As many readers of this blog know too well, life as a musician is a daily roller coaster—the amazing adrenaline rush you get from being on stage, book-ended by marathon car trips, airport security lines, and extreme sleep deprivation. As the drummer for Brooklyn-based indie band I’m In You, I truly can’t imagine doing anything else with my life than indulging my commitment to making great music with people I love and respect on a daily basis. I’m In You formed in 2007 to create a dark, rhythmic, and texture-obsessed mixture of post-punk and surrealist art rock; last fall the band toured the U.S. and Europe as the supporting act for Julian Plenti (Paul Banks of Interpol). The CD release show for our second self-titled album is at the Cake Shop in New York on July 30.
When someone asks about my drumming philosophy and how I approach playing drums, I like to cite Jim Black of Alas No Axis, who I find to be one of the most inspiring drummers on the scene today. I think the element of his playing I most admire is his ability to absolutely sizzle at the highest and lowest dynamic levels. I really believe that no matter what genre you’re playing, the drummer’s job is to musically “move the tune.” For me, this propulsive energy does not necessarily come from volume, but from intensity and a diversity of textural changes. When I’m playing with I’m In You, much of our live show is really high-energy; however, my favorite moments occur when bassist Dmitry Ishenko and I lock into a solid groove and set up a nice foundation for the other guys to do what they do, i.e., interact but don’t interfere (while rocking out, of course). In many ways, these songs on I’m In You’s new record are really a drummer’s paradise—there’s a wide range of interesting grooves that interplay with the vocals of singer/guitarists Sebastian Ischer and Chris McHenry to convey the emotional center of the songs, from odd-time signature rock, to Afrobeat, to disco/dance four-on-the-floor cymbal-shattering freak-outs.
I’m In You back-story: I hooked up with the band through our aforementioned player, Dmitry Ishenko, whom I have played with in many different projects over the years, including Brooklyn-based modern jazz group Time In Transit. As for my own back-story, I’ll be brief (somewhat). I grew up in a suburb of Washington D.C., learning about drums and life from my first teacher, Steve “Freelance” Larrance, formerly of Ike & Tina Turner’s band. I continued on to Brown University in Providence, RI, a liberal arts school with a small but strong music program. I didn’t enter school intent on a music career, but after a few short months of coming home from the gig and trying to write political-science papers at 2 a.m. on everything from Hobbes to the Kennedys, I swallowed hard and said to myself, “Being a drummer doesn’t define who I am, but it’s what I love. I have to just go for it.” I started studying with Boston drum legend Bob Gullotti; after a few hundred highly necessary musical ass-kickings (for which I will always be grateful), I moved to New York and started touring and recording with a refreshingly wide range of artists, such as Sam Kininger (Soulive), Andrea Capozzoli, Jerry Bergonzi, the Josh Nelson Project, Time In Transit, and of course I’m In You. We’ll keep writing and recording our new set of songs through the fall, and are planning to break them out on tour for you in 2011.
It’s been a real pleasure to share my thoughts with you today; I hope to have the opportunity to write again soon. You’ve truly made me feel like I’m in all of You (or perhaps the other way around). Thanks again.
For more on Rob Mitzner and I’m In You, go to www.robmitzner.com, myspace.com/robmitzner, or www.iminyou.com.