Nicholas Leftwich

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Sick Drummer Magazine has been working with ReverbNation to find new, talented drummers via a contest run on their website. We sifted through hundreds and hundreds of entries and are happy to introduce the winner chosen this time around, Nicholas Leftwich of Kill The Host. If you would like to enter, go create a ReverbNation profile page and watch the Industry Opportunities section for our next cooperative! Good Luck ~ SDM


My name is Nicholas Leftwich. I was born in Augusta, GA in 1989 on Friday the 13th, Mother’s Day. I grew up with both of my parents and I had 3 siblings and we did NOT get along all the time. It was tough, each of us had our own musical instruments. I chose the drums and actually, we all took choir so music was in our blood from an early age. I started with a marching drum then moved to a jazz-style acoustic kit after 2 years or so. I started listening to metal music in 2005 with Necrophagist and others, and it led me down a wonderful rabbit hole to here.

My Gear:  

I use a white, Ludwig 100th anniversary 7 piece kit with a Gibraltar circular tubed rack. 10″, 12″, 13″ mounted toms with 14″ and 16″ floor toms.

Zildjian A Custom 16″ crash

Zildjian A Custom 18″ crash

Zildjian A Custom 22″ ride

Zildjian titanium 14″ hi-hats

Meinl 18″ crash

Vic-Firth 7AN hickory sticks

Roland acoustic bass drum trigger

Alesis DM5 drum module

Behringer 600w cabinet

Pearl ELIMINATOR longboard double pedals tightened about 3/4 of the way up.

Nicholas Leftwich Interview:

SDM: What made you enter the contest on ReverbNation? Have you heard of our magazine before? When did you first hear of us, and what do you like about our site?

Nicholas: We have a ReverbNation page and we try to enter ourselves into anything that we believe our genre has a chance of getting recognized. I discovered SDM around 2007 when I graduated high school. The next year I got to see The Black Dahlia Murder perform in Augusta, GA at Sector 7g and it changed my life. I was instantly inspired and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that is what I wanted my drumming to be like technique-wise. I love how SDM showcases known and unknown artists who they deem are hard-working and consistently dependable by giving them noticeable media recognition and praise. I wish more media existed for this craft, it is obstinately underrated. 

SDM: How old were you when you started playing?

Nicholas: I started around 10 years old. My father’s best friend was a drummer and heavily inspired me to play when we would go over to his house. My dad’s friend and I would have drum battles until we just couldn’t breathe and from that, he taught me about the true meanings of persistence and determination. 

SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?

Nicholas: Actually, yes. I attended a military academy out of South Carolina and I played in both the school’s jazz band and in the actual drum corps part during parades and really important battalion engagements for events. I went on to revise the cadences for the drums and that’s actually when I learned to write music. After, I started teaching myself different drum techniques through watching and replicating various YouTube videos over the last 8-10 years.

SDM: Who are your top 5 metal influences?

Nicholas: The Black Dahlia Murder, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Rapheumet’s Well, Irreversible Mechanism, and Inferi. 

SDM: Who are some other of your favorites?

Nicholas: A Loathing Requiem is a recent favorite along with the bands Enfold Darkness and Beyond Creation.

SDM: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation.


1. The Black Dahlia Murder: Deflourate

2. Inferi: The Path of Apotheosis

3. Irreversible Mechanism: Infinite Fields

4. A Loathing Requiem: Psalms of Misanthropy

5. First Fragment: Dasein

SDM: What do you do to warm up before a show?

Nicholas: I prefer to stretch, in particular, the wrists, ankles, and calves. Nothing too serious, though.


SDM: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have affected your playing?

Nicholas: I learned to read sheet music back in elementary school but completely lost touch for over a decade. I decided to pick it back up in the 10th grade to reform my school’s marching rhythms. It completely redefined my style once I reasserted musical composition into my life. You learn to play a single instrument for so long you kind of forget about the ebb and flow that other instruments possess. It is a constant reminder to broaden your mind that separates a great musician from a good musical repeat player.

SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…

Nicholas: In the moment you feel that you want to quit, don’t because in that moment you make an incredibly important choice. This is honestly what separates those who are doing and will become the best of the best from those who were never meant to be in the first place.

SDM: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?

Nicholas: Easily The Black Dahlia Murder at The Masquerade in 2016. The crowd was so intense it almost would put you into a trance. 

SDM: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do?

Nicholas: I love to stay active by going to the gym or biking on a particular trail I love, just some way to stay feeling alive. It can be hard to have motivation in this world so you have to create your own. I have a degree in Computer Programming and also do some game development of my own.



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