As a kid I was always drawn to melody.

My parents say I would sometimes sing familiar melodies but would often make up my own as well. I mostly focus on the melody and the lyrics, which has been key to how I’ve connected to playing the drums. It’s not necessarily about playing simpler but rather supporting the melody and the intention of the lyric.

I would hope that I inspire people to think more about what music is, as opposed to only what their musical instrument is. Music is about community—it’s a communion of how we all interact. Of course, we all have to practice and hone, making ourselves better. But you get so much better when you’re playing with other people—that’s the biggest thing. That’s one reason why I don’t do a lot of clinics, or the solo-drumming thing, because that feels clinical and technical for me. Music for me is all about interaction.

Abe Laboriel Jr.
Modern Drummer, January 2014