Focus on Franck Agulhon [interview]

Interviews, News | Posted on by Franck Agulhon

Where are you from and where do you live now ?
I live in Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine, near Metz or Nancy (North-East of France). I was born in Avignon i 1970 and I grew up in Marseille.

Since when have you played the drums ?
I began drumming at the age of 16 as a right-handed, but I had difficulties. Fortunately, I met Philippe Levan in Marseille, a great teacher who understood I was left-handed ! He played the piano and I accompanied him. Thanks to Philippe, I have recorded my first record after 3 month ! At that time, I was playing 5 days a week with a pianist in a club : Pop-Music, Rock and Blues to earn a little money. I also went to a samba school…
A friend of mine, Christian Mariotto who is drummer too, introduced me to Jazz music with john Coltrane and Magma (French Free-Jazz-Rock band). Then I discovered the Traditional style, the Swing, the Bop etc…

Who or what inspired you to play the drums ?
Nothing particular, but I use to hit everything I could ! When I was a teenager, I injured myself playing Football, and my friend and I decided to play music instead.

Where did you study ?
In 1990, I left Marseille to study at the musical and creative center in Nancy (now the M.A.I). After one year, they asked me to be a part of the pedagogical team. I gave sight-reading lessons 4/5 days a week. Then, thanks to the other teacher and their networks, I began to have gigs in Lorraine, in Paris and little by little I reduced my courses schedule to give priority to concerts.

Which drummer most inspired you?
First, I was keen on modern drummers as Dave Weckl, Vinny Colaiuta and Steve Gadd ! Then I went all the way back to jazz drummers as Jack Dejohnette, Elvin jones, Billy Higgins, Art Blakey, Art Taylor or Ben Riley. I have also been inspired by studio drummers as Earl Palmer, John Robinson and Jim Keltner or Rock drummers as Travis Barker and Dave Grohl. Today, I carefully listen to Marcus Gilmore, Chris Dave, Eric Harland, Brian Blade, Mark Giuliana, Ari Hoenig, Jim Black, Joey Barron, Jonathan Blake, Greg Hutchinson or Justin Brown.

Do you still give drumming lessons ?
From time to time. I have a few particular students who are professionnel drummers. I also give some Master-classes at the M.A.I, at Didier Lockwood’s Music Center and at the CIAM in Bordeaux.

How much time a day/a week do you practice?
When I’m home, I practice 5 or 6 hours a day… Warming, Independence, Concepts, Tempo, Click exercises etc… When I’m on the road, I play rudiments on a cushion : single strokes, double strokes paradiddles etc…

Can you tell us about the set-up of your drum set ?
I play on a TAMA kit : Bass Drum 18′ or 20′ snare 14′ Toms 12′ 10′ and 14′ (sometimes 16′). Zildjan cymbals : 2 rides and 2 crashes or 1 crash and 1 spalsh. I play Vic First and Resta Jay sticks and my seat has to be at exactly 60 cm !

Who are you playing with ?
Currently, I play with french singer Liane Foly, Michel Portal, Pierre de Bethmann and my own band, « Post-Katrina », to name just a few…

If you could be in possession of only 3 albums, which would they be ?

  1. A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
  2. City life – Steve Reich
  3. Requiem – Gabriel Fauré

Do you have any shows or album releases coming up ?
I have been recording severals albums recently : Pierre de Bethmann’s Medium Band, Pierrick Pedron’s Cubic Cure, with Diego Imbert, Eric Legnini or with my own band « Post-Katrina ». I also have a Drum Solo project called « Solistick » which is 50% musical and 50% educational. I work on a new version of this show including the whole drumming history. It will be ready within the next months.

And of course, my brand new « DRUMBOOK ». I work on this method for a couple of years : more than 200 pages about fundamentals, Rock and Jazz drumming and many more… Almost 200 video available on my website for those who buy the book !
If you want to purchase my « DRUM BOOK » !

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