Alex Camarena – Drummers I Like Podcast #18

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Welcome back to another episode of the Drummers I Like Podcast! Today we chat with Alex Camarena of Silent Planet!

I have personally been waiting weeks and weeks to do this episode because as of recently, I have become a big fan of Silent Planet and the amazing playing and writing that Alex is capable of doing.

On today’s episode, Alex Camarena gives us a break-down of his journey into playing the drums and how he’s reached the success he has today. We start early, learning about his days growing up playing and being the ” church guy ” to ultimately realizing his true passion of wanting to tour full time!

We chat in depth with Alex about his upbringing in music, joining Silent Planet, his ability to speak fluent Australian, him ruling the world in Kan Jam and more! So stay tuned for another great episode of the podcast! 

00:00-03:00 – Show Intro

03:00-07:00 – We talk about his current tour and getting to be on a package with August Burns Red and hang out with Farmer Dad Matt Greiner.

07:00-11:00 – We get into his roots tracing back to the start of Alex’s career learning how to play drums with his dad who was a touring church musician. We talk about being known as the church drummer playing at the Crossroads church in Southern California eventually leading to a slew of Mega Church gigs.

11:00-14:00 – Just as he decided to wind down and take a break from playing music full time he was invited out to a For Today show he wouldn’t forget. After meeting his now long time merch buddy, Mark, that night, he was introduced to the group that would change his future.

14:00-17:00 – We talk about his first practice gig with Silent Planet and not knowing how to play drums (listen in for a cool way to build your own double bass pedal haha). With minimal practice, Alex was a regular Tomas Haake defying his dads wants to keep the house a quiet place.

17:00-23:00 – We talk about relationship needs being on point when Silent Planet couldn’t lock down a solid drummer and Alex couldn’t find a dedicated group of musicians. 1 foot forward and some real hard work and they were signed to Solid State Records.

23:00-26:00 – We talk about Alex’s past bands– or lack thereof. Alex breaks down his urge for wanting to play for a metal band so bad that he found himself using metal licks in his Ska band.

26:00-30:00 – Alex gets into his involvement with the writing process in Silent Planet and breaks down some of his choices when it comes to playing. Kevin touches on his ghost note abilities as we get into his influence in the realm of playing with grace. Kevin touches on the emergence of players writing physical ghost notes into their parts rather than just using feel.

30:00-35:00 – As we get off our rant on playing ghost notes, Alex starts to get into giving lessons and how it’s just not his area of expertise. We get into the fundamentals of learning how to play drums with feel versus learning the theoretical side.

35:00-40:00 – YouTube drum videos become a focal point as we get into the vast amount of material you can get for free using YouTube closing out our conversation regarding giving lessons.

40:00-42:00 – Alex breaks down his drum setup and his choices for drum sizes, cymbals and layout. We get into church rig vs touring.

42:00-50:00 – Alex talks with us about his Anchor drum set, the relationship he has with the company and the awesome snare that led him to want to get involved with the company himself. He talks about throwing Shawn the wheel and letting him choose some of the key materials and sizes for his kit. We also get into the durability of the drum set and how well they have held up over touring.

His build is as follows. 

Snare drum – Black Brass 14X8

Kick drum – 22X16

Rack tom – 12X7

Floor tom – 16X14

50:00-1:02:00 – We touch briefly on his time with Silent Planet and all the albums he has played on. We talk about the evolution of Silent Planet’s sound and the difference between the last two albums.

1:02:00-1:06:00 – Alex Scores big on Kan Jam and gives a brief run-down of the details of the game.

1:06:00-1:25:00 –Rapid Singles

1. What was holding you back from becoming the successful drummer? – When he stopped caring about what people said regarding how you should play drums – be your own self.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? – Have fun. Do you. Be yourself. 
3. What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – Staying well-rounded and being able to play multiple genres of music.
4. Share a resource or tool that helps you survive as a drummer? – The essential needs of a drummer but mainly your stick size. 
5. Recommend just one book. what would it be and why? – Go and look up Aaron Sterling

6. Imagine you woke up tomorrow in a world exactly like ours, you still had all the same knowledge and talent that you have as a drummer but you know no one. All you have is $500, a smartphone, and small portable drum set. What would you do first? – Alex would hit up open mic sheds around his local area and get his name out there. Start jamming, making connections, branching out. Find a studio he could intern at and try and network with bands coming in who need drummers.

We wrap up the show talking about our questions and getting into being driven and pushing yourself to want things in music. We also touch base on some cool Virtual Reality stuff!

Links for Alex Camerena

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Links for Silent Planet

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