casi

2017 ROUND UP

Welcome!

WELL THAT was a quick one wannit?

Scientists confirmed that 2017 was officially the fastest year to date. 

Anyway, welcome to my Annual Round-Up blog; a post reflecting on my year and the lessons learned. All Bold stuff is a link so get involved! 

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show 'n' tell

The year kicked off with a trip to Platform One College of Music, on the Isle of White, where I delivered a ‘life as a working musician’ seminar to the brilliant young students there. It was a completely new experience, and if ever the mantra ‘you learn from your students as much as you teach them’ were to apply, it was on this occasion. Having to compile everything I’ve learned in my career so far to a concise and relatable format, combined with the inquisitive and thorough questioning from the students, triggered the beginning of what became my Musician’s Survival Project, or MSP - something which began officially in February as a series of blog posts, and which is currently in the process of being turned in to something much bigger. So, to quote Noddy Holder, 'watch this space'…

head space

Bitte Scnell! Sehr, sehr lecker. 

Bitte Scnell! Sehr, sehr lecker. 

After refining the format of the MSP, I headed out to Berlin to catch up with my old friend Simon, dust off my Deutsch, and get in the right head space to complete the Musician's Survival Project (the smog of London can cloud the mind as well as the skies). The bleak chill of a wintery Berlin really focussed my ideas, and I finished the majority of the series over a few days in a blur of German beer and life-changing kebabs.

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In the Meantime, my good friend and serious ting graphic designer Hugh Huntingford got to work finalising the graphics for the first series of the MSP.

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Baring in mind this post-it note is what I gave him to work with, you can kind of appreciate how serious ting his skills are. Click his name above and check him out! 

 

an unexpected call

After arriving back from Berlin I was called on a video shoot for Acer Laptops, one of those 'if someone would have asked me last week what I was gonna be doing this week' moments - a super fun last minute call! 

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South by south west

All of a sudden it was time to knuckle down and prepare for Austin’s South By South West festival. I was due to be heading there with the brilliant Casi - an artist part of the Roc Nation contingent. HOLY MACARONI it was like nothing I have ever experienced. We were booked to play three showcases, and each were to bring a unique set of challenges. I’d had the time to learn every last detail of the set up, so was well prepared going in to the chaos - but sometimes there are those problems that you can’t anticipate. They arrive on your plate saying ‘OK SOLVE ME NOW PLZ THX’. Fortunately, we were all given as good a heads-up as is possible by some great people at the pre-SXSW hang out organised by PRS (big ups to Natti of Fickle Friends for the ‘forget about using wedges and go with IEM’s' tip-off - this helped). 

Anyway, SXSW was an eye-opening experience of personal and professional growth. So anyone heading out there in 2018, put the work in before you go and be sure there’s nothing about your gig you don’t know. Feel free to email me if you want some pointers.  There’s no festival like it, and it really sorts the wheat from the chaff. The arabica from the robusta. Know what I mean? Check out the video to see how our performance went.

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maida vale sessions

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Shortly after we arrived home, it was straight into Maida Vale studios with Casi to record for Huw Stephens' new music show. The experience couldn’t have been more juxtaposed to the fast-paced madness of SXSW - we had all the time we wanted to achieve the best result possible. We were even gifted with a string quartet, arranged by the brilliant Dr. Owain Llwyd of North Wales’ Bangor University - a huge pleasure working with such talents.

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a blast from the past

A nice surprise arrived at the door in July as the deliveryman transported me back to 2011 by handing me this. Back in 2011, I tracked some drum parts for Ed Sheeran on his first album, working alongside superstar producer Charlie Hugall. A sincere thanks to Team Ed for sending this my way - it sits pride of place in my flat. To boot, I was privileged to be featured in an article by DRUM! magazine, which I've read since I was a kid. Gratitude is key!

 

back where i belong

Back behind the kit in April, I joined up with The Beach once again for a headline at Camden Assembly. It’s always a treat playing with this super talented young song writer, and this show didn’t disappoint. Here’s a clip of us performing his single Bite My Tongue - look out for plenty more music coming from him in 2018!

