Miki van der Walt Interview – by Travis Marc – 2010.
(Please note that Judith have recently chancged their name to The One and The Many due to legal complications, this interview was conducted before the name change).
Easily one of the funniest and most down to earth people I have ever met, Miki van der Walt is slowly but surely becoming a drumming force to be recognised. His drumming is impressive and solid and always done with a smile on his face. Check out what Miki had to say in a recent interview for the site…
Hi Miki , thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us, for our readers who have not heard of you before. Would you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us what you’re currently up to within the drumming community?
No problem guy! I currently play for a band called Judith, I joined the group in April 2006. In the past I played for a hard rock band called Windowsil. At the moment we have been gigging in and around Johannesburg, South Africa and promoting our debut album which we released in June last year. At the same time we are back in studio working on pre-production for our next album.
How exactly did your drumming career begin?
I was spoon-fed rock music from a young age. My Dad actually got me into Drums by introducing me to Mr Ginger Baker from Cream. We would sit and listen to his old records (and i mean vinyl when i say records) which included everything from Grand Funk Railroad and Dire Straits to The Eagles and Foreigner. My dad would always comment on the drummers and say “Hey Mikey… listen to those Drums!!!” and I was like “Holy Monkey that is cool!” Since then I just wanted to play. Later on, I got a job as a waiter and saved up for my first kit and as soon as I had enough saved, I bought my first kit from a guy who looked like Jackie Chan (random). I then quit my December holiday job and promptly went home to rock my face off. Ginger Baker is still one of my heroes. Thanks Dad.
Did you have any sort of lessons or tuition, and if so please elaborate on who you went too and for how long etc. Also, what do you feel is the most important thing you learnt during your tuition?
I’m self taught. I mainly listened to cd’s and played along by ear when I started out. At the time, I had never seen or noticed guys playing, I just listened. So I’d hear a beat and piece it together until I got it right. But when I got a chance to speak to a more experienced drummer, I’d ask for advice. I did have one lesson to help me focus on my weak points, and to pay for the lesson I swopped a spare hi-hat stand and cup of milo – Fair trade! I am Studying drums this year, part time.There are huge advantages to going and taking lessons like for instance reading Drum notation… it’s a must! Before I would see a lesson at the back of a magazine and say to myself “Ahhh drum hieroglyphics…..hmmm wish I could read that….oooh look at the pictures!” Since I’ve taken lessons, I can actually sit down read a lesson and the “Drum Hieroglyphics”make perfect sense. I would love to study full time but like most of us, I have a day job. I’ve got bills and a hungry, hungry hamster to feed…She is needy…
Who or what are your influences?
As I said, Ginger Baker was a big one, oh and Dave Grohl, but no matter what I hear, I learn something – even dance/house music: I learnt to switch my mind off when listening to that stuff and that is a skill that takes time… Moo wha ha ha!!! (evil laugh). Don’t get me wrong I’m open minded to all genres but it just bores me to an emo state ha ha!! I listen to almost anything – Kwaito, Maskandi, Hip Hop, Latin, Hardcore, Alternative and finally Classical hip-hop surfer speed metal (this should be a genre….I’m convinced that it’s gonna be the next big thing). There are just certain bands or groups that just catch your attention. All types of music influences me, not just drummers. The guys in Judith have broadened my influences and I have learnt so much from them. I’m influenced by every band I’ve ever seen and performed with in some way or another. I watch every ones individual role in a band and acknowledge them for what they do and what they contribute towards their music and then the eyes wonder to the drummer because as a drummer I cant help watching and checking out what equipment they have. I love gadgets for drummers, I love pearl for making the cymbal clamp – No more turning wing nuts!!! But, I also ask a lot of drummers what hardware and skins they prefer. Its a nice way to find out what equipment other drummers are using – I am on a mission to find my perfect set up !
Tell us about how you got involved with ‘Judith”?
