The Maccabees, Sam Doyle Drum Masterclass

18 April, 2016

He drums with NME’s ‘Best Band in Britain’, his name is Sam Doyle, and the band are the mighty Maccabees.

We welcomed Sam to BIMM London for a brilliant Masterclass that touched on his drum technique, his band, his career, and influences. It was particularly successful as it was Sam’s first Masterclass, but we suspect not his last!

He joined the Maccabees in 2007, as they were working on their second album, after having graduated in Film & Theatre Studies at the University of Sussex.

Three studio albums and some world tours later, Sam is enjoying a career with one of the UK’s best-loved bands – their last album Marks To Prove It went to Number 1 in the UK, and they will headline Latitude in July.

Sam’s Masterclass attracted a huge number of students from different courses, and Sam treated them to live renditions of ‘No Kind Words’ and ‘William Powers’ from the Wall Of Arms album, plus ‘Child’, ‘Ayla’ and ‘Heave’ from Given To The Wild.

After his blistering live performance, Sam shared the songwriting methods behind The Maccabees, with the members often writing in pairs rather than with the entire band. He explained how the process continually changes and evolves with every album:

“The songs go through so many processes a lot of the time. When we hit a wall we sometimes just change the time signature and see how that affects the song.”

Sam spoke about the experience of joining an established band and how he adapted to the styles of previous drummers for live shows. He talked about his influences, including Steve Gadd, who has also given a terrific BIMM London Masterclass.

He noted the importance of a good producer and how lucky his band are to have such a good relationship with their label. He also noted the ‘democracy’ of The Maccabees’ approach:

“All tracks we write are ultimately down to us, and as a band, we are very democratic. Everything is split five ways, and that’s just how we work.”

The students had a lot to learn from Sam who shared generously of his time and experiences. Lewis Firth, BA1 Drums, told us:

“It was very informative. Sam shared his ideas on writing and producing, how he deals with being on tour, and he played us a lot of his parts. He’s really down to earth and a great drummer!”

BMus Bass student, Harvey Simpson said:

“As a bassist I love the bass lines in The Maccabees and it’s really nice to see the drums behind it which I never really appreciated. Technically it looks a lot of fun to play. It was awesome!”

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