CARDINAL JACK – Exclusive Interview with Mark KempsonLauren Fearon
CARDINAL JACK is a trio made up of Paul Eaton, Tom Williamson, and Mark Kempson.
They mark their influences as that of The Smiths, Mars Volta, The Beatles, and The Police. All of which echo in some way in their new track, while at the same time maintaining a infectious signature sound. Their new single, Green Eyed Boy, will be out on the 26th of this month. They have also just released a track, We Shall Start The Dance, have a listen below.
Cardinal Jack is available to buy on iTunes – so go get some! Check out OLD’s interview with Drummer Mark Kempson, below.
OLD: When did you know you wanted to be a drummer? Where did it all begin?
Mark: I kind of fell into drumming I would say. Before Cardinal Jack I was previously a bass and guitar player in a couple of college and school bands growing up. But I had dabbled with the drums a few times during rehearsals, crashing around on various kits, so I knew what to hit and when in terms of basic beats. I’ve never really tied myself to any particular instrument, I like to try new things and keep music interesting for me!
OLD: What is it like playing for Cardinal Jack ?
Mark: Fun! It’s great as we can all play guitar, and sing, so it’s not like we have rigid musical roles in the band. We often attempt to badly sing a guitar or bass line to each other if the idea is in our heads, and I often get interesting attempts at vocal drum sounds sung to me during rehearsals.
OLD: What are a few steps you would advise drummers to take, when aiming to break out professionally?
Mark: As I’m not technically trained as a drummer, I don’t really feel I can give too much educated advice in terms of breaking out professionally. What I can say is try to add your own personality into anything you do musically, try not to emulate anybody, or feel you have to play a certain way to fit into a musical genre.
OLD: How do you warm up for gigs? What do you do to keep your nerves in check?
Mark: More often than not, I find myself having very little time to do anything approaching a warm up for a gig on the night itself. I do like to check the basics on whatever kit I will be using, making sure everything is working and set up to my liking.
I have recently started playing along to a click for gigs, using an app called Tempo on my iPhone, which is Brilliant! It allows me to save a setlist of what we will be playing – saving the individual tempos for each song. This often takes the most setup time, and I have to make sure it is audible and at a good level in my in ear headphones otherwise I would definitely find myself in an embarrassing situation!
I don’t tend to get nerves, which is lucky I guess! It was slightly nerve wrecking for the first few gigs though, mainly as I had not gigged as a drummer before.
OLD: What is the worst drumming experience you’ve ever had to date?
Mark: There was a gig a couple of years ago in a small London pub where nobody brought a snare stand, best solution was a couple of beer crates, definitely not ideal!
OLD: And your best?
Mark: My best drumming experience would probably coincide with a good gig for the band I would say. It’s really satisfying when we all lock in tight musically and everything seems to just work.
OLD: Elvin Jones has been quoted as saying that if you couldn’t get at least 20 sounds out of your cymbal; there was either something wrong with it, or something wrong with you. Do you think you could get that many out of your cymbal?
Mark: I would say on a good day I could hit 7-8 sounds out of my single crash/ride cymbal, have I just confirmed my massive technical shortcomings!?
OLD: Do you think Rudiments are key to a Drummer’s development?
Mark: Unfortunately, not being a technically minded drummer, and not having had any lessons, I can’t say I know much at all on this subject! I’m very aware of my drumming abilities, and play to my strengths, which mainly involve working out interesting time signatures more often than not.
OLD: Tuning Drums, What do you think about that?
Mark: I have a personal mission to fully understand the subject of tuning drums. I feel it is essential to tune your drums properly, and I’m always tinkering away with various pitches of my snare and toms. It drives me crazy when I see a drummer with absolutely no interest in how their drums are tuned! I think this mainly comes from my studio engineering experiences where badly tuned drums stand out like a sore thumb.
OLD: If you could sum up your drumming style in 5 words, what would they be?
Mark: Lively, Spontaneous, Energetic, Uncomplicated, Creative
Thank you to Mark Kempson for the interview. OLD wishes Cardinal Jack every success!
CARDINAL JACK LINKS: