Good day, drummers of the modern world. Jeff Kummer from the Early November here to tell you a little about myself.
I started drumming at an early age—about the fourth grade or so. When I was a kid, my older brother had a drum pad that made the coolest sound. I don’t know what it was made of, but I loved that thing. When my parents asked me if I wanted to play an instrument, my initial response was, “Heck yeah, I want to play the drums!” Drummers are badass and they wear sunglasses.
I don’t know if there are any drummers that I looked to as gods, but there are some who stylistically had an influence on my playing. Taylor Hawkins and Chad Smith are worth mentioning. These guys know to create what drummers call the pocket. Take the loose, freestyle playing of Chad and the bell-riding, tight precision of Taylor and put it in a jar. That’s what I feel like I’m best at.
Like all rock ’n’ roll drummers, I played in different bands throughout my early teens. I started playing with the Early November when I was a junior in high school, and by the end of my senior year I signed my first record deal with the independent monster that was Drive-Thru Records. We were young, ambitious, and full of life, but years of extensive touring eventually took their toll on everyone. In 2007, the band decided to take an indefinite hiatus to try new things. During that time I did some side projects, session work, and a solo album. I went back to school and eventually started working as a producer at NBC, where I am today. Just last year, the Early November decided to start playing some shows again and record a new album. We signed a deal with Rise Records and released our newest album, In Currents, this past July.
I’ve probably taken a different approach to every album I’ve tracked for the Early November. For me, In Currents was very spontaneous. I tracked the entire record in two days. Ace Enders (the Early November’s vocalist) and I have developed a relationship to where we don’t need to speak to each other to make music. Communication is made through noises that most people won’t understand. We worked on this album prior to tracking, but most of it was created in the studio. Drums for this record just seemed to spew out of me the day of.
As a drummer, I think it’s important to play to the song but not to think about every single motion—that’s what makes a drummer unique. As a kid, school was for learning and drums were for fun. I never wanted to learn about theory, because to me that was work. It may seem stubborn and lazy of me, but it’s true. Drums aren’t something I think about, they’re just something I do.
Now that In Currents is out, we’ll be touring nearby. Dates can always be found at theearlynovembermusic.net. If you want to give me a shout on some of my other outlets, check out jeffkummer.com, facebook.com/jeffkummer, or twitter.com/JEFFkummer. If you want to see what type of gear I use, check out sjcdrums.com or vater.com.
Thanks for stopping by!
Photo by Matthew Lofton.