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046
DARU JONESCATALYST FOR CHANGE
Interview: Eric T. Everett Photos: David James Swanson
POLITE & UNASSUMING, CONFIDENT & EXPLOSIVE: MEET DARU JONES
I48_Daru_3.indd 46 2/19/15 9:38 PM
047
EE: You once said, “Find a lane that you want to be in
and stick with it.” What’s your lane?
DJ: Basically, as musicians and drummers, we all evolve. During
different parts of my career, I played various styles of music. I’d
say the past ten years have been about playing a lot of hip hop.
I think that “lane” came about because of having a strong hip
hop influence since I was a teenager, and I liked to make beats.
As a musician as well, I admired hip hop production and
thought, “What would it be like to actually play these beats live,
versus using programmed beats?” Of course, I was hip to The
Roots and Questlove; they were the only band doing it on a
consistent basis at that time. But, I thought it would be a dream
if I was in that scenario and that was a lane I wanted to tap
into–eventually my dreams came true.
EE: You embrace many musical styles in your playing
and are directly influenced by legendary jazz and funk
drummers, as well as rock drummers, like Stewart
Copeland. With Jack White, you seem to be channeling
John Bonham in your playing. Can you explain this shift
in your approach?
DJ: It’s all music–I enjoy it. Take the jazz world; once I was
introduced to Tony Williams, Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta, I
was like, “Yo!” It’s cool that I’m able to contribute some of these
approaches. My situation with Jack White is unique because
with The White Stripes, he laid down such a cool foundation
using simplistic rhythms with Meg White. For me, my job is to
interpret the music as close to the original.
EE: What are your earliest memories of music in your
house as a child?
DJ: My parents are both musicians and choir directors. They both
owned a lot of vinyl records and always had the latest gospel
album at the time. I used to check out the Rance Allen Group’s
newest recordings before they were released because my dad
played with Rance Allen every year when he came into town.
EE: Your drum set-up is unique, with your bass drum and
extreme angles applied to your kit. Also, your playing style
is highly visual–you bring flash and showmanship to each
and every performance. It’s almost a throwback style to
swing drummers like Baby Dodds and Gene Krupa.
DJ: Gene is one of my favorites! Growing up in Michigan, I saw
many guys back when it was all about showmanship. Some of
the cats had a pocket, but they also had something that made
them stand out, so I learned that an early age.
EE: How do you play off of Jack’s visual cues, since you
don’t use a set list on stage?
DJ: A lot of times, we don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re
on a roller coaster, just like the audience. I’m always watching
Jack; I don’t know what he’s going to do. I try to be a team
player. With this tour, things are tighter because we play more
often. On the previous tour for Blunderbuss, we had two bands
that would alternate playing on different nights.
EE: Have you ever wanted to drop the straight-rock
playing and apply your syncopated beats in Jack’s live
shows?
DJ: I’ve done that before. There may be an empty space in the
music. And, many people do not know that Jack is a big hip hop
fan. The song, “Lazaretto” was inspired by listening to MC Lyte’s
song “Cha, Cha, Cha.” We were chiming into the images of that.
The beat on that track was totally inspired by hip hop.
Editor’s Note: Drum roll please...Jack White’s title track
“Lazaretto” received the Best Rock Performance award at
the 2015 Grammy Awards.
EE: How has your collaboration with Jack White affected
your approach? What are you going to take away from
this experience and apply to one of your own projects like
The Ruff Pack?
DJ: Ruff Pack is a whole different world. I’m always learning
something new with Jack; I’m learning more about organization.
He likes things to look a certain way with colors.
EE: Are you starting to pick up on that?
DJ: I’m like that anyway–that’s why my drums are set up the
way they are. That came about from me being a neat freak and
wanting all the drums and cymbals to be symmetrical with each
other. I started turning my snare forward, and I thought, “What
if I did that also with my floor tom?” And, my cymbals are also
turned forward.
Jones is riding in the fast lane, driving the beat for Jack White on his much-anticipated Lazaretto tour.
