Hello, everyone, and thank you to Modern Drummer for letting me write this blog! I’ve been reading the magazine for a long time, and it’s sparked endless inspiration and creative outlets.
I’ve been playing for about twelve years now. I started when I lived in Helsinki, Finland. I’ve played in jazz bands and studied at the Pop/Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki. I met the singer of our band in seventh grade, and we started playing at our school talent shows and at shows around Seattle. After I graduated high school, we started touring, and now three years later we have our first full-length record, Used And Abused, out on Photo Finish Records.
We’re currently on tour with Cute Is What We Aim For, and we’re about to do our first headlining tour in the fall. I never really thought about how different life on the road is and how much it could change me as a drummer, but now I look back at how I played before I toured, and the difference is pretty crazy. I was definitely a lot more timid and careful, but also more detailed and dynamic. Playing almost the same set every night for months on end definitely makes you really tight and in the pocket, but it doesn’t always leave you much room to grow in terms of getting more creative. If I had the luxury to be able to sit in a practice room before the show every day, I’d be able to grow faster, but for now I’m content improving the band as a whole and just staying on the practice pad.
When Danger Radio plays live, I play to a click and samples. Being able to play to a click has been crucial for me. When I went to record the drum parts for our record, I tracked everything in about eight hours. I had to track about fifteen tracks because five songs into the session we noticed the kick mic had fallen inside the bass drum, so we had to redo those five tracks. That was quite the bummer.
The record ended up turning out better than we ever thought it would. Everyone is extremely pleased with it. It was definitely a learning experience. Working with producers Mike Green and Mike Elizondo was amazing. They definitely pushed me to be more focused and to not over-play when I felt like I should. The record is a pretty good mix of groove and pop, and I had to very carefully decide when to play simply and when to give it more. I’m very pleased with the drum parts on the record, and there is not much I’d change.
Some of my favorite drummers/influences are Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers, Buddy Rich, and Vinnie Colaiuta. And a special thanks to Bryon Atterberry and Petri Hissa (my drum teachers) for getting me to this point!
I play Drum Workshop drums, hardware, and pedals, Sabian cymbals, Remo heads, and Vic Firth sticks.
Thanks for reading, and keep on slamming those skins!
For more on Nico Hartikainen and Danger Radio, go to www.myspace.com/dangerradio.