Eddie talks drums
Newest recruit to the band, Eddie was previously in The Holloways, and also drums with Planes, the side project of Steve Forrest from Placebo. When Placebo’s needs meant a hiatus for Planes, Eddie discovered Kites were in need of a drummer – and was on stage with them less than a month later. Something of a challenge, then, but one Eddie enjoys.
They pretty much let me do what I want which is amazing. Sometimes it’s quite a lot different from what’s on the CD, I wonder how much because of the kind of music it is. You get a lot of 80s electropop fans and they find a band like this that they can really connect with. Live we become so different because so many things get added.
The most important thing, Eddie says, is to make people want to move, and that means keeping things simple with the drumming. Though you wouldn’t think so to watch him!
I know it sounds like a really cheesy thing to say but making it so it’s just a really consistent, rock solid beat throughout and it’s never, never getting broken. Like there’s a few songs where my hands are doing this that and the other but from the start of the song to the finish of the song, the kick pattern stays four to the floor the whole time. It’s little things like that which make people want to dance and it’s just giving it the feel of the kind of music it is. All the drum lines I’ve done, I want to make people dance with, because that’s what is most important.
Live, Eddie’s a demon drummer. It’s all in the groove, apparently.
I try and sit on the dance groove for as long as possible, so I’ll start playing a song and it’s just four to the floor with a kick, the snare on two and four and then sixteenths on the hi hat. It’s like a standard disco beat and I don’t stop playing it, I make little variations in the dynamics of the hi hat, I do put in a few fills but I’m trying to stay true to the style of music by keeping rigid, by keeping rigid drumlines. But when a fill does come up I kind of keep the same kicking snare pattern so you always have that bed and then everything else fits in around that bed and that way the song has kind of a swing to it.
You don’t interrupt it when you’re doing fills, it’s not going to stop the movement, kind of thing, that people are going to want to feel through listening to it. So the simplest stuff I can possibly do is how I start everything and then if it needs to be built on, I build on it a bit but I always try not to. I try and let any other jobs or features get filled in by any other members.
Eddie started playing drums at the age of 12, on a wine red CB Rock drumkit.
I had a girlfriend at the time, she’d started playing drums and I had a friend who was two years older than me and was a drummer. And they both had drumkits, I was really jealous so for my 12th birthday I was like, ‘Mum, Dad, I really want a drumkit’. I played a bit of cello before that but I really hated that. So I got a drumkit for my 12th birthday and spent about four years with earphones, little earphones, and then like the builders’ cans that they have so I could hear the earphones because I drum so loudly. And I’d play away to Green Day records and Blink 182 records just every night for about three hours when I got home from school.
His Mum is so supportive, she has even made him a table out of one of his old drums. Eddie formed a band with school friends at the age of 14, called The Nightmare Project.
We made really scary experimental metal, it was like a cross between the Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan but we were 14 at the time so it was nowhere near as intelligent as either of those bands. It was surprisingly good, I was listening to it a week ago actually, it wasn’t that bad. And that was the first band I was in, we were all friends at school. And the guitarist was this guy called Tom Popperwell and he was a musical genius. The music teachers at school used to bang on about him all the time, oh he’s 16 and he can write symphonies. But he was an amazing guitarist. So that was my first ever band and that was pretty exciting. And then after that I was in a pop-punk band called Sliced Peach.
A stint in The Holloways followed, and after that came Planes, so it’s been an interesting journey.
Every single band I’ve been in has been completely random circumstances. Well definitely since I left Bristol. I’ve never met any of them before, it’s always been by very bizarre chance that’s brought me towards them or them towards me or however you want to look at it.
In terms of kit, Eddie has been endorsed by Shine (now out of business) and has a Shine Custom drumkit.
I’ve had that now for five or six years, quite a long time. Before that I had an Orange County, I bought an Orange County kit when I was 15 or 16 and then I got an email from Shine whilst I was in a band I was with at the time and they said ‘oh yeah, you know, we’d really like to endorse you’. And they were doing loads of kind of part-endorsement deals with artists, it was really cool, because the drums are really expensive, they’re like American custom, scary price drums. They were kind of hunting down artists they really liked and they were giving them really good deals, to kind of get out the drum kits, help the company move up, that kind of ongoing thing. So they got me on that and I got a Shine kit which is red and black and sparkly and very nice. It sounds incredible.
Shine Custom Drumset
While he has nothing but praise for Shine, he admits that he’s contemplating a new kit and tempted by Truth drums, having had a sneaky go on the kit belonging to Shed Seven drummer Alan Leach back in his Holloways days.
We supported Shed Seven on a UK tour, and a few other festival dates and they used a Truth kit. I was pottering around the stage when they were setting up, I wasn’t really paying attention and I just heard the drum tech play it and… ‘What Was That?’ And he let me have a go and he let me line check it for them and it was just… It’s just a thing of beauty, everything about it. It was built so well. I really like Truth but I’ve not taken the time yet to go down to The Warehouse or Wembley Drum Centre and properly have a go on the thing, just see what happens.
