Andy Illiano – The Things They Carried – Exclusive OnlineDrummer.com InterviewNate Brown
OLD: Tell us a little about yourself. Why and when did you start drumming? When did you get your first kit?
I got my first drum set when I was 10 years old. I always loved music, and when it came time to choose an instrument, I instantly gravitated towards the drums.
OLD: What do you consider as the most important drumming skill to you? (i.e. timing, improv, creating rhythms, groove, rudimental, etc)
The most important drumming skill is writing. It’s crucial for a drummer in a band to play the music and supplement the music in the best way possible, even if that means keeping it simple.
OLD: Do you have any good warm-up techniques to share?
I do a lot of single stroke warm-ups. 8 on each hand for 20 minutes. Then I’ll do some triplet rolls and paradiddles.
OLD: Can you give us any advice for playing live? Anything we should focus on or pay attention to?
For playing live, make sure all your drums/cymbals/hardware are in good shape. You don’t want cymbal stands collapsing in the middle of a song. Also, it’s a good idea to have a back up snare drum, towels, water, etc.
OLD: Can you give us any advice as far as recording in the studio? What do we need to know?
Prior to recording in the studio, make sure you can play all your songs very well to a click. Recording with a metronome is very important. It will make your songs sound as solid and tight as possible. Have a few different ways to play each part, cause you can maybe do 2 or three takes, and then pick the best one after you finish tracking.
OLD: What do you consider your most memorable moment as a drummer?
When I was 12, I was at the Pop-Disaster Tour at Jones Beach Theatre, and I got to go up onstage with Greenday and play drums with them for a few minutes. The show was sold out so there was like 15,000 people there. Crazy stuff!
OLD: Do you have any other good drumming stories that you’d like to share?
A few years back, when I was playing in a band in New Jersey, the singer went to the gym with Daryl McDaniels of RUN-DMC, so I ended up getting to jam with him one night. It was cool. I made up a beat on the spot and he just freestyle rapped or whatever. It was a lot of fun!
OLD: With the recent release of your CD “There’s Something I Can’t Tell Anyone”, what can we expect? How did you come up with that title?
We came up with that title because the record tells stories of things that we can all relate to, but don’t necessarily talk about (divorce, depression, affairs, losing your mind, etc.).
What you can expect drums-wise is a lot of hard hitting, solid playing. Not so many fills and show off kind of stuff. Something to listen for on this one is when we transition from part to part, so say from a verse to a chorus, a lot of times there wont be a big or crazy drum fill or anything. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it really makes the music sound that much better and really epic.
OLD: If you could only pass along 1 piece of advice (drumming related) to the next generation, what would it be?
I would say listen to a lot of the older but really good drummers. Guys like Neil Peart and Stewart Copeland are really good. Dont try to always show off, but rather do whats best for the music, and have fun doing it!