A Nashville Perspective

August 27, 2020

Ben Sesar

Ben Sesar – “Nashville was a machine that did it’s thing… and it was a small big town
now there is less opportunities but more people.”

Ben Sesar, Drummer for Brad Paisley, shares how his experiences in Nashville have changed over the years – The values and challenges of moving to Nashville. Another topic discussed with Ben is how the music industry is evolving and what drummers can expect when moving to Nashville.

Also, Ben’s favorite drummers at the moment, are broken down including his different philosophies on life and music. The takeaways from this Podcast are everywhere if you are listening closely. Take notes and prepare for some deep insights on the life of playing music.

ben sesar meinl cymbals drumming live pearl drums nashville
Ben Sesar tracking at a studio, using; Meinl cymbals, Sakae drums, and Remo drumheads.

Nashville

Ben Sesar is a self-taught drummer, living in Nashville, touring, recording playing drums for various artists and musicians. When Ben is not on the road drumming for Brad Paisley, he can be found teaching drums online, connecting with friends in Nashville and working on new projects. Ben emphasizes how and what we play by focusing on movement and repetition.

ben sesar meinl cymbals drumming live sakae drums nashville tour
Ben Sesar’s drums live at sound check before an arena gig, using; Meinl cymbals, Yamaha drums, and Remo pinstripe drumheads on the toms.

Raw Show Notes

I would really be worried if the whole bottom just dropped out.

My main goal wasn’t “the dream”
– I recognized it wasn’t something I had a whole lot of control over
– I focused on the things I had control over

If “A” is this – then this arrow points to move.

Your brand is your unique voice on the instrument itself.
So that people feel something with you, and that’s a good feeling.

What do you have to say in your playing… not online.
It’s not a show of bravado and macho-ism. What I think is you need to develop your voice and discover what it is you do playing wise. That’s development. Finding your voice and speaking authentically. Speaking without slurring.

Music is a language
There’s sentence structure, phrasing, inflections… You need to use all of these things to speak in a way that no one else speaks. There’s no wall between who I am and what I say on the drumset. I play my moods.

If I’m excited, I play that way (playing drums excited). If I’m nervous, it’s that (playing nervously).

Don’t do battle with the nervousness. Don’t think… I have to be cool. Just recognize what you are and pull it toward you. They do battle with the feeling. I can recognize I’m nervous and go yep, Hello nervousness, my old friend… Come on in.

By accepting it, you’ve eliminated the battle… It’s more likely to pass through you.
What you want (while playing drums) is to be lost in the music.

If you accept it and let it live in you it might just dissipate.
Some days.. there’ll be people in the room and I’ll feel emboldened.

ben sesar meinl cymbals drumming live sakae drums nashville remo
Ben Sesar’s perspective from behind the kit, using; Meinl cymbals, Yamaha Drums, and Remo CS Dot and Pinstripe drumheads.

Ben’s Philosophy

My general philosophy: go about things with nothing to prove. – That’s the definition of confidence.

“Having nothing to prove.”

It’s good because I’m doing it (confidence in playing drums). With all it’s mistakes and all it’s flaws (my drumming). I’ve literally earned this sort of margin of error where no matter how bad I play, I’m probably going to be well within the acceptable limit of flaws.

Work on your movement. It’s the euphemism for technique.
When you say technique, it’s sort of an ambiguous word. It’s literally a tool that eliminates friction between your musical ideas and the instrument itself.

Technique (on drums) is just to free you up so the thing you’re feeling comes up instantaneously.
A lot of drummers who can feel music, know how to sing their parts.

Even if you can sing it exactly the way you want to hear it but can’t play it, you have a technical problem. While technique is a tool, if it’s the tool, it’s a misuse.

If I’m showing someone my new house, I don’t show them the tools. The tools are just the tools.
A negative side effect of drumming.

ben sesar meinl cymbals drumming live sakae drums nashville remo heads
Ben Sesar at sound check before a gig, using; Meinl cymbals, Sakae drums, and Remo drumheads.

Drummer's Mentioned

I learned more directly… one on one… being in the room.

Jim Kristie – Dwight Yokum – A touch an attitude that was so just cool.

Keith Carlock

Aaron Sterling – What that guy does is unbelievable

Dave Elitch – Unbelievable

Nate Morton – Goodness

Nate Smith

Paul Mabury

Nir Z

Gergo Borlai

Steve Jordan

The touch (of playing drums and controlling the power of drums) is what fuels me forward.

Kevin Murphy – Powerful

Rob Mitchell is a musical encyclopedia, musicians drummer, not a drummer’s drummer and because he is a drummer who has so much empathy, he respects the ingredients like a good chef.

Keio Stroud – Drummer of Big and Rich. Working drummer’s drummer. Keio gets on stage and gets the job done, nailing everything he plays. Keio has found his voice and knows who he is.

If you know who you are and you’re honest and putting yourself out there from a place of honesty, the better thing transcends that argument.

ben sesar meinl cymbals drumming live sakae drums
Ben Sesar playing drums in his studio, using; Meinl cymbals, Sakae drums and Remo drumheads.

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