Take every opportunity you get!
James Smith, aged 26, the musician and drummer from On Trial UK and Bigg spoke to The Punk Lounge about his early musical inspirations, dreams for his future career and his ultimate set of drums. Talking to Nikki, the editor in chief of The Punk Lounge, he explained how his passion for drumming started at the youthful age of 14. His school offered the usual instrument lessons, it does to all pupils, but James decided the drums were where his future lay. A couple of lessons later and James found himself the opportunity to establish his first band.
On a pitch somewhere in Slough, James bumped into one of his friends who expressed his passion for playing the guitar. They exchanged a few words about the Green Day t-shirt James was adorning and the birth of ‘Indigo Rain’ was conceived.
Indigo Rain was all the reason James needed to buy his first drum set, well lets be honest, James’ father bought him the first set! Even in the early days of his drumming education James quickly established the monotonous structure of ‘school’ music lessons was never going to cut it for him. YouTube came to the rescue and yielded hundreds of varied drumming tutorial videos. This allowed for his creative expression to be free flowing whilst providing all the learning he needed.
It was then James’s relationship with Travis Barker began. Travis Barker, an american global phenomenon known for his contribution to the world domination of Blink-182 had a talent James admired and had to replicate. In particular James recollects the song from the +44 album, ‘When your heart stops beating’ being the joint influence for his decision to make drumming his lifelong career.
In the fledgling years James played in mostly pop-punk bands and gained live performance experience by playing various shows around the south of England. But there was little stability and consistency so indie band Beat Magnets was formed. James then committed his time to growing Beat Magnets by doing as many live gigs as possible. This contributed to his ever growing confidence as a performance drummer. But as many young musicians find out the lifespan of grassroots bands can be very unpredictable and Beat Magnets was disbanded. Not being deterred James stay focused on his dream and joined the punk band On Trial UK. With charismatic front man Jonny Wah Wah, James had at last found his place within the music industry.
Since joining On Trial Uk five years ago James has played more then ever before, recorded albums, played shows abroad, and even played at the world famous Rebellion punk festival. He is now playing in another band consecutively who are destined for big things; BIGG! James’s final words to every aspiring musician were; take every opportunity you get!
My current set up: Mapex QR Series (Still use my first kit) 22″ x 18″ bass 16″ x 16″ floor 12″ x 12″ rack With a Natal red acrylic snare 14″ x 6.5″ All my drums have Remo heads Cymbals Sabian hi-hats 14″ Meinl 18″ HCS Crash Meinl 20″ MCS Ride Value for money Meinl have been the best. Every Meinl cymbal i’ve used has lasted well, sound great and i’ve got for under £50 on eBay. Zildjian has always been my favourite but they are out of my price range at the moment. Dream set up SJC custom kit 22″ x 22″ bass 16″ x 12″ floor 12″ x 10″ rack 14″ x 6″ steel snare With Remo heads And Zildjian A customs and K customs.