A Michigan native now based in Brooklyn, Daru heads his own boutique record label, Rusic Records, where
he creates beats, loops and grooves for solo projects, as well as collaborates with his sister Rena and channels
bebop jazz with his pet project, The Ruff Pack.
Daru’s talents are quickly getting noticed. While he has the innate ability to effortlessly recreate sampled or
programmed beats on a live kit, he can also morph his playing into any musical situation–from Americana hoedowns
to Jimmy Page meets Jimi Hendrix grooves.
046_Daru_3.indd 47 2/23/15 12:33 AM
048
With this tour, I’m using all extra-big sizes and that changes
the tone. I’m still playing the same, but the sound changes–
that’s where the Bonham sound comes from.
EE: Why do you mount your toms off to the side of your
hi-hat?
DJ: It took me awhile to grow into it. My challenge is to do the
same amount of fills, but with less, and the drums are lower.
Sometimes, I get inspired by fusion players like Vinnie Colaiuta,
and I’ll bring in additional toms. I also use a 15” marching snare
built for me by DW.
EE: Do you have any vintage gear that you use?
DJ: I use a ride cymbal with rivets. Jack used a ride cymbal with
rivets on some of The White Stripes material and requested it.
Jack is a drummer too, so he can hear sounds like a drummer
would. I use Paiste and Dream cymbals. The Paiste cymbals
work great for this rock scenario because I hit harder and use
more aggression. I’m using an Evans Blue Hydraulic head on
my snare, which is a throwback, because Steve Gadd used to
use them. You can lay into them, and they have a pillow-type
sound.
EE: Do you like to travel?
DJ: I like travelling. But, you know, I like to go home after those
first couple days and relax. Lately, I’ve been taking on musical
projects during the breaks in the tour.
EE: You’ve established a reputation as being quite active
in the social media space, with your up-to-the-minute
blogs on Facebook and Twitter.
DJ: Nowadays, I can’t just be the drummer. I also have to be a
journalist and a photographer. So this has made the game more
intense for me because I do a lot of this on my own.
Being a producer has helped my skills, and I have been
sharpening them since first using Myspace for social media
posts. When you’re playing drums, you want to choose the right
fills, so when I post I still have to be selective about what I write.
EE: Most challenging gig?
DJ: I had a situation where I had to read charts, and I hadn’t done
this since I was a teenager, and it was a really big gig! But, I have
a good ear and memory. You can give me something, and I can
learn it by ear; but, if I had been sharper on being able to read the
charts, it would have made it more easier.
EE: Do you play jazz?
DJ: I can play fusion. I love Gary Novak and his playing with
Chick Corea.
EE: You’re getting noticed by some famous drummers
these days.
DJ: It’s a blessing. Some of the elder drummers have been at
our shows, like Lars Ulrich from Metallica, he’s a fan. It’s crazy.
I guess it evolves in music, and I’m grateful that I’m able to be a
catalyst to keep the traditional legends alive.
EE: You and Jack both pay respect to the musical
traditions, but also further them and make them your
own. That’s a tall order.
DJ: With me, I didn’t do it on purpose. I wasn’t out there saying,
“I’m going to be the next…” You just never know. I want to treat
others like I want to be treated. Regardless of how big or small
an interview is, it’s always going to reach somebody.
EE: Regrets?
DJ: I’m hard on myself. Sometimes, I feel like things are
seasonal–like I was placed in a certain situation for a season.
But when it’s time to move out of that season, because I’m a
loyal guy, it’s hard.
EE: What makes your production sound unique?
DJ: It’s because of the sampling. When I do sample, I try and
sample from gospel records because that’s my background.
When you’re the producer, you’re telling the story, and I want to
use all the resources.
EE: New projects?