He uses Zildjian A Custom cymbals and freely confesses that this is due to the influence of Blink 182.
To be honest with you, and I don’t think many drummers would be honest with you, about the time I got on the Zildjian bandwagon was because of Travis Barker, when I was 15 or 16, that’s how it all started. A lot of people make decisions when they buy drum equipment based around Travis Barker. Honestly, you go to gigs and you find a lot of drummers who’ve got the Famous Stars and Straps cap, Travis Barker stickbag, the Travis Barker drumsticks and they’ve got like the whole set. I severely doubt you get much honesty out of people. In all honesty that’s probably why I started using Zildjian.
Zildjian A 18” Custom Projection Crash
I got the same cymbals as him and they were really loud and they were quite thick but then I started really listening to other Zildjian stuff and the A custom ones were really nice.
When it comes to drumsticks, Eddie currently favours Vater 1As.
I’ve changed my stick size probably about three or four times since I started playing drums. I was in a shop and I remember they didn’t have the ones I wanted and these were the closest ones to them. God, this was ages ago now, I can’t remember. I just tried some of these and I took them home and started playing with them and I thought, wow, these are amazing. They’re a little bit longer so you can have a little bit feeding out the back of your hand when you’re playing but you’ve still got all the weight and the length at the other end. They’re quite heavy, I can’t play as fast as I would with thinner ones but yeah, they hit harder which is what I like.
He has a Gibraltar practice kit, and also sings the praises of DW hardware. He has a DW 9000 pedal, racks and stands.
DW 9000 Pedal
Latest DW Hardware
They’re amazing. They’re the undisputed champions of hardware, just everything from durability to weight. They’ve got loads of cool memory-locking systems all bits and pieces but DW hardware is undisputedly the best that you can get. You buy a snare stand for £140 or something and no one’s got £140 to spend on a snare stand but your snare will never move, it will never drop, it will be there and it would last nuclear fallout. It’s knowing the reliability of having really good hardware makes you completely relaxed when you’re playing a gig.
Eddie also uses a variety of Remo heads.
Remo Powerstroke 3
Remo Pinstripe Heads
Quick decay and low pitched sound
Perhaps unusually for a drummer in an electro-pop band, Eddie names a list of influences that are mainly from the heavier end of the rock spectrum.
There was a band called Biohazard which were a New York hardcore band and I can’t remember the name of the drummer. They’ve got a live album called No Holds Barred and it is one of the best live albums ever. I really liked that drummer, because it was all kind of hardcore metal, really big rock drums. But it was all really funky. I bet this big massive muscly metal band, if I describe their music as funky they probably wouldn’t like it very much. But it’s just really groovy drumbeats. I’m not sure how to describe it, you’ve kind of got to listen to it but it makes you want to bounce, it wasn’t kind of like rigid hardcore metal where it’s all very double-kick. It was just kind of this really groovy thing. Yeah it was a strange beast.
Adrian Young’s really good, the No Doubt drummer, I really like him. I learnt some cool stuff from Steve (from Placebo and Planes). There’s a band called Thrice. As I grew up, I listened to a lot of them, and their drummer’s a guy called Riley Breckenridge. He’s probably an influence because I’ve listened to their music so many times. I’ve spent days playing along to their albums.
He does namecheck Jay-Z’s drummer, Tony Royster Jr as well.
There’s quite a famous video on YouTube of this 12-year-old drummer and you watch him play this 10-minute drum solo and you can’t believe it. This is Tony Royster Junior when he’s 12, he’s now Jay-Z’s drummer. I think he’s in his mid-20s and he’s one of the best drummers on the planet and you think, Aaargh! So frustrating. No no no I’m very happy for him, but that’s astonishing
I’ve started listening to loads of R&B and hiphop this year. Probably more for fun than anything else. It’s all very cheesy like, oh I don’t know, I’ve got some TLC and I’ve got a lot of Dr Dre. I wouldn’t ever suggest for a second that their music is novelty but, yeah I play along to a lot of fun stuff because I don’t like using a metronome. Well I do like using a metronome ultimately but it’s a lot more fun to play along to just hiphop, pop and R&B because it’s just quite funny. So I’ve started listening to a bit of Jay-Z this year, just because you just play along to one of his songs and use that instead of a metronome, it’s just quite a lot more fun than do-do-do.
So perhaps it wasn’t that much of a departure after all to team up with Kites, a band Eddie clearly loves being a part of.
I listened to them a lot recorded and its really 80s electropop, kind of, at heart. There’s a little twist to it but it is quite predominantly 80s electropop, which especially when you make it now, can be really disastrous. But there’s just something about it, I think it’s how clever all the guys are really, they’ve made this really cool, really great sound. Anyone else I think of or anyone else I know that tried it, it would sound really contrived and kind of rehashed and a bit recycled but I think Matt and Rich and Jasper have come up with amazing songs.
The band live satisfy his rock impulses, as well.
I spent loads of time watching videos on YouTube, it’s a really kind of lairy, raucous, you almost go and see a rock show even though it’s still got all the electro elements there, the fact that it’s kind of two beasts, I really like.