 

another last minute call

One more last minute call came in courtesy of my good friend and brilliant drummer Jonny Brister, where I covered for him in the Someone Like You: The Adele Songbook theatre show. I got to sit back and knuckle down with my favourite way to play: big fat chunky grooves with some monster fills in *just* the right place. 

front man

After a joyfully drum-orientated year-so-far, I got to keep my frontman skills honed by gigging with my own project, Cassicus. Check out the clip here, where I was extremely lucky to be backed up by some great players and friends, James, Rudi, Tom and Matt. 

 

BACK TO THE WELSH MOUNTAINS in midsummer

Swim 130 miles from here in a straight line and you'll be in Scotland. Easy! 

Swim 130 miles from here in a straight line and you'll be in Scotland. Easy! 

Having gotten to know the team at Bangor University' through my work with Owain Llwyd, I was invited there to join the music department for a music seminar. I had the chance to talk about my career so far, and the process behind creating my Musician’s Survival Project - which since the beginning of the year I had refined. North Wales is a stunning place at the best of times, but in the middle of summer the train ride across the North Welsh coast to Bangor was a beautiful thing. 

Chatting to more wonderful students alongside a panel of incredible people and professionals from across the industry. 

Chatting to more wonderful students alongside a panel of incredible people and professionals from across the industry. 

 

a musical direction

With Jazz Morley, headlining at St Pancras Old Church in October

With Jazz Morley, headlining at St Pancras Old Church in October

As the 2017 finish line drew closer, things were only just getting started with two new artists I'd begun working with as Musical Director and Drummer, Only Girl and Jazz Morley. Through my work with Casi and top notch MD Mike Park I'd learned a huge amount about building rigs tailored toward electronic artists, so I was able to take these new skills and apply them to brand new environments. Here's a clip of the Only Girl show, where we headlined the classic London venue Borderline in November this year. 

and across the line

With Autumn in full bloom, my good drummer friend Russ and I decided to jump in the Royal Parks Half to keep our bodies on the move while gigs quietened down for a brief period. Here's a snap of us looking a little past out best as we began to reach the notorious 8th mile.

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Me, my sister Anna, bro-in-law Gabi, Russ and Lottie (and Lauren taking the pic)

Me, my sister Anna, bro-in-law Gabi, Russ and Lottie (and Lauren taking the pic)

Not forgetting my incredible mates who contributed their time and bakes to my bake sale, raising £650 for Prostate Cancer UK

one more for luck

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I was honoured to be invited back to The Academy of Contemporary Music to deliver my final seminar of the year, the content for which I divided between drumming and my Musician's Survival Project. It's always a joy revisiting a place you experienced so much personal growth in. 

wrapping it up

This year was a year of great variety. A year of working-things-out on the fly. Settling in to the person I am now, and growing in to the person I see myself becoming. Among all the incredible things I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to experience, there are always the moments of immense difficulty that creep in. Between the gaps. I'm already way over my word count so won't go too deep now - but these experiences are already detailed in the content currently available in my Musician's Survival Project. So keep an eye out, and feel get in touch with me any time about anything at all. 

 

I'll leave you with my favourite shot of the year - a squad snap with Only Girl taken by the brilliant Lauren Marsh Photography. Good to see the MD is behaving like the consummate professional he is. 

 

Peas,

 

Ben Scott.

A top squad of excellent musicians (from left), J, Ria, Ellen, Me, Scott

A top squad of excellent musicians (from left), J, Ria, Ellen, Me, Scott

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

Welcome to #7 and the last of the Seven Deadly Skills: ADAPTABILITY

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

Welcome to #5 of the Seven Deadly Skills: SELF DRIVE

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

MUSICIAN'S SURVIVAL project

Welcome to #4 of the Seven Deadly Skills: PUBLICITY

2016 Round Up

with a little help for a friend

After caving myself up in the practice room in January and thinking up the spectacular sub titles for this blog, I was asked by good friend and fantastic MD Mike Park to cover him for an appearance on Swedish show 'Skavlan' with the brilliant Låpsley (XL), whose debut album Long Way Home came out earlier this year. 

