all I do is play like cover band gigs or wedding gates and I just like I
was like delving into that scene a little bit and I was just saying you
know like oh I wanna be I was like you know I played with a couple of different
wedding bands and stuff but you know just yeah that’s right son I say what my
big thing I want to be doing it’s not very soul fulfilling unfortunately
though it is where the money is that yeah it is yeah but yeah but six
definitely sticking to it’s important to I do a lot of teaching to
no it does nothing cause I I do a I said play so as well as playing you’re
marking Marquis Studios Rose which is a teaching arts company and send me to
like right now I’m teaching in seven schools seven different like public
schools Wow yeah anywhere from an ages anywhere from kindergarten to senior
citizens and so yeah teach now it’s been it’s been very fulfilling doing that and
teach I teach a teach a lot of kids with disabilities ranging from you know
autism to on the autism spectrum Down syndrome
take kids that like you know kids that might not right now you’d be able to
walk or talk or or even like you know so kids I have feeding tubes can’t even
but find a way to get to get through to them now to music a lot of it’s a it’s a
non-profit so so they teach so a lot of the schools that we go into my schools
that would never have music or a lot of the kids are like living at or below the
poverty line so so you’re teaching you know you go to teaching kids that really
really want to know do music and so it’s been it’s been fulfilling doing that you
know coming into a classroom and having kids like be really stoked to see you
know it’s like a family you know Jessie that’s giving me you know idea of like
what what it’s like you know the different schools in New York notes
this is wild oh that’s Groot you’re teaching groups at once group classes at
West I teach 20 20 classes a week so and are
you doing more percussion related things are you doing just general music I do uh
I do bucket drums with them which is high yeah the class is like the biggest
class I teach thirty-five and so 35 35 kids on buckets I’ve definitely I
definitely started wearing earplugs because I wasn’t wearing your I’ll tell
you what man 35 kids playing buckets is maybe one of the loudest things you ever
hear little brutal rule brutal at times I’m sure oh man yeah is brew but won’t
you give the play together really well they start to sound really good yeah
well they can play so it’s really powerful with you yeah well you have 35
kids like like playing the same beat playing something that’s like really
together it’s like okay fine I have a good time I tried like controlled chaos
you know like yeah like you know we play along with a lot of the music that they
like I really try it what I really try to do is like it’s a group class I’m not
you know I’m not necessarily gonna be able to get into like crazy technical
stuff so I really buddy my big goal that I try to get through is I can want them
to have fun and enjoy drums and then when they decide that they want to
continue this then they came like your private lessons or if you got more
serious so we’ll put on we’ll just put on music that they like it we’ll just
play along with it and like you know it’s love and then we
do a performance at the end so do you do any private lessons I do I teach
primarily two so I have a about my students really got three private
students a week okay so I want to back back up to the bucket drums thing before
I get you far so a few weeks ago we had a guest on Joe ham who is a member of
this organization El Sistema and we really talked a lot about El Sistema
which is this philosophy of bringing music to underprivileged kids and there
are a lot of I guess organizations around the country that kind of they
don’t buy into it but they follow this philosophy and anyway I didn’t know if
that was something that your nonprofit used or if you had heard of that I
haven’t heard that was it looked at it looked at up
what’s it el sistema u.s. Bay because it’s it’s it originated in Venezuela and
now it’s they’ve got the United States wing of it but but yeah they’re they’re
geared specifically towards under-resourced kids and doing bucket
bands and and all that kind of stuff so it sounds very much like what you’re
doing yeah yeah yeah I think they have a lot of resources and they have
conferences and things like that because I don’t think they supply any they don’t
supply any the funding to the groups it’s more of like this philosophy that
gosh yes follow and they try to provide content you know how do you say there
and they try to provide intensive and continuous music education for the same
groups of students consistent music yeah anyway check it out I’ll definitely take
that that’s great yeah I think it I think it’s very important to uh you know
everyone cutting cutting in the arts and music
program so it’s very sad because I really think I really think it’s
important you know kids need that outlet you know studies it’s crazy because
studies show the more that the kids are involved in arts and music you know the
the better they do in school yeah it’s crazy it’s like wait it doesn’t make
sense yeah there’s there’s research showing this math and science and it’s
just I think they need to have they need to bring home act back they need to have
like oh yeah how to work on your car and how to like have a bank account yeah
real life classes it I think they need just make math and you compress
everything a little bit I think they need to fit in all their life skills
stuff yeah arts obviously yeah I mean you should be able to learn about taxes
when you’re like with you but early on like middles like high school you should
be taking classes about taxes I really have a job in high school you gotta pay
taxes exactly you know it’s confusing people need to
learn about this stuff yeah what they do I spent like two hours on it yesterday
another hour on Friday yeah oh yeah that’s coming as a musician it’s
especially uh complex oh yeah like have 1099s from all different places and I’m