DJ: I’m finishing projects with The Ruff Pack. One of the projects
is in tribute to Thelonious Monk. Another project I’m working on
is with singer China Moses from Paris. She is the daughter of
jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Obviously, the fast lane shows no slowing for Daru, who
confidently blazes his own path forward while keeping an
eye in the rear view mirror to keep our musical traditions
alive.
rusicrecords.com
WEBFOOT
046_Daru_3.indd 48 2/22/15 1:18 PM
Publicité

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Daru

  • 1. 046 DARU JONESCATALYST FOR CHANGE Interview: Eric T. Everett Photos: David James Swanson POLITE & UNASSUMING, CONFIDENT & EXPLOSIVE: MEET DARU JONES I48_Daru_3.indd 46 2/19/15 9:38 PM
  • 2. 047 EE: You once said, “Find a lane that you want to be in and stick with it.” What’s your lane? DJ: Basically, as musicians and drummers, we all evolve. During different parts of my career, I played various styles of music. I’d say the past ten years have been about playing a lot of hip hop. I think that “lane” came about because of having a strong hip hop influence since I was a teenager, and I liked to make beats. As a musician as well, I admired hip hop production and thought, “What would it be like to actually play these beats live, versus using programmed beats?” Of course, I was hip to The Roots and Questlove; they were the only band doing it on a consistent basis at that time. But, I thought it would be a dream if I was in that scenario and that was a lane I wanted to tap into–eventually my dreams came true. EE: You embrace many musical styles in your playing and are directly influenced by legendary jazz and funk drummers, as well as rock drummers, like Stewart Copeland. With Jack White, you seem to be channeling John Bonham in your playing. Can you explain this shift in your approach? DJ: It’s all music–I enjoy it. Take the jazz world; once I was introduced to Tony Williams, Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta, I was like, “Yo!” It’s cool that I’m able to contribute some of these approaches. My situation with Jack White is unique because with The White Stripes, he laid down such a cool foundation using simplistic rhythms with Meg White. For me, my job is to interpret the music as close to the original. EE: What are your earliest memories of music in your house as a child? DJ: My parents are both musicians and choir directors. They both owned a lot of vinyl records and always had the latest gospel album at the time. I used to check out the Rance Allen Group’s newest recordings before they were released because my dad played with Rance Allen every year when he came into town. EE: Your drum set-up is unique, with your bass drum and extreme angles applied to your kit. Also, your playing style is highly visual–you bring flash and showmanship to each and every performance. It’s almost a throwback style to swing drummers like Baby Dodds and Gene Krupa. DJ: Gene is one of my favorites! Growing up in Michigan, I saw many guys back when it was all about showmanship. Some of the cats had a pocket, but they also had something that made them stand out, so I learned that an early age. EE: How do you play off of Jack’s visual cues, since you don’t use a set list on stage? DJ: A lot of times, we don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re on a roller coaster, just like the audience. I’m always watching Jack; I don’t know what he’s going to do. I try to be a team player. With this tour, things are tighter because we play more often. On the previous tour for Blunderbuss, we had two bands that would alternate playing on different nights. EE: Have you ever wanted to drop the straight-rock playing and apply your syncopated beats in Jack’s live shows? DJ: I’ve done that before. There may be an empty space in the music. And, many people do not know that Jack is a big hip hop fan. The song, “Lazaretto” was inspired by listening to MC Lyte’s song “Cha, Cha, Cha.” We were chiming into the images of that. The beat on that track was totally inspired by hip hop. Editor’s Note: Drum roll please...Jack White’s title track “Lazaretto” received the Best Rock Performance award at the 2015 Grammy Awards. EE: How has your collaboration with Jack White affected your approach? What are you going to take away from this experience and apply to one of your own projects like The Ruff Pack? DJ: Ruff Pack is a whole different world. I’m always learning something new with Jack; I’m learning more about organization. He likes things to look a certain way with colors. EE: Are you starting to pick up on that? DJ: I’m like that anyway–that’s why my drums are set up the way they are. That came about from me being a neat freak and wanting all the drums and cymbals