Drummer Jonny Williams of Childhood

Hi! I’m Jonny Williams, and I play drums in Childhood, from London, UK. I started playing drums when I was fourteen. I was told to play drums by a friend because I was awful at guitar.

I got my first drumkit for free off Freecycle, and it all started from there. I played that rusty old drumkit in a shed in my back garden for a while and realized I really loved playing drums. I would spend hours in there practicing but I was never one for really playing drums on my own. I always loved playing in bands making crazy rock music, and I feel like this was definitely something that helped me get to where I am today.

When I was a child I was more into sports and music came to me a bit later. But when I started listening to music more I listened to stuff like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Led Zeppelin. I guess it’s the kind of normal “great rock bands” list but it definitely helped me to learn to play. I would spend hours trying to get my drums to sound like Bonham’s and play as loud as Chad Smith.

Once I got into music I couldn’t really control myself and I listened to everything I could. I have a massively varied taste—funk, pop, rock, hip- hop, electro, psych, krautrock, soul, jazz, and more. Music for me, and especially drums, is such a release and form of expression. I don’t really know what I would do without it.

Currently I’m loving Talking Heads, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Real Estate, Bjork, My Bloody Valentine, Conan Mockasin, Air, Mac Demarco, Marvin Gaye, and CAN.

Right now for gear I’m using a 1960s Ludwig Classic Maple. I love this kit. It has the right amount of ring to it, but at the same time doesn’t sound too dead, with great tone. I also really like using the internal dampeners if they are needed; they give the drum a real subtle, warm muffle. When we were recording our album at Dan Carey’s studio he had a ’60s or ’70s Rogers kit (I can’t remember which era) that I used. This really made me look into vintage drum gear and inspired me to get one of my own to recreate the album sound live.

I have quite a minimal cymbal set-up. I use all Zildjian cymbals. I have a 22″ K Constantinople ride that I love, as it’s so versatile. When playing quietly it still has life and sparkle but then you can really lay into it live and it sounds lovely and washy, still bright, loud, while not overpowering. I use a 19″ K Dark Thin crash and sometimes I also use an 18″ if I’m feeling fun. Finally, I use 15″ K hi-hats.

My snare is a 5.5×14 1970s Ludwig 402 Super-Sensitive snare. I just love it. You can get so many sounds out of it. Tuned low or high, it always sounds cool. I can’t see me using any other drum.

I keep my drumheads nice and simple. On the toms, Remo Emperor Coated on top and Ambassador Coated on the bottom. On the bass drum, a Remo Powerstroke 3, and then on the snare drum I use a Remo Coated Emperor on top and a Clear Ambassador on the bottom. For sticks, I use Vater 5As. We are also starting to bring in some more electronic sounds into our live performance so I will be using a Roland SPD-S.

Thanks for reading!


For more on Childhood, visit facebook.com/childhoodband.