like missing 1099s and I’ve got I’m hating me
you know privately from my private teachers from lots of periods with the
mess absolute mess and then sometimes you’re you know you
get a 1099 and you’re being taxed on money but you paid out the band so you
gotta like kind of take that into account when you pay alright no yeah
you’re always the one getting paid in the end you get screwed because you have
to pay the taxes on it you’re right right now that’s why I’ve I’ve started
I’ve started just taking taking percentage off you know where like
whenever the check comes in it’s like take off whatever whatever the
detectives and then but then they pay the band out oh yeah
yeah people need to know these things yeah they do know these things yeah yeah
did you have the class at Mason the here’s the was it called the art of
teaching music right ahead there yeah he had half of it was on how to have your
own studio yeah how to do tag I mean at Mason they had that it was a great class
yeah I did have that class that did help huh yeah I brought it up before but I
particularly enjoyed well once I enjoyed that class but I appreciated that class
yeah it was teaching that class to do with that I can’t remember I mean I
remember her there were two different teachers different teachers right I
remember was a flute one was a flute teacher that’s right are without in
several years but I can’t remember yeah they were both great teachers great
class I also come up that like never forget like having to teach some kid on
an instrument that I didn’t play in front of the whole class
right and I still to this day use those ideas of like sometimes you get a
student it’s got its pretty good and doesn’t want to learn the things that
you want to learn they want to learn something specific and just the idea of
being able to like really watch somebody and analyze what they’re doing and yeah
even if you’re not a professional flute player as a musician you should be able
to guide them go on things to help them yeah so cool class
yeah the art of teaching music can charge me music so Graham you you what
you mostly teach throughout the day and then during the evenings you perform
perform yeah absolutely be like you know I teach there’s only there’s three
schools where I have to go and then in the morning and then there’s then I
teach – for for after-school classes so for
after-school classes in three in school but sometimes it’s back-to-back Ligety
every five classes back to back and then I go to another school and teach another
like two classes okay so but and then yeah so some some days my days can get
pretty long you know 9:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the morning yeah but uh
but that’s the you know that’s that’s the musicians like you know that’s gonna
say hey you could be you know professional razor or razor scooter
person stupid inside interlude but a guy that I
grew up with once tried to take two razor scooters down the hill in front of
our house ooh likes us didn’t end up well no yes that was the end of the
razor scooter days in my neighborhood so when you’re playing I like I show up
to gigs and I have my cars loaded with speakers amps guitars all kinds of stuff
in New York do they just have drums everywhere you go they do those really
cool almost every single venue that you that you play at is gonna have a full
backline Wow all right and using the ones that don’t
I thought wants to pay because you have to pack line you know so uh but yeah I
mean I I when I you it’s funny I used to show up to gigs with like with like
cymbals a snare drum or throne and like a pedal right now I just you don’t
forget I like dad to show up with symbols maybe a snare drum but there’s a
couple of venues like that I know of but if I expecially I’d know the backline
well you know I could just show up with with cymbals just
go all right um which is great this is I mean I mean but then again like now
sometimes you will get back sorry that’s like like a little shaky you know you
hit the you hit the for time and it sounds like my yeah and he’s like well
what are you gonna do no not bring the floor top of the gig so okay played
pianos Laureus I’ve gotten to play there a couple times and they had this I’ve
really they had a big orange amp that I really liked playing out of yeah it’s
the only time I’ve ever gig performed on an orange and a couple of a couple
venues have the orange amps oh yeah yeah you didn’t have full backer in there I
believe actually I might not have had the drums but I definitely had bass amp
and guitar amp yeah they have big drums now every time I go they always just
play the play the house kit oh yeah I remember we paid what is it I just I
remember paying $30 to park and making you know didn’t make much money
yeah just to get through tolls into New York City cost at least to get through
New Jersey and I mean even Baltimore there’s so many tools yeah it’s about a
hundred hours round trip yeah yeah don’t go to New York City with me make money
if you’re just playing a you know gig like pianos yeah yeah I like that venue
that’s a good one Wow yeah it’s a really cool room yeah this is cool I play there
I play there a bunch pianos rock we rockers right around the corner – that’s
one of my that’s one of my favorite been used to play what’s it called Rockwood
awkward huh yeah yeah yeah they have three stages they have stage 1 stage
stage 1 stage 2 and stage 3 Wow I mean different different floors of
the building no they’re like separate so it’s like so it’s like like one one of
them is downstairs the stage 3 is downstairs and that’s for
like more intimate like it’s almost like it’s a its own jazz club or something
then they have stage one which is like a small little venue like a small little
room and then they have stage two which is like the big stage okay oh but it’s
uh yeah it’s fun so I love I I do I do like playing in New York you know yeah
so that okay so before we close out that kind of leads me to what’s your future
do you see yourself staying in New York City for however long or what were you