The Guys from Judith approached me after my last show with my previous band Windowsil and asked me if I would come over to one of their practices and jam. I had seen them previously at a show we played together and really liked their construction and style they brought to the stage. Soon after that first jam with the guys, I pitched up for every practice and here we are. I’ve known Brad And Woz our Guitarist and Bassist for years – we go way back, we used to go bowling.
What is the writing process within Judith like, and how free are you as a drummer to add your creative input?
Normally what happens is one of us comes up with a riff, or beat or melody and run with that. Me? FREE to add my creative input- what’s that ??? Well…it was tough in the beginning, they don’t chain me up or keep me in a cage anymore and let me out when I need to play….. Thing’s are better now HA HA Just kidding!! We all contribute towards the writing process and, as a drummer, I have a say in everything (even guitars and vocals!!!) and if any of us have an idea or a different approach to writing a song we all try it out. There isn’t a set method to our writing and behind the kit, I focus on blending with the music and the band, keeping it solid and driving.
Who are your influences and why?
Matt Cameron from Soundgarden/Pearl Jam – I like the way this guy can make technical sound “easy”, Adrian Robison form Strata – his ideas are cool and he as an “Out the box” approach. Carter Beauford from Dave Matthew’s Band- this guy blows my mind -Dynamically Powerful and I can relate a lot because I also play open handed, Marc Heron from Oceansize always keeps me guessing what he’s gonna play next. He’s unpredictable but fluid around the kit! Morgan Rose from Sevendust – all out Power, Morgan is equally quick with hands and feet. And then do yourself a favor and “YouTube” Bernard Perdie…..LOL this guy is awesome, ever wondered what a Pimp daddy would look like behind a kit? Bernard Perdie is the most fun guy to watch – he has “Joygasms”behind the kit he really enjoys what he does, a great teacher and the world’s most recorded musician! There are so much more…. As for the guys in my scene here is S.A, well there isn’t any difference or level. There are some guys and girls here who would equally match the big names overseas, we should never underestimate ourselves in the least. Ex Marlowe drummer, Rory Mayne, is freakkin awesome!!! Dale Schenttier from Prime Circle is also a great solid drummer. David Klaasen is world class.
How would you describe your drumming style in just three words?
Hmmm OK – Tight-Solid-Groove …..YEAH! It’s the T.S.G, if I may abbreviate? And that’s how I roll! BoooYah!!
We’re thinking of adding an Up and Coming section to the site, what advice would you offer up and coming drummers/musicians on practicing? Also, do you personally have any sort of structured practice routine, and if so, please share it with us?
I only found out what “Rudiments” were 2 years ago, want some really good advice – Get a metronome, get on top of your rudiments and when you go to shows, speak to the drummers afterwards get some advice on what ever you are struggling with in your practice. My practice routine goes a little something like this : Mondays are my “Rudi-Mental” days (I say Mental cause some rudiments mess with your head), I choose a rudiment for example Flamacue or Paradiddles. I work on that rudiment for an hour or so at different tempos with my metronome starting at 60 bpm and move the tempo up every 10 mins by 5 to 10 bpm. 60 bmp might seem slow but to really understand any rudiment or beat you are trying to figure out should start out with ESP – (Extra Slow Playing). After that, I mix up all my rudiments I have down already. Tuesdays through to Fridays are more a revision of Monday. On Fridays I play along to songs and try incorporate what I have learnt during the week. And if you are unfortunate and have to work during the day at a desk job like me, well then while in traffic have a Dash board Jam on the way home. My weekend, I either gig or I chill on the couch with sticks in hand practicing while watching Ninja Warrior or American dad. Most importantly though: Just have fun! Keep It Loud – Keep It Humble and “Stick” with it – Pun intended.
Any last thoughts or words?
Yes – Our album is out and available for download form our website at www.judithband.com also please join our mailing list or check us out on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, ReverbNation Or Collectively known as “MyTwitterFaceNation”!!! Lastly thank you for the opportunity and the Interview Travis!!! – You guys at UK Drummer are Freaking “A”!!! – Love your work.