Casey Hansen of Gaza
Hey, everyone. I’m honored to be given this opportunity from Modern Drummer, especially since I wasn’t playing drums before I could talk, my father wasn’t a drummer, and I wasn’t even that kid who was always beating and drumming on everything. I started at fifteen, because the drummer in our band left for the summer, and a band without a drummer is hardly a band (or so I thought, anyway). So, I decided I would figure it out because the music needed it.
Knowing that my role (and every musician’s everywhere) is to make the song the best it can be has never been in question, and it’s how I was borne into the world I’ve been living in since. This idea seems to be enlightenment in the drumming community—that you’re there for the song, and not the other way around.
Writing what needs to be written and playing what needs to be played isn’t always about finding and feeling the groove. Sometimes the idea of a groove—or even repeating an idea or phrase—is counterintuitive to the piece being written. The rules as they are commonly believed (that groove rules all) change when the motive is less common. When the motive is to create a feeling that pans between the extremes of raw emotion, the methodology follows suit.
That is the motive behind Gaza: to emote those extremes, that rawness, and to use any means necessary to create such a feeling. As a drummer, exploring this concept and trying my best to achieve it has been a hell of a time. The simplistic and traditional approaches definitely have their strengths, but so do the extreme and experimental (pushing and pulling tempos and feel, using odd time signatures, taking technicality and intensity as far as I can). Attempting to strike the balance between those two generally contrasting schools of thought has itself opened a door to another source of inspiration. Bringing all of that together has been my endeavor, and that has made me the drummer and musician that I am.
Amidst all of this talk of philosophy and approach, they all kneel to one truth: It’s that you need to mean it. Whatever you’re playing, mean it. Feel it. Feel every hit, every strum, and every word of it. You’re doing yourself a disservice—in addition to everyone watching and listening—by doing anything less. Bigger than drumming, that’s why I do this and hopefully why you do too. That’s what this is all about.
For more on Casey Hansen and Gaza, go to facebook.com/GAZAMUSIC. Photo by Jeff Rogers.