Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interview: Not Squares, Keith Winter

"Yeah OK" was one of 2010's best albums, full of primal disco loveliness. It saw the Not Squares arrive in considerable style. The band are currently causing tremors in the UK, having recently wowed Camden's prestigious KOKO. We caught up with Drummer/vocalist Keith Winter for a long overdue Q and A.. 

AIMR: What attracted you to the drums in the first place?

KW: I grew up in a charismatic Christian church where drums were played every Sunday in what was an old rollerdisco hall and everytime they were hit I would start laughing with excitement.

AIMR: How old where you when you first picked up the sticks?

KW: I was about 13 I think.

AIMR: Did it come naturally to you?

KW: Naturally enough yeah – drums are easy to get to a competent level on, to hold a beat.

AIMR: Who were your original influences?

KW: My original influences were Mitch Mitchell, Jimmy Chamberlain, Steven Adler, John Bonham.

AIMR: What was the first album/song you bought was it purely for the drumming?

KW: First album I ever bought was ‘The Ultimate Experience’ by Jimi Hendrix, the drumming was a major feature of the record for me.

AIMR: What was the first gig you attended?

KW: I think Ash in the Ulster Hall

AIMR: What was the name of your first band and were you any good?

KW: First band I was in was called Dimension 7, it was ok but just about ok.

AIMR: When and where did you play your first gig?

KW: First gig I can really remember was a battle of the bands in a church hall in Bangor in 1996.

AIMR: How many bands have you been in before Not Squares

KW: Ooof probably been in about 10 bands over the last 16 years.

AIMR: Are you a drum whore then?

KW: I’d like to be a drum whore.

AIMR: What did you learn from each of the experiences?

KW: Less is more.

AIMR: Do you drum in your sleep or have drumming dreams?

KW: Don’t know. Doubt it.

AIMR: What is your favourite drum beat and why?

KW: Straight 4/4 dance beat.

AIMR: Who is your favourite drummer and why?

KW: Favourite drummer is John McEntire from Tortoise etc. He is the ultimate in drumming etiquette, and live he has the stare of a maniac.

AIMR: Do you play and other instruments?

KW: I play (untrained) keyboards, type out drum patterns and midi basslines and sing into my macbook

AIMR: Are you a frustrated songwriter?

KW: No I try to get anything that lingers in my brain out into some form of recording. I use a voice recorder sometimes while I’m on the move to beatbox into so I don’t forget a beat or a bassline or vocal melody.

AIMR: Why is drumming dismissed by the mass media when it is one of most important components in popular music?

KW: I haven’t experienced its dismissal, if anything it seems youtube and other mass media sites are promoting drumming and its presence in pop music more than ever.

AIMR: Have you done much session work and are you available for session work?

KW: I have been asked to drum for other acts of whom I don’t know the people involved, both live and in the studio but didn’t take them up on it. I would definitely consider session work.

AIMR: Who would you like to work with then?

KW: I’d like to work with talented producers, working with David Holmes for a Not Squares remix was fun… there’s a chance he might ask me to play on future records of his. I like it when there’s a blank canvas and someone says ‘just drum’ to something they have written. That’s probably the most exciting part.

AIMR: What advice would you give any budding drummers?

KW: Separate your right hand from your right foot and then you’ll advance tenfold.

AIMR: What piece of kit can you not live without?

KW: Custom welded cowbell.

AIMR: Whats happening next for your band?

KW: We are playing a heap of festivals around the UK and Eire, plus we are in the process of getting album number 2 ready to be made.

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