Simon Phillips: Composition Over Technique

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Saturday Jan 09 2016
A destiny of drumming: World-renowned drummer Simon Phillips and his band, Protocol, perform Wednesday
By: Carol Guild, Features Editor -

[Simon] Phillips’ music has encompassed rock, fusion and jazz. What he performs with Protocol is a style removed from his music with other groups. “I would categorize it as instrumental rock with heavy jazz influence,” he said.

[W]hat is important is the delivery of a song more than technique.

“It’s all about composition,” Phillips said. “I don’t care what you’re playing. I always prefer composition over technical ability.”

“I used to love listening to and watching Tony [Williams] play, compositionally,” Phillips said. “I look for that in every musician.”

Let go and just play

Sometimes the best composition happens when you just let go and play.

[One] example was during a recording session. “Peter Erskine was playing drums,” Phillips said. “I said, Peter, let’s not try to impress each other.”

The best time for music

Phillips said the problem now is finding good music. “The technique of creating music is available to anybody,” he said. “Now everybody is a songwriter. But it also opens the door to some really creative stuff, too.

“We just have to adapt to the times,” he said. “I do wish the attention span was a little bit wider. I wish people would give more time to hear the music.”

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