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Interviews

Manu Katche: Play As You Are

By Published: June 15, 2010

From left: Kami Lyle, Jacob Young,Manu Katché Jason Rebello, Pino Palladino, Tore Brunborg

MK: I always use the same cymbal set, which is a 21-inch Armand ride. It's a lighter ride than the rest of the ride cymbals I normally use. Then I have another 21-inch ride with rivets. I'm using two six-inch Avedis and A Custom splashes, an 18-inch Dark crash cymbal and a 16-inch Armand Avedis New Beat. My hi-hat is 13-inch. I'm not using China on this recording, but I'm using a small, 11-inch Oriental splash cymbal which I've played before, but it's not in my set up all the time. My drum kit is my regular kit, which is 22 bass drum, 12, 13 and 16 toms. No matter whether I'm in the studio or whether I'm playing live, or whether it's pop, rock or jazz, I'm always using the same setup. I only change the cymbals if I'm playing rock; I use a rock ride Zildjian 21-inch, but always the same drum kit.

AAJ: Your drumming sound is not easy to define; how did you develop your drumming style over the years?

MK: I remember listening to Tony Williams, and then I went to see him in Paris. That's what woke me up. I was amazed; he was a genius. The way he hits the drums, it sounded like he was hitting wood—so loud, so precise and so warm. No metal at all. But this was not the drum kit, it was the way he hit the drum kit. He made the sound. And then he had this thing on the hi-hat going crazy. I love his sound. It's unique; as soon as you hear it, you know it's him. From that age, I think I was 18 or 19, I thought I should work on my sound. My background is different, coming from classical music. I did a little bebop but I wasn't good at all, though I listened to Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
, Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
and everything, and I still listen to that. Then I discovered the Motown sound, and I was really impressed with the way you could hear the vocal performances. Then my generation is fusion: Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
, {[Weather Report}}, Mahavishnu Orchestra
Mahavishnu Orchestra
Mahavishnu Orchestra
b.1971
band/orchestra
, Billy Cobham
Billy Cobham
Billy Cobham
b.1944
drums
, Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
1951 - 1987
bass, electric
, Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke
Stanley Clarke
b.1951
bass
. I wasn't paying attention so much to the drummers, but the music—just the sound of it. Then, living in France, there was a lot of mainstream variety music, but at the same time a lot of Celtic music, a lot of North African music and West African music.


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