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noun: avant-garde

new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them

Dan Mayo is an incredibly expressive drummer from Tel Aviv, Israel who specializes in an avant-garde approach to the drum set. He endorses A&F drums, Meinl cymbals, and Vic Firth drumsticks. Along with playing drums, Dan also composes and produces music for his band TATRAN.

This interview was recorded in Anaheim, CA on January 24th, 2019.


What we talked about:


  • We begin the interview by contemplating the following components of drumming: Creativity, Timekeeping, Endurance, Independence, Coordination, Groove, Chops, and Technique. Dan ranks each item in order of most important to least important. We deeply discuss each of the components and fall into many rabbit holes along the way.

  • We discover that technique is not very important to Dan. Dan’s belief is that the technique develops over time through playing the instrument. Or we develop particular techniques to properly express through the variety of instruments on a drum set. This leads Dan to explain why he feels practice pads are of no use to a drummer. He doesn’t understand why drummers are the only musicians that play on something other than the actual instrument, which is the drum set. I have a feeling that many drummers will debate this section of the interview, but it does, in fact, make a lot of sense to me what he says about practice pads.

  • Dan’s style of playing is incredibly expressive and he uses a lot of dynamics. So I ask him about how dynamics play a role in his expression and why they are important. This leads to how colors, shapes, and even smells play a part in how Dan’s approach will be influenced by these senses and metaphors.

  • Dan decides to add something to the list, and that is commitment. We talk about risk-taking, how to commit to the audience, and how to be vulnerable to allow the moment to come through when he plays.

  • An interesting metaphor that Dan brings up more than once is how he feels that he is “a tube with two holes”, and this represents input and output. If good energy and vibes are coming in, the output will be amazing. He talks deeply about how this is essential to him finding the highs of making music that he needs as an artist.

  • How many shows does Dan perform that are great, good, and crappy, and how does he deal with the undesirable outcomes? Or are the shows he thought were bad, actually good? We explore how the moment, adrenaline, and our own perceptions can alter reality.

  • Dan shares what his fans can expect and look forward to in 2019. This includes his Masterclass (that will be recorded and filmed for internet consumption) titled “Inner Voice”. Coincidentally, this interview captures much of the content from this Masterclass. So if you enjoyed this interview and Dan’s philosophies, I am certain that you will enjoy “Inner Voice”.

  • Dan talks about the importance of loving yourself – and how if you do embrace yourself, you will play better. This is one of my personal favorite sections of this conversation. It is absolutely true and also is grossly overlooked and under-discussed.

  • Lastly, we wrap things up by talking about the truth to one’s playing. How do we know if something is bullshit or the real thing?


All clips used in this episode can be found on Dan’s YouTube channel. Click here to watch!

Listen to TATRAN on Spotify


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