to be symmetrical with each other. I started turning my snare forward, and I thought, “What if I did that also with my floor tom?” And, my cymbals are also turned forward. Jones is riding in the fast lane, driving the beat for Jack White on his much-anticipated Lazaretto tour. A Michigan native now based in Brooklyn, Daru heads his own boutique record label, Rusic Records, where he creates beats, loops and grooves for solo projects, as well as collaborates with his sister Rena and channels bebop jazz with his pet project, The Ruff Pack. Daru’s talents are quickly getting noticed. While he has the innate ability to effortlessly recreate sampled or programmed beats on a live kit, he can also morph his playing into any musical situation–from Americana hoedowns to Jimmy Page meets Jimi Hendrix grooves. 046_Daru_3.indd 47 2/23/15 12:33 AM
  • 3. 048 With this tour, I’m using all extra-big sizes and that changes the tone. I’m still playing the same, but the sound changes– that’s where the Bonham sound comes from. EE: Why do you mount your toms off to the side of your hi-hat? DJ: It took me awhile to grow into it. My challenge is to do the same amount of fills, but with less, and the drums are lower. Sometimes, I get inspired by fusion players like Vinnie Colaiuta, and I’ll bring in additional toms. I also use a 15” marching snare built for me by DW. EE: Do you have any vintage gear that you use? DJ: I use a ride cymbal with rivets. Jack used a ride cymbal with rivets on some of The White Stripes material and requested it. Jack is a drummer too, so he can hear sounds like a drummer would. I use Paiste and Dream cymbals. The Paiste cymbals work great for this rock scenario because I hit harder and use more aggression. I’m using an Evans Blue Hydraulic head on my snare, which is a throwback, because Steve Gadd used to use them. You can lay into them, and they have a pillow-type sound. EE: Do you like to travel? DJ: I like travelling. But, you know, I like to go home after those first couple days and relax. Lately, I’ve been taking on musical projects during the breaks in the tour. EE: You’ve established a reputation as being quite active in the social media space, with your up-to-the-minute blogs on Facebook and Twitter. DJ: Nowadays, I can’t just be the drummer. I also have to be a journalist and a photographer. So this has made the game more intense for me because I do a lot of this on my own. Being a producer has helped my skills, and I have been sharpening them since first using Myspace for social media posts. When you’re playing drums, you want to choose the right fills, so when I post I still have to be selective about what I write. EE: Most challenging gig? DJ: I had a situation where I had to read charts, and I hadn’t done this since I was a teenager, and it was a really big gig! But, I have a good ear and memory. You can give me something, and I can learn it by ear; but, if I had been sharper on being able to read the charts, it would have made it more easier. EE: Do you play jazz? DJ: I can play fusion. I love Gary Novak and his playing with Chick Corea. EE: You’re getting noticed by some famous drummers these days. DJ: It’s a blessing. Some of the elder drummers have been at our shows, like Lars Ulrich from Metallica, he’s a fan. It’s crazy. I guess it evolves in music, and I’m grateful that I’m able to be a catalyst to keep the traditional legends alive. EE: You and Jack both pay respect to the musical traditions, but also further them and make them your own. That’s a tall order. DJ: With me, I didn’t do it on purpose. I wasn’t out there saying, “I’m going to be the next…” You just never know. I want to treat others like I want to be treated. Regardless of how big or small an interview is, it’s always going to reach somebody. EE: Regrets? DJ: I’m hard on myself. Sometimes, I feel like things are seasonal–like I was placed in a certain situation for a season. But when it’s time to move out of that season, because I’m a loyal guy, it’s hard. EE: What makes your production sound unique? DJ: It’s because of the sampling. When I do sample, I try and sample from gospel records because that’s my background. When you’re the producer, you’re telling the story, and I want to use all the resources. EE: New projects? DJ: I’m finishing projects with The Ruff Pack. One of the projects is in tribute to Thelonious Monk. Another project I’m working on is with singer China Moses from Paris. She is the daughter of jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater. Obviously, the fast lane shows no slowing for Daru, who confidently blazes his own path forward while keeping an eye in the rear view mirror to keep our musical traditions alive. rusicrecords.com WEBFOOT 046_Daru_3.indd 48 2/22/15 1:18 PM