The Drummer Spotlight: May

Alex Black

The 'Drummer Spotlight' provides a platform for us to feature drumming talents from around the world, we have the chance to discover some of the very best drumming talents and can gain an insight into the drummer’s achievements, their drumming style and advice they’d like to pass onto fellow drummers. More than anything this is a chance for one drummer every month to shine.

This month’s ‘Drummer Spotlight’ has been placed on Alex Black. Alex is a 21 year old drummer from Newcastle Upon Tyne who grew up in a very musical house, not necessarily with instruments but music in general was always a huge part of his family. Alex remembers that he always had an interest in music and some of his earliest memories are of his dad putting a pair of headphones on his head and letting him listen to whatever his dad was listening to at the time. From The Beatles to Pink Floyd, Genesis to Eric Clapton you name it he listened to it. Around 2008-2009, Alex and one of his friends at school were into the same sort of music and really wanted to start drum lessons, so together they gave it a go and absolutely loved it!

At 16, Alex decided to take music a little more seriously and joined Newcastle College to study a music course in hopes of acquiring some new skills and meeting some new people. After spending two monumental years at Newcastle College he realised exactly what he wanted to do for a living and that living would be drumming. After studying at The Academy Of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey under the guidance of industry veterans such as Pete Riley (Guthrie Govan, Rhythm Magazine) and Frank Tontoh (Craig David, Amy Winehouse), Alex graduated with a First Class BMus Honours Degree. Fast forward to 2018 and he's now teaching drums and gigging regularly and attributes ACM for not only teaching him about playing drums but about being a well-rounded person in and out of a musical context. 

Alex describes his drumming style as a hybrid of all the music/drummers he loves. Drummers such as Steve Jordan, Matt Gartska, Joey Baca, Jay Postones, Aaron Spears, JJ Johnson, Benny Greb, Tony Royster Jr. to name a few, the list really is endless! By taking inspiration from some of the best drummers around, Alex is really able to create a sound fusion that is truly his own. His versatile style is also echoed into his current workload, Alex is currently teaching drums and recording/touring with an originals band called "XERO". XERO have just finished a UK tour and the recording of their brand new EP, which was recorded at Metropolis Studios in London. In addition, Alex is also working on creating new content for his YouTube channel and website. Alex's YouTube channel has gained over a quarter of a million views and is continuing to grow day by day, check out one of his YouTube videos below.

Alex shared his proudest drumming moment with us and it really does echo the fact that persistence and perseverance is key to becoming a successful drummer. Check out Alex's proudest drumming moment below: 

"I've had a couple of cool moments that I can look back and be proud of, but something that will stay with me for a long time was my degree showcase in 2016 at ACM. It was the first time I'd had to take a solo over a pretty challenging section, in front of a crowd full of friends/family and not to mention I was being marked by my tutors. It seemed quite a lot was on the line in terms of marks/final awards for my degree. I'd been messing around with different ideas/concepts and not getting very far for what seemed like forever at the time but thankfully, all the ideas I had in my head came out on the day and the performance went great!" 

We asked Alex what advice he would give to new drummers and here's what he had to say:

"Practice as much as you can, listen to different music, don't get too caught up in what other people are doing or what people have and be a nice person on and off stage!"

An honest piece of advice that we're sure will resonate with drummers everywhere. We're all for looking to the future here at Drum Shop and love to find out what our drummers are wanting to achieve in the coming year, so this is what Alex had to say when we asked him what his drumming goals for next year were:

"To keep striving to become better, to build my YouTube channel and to play more gigs!" 

Simple goals that we are beyond sure Alex will achieve, we love Alex's relaxed and positive energy and we can't wait to see what comes next for this drummer! With his positive attitude and work ethic, Alex's dream gig of playing the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado is something we're routing for him to achieve and we have to agree with him the scenery around there does look insane! 

We asked Alex what his favourite product would be if he was asked to choose one from our huge range of percussion products here at Newcastle Drum Centre. Alex opted for a Zildjian 15" K Light Hi Hat Cymbal"I'm after a new pair of hi-hats so I'd probably go for the 15" K light hi-hats! The K series is probably my favourite line from Zildjian!"

Zildjian 15" K Light Hi Hat Cymbals

If you've enjoyed reading this months edition of the Drummer Spotlight and want to learn more about Alex, check him out on social media, using any of the following:

XERO Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Website

Do you want to get involved in our monthly Drummer Spotlight? Click here to apply and you could be in the spotlight next month!

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