Keep up with Stephen here:
Like most early teens, everyone is looking for talents to discover or enhance. Baseball was something I strived to get good at. It’s every fathers dream to watch their son play sports for a living. I’ve found out in the early stages that it was a pretty miserable time for me with all the stress of sucking really bad, coaches getting frustrated all the time, and getting made fun of for being a toothpick boy. I needed something new, something cool and something LOUD! I always knew I could hold a beat or two on the drums of just going to music stores and messing around on the kits when I was younger…ok done! New hobby overnight. I was becoming more visible in the halls of school now that I’m finally not sucking at something. It kind of brought out my inner self in a way. Not caring anymore what people thought.
I was your typical rebellious teen listening to heavy music and trying to play in bands. I remember when I was in 9th grade coming home from school, I heard my bro and his friend jamming out in the basement. I have never seen someone play drums as good as this kid was at the time. He directed me to his instructor for only a short while where you go over your typical rudiments and sheet music. That didn’t really last for too long. I then began just looking up different drummers online and experimenting with different styles eventually coming across the heel/toe technique. After that it was just adapting to play with different guitar styles or whatever sounded best. I’ve played with a lot of different guitar players, but in the end my brother really brought out my playing skills with his guitar skills. So…it took us about 3 or 4 years to figure out that we needed each other to be the best and original we can be.
Stephen Carr Interview:
SD.com: How old were you when you started playing?
Stephen: I used to go to guitar center when I was 8 with my dad and brother, which both played guitar and I’d always wonder off to the drums section and start banging on sets. The employees and some customers always told me to keep it up and that I was good for my age. My dad bought me a cheap Percussion plus set to play around with. I was interested in drums for a only year when I got that set. then comic books and video games gave me more of an interest for a kid my age, so I stopped playing and those drums sat in the corner and became a great dust collector. It wasn’t until my 14th birthday where I decided to ask for some new drum heads and wanted to take playing more seriously. And I have been playing ever since.. for about nine years now.
SD.com: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Stephen: No way I hated school when I was younger I never got involved in any school activities. I couldn’t wait to leave school and just go home and drum along to a korn album or filters “hey man nice shot”
SD.com: Who are your top 5 metal influences?
Stephen: Dillinger Escape Plan probably my all time favorite extreme metal band. Everything about them is amazing Deftones: Abe Cunningham is one of my favorite drummers that has always fascinated me with his linear drum beats. Dimmu Borgir: The first actual grind/blast beat drumming that just blew me away when I first heard it. Korn: The first official band that got me into heavy music and wanting to play drums. Tool: Danny Carey…that man can do anything. Did a report on him in high school
SD.com: Who are some other of your favorites?
Stephen: Honest to God truth this is the stuff I am currently into I encourage everyone to check it out. Some of it is pretty random but I have a great attachment to it as of now.
The Flashbulb (electronic)” Autumn Insomnia Session” – the coolest drum song ever
The Similou (electro/pop)
Anoraak (new wave electro)
Anything off of the Wedding Singer soundtrack…amazing album
Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada are my all time favorites
The Mars Volta, Radiohead, Battles, Rage Against The Machine, just to name very little
SD.com: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation
Stephen: I’ll base this question of what I currently have in my car…Well I always have a Flashbulb cd near me at all times, and I’ve recently just gotten into Dr. Manhattan, very cool dudes FEAR BEFORE, a few Keane albums, Circa Survive-On Letting Go never seems to get old to me
SD.com: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Stephen: I usually sit there hitting a drumstick on my leg with each of my fingers like as hard as I can and try to get my fingers loosened up for about 20-30 minutes…that little exercise is very crucial to me. That and someone massaging my forearms before I play really feels great haha and I am not sore at all afterwards.
SD.com: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have effected your playing?
Stephen: Well I actually took drums lessons for a year when I was about 16 which taught me how to read some music, then I got a job and my instructor dropped me after that. So I can read very basic beats, anything too complicated just looks like another language to me. I have actually learned some pretty awesome beats reading some sheets and after awhile if following excercises it kind of just adapted to my regular playing skills and made it my own.
SD.com: Can you tell us about the gear you use?
Stephen: Well all my gear is getting pretty banged up lately and it used to look real nice and attractive, but I play on a pearl white fusion Tama Starclassic kit, my first real drum set! With a 14” Tama Rockstar steel snare, 10”rack tom and 14”floor tom. I use axis longboard pedals. I play double bass with the heel/toe method. Those pedals are very important to me, I couldn’t play with any other pedal the way I do with axis. My cymbals I use a Zildjian A-custom 20” ride which I’ve been “borrowing” from my friend Nick for about….3 years now. Zildjian A-custom 18”crash, Paiste 16” 2002 thin crash, and a pair of Sabian 14” XS hats. I also use a Roland SPDS sampler which feels like another instrument itself.
SD.com: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Stephen: hmmm…… I would say always try to be the best out of everyone you know. Having competition is a great way for everyone to keep playing and to keep getting better. Always respect EVERY music genre. I’m not telling you to start listening to country and bluegrass full time but with a few songs that you have heard accidentally, you never know what new thing you might hear that can sound awesome with a new beat you’re coming up with. And the main one…BE OPEN-MINDED!! I hate drummers that just listen to one style of music only…SO BORING! Be creative!
SD.com: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Stephen: Chris Pennie when he was with Dillinger Escape Plan for sure. Ill never forget the first time when I saw him play live. I’d have to say he’s a pretty big influence on me. I have some videos of John Theodore former drummer of The Mars Volta, he just is a badass in those videos. I’ve seen Chad Sexton of 311 play a few times as well, I feel like he is a very underrated drummer, I love his style.
SD.com: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do?
Stephen: I love traveling. I come from a town where there isn’t much to do but just go to the same bars every weekend, so it’s really great to get away whether its touring or just skipping town for a bit, but I do occasionally enjoy going out with my friends and getting hammered every once in awhile. I’m trying to get better at cooking as well. I really do eat like shit most of the time and I want to get away from all the fast food. If im not drumming, no matter what time of day it is, there is always music on and playing around me day and night. I hate the sound of silence. I am a very loud person to be around.