Yann Tiersen’s Dave Collingwood : Modern DrummerHi, all, my name’s Dave Collingwood, and I’m currently based in Bristol, South West U.K. I’ve recently joined French composer Yann Tiersen’s band and have been back and forth between Bristol and Paris recording and preparing for some heavy bouts of international touring. More on that later. First, a little background…

Compared to some, I was a bit of a latecomer to the drums. At the age of fourteen, when I heard a neighbour tapping out a basic but chunky 4/4, I knew instinctively I had to be part of that sound–or perhaps that sound had to be part of me. I found a secondhand Rogers kit for under £100, furnished it with a couple of crack-laden cymbals, and began listening to mid-’70s King Crimson records in a whole new way. I felt I’d found my voice, and somehow the verbally inexpressible qualities of great music became more accessible. How else to describe my emotional reaction to a Bruford technical-yet-natural groove or fill than to construct a response or interpretation in the same creative domain? So my logic went, anyway.

After spending my teen years listening intently to drummers such as Dave Grohl, Matt Cameron, and Jack Irons (as well as dipping a few toes into the worlds of metal and heavy rock), I was introduced to a rich seam of underground music. Bands like Fugazi and the Pixies, whom I’d heard previously but not really understood, suddenly made a lot of sense. The turning point was Slint’s album Spiderland; it completely blew my mind and still does each time I listen to it. Britt Walford’s drumming changed everything for me, and I’d say he’s been the biggest influence on my playing. Go listen, and pay attention!

Luckily for me, there seemed to be a lack of drummers locally, so I found myself moving between bands and playing farther and farther afield. I joined Gravenhurst in 2002, and after singing to Warp Records we toured extensively across the world. Regular jaunts through Europe and trips to the U.S. and Japan opened my eyes to life on the road–that addictive but surreal mixture of travel, displacement, fun, and hard work that has become my life (and livelihood) led to many solid personal and professional connections. During my last European tour with Gravenhurst (I left the band in 2008), I met Yann Tiersen at our Paris show. As luck would have it, he was looking for a drummer for his band, so that’s where I am right now.

Recording with Yann often involves hearing a track for the first time and laying down one, maybe two drum takes over the many existing instruments. Yann and I share a fondness for capturing a natural performance. (I’m sure all of you reading this are familiar with the excruciating quest for the “perfect take.”) I take my cymbals with me wherever I go, so I’m always comfortable with the personality of the playing from that perspective. I’m a self-confessed cymbalholic and totally addicted to Istanbul Agops, the Traditional Dark line being my current drug of choice. I’ve just had a 20″ Special Edition flat ride delivered, so I’m eager to learn what we can do together!

Aside from that, I’m promoting an album I played on (and engineered and mixed) by the Allender Band called Outer Dark and teaching regularly from my home in Bristol. Also, of course, I’m practicing as much as I can and listening to great music. I have my own site at www.davecollingwood.co.uk; my blog page acts as a touring/recording diary as well as a general outlet for observations and nonsense.

Thanks to MD for inviting me to introduce myself, and hello to you all. I welcome new angles and perspectives on drumming and life in general, so please feel free to strike up a conversation.