Paul Walsham Interview – by Travis Marc – 2011.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year and a half you would have heard of UK based indie/rock band “Hurts”. The band have been making waves worldwide, with a gruelling tour schedule and a magnificent amount of radio play. We recently sat down and spoke with “Hurts” drummer Paul Walsham, here’s what he had to say…
Hi Paul, thanks for getting in touch. Tell us a bit about how you started drumming and what your initial reason behind wanting to play the instrument was?
I first started when I was 7, my farther is also a drummer so he used to bring his kit home to clean and set it up for me and my sister to play on, at the time I wasn’t thinking this was what I wanted to do, not until later on. It wasn’t until college where I met my friend Jay Irving who really showed me a lot, I think my drumming really improved massively from this point onward.
You’re currently the drummer for “Hurts” – tell us a bit about your role within the band, do you contribute towards the song writing etc or do you work purely as a time keeper for the group?
This is a great band to be with, when we started rehearsals our MD Pete Watson said he wanted as much off the backing track as possible, so all the drum samples and noises, if I had a spare Hand I would cover it, so there’s lots to think about during the show aside from the time keeper, making sure all the samples on the triggers fire and singing, its a great coordination gig! I’m not a song writer this group is essentially Adam Anderson and Theo Hutchcraft, when they were ready to go we were brought in to play the live show.
Do you have any specific warm up routines that you do before you perform?
I never used to warm up until I started getting pain in my wrist a few years ago so started running through rudiments before the shows on a gel pad with heavier sticks than I’d gig with, this really helped me during the show, id have a few set patterns id do then try randomise the groupings to keep it fresh.
Let’s talk a bit about practicing – do you still find the time to practice – and if so what are you currently working on?
At the moment there isn’t much time to practice between gigs and partying… When I do get the time to, I usually play along with my favourite tunes and try lock into a groove, then I may search fills on YouTube and work them out, usually Vinnie, there’s so much to keep working on, a lot of the time it will be a pad in a hotel room.
How’s the current tour with “Hurts” going, what have been the highlights for you? Also can you offer our readers any advice on how to try and stay healthy while on the road?
The tour is an on going great time, every member of the band and crew are all fantastic, so far the highlights have been to see the world and meeting so many new people.
As for staying healthy it can be a tough one with amazing catering, and most drummers with IBS! For me it’s plenty of water and I have a strict stretching and exercise routine every morning, lots of different beds and tour bus bunks can be tough on your back, lots of the stretches I’ve been advised to do are yoga related, worth a look.
If for some reason you could no longer play drums for a living what do you think you would do career wise?
I think at this stage if I could no longer play, I’d still like to be involved in music so possibly the organisation of tours, or an assistant to Hurts tour manager as he never stops!
Who or what would you list as your influences?
Like I said earlier when I met Jay Irving he influenced me a lot and got me into Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colauita, Steve Gadd, then later was listening to heavier players like Dave Grohl, Virgil Donati and Thomas Lang there are so many to list with new players emerging all the time.
What about your gear why do you choose to use the gear that you use? In addition are there any pieces of gear that you’d love to endorse but have not yet managed to secure?
I used to want different drum kits when I was younger until I saw Steve Smith playing Sonor live, the sound of the kit was amazing, so with the help of the local drum shop we managed to get a small deal with Sonor uk, and I bought myself a Sonor designer all custom, took about 8 months back then but was well worth it. I recently had an SQ2 custom made, it’s a work of Art, Remo have always been the head of choice for me we went through quite a few combinations to hear what best suited the sound for the Hurts shows typically finished with clear emperor on the toms and coated amb’s on the snare as standard.
As I was always paranoid about scratches on the gear so it had To be Hardcase to look after my kit, as for cymbals, I was always interested in Paiste through listening to John Bonham and Jeff Pocaro, I managed to get on a factory tour with the local shop and they offered me a deal which was great as I didn’t really have much of a profile, the same with Sonor, I feel they have really looked after me. For sticks I use Vic Firth AS5B there really has only ever been one choice for sticks, so even if I wasn’t endorsed with them I’d still use them, also they do great salt and pepper shakers!
For the electronic side of things I’ve always used Roland its easy to setup and use with no fuss.
I’d quite like a percussion deal but I’ve not even tried to approach that yet.
What’s next for Paul Walsham – where would you like to see yourself within the next five years?
I tend not to look to far ahead but with the mind set I’m in now I hope I will still be playing and touring, but you never know what’s round the corner.
What do you do when you’re not drumming, do you have any hobbies that are un music related, and if so what are they?
I’m also a landlord so when I’m back I’m usually checking up on the property side of things which is time consuming after being away for so long.
What do you feel has been the most important piece of drumming advice you have ever received and why, also who gave you this particular piece of advice?
The best advice I was given was by no one specific but more a collaboration of drummers who all said about hearing protection, I remember very early on spending a lot of money on moulds and in ear monitors, it was expensive at the time, but worth it, I do have tinnitus but think it would be much worse with out the moulds from early on.
Doing this as a career is like a roller coaster there are ups and downs, just remember when your down it can only pick up again so be patient and keep smiling
For more info on Paul please visit www.paulwalsham.com