I love the challenge that comes along with depping - you're jumping into someone else's shoes, and more often than not, need to use their set up. With electronic drums come a whole new layer of customisation very specifically matched to the live show of the artist - so knowing my way around my Roland SPDsx in this case was crucial. Managed to strike some bants with Alan too which was a plus. 

BIRTHDAY SURPRISE AT hammersmith apollo 

They say a birthday comes but once a year...and while this may be true, they don't come with 5000 people to sing you in too often. A rendition of 'Happy Birthday' was exactly what I was lucky enough to receive from this bunch below, while opening for Kodaline with The Beach.

Below, here's a clip of the closing moments of the Brixton Academy show. It's an extended outro we attach to the song 'Thieves'.

life on the road

And so April - back in the rehearsal room with The Beach & MD Kojo Samuel for an upcoming tour, showcasing a whole bunch of great new material. And the perfect road test for my new Sonor Artist snare...a deep and luscious maple beauty! 

As always, new songs bring new challenges, and so it was great to get deep on the hybrid drumming - figuring out how to get the drum parts in the sweet spot between live energy, and faithful reproduction of the record's drum sounds.  Triggering and my Roland KT10 pedal is indespensable for this. 

FROM MAPLE TO MAHOGANY

Between shows we managed to fit in time for the fantastic Mahogany Sessions, where I set down the drum sticks and stuck to the other half of what I love to do - sing. Tastefully...on top of a dust bin, of course, and performing the single Geronimo, which George wrote with Jamie Scott. 

As part of tour, it was a joy to play Bushstock festival, held in St Stephen's Church in Shepherd's Bush. I don't think I've ever looked more zen behind the kit...

cassicus 

After Springtime touring and before the festivals kicked in, I had a little time to focus on my own music. Locking myself up for a couple of weeks I got to work on my first EP, releasing under the name CASSICUS. Check it out on the Spotify widget, along with the Sofar Sounds performance below.

2016 - A great year with some positive steps forward for my career & playing. I couldn't help but include a photo of the non-musical highlight of the year: Indian cookery class with North London cookery school Spice Monkey. If music is the food of love...then curry is most definitely the food of drumming. After getting in a mountain of practice this year when not playing shows at my favourite Brockley Studios, I'm feeling stronger than ever and can't wait to get back out in 2017. I've got all kinds of projects lined up but won't bore you with the details...the proof is always in the pudding!

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  Bit more telly 

As well as shooting with Katy B for her VEVO Discovers show on YouTube, we popped in for a chat and performance with Aled Jones on his Weekend show... I snuck a shot in of his cosy studio below! 

off to the festivals!

Below, Festival Republic stage, Leeds & Reading Festival. For the tech nerds, the stack on the right is a self contained unit we take around with The Beach, complete with Mackie DL32R mixer, which means we essentially give any venue our LR outs and we're good to go. Our sound engineer Stu Mac arranged it, and takes care of the mix from his iPad. Aditionally, we can tweak our own ears mix on the Master Fader app. It makes us very popular with stage managers! 

And a post-show shot below, with a blurry George.

new artist casi

In Autumn, I began working with a new artist, Casi - part of the Roc Nation roster. She's an incredible talent, already with some very exciting things upcoming in 2017. From North Wales, near Bangor, I received a long overdue education on the fascinating history, and thriving music scene found there. We toured around the UK, finishing up with a support slot for brilliant Swedish artist MØ, pictured below.  

And a bit more telly below, this time of a Christmassy disposition, invited along by Welsh channel S4C. I cast the kit aside for this one (logistics!) and stuck to performing solely with the SPDsx and KT10 kick pedal. 

We found a little time to award ourselves with a few elegant shelf ornaments before making an escape.