Hello MD readers! My name is Andrew Zehnal, and I’m the drummer for the NYC band Hollis Brown. I’m super-excited to announce that our new record, 3 Shots, was released on May 5 on Jullian Records. It’s well known that Modern Drummer is the premier drum magazine, and I’m extremely honored to write this blog. I’ve been an avid reader of MD since I got into drums over twenty years ago.
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where my dad worked for the Republic Steel Mill. There were always five-gallon buckets in the basement that he would take from work. I soon fashioned a makeshift drumset out of these buckets, and my musical career was born. We moved to a suburb called Shaker Heights during high school, and that’s where I met some real musicians, made some friends, and started to take drumming seriously.
My next move was to Columbus, Ohio, to attend Ohio State University. The music scene in Columbus, like many huge college towns, was very diverse. I quickly got involved in rock bands on the scene. Ever since I can remember, I loved jazz and especially jazz drumming, so I also started hanging around the jazz scene and quickly immersed myself in it. I feel that my studies of that genre were/are some of the most important for my growth as a drummer and a musician.
I found myself in NYC about thirteen years ago. I was involved with several different bands playing many different styles of music including jazz. It wasn’t until I met the Hollis Brown crew that my aspirations of becoming a working musician were fully realized. I consider myself lucky to have fallen in with such a group of excellent musicians that write amazing songs. It’s such a joy to work on music that I truly love and to work with musicians that really respect me, and what I bring to the table as a musician. These guys have become my best friends. Actually, with the amount of touring we’ve been doing, they are family at this point.
The sound we got on our new record 3 Shots has a much more polished production than the last record. I definitely wanted the drums to sound natural and alive and to really complement the song; also, to trim a lot of the fat, so to speak. We drew from some of our favorites like Tom Petty and I think the way the drums were recorded gave us a little more radio friendly sound. For the first time in my career we did most of the cymbals overdubbed. This gave us some really great separation and John Agnello mixed it perfectly.
I want to thank you all for reading and look out for Hollis Brown on our tour with Counting Crows and Citizen Cope throughout the US late this summer and through the fall. I’m easy to find when I am home, so hit me up and let’s talk music sometime.
Listen to the title track, “3 Shots,” here.