Crystal Fighters Drummer Andrea Marongiu was happy to take a short interview with me as part of my Monthly Newsletter, but as it was such a great read, I wanted to keep it here forever, so take in some wise words from a World touring drummer!
1) A huge part of drumming is obviously the daily practice, how do your keep your practice fresh and exciting, while also making sure you’re always improving as a drummer?
I did practice a lot in the past with small goals at the time, like learning a tune, learning a lick or a rudiment that turns into a lick kind of thing … my practice is very “practical”, I hear something, wonder how to do it and then start integrate it in gigs and let my subconscious do the rest.
it is different while on tour though, as I’m playing most days I tend to leave my practice pad and sticks on stage and look for more inspiration and industry/business advice online (through youtube/ebooks etc).
2) If you could give a beginning drummer, who wants to go on and play world tours, any piece of advice or a tip, what would it be?
I would suggest keeping in touch with the latest music (or try at least!) because, while you dream of a call from Steve Wonder’s manager, it’s more likely you’ll get one from an upcoming artist. So, listen to the Radio Chart … or, if you find it unbearable, have a look online and get familiar with it.
3) What would you say has been your best experience as a touring drummer, do you have a favourite Gig or Venue? I imagine the Cave Rave must be up there!
Playing at the O2 Arena was definitely the highlight of the tour.
I can’t help but get more excited every time I play for a bigger crowd or a higher profile gig. It is a small achievement that gives me more confidence to carry on and look forward to the next step, whatever or whenever that will be.
In other words – it’s like a hand on your shoulder that says “Well Done!”
4) Did you know that you wanted a career in Drumming and from what age? What did you do to make sure that became a reality?
I knew I wanted a career as a musician when I was 17. Had another year at College and I wanted to just leave and move out. I realised that in order to fulfil my dream I had to relocate. I didn’t want a compromise; I was looking for the real deal. So at 23, with very little English and a lot of drive, I bought a one way ticket to London – best thing I’ve ever done.
5) If you had the chance to record drums for any track in the world, past or present, what would you pick?
This is such a tough question! … It’s like asking you what your favourite dish is – impossible!
It’d probably be a tune that will forever stay in the history of music, like
So What – Miles Davies
Take Five – Dave Brubeck
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
Rock n Roll – Led Zeppelin
Born and raised in Sardinia, gorgeous italian Island. Self-taught drummer, started playing at the age of 11 as a game at school with a friend, trying to imitate what his dad (pro drummer) had taught him, on the school desk.Gathering tips from person to person, making mistakes like watching a video and thinking that you only play hi-hat with your foot … !
Then slowly getting into the local scene and play my first gig at 13, then a residency every saturday with a rock cover band at 14 and so on. I had no idea i wanted a career as drummer yet but I knew I loved it.
After years of playing and recording back home with different artists and bands, I went to the Jazz University for 2 years … that was my compromise. I thought: I’ll get a qualification, then maybe start teaching and it’ll be fine … But after 2 years (2005) I realised i needed to leave, I wanted to achieve more than that, so I bought a one-way ticket to London and slept on my friend sofa for a week (or 2) and worked behind the bar on weekends. Not being very fluent in english, I had a hard time to hang out at gigs and network with other musicians so I did my networking online and after 5 month I got offered a gig on board of the Royal Caribbean Cruise fleet which was a great travelling experience.
In 2008 I went back to London and had a fresh start.
I was getting called for local gigs, some recordings and I was grateful for that, I could tell London had a lot more to offer.
2 years after, I received a call from a band that needed a session drummer for their upcoming live shows. They told me they found my profile online and they’ve been checking out some of my videos and they’d like me to come for an audition. I said “great! What kind of stuff is it?” and they replied “check it out online, we are called Crystal Fighters”.
On wednesday the 8th of Sept 2010 i turned up at the audition in a classic stereotypical warehouse in Hackney, had a jam with Graham, Bast and Gilbert, talked through their set and then they asked me: “what are you doing on friday?”. I remember having a gig on that friday, but I was too curious to know, so I said “nothin major, why?” and they said “we are playing at Bestival, are you available?” Followed by my straight answer “Of course I am”.
So I had 2 days til the gig with almost an hour worth of tunes to learn. Spent most of thursday at CF HQ then took a ferry for the Isle of Wight on friday. Gig was awesome! We were headlining the Rock’n’Roll stage and the guys really killed it.
It has been over 3 years since then and the band has grown a lot, we played over 500 shows from 200 cap venues to the Arena O2 and I’m sure there’s a lot more to come.
My gear has grown too I have to say! I now play and endorse Sonor drums, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Heads, Vater drumsticks, Duallist pedals and Snares, Porter&Davies, ProRacket cases, The KellyShu and Stageworkgears. I’d like to thank them all for their support over the years, they’ve always been there when I needed them.
iDoDrums, until the next time.