Thread: Alex Riel here!
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:25 PM
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Alex Riel Alex Riel is offline
Drummerworld Pro Drummer
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 34
Default Re: Alex Riel here!

Originally Posted by bballdrummer34 View Post
I guess i'll start with a question that has been on my mind for awhile. I am curious about the secret to prepetual motion as far as drumming goes. My favorite examples of it are guys like Bill Stewart and Brian Blade. I've come up with the "second line" as my answer. I was wondering what you think. I know you have it because i watch that video of you and that trio frequently. What do you think ?
Lol, I gotta admit at first I didn't have a clue what you were talking about! I'm just a simple Dane, remember ;o))

But I guess you are asking how I keep up the energy level throughout a tune/gig? To be honest it's never been something I really thought about ... and maybe THAT's the secret. When I play I block out all other thoughts and focus completely on the music so that all my energy is canalized INTO the music. The moment you begin wondering about something else ... whether it be someone you know in the audience, or if it shows you are nervous, if the soloist likes your playing, if they noticed the mistake you just made etc etc .. in that moment you loose energy. And in that moment you hinder your own playing, and everybody else's for that matter.

If you focus 100% on the music and allow yourself to get absorbed by it .. be IN it .. then the energy flows freely and will even accumulate, especially if the musicians on stage have the right chemestry so that what you give out comes back to you with more energy. So, when I say "focus on the music" I do mean the MUSIC and not your own drumming alone. After all it's the common output that matters and what energy you bring into it; not how many fancy rudiments you throw into a tune.
As I've mentioned before in this thread, my weakness (one of them) is that I can't remember a thing .. tunes, arrangements etc! But that weakness has actually forced - and taught- me to listen intensively to what's going on here and now on stage; pick up vibes and nuances in the OTHER guy's playing and relate to them insted of falling into the trap of being focused on my own playing. That's why I normally feel quite comfortable going on stage, even when I don't have a clue what we are going to play, lol. I just have to trust my "ears" (and the monitors!)

I can't really point to a certain thing I play to keep up the energy level. I haven't got a special trick or magic rudiment that I pull out; at least not that I'm aware of! I guess whatever I play .. or don't play (!) ... it's because it feels right to me in that moment, musically as well as "energy-wise" because it relates to something the other guys play.
Of course sometimes you also take chances and try out something new while you are being very aware of it .. especially if it doesn't work out, lol! ... but then you just have to move on and focus on the next moment in the music. And keep up the energy.

One more thing that I find VERY important: My energy level when playing is very much relying on the well-being of my body/mind. If I'm hungry, cold, tired etc I simply cannot deliver what is expected of me on stage.
So for me, an important part of being a professional drummer is: Keeping fit, eating as healthy as possibly and trying to maintain a positive attitude to life! Before I go on stage you can be sure I've had a nap and had some food that gives me energy, not drains me for energy (like junk food would) .. and time to digest it as well! You can also be sure that I'm not drunk. At least not till after the gig ;o)
I know this may sound a little silly, or even fanatic, to some. But trust me, after so many years in the business I can assure you it DOES matter. I'm sure most of my collegues will say the same.

Did that make sense? And did it answer your question at all??

Best wishes

Last edited by Alex Riel; 07-08-2007 at 05:48 PM.
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