gotten what you got in store so right now you know I’m really just
you know now it’s been about five years now I’m just kind of really focusing on
different projects okay so I’m so I definitely see myself here for for a
soccer time I know I’ll definitely be here for another five years you know and
then yeah I think I think for me I’m just I’m just you know I’m really just
focusing on like my personal play like how I play and like I’ve always like you
know I just I’m always trying to better myself as a musician and uh and so yeah
I think I think the goals as much as I love teaching you know I think I think
future I definitely would like to like maybe maybe switch more over to private
like private teaching and um and have my own and then just have more gigs you
know that pay and so I think I think future computing for the immediate
future you know it’s really just something I’m about to record I’m about
to do some recording with this band late see so one of the main bands I’ve been
I’ve been playing it with we just went into the studio right you know having a
producer produced these these songs and and yes so and then I have this with my
rock band Johann which is it’s a it’s not a duo but it’s a it’s a it’s a
four-piece but it’s me and the UH and the singer and we’re like together and
we’re like you know we’re very you know very close and how we write all the
music so I’m just pushing and pushing that and and that’s that’s that’s that’s
and obviously the recording studio – Thank You wrecking that but I’m just
you know just gonna keep going with what with what I’m doing and I def definite
see myself here for at least at least five more years
awesome awesome oh cool yeah I mean if anybody’s going if anybody is in the New
York City area or is about to go into the New York City area and is looking
for lessons I highly highly suggest that you take private lessons with Graham
he’s phenomenal and obviously a cool cat to boot so yeah yeah so you have active right now you’ve
got Johan I’ve been following you guys for a while been together for cup what
the couple years three years yeah about two and a half years yeah yeah about two
and a half years and then mean that was that was my one that was my closest when
I was saying earlier that one of my closest friends who moved up to New York
facing with he was like one of my closest friends in Mason and we’re still
just like super close lately he’s the guitar player
okay and so yeah so that’s the that’s and is stomp status still doing
something no we’re not doing anything anymore
we we he the guitar player and lead Sara moved to Portland
No okay I still I still talk with TJ and Jenna though was it like really bit in
the bass player and makes you work better
yeah I’m still still still wear the clothes that they never talk I’m still
close with Justin – I just I haven’t talked to him in a while so okay so you
got you got you got Johan what other what other active ones you have right
now your then I have late see late see late see is it’s a group led by easy
clicks Berg I guess the best way describe it’s like poetry music I mean
he’s like he’s like an amazing lyricist yes and and so he just has any sentences
and we’ll put like these great sound scapes behind it you know it’s it’s a
good man for making it so it’s very different than I’m usually yeah it’s not
as it’s not as virtuosic I’m not playing not playing as much of
my stuff I’m just like you know very you know very all about the parts exactly
you know every note has to be like you know pretty much exactly the same which
is uh which is good you know I like I like doing that you know a lot of a lot
of other plan that I’ve done it a little bit more like you know just just like
you’re kind of like more plays more improv like a lot more places where I
can like go in but it’s nice nice to like to like to really to really be
aren’t like I’m just doing something a little different you know Sonu Sonu 7
over 15 or anything but but there are some we do know we do have a couple
songs in it some cool time signatures though I know so so in that that’s
spelled late f EA se yeah yeah late to you like see ya and then and then the
jams that I do okay like you know III do have I’ve been like another funk pan
that we’ve been worth working a little bit the bass player just moved the very
spider just moved to to Florida so we’re still trying to see like you know kind
of what the future of that bands gonna hold but that bands called phantom lover
and so we so that depends like you know still plays here and there but oh we’re
just still trying to see exactly what what what we’re gonna do with that band
but everybody at least late see in Johanna that are the two main ones okay
okay and then you obviously have use of the autobahn lab where of our lab yeah
and then do you have a website that you have that people can contact you for
private lessons I do not have I did not have a website I guess the best way to
do it would probably be just the guest us on Facebook or or on my phone number
no but times they find me on Facebook make it like you know reach out to me
they’re cool yeah so if you’re interested obviously gram Dobie which we
GRA H am do B Y on Facebook and I am only saying this because I strongly
suggest that you get contact with Graham because he’s awesome
okay so what absolutely it’s been fascinating talking
to you and learning about the scene we love this we’ve talked about the
Boston scene and all you know Nashville scene in all these different places I
think this is the first time we’ve really gotten a good in-depth discussion
about New York City’s scene yeah that’s all I’m glad you had to be on a talk
talk about like about this team yeah yeah would love to have you on in
the future and see ya see how you’re doing and what other things you have
brewing yeah I would love to it’s just you just let me down awesome great well
thank you so much for eggs Illinois appreciate it man appreciate it you guys
have a good right have a good day yeah you too man
all right thank you yep you

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