Drum Tutors with a DifferenceNate Brown
O.L.D. meets up with Derek Palizay, the CEO and Founder of FDI. to talk about this new concept.
OLD: What is Flight Drummers Inc?
Derek: Flight Drummers Inc is a company focused on musical education and performance. We offer private lessons, group lessons, as well as clinics and events. Whether you need to learn, or simply be inspired, we are here for you. We want to share our experience, knowledge, and musical insight with everyone.
FDI is made up of seven drumming artists: Myself, Maison Guidry (co-founder), Mike Mitchell, Jeremy Brooks, Aaron Smith, Shariq Tucker, and Jeremy Robinson.
OLD: How did you come up with the concept for F.D.I.?
Derek: “Let’s start a company!”… I still remember saying those exact words as I was talking on the phone one day with a great friend of mine, Maison Guidry (he is a professional drummer from California). We were just sharing stories about our love and passion for the drums, and music in general. We told each other that all we want to do is travel the world playing, and teaching the drums. So, being young and full of aspiration to do big things, we started thinking of ways to accomplish this dream.
After saying those words it all took off, just like an airplane on a runway. We thought, since we want to take drumming to a higher level (now our slogan) and we will be flying all over the world, why not name it Flight Drummers Inc. So we gathered five more amazing drummers who have outstanding musical abilities, and share the same passions as we do, and it was a wrap.
OLD: You are a deeply spiritual group, but can anyone get involved?
Derek: Every single person on the face of the planet is welcome to be involved in any way possible. Our “spirituality” is just who we are individually and the personal standards we have set in our life. We want to have a positive influence on everyone we come across and the main focus of the company is to educate, to inspire, and to enjoy life as musicians.
OLD: What will your tour in 2012 be about?
Derek: The Flight Drum Tour in 2012 will be a clinic tour, and our first company event as a whole; we will be traveling around the world hosting clinics, where drummers can receive a hands on experience, and learn from some of the most inspiring, and talented, young drummers of today.
OLD: What do you aim to achieve with your tour in 2012?
Derek: As cliché as it sounds we want to achieve greatness. We want to have such an impact on everyone who attends the clinics that we establish relationships, and trust all across the world. That way in the future as the company expands, and we host more events, people already know that we are GREAT people with a GREAT vision, and that they will learn GREAT things from us.
OLD: As Derek is a drummer himself; it would be wrong of O.L.D., if we didn’t squeeze some juicy information out of him…
OLD: When did you know you wanted to be a drummer? Where did it all begin?
Derek: It all began for me in third grade. Every week our 3rd grade class had a show and tell time. For one of these ‘show and tell’ days, my friend brought in his snare drum and sticks, and played for the class. Everyone absolutely loved it! I was so intrigued not only by the sound, but by the attention that he got from the class, that I started taking lessons immediately. My drum teacher saw right away that I was going to be different than his average student, and within months I was even playing better than the adults that he taught, who had been playing far longer than I had. So that’s where it all began, and between then and now, it has been a whole lot of learning, practicing, and building life-long relationships with amazing people!
OLD: Flight Drummers Inc are going on tour soon – how do you warm up for gigs? What do you do to keep your nerves in check?
Derek: Everyone has their own way that they warm up. It is not WHAT you do to warm up that matters, but what DOES matter is that you get the blood flowing, all your muscles are loose, and you are mentally prepared.
As far as the Flight Drummers ourselves, we have established early on that it is more important to make sure that we all are on the same page mentally, and that our brotherhood comes first. We have great relationships with each other outside of playing, so when we sit down to play or perform, there is a mutual trust knowing that we are playing with our brothers. That alone keeps our nerves down.
OLD: What is the worst drumming experience you have ever had to date?
Derek: I don’t believe that there are bad drumming experiences, or in music at all. Let me tell you why… everything that we experience is for our growth. So when you are practicing your drums, or practicing with your band and everything is going wrong, that is not a “bad” experience. That is growth, and it is those times that make you into the drummer/musician you are. Any professional artist will tell you that it is the “bad” experiences that make the good ones better.
OLD: And the best?
Derek: The best experience I’ve had as a drummer is when I teach. I could have all of the musical experience and talent in the world, and have played with every big artist, but if I have not taught someone what I know and allowed that person to take that knowledge and become greater, then I have no legacy.
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. Can you get 20 different sounds out of your cymbal?
Derek: Elvin Jones was a MASTER DRUMMER… enough said.
OLD: What are your hopes for the future of Flight Drummers Inc?
Derek: We have many things that we hope accomplish as a company. We soon want to offer online lessons on our website. We want to make a DVD with our seven artists performing and teaching. We want to host drum camps, and clinic events at FDI Headquarters in Ohio (which we are in the process of establishing). But, honestly we just want to grow into a mainstream company like Percussive Arts Society, and be as big as Modern Drummer festival, and just travel the world!
OLD: If you could describe Flight Drummers Inc in five words, what would they be?
Derek: Drumming, on a HIGHER level.
FDI will be touring in 2012, so be sure to keep an eye out! They will be touring across most of the U.S. and appearing in London, and Brazil. Tour dates will be released atwww.flightdrummersinc.com/events.html
Website – www.flightdrummersinc.com
Facebook – www.facebook.com/theflightdrumtour
Twitter – www.twitter.com/flightdrummers
A big thank you to Derek Palizay, and good luck for the future!