Evans and the DW kit that rocked the BBC News theme while he reported —and performed — from home.
It surprised viewers and went on to enthrall the world. After BBC North West weather reporter Owain Wyn Evans finished his forecast on April 15, he leapt onto his drum kit and rocked-up the BBC News theme. The result was not only an exciting and quite unexpected bit of drumming, but the impromptu home concert exploded on social media, gaining 5-million views (to date) on Evans’ Twitter page alone.
Since then, a few instrumentalists have filmed themselves playing their own parts to Evans’ performance, and Evans and the BBC have even invited people of all skill levels to jam along to the theme under the hashtags #OwainsBigHouseBand and #BBCMakeADifference.
With a surprise moment in time, Evans put drumming into the world media view in a big way — thanks tons for that, mate — and, perhaps even better, he offered to detail a bit more about the performance exclusively for Modern Drummer readers.
Well, the response to your little home concert continues to grow…
Evans: Oh, it has been ridiculous! When I posted the video, I had no idea it would get millions of views. Honestly, working as a weather presenter, there are seldom opportunities to incorporate drumming in any way, but this seems to have worked well.
Reportedly, the BBC asked you to play along to the theme, so they must have known you had a history with the drums.
There had been some conversations with the BBC North Press office about whether or not I could play around with some drumming, and the idea grew from there. I put it up on my own Twitter account—BBC News had no idea—but they have featured it on several programs since.
Did you improvise the parts you played to the news theme, or work them out beforehand?
Oh, that song is just 40 seconds of overplaying from me! I knew if I was going to do it, it had to be very over the top. I’m smashing those drums, and adding fills and hitting cymbals left, right, and center. I’m playing 4/4 over it, and it’s all ad-libbed.
I don’t read music, so I always just listen to songs a few times and remember them. I know a lot of drummers are like that. The BBC News theme is something I’ve heard a million times before, so I knew where the accents and builds were. It’s a great piece of music, isn’t it? I’ve had some lovely feedback from drummers, which I wasn’t expecting.
How were the drums miked for your video performance?
Well, it’s not miked up, sadly. I just used the onboard mic on an iPhone XR—which didn’t do that lovely kit any justice. I’ve never invested in drum mics, although I know I should if I want to record more. I synced up the music and drums on my phone, and then I just uploaded it.
Could you please detail the elements of the kit you used?
I have a DW Design Series kit in matte black — 10″ and 12″ rack toms, a 16″ floor tom, and a 22″ bass drum. I love this kit! I have Sabian AAX cymbals all round — a 10″ splash, 14″ china, and 14″ and 16″ crashes. I also have an 18″ AAX X-Plosion crash, which I don’t use very much, and it’s not in the BBC News video. I went for this kit after I lost my previous drum kit to a flood in our basement. I went down there and there were orange drums floating around everywhere. It was traumatic. They were ruined, but we’ve managed to save one of them to use as a coffee table. I never thought I’d ever be able to get a DW kit, so when the opportunity came up to replace my old drums, I splashed out.
How did you start off drumming, and what kind of music do you like to play?
I began at about eight or nine years old. My parents always insisted that I wore headphones or ear protection, but I was a stubborn child, and I thought I knew best. I have tinnitus now, like many drummers, so I wear a set of in-ear monitors to isolate the music and cut out as many decibels as possible—which is really important.
I started off in various cover bands doing rock and pop stuff. I loved playing Blink 182, Bon Jovi, and all of those artists that get the crowds going. [Editor’s Note: Blink 182’s Travis Barker has interacted with Evans’ tweet.] I also was in a Welsh-language band which did quite a lot of TV and radio work in Wales, and we recorded quite a few pop songs. I’ve got to be honest—I love pop music more than any other style. I did some studio stuff back then, as well, but I got a full-time job as a presenter for BBC Wales at 18 years old, so the dreams of becoming a professional full-time drummer ended there. It’s a hobby now, but I really do wish I could play more.
Given the public response, I think you may be playing a lot more…
Oh, wow—who knows! The response to the video has been incredible. People don’t expect a flamboyant weatherman to mince over to a nice-looking drum kit and play it in that way, but that’s part of the fun, I suppose. I’ve been asked to do a few covers of different songs since. I was on Steve Wright’s show on BBC Radio Two, and he has the most incredible theme music that I played along to. That was fun. I’ll definitely be uploading more drumming videos to my social-media accounts in the future.