Nick Adams is one of the most in-demand drummers in LA. He’s worked David Cook, Andre Cymone, Fifth Harmony, as well as producers Jay Baumgardner (Seether, Drowning Pool, Papa Roach), JP Bowersock (The Strokes), and Damon Sharpe (Big Time Rush, Kylie Minogue). When he’s not touring he’s tucked away in the studio providing the backbone for artists all over the globe. Real Drum Tracks Now sat down with Nick to find out what makes him tick as a drummer and his experience working with such a diverse group of artists.
1) What’s your experience working with different types of artists?
One of my favorite things about playing music for a living is having the opportunity to work with all types people, and getting to play a lot of different styles of music. I’ve done everything from metal gigs to jazz gigs, and everything in between. Some gigs have been more enjoyable and easier than others, but overall I’ve been really fortunate to work with some amazingly talented artists and musicians who are now some of my best friends. I try to challenge myself musically as much as possible, so I enjoy working in a variety of playing situations. Playing with
different types of artists has expanded my musical vocabulary immensely, and it allows me to constantly learn and grow as a musician.
2) How do you approach a song when it’s presented to you?
When I hear a tune for the first time, first and foremost I try not to overthink it. Often, the drum part will more or less sing itself. The
vast majority of the time, especially in contemporary music, the vocal is the priority. I always try to stay out of the way of the vocals,
but at the same time I do my best to support and enhance them. I attempt to listen as much as possible, and give all of the other instruments space to be creative.
3) What if an artist has a specific drum idea for their songs?
I love receiving direction from the artist as far as the drum part goes. I find it much easier to create when I have some idea of what
people are looking for, or when I am able to work within a given set of parameters. I always encourage people to sing me their ideas or
play demo drums they might have created for their tunes. I can then adapt the parts for the song if need be, and put some of my own personality into the part, while sticking to the ideas the artist has expressed to me.
4) Does it help for the artist to give you references of other artists to help convey their ideas?
Any inspiration for the drums I can get is welcomed. I love being given song/artist references not only for the parts, but also for the
drum sounds. This always makes things easier and more efficient, especially in the studio.
5) What’s the most important part of your job as a drummer?
In my opinion, the most important job of any drummer is to keep solid time, and make the music feel good. I am simply there to provide the
foundation upon which the more melodic instruments can sit. If the rest of the band is comfortable and free, and the audience is moving and dancing, I’ve done my job.