What’s up, MD readers and travelers of the interweb?! Seth Faulk here. I recently got back from the Hear Me Now Tour with Sami.The.Great, and I’m getting ready for the release of the new record by the Nightmare River Band. When I’m not touring or recording with Nightmare River, I work as a freelance drummer-for-hire here in NYC. I’ve been performing and touring a ton over the last few years, and I’ve played with many artists including Sierra Noble, Charlene Kaye and the Brilliant Eyes, April Smith and the Great Picture Show, Cara Salimando, Jay Stolar, and Alexa Wilkinson. I’ve also appeared in videos with Rihanna, Ian Axel, and Jenny Owen Youngs. Here’s a little about how I came into drumming, where my sound comes from, and what I love about being a musician!
I grew up on a small horse farm in the middle of the woods on Stormville Mountain, just outside Poughkeepsie, New York. And at the time there were not a whole lot of musicians up there. As a matter of fact, my mother and father, besides being a social worker from Brooklyn and an over-the-road trucker from the Bronx, respectively, were both longtime performers/competitors in Andy and Jeri Camp’s Double R World Championship Rodeo. That being said, I began riding horses when I first came home from the hospital. My passion for drumming wasn’t discovered until much later on, when my grandfather sent me my first drumset for my seventh birthday.
I began taking private drumset lessons immediately, listening to Motown, soul, funk, and rock, shedding grooves by Bernard Purdie, Brendan Hill, Levon Helm, and Chad Smith. As I got older, that was supplemented with group percussion lessons during middle school and high school, as well as further private instruction with Ralph Guzman and Jim Petercsak. In 2002 I started studying classical percussion at the SUNY Purchase School of the Arts with Ray DesRoches and Dr. Dominic Donato.
It was while I was at Purchase that I really found my sound. I met record producer and film scorer Dan Romer (Drawing Number One), with whom I later played in the synth-pop/rock band Fire Flies for several years, alongside Matt Krahula from the Nightmare River Band (who I currently record and tour with), and Wil Farr from Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! In 2007 Fire Flies was named the Emergenza International Music Festival’s Best Band on the Planet, and I was awarded the title of Best Drummer.
Now, New York City is a far cry from the sort of town I grew up in—most notably, there’s a lot more people and concrete, and a lot less skunks and deer. It can be difficult to make a name for yourself in a town so saturated with music and so well known for talented, hard-working musicians. Part of being a successful drummer in a big city is maintaining your own identity. That means having a style all your own so that when people hear you, they know it’s you that they’re listening to. I’ve always strived to have a definitive sound by altering my groove, where I place my backbeat, or where I sit in a mix in a live setting. But over the years I’ve become ever-so-much-more aware of how my sound could develop and become unique based on my selection of gear and tuning.
I commissioned the Precision Drum Company to build me a big, meaty, warm-sounding 6 1/2×14 custom snare drum that I designed myself, including wood hoops and a Trick strainer. In turn (and after some time) they added me to their roster as an endorser and built me an entire kit! After a couple more years of playing many different cymbals, searching for a dedicated, artist-friendly company with sounds that fit my style and innovations to whet my ambition, I found a home at Paiste, and my 20″ Twenty Masters Collection Dark crash-ride has become my most prized possession—as well as the most talked about part of my arsenal with any drummer I meet after every show! I also started emailing Bob Gatzen about how he tunes those magnificent Evans drumheads of his—which I now swear by—and I learned everything I could about lowest-possible-frequency tuning.
This summer and fall I’ll be showcasing all of these sounds while on tour with the Nightmare River Band, in support of our new record, The Last Goodbye, which comes out on August 7. Being on tour is probably my favorite part of being a musician. Touring is always exciting! The road remains full of new experiences to be had—traveling, meeting and hanging with new and old friends, fans, and bands, and of course traveling and playing shows with people you love.
The boys of the Nightmare River Band and I are really excited to share this new album with you. We’ve got brand-new songs, a brand-new lineup—and VINYL for all you audiophiles out there! We’ll be touring extensively over the next several months, so keep an eye out for dates in your town.