Q&A: Michael Spearman
12 September 2012
Michael Spearman is the drummer behind the British indie band Everything Everything. Along with the band, Michael rose to fame through the BBC's Sound of 2010 poll and the band's debut album 'Man Alive' was nominated for a Mercury Award Prize in 2011.
What is your earliest memory of drumming?
I started learning drums at school aged 9. I was in a group with five other boys and we all had a practice pad, which we put on a snooker table, and a pair of sticks each. We learnt the rudiments and played short pieces but were longing to have a go on the drum kit that sat in the corner. It was really exciting when that day finally arrived and we all tried to play a basic beat.
What was your most embarrassing moment behind a drum kit?
In my next school I entered a talent contest and decided to play 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' by Britney Spears on a pots and pans kit I'd constructed from my mum's saucepans. I don't think I'd even rehearsed it and a few bars in on stage I thought to myself 'this probably wasn't such a good idea actually'. I'm pretty sure no-one could hear what I was playing over the backing track but somehow I got second place.
Who would you consider your favourite or most influential drummer, teacher or otherwise and why?
I think those formative years at school are really important and I was extremely lucky to have two exceptional and supportive teachers - my music teacher Ken Morrell and my percussion teacher Geoff Hutchinson.
What would you consider the most defining moment in your career?
We were delighted to be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize last year. It was always something that I'd looked to and bought the nominated albums of growing up.
What’s your current equipment set-up and why do you choose it?
I try and keep it as simple as I can but sometimes new songs require new bits of equipment so it's slowly expanding. At the moment my set up is: 13"/16"/18"/22" Gold Sparkle Premier Elites with various snares depending on the song. I used to play a set of Premier Resonators and I got really attached to that sound. With the Elites I can get that sound or tune them up if needs be. They sound fantastic at all tunings.
Which drummers would you invite to your dream dinner party?
If it's a dream then I'm assuming this would be possible: Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, John Bonham, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd, Brian Blade, Keith Carlock, Jim Black, Omar Hakim, Tony Allen, Ringo Starr, and plenty of others but my table is already too small...
What are your plans over the coming months?
Putting the finishing touches to our new album and getting ready to tour it, which is an exciting prospect.
What are your feelings about the music industry in general?
I agree with most people that one of the main reasons the music industry's struggling is due to illegal downloading. If something more radical isn't done about that soon then kids will grow up thinking that music is something that's free and it's very difficult to undo a mindset like that. Labels are changing to adapt to that by having a portfolio of very commercial acts along with less commercial acts that are more artistically interesting.Unfortunately in the long term there will be much less money around to nurture the latter, which will have knock-on effects and will lead to a far less colourful and vibrant music scene in Britain. The wider issue for me is that The Arts are Britain's best and most profitable export and bit-by-bit the government is making cuts that are slowly killing them off.
What is the most important advice you would give to an aspiring drummer?
Always challenge yourself but remember the music and remember to enjoy it.
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