On May 5th, 2010, Damian King and Eric Rosebrock from DrummerConnection.com sit down with famed drummer JoJo Mayer for an interview at Seminole Music & Sound.
JoJo Mayer: Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer
Jojo Mayer (born 18 January 1963) is a highly acclaimed Swiss drummer
born in Zurich and currently residing in New
York City. Son of a touring musician, Mayer began his career as a
drummer at an early age, receiving his first drum set at the age of two.
Having taught himself throughout his childhood, Mayer broke out into
the professional music scene at the age of 18, joining the Monty
Alexander group. Touring with the group would launch him into the major
jazz music scene, playing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreux,
Nice, and Athens etc, and leading to his gigs with jazz-greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Nina
Simone. Eventually, after playing with a great variety of artists,
Mayer would move away from jazz and into Drum 'n' Bass electronica.
Jojo Mayer is known for bringing together jazz, drum
and bass, jungle, and other
influences. He is also famous for his ability to play the rhythms of
programmed jungle drum 'n' bass music on acoustic drums, terming this
technique "reverse engineering", a phrase borrowed
He executes this approach using various methods such as the Heel-toe bass drum technique, the Moeller stroke, and the
"pull-out" or "push-pull" accent which takes the beat on the rebound.
Using this technique he can play beats at astonishing speeds. A few of
his main influences are Tony
Williams, Jack DeJohnette and Buddy
He plays with the guitarist David Fiuczynski in the avant-garde pop rock band Screaming Headless Torsos and in
the fusion jazz band Intergalactic
He is the founder of the Prohibited Beatz clique in the NYC
underground live music scene.
With Intergalactic Maiden Ballet:
- 1992 - Square Dance
- 1994 - Gulf
With John Medeski:
With Screaming Headless Torsos:
- 1995 - Screaming Headless Torsos
Jojo Mayer & Nerve:
Mayer is a long-time Sonor endorser and also uses Sabian cymbals. He
has also collaborated with Sabian to create his own line of "Fierce"
cymbals, part of Sabian's top-tier Vault line. His Vault Fierce cymbals
feature a raw, unlathed finish, and extensive hand hammering. Mayer uses
various series of drums, often depending on what is available at the
venue, with this general setup:
14" or 13" Snare Drum
10" Tom Tom
14" Floor Tom
13", 12", or even 14" Side Snare
20" or 22" Bass Drum
These sizes and the actual number of drums may vary, depending on the