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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Q&A : Fills Monkey

French duo Sébastien Rambaud and Yann Coste are Fills Monkey, the group behind We Will Drum You; a show full of heart and bursting with rhythmical talent. Musically led and without words, it combines the power of rhythm with the visuals of cartoon-like play. Both performers are exceptional drummers with a wealth of credits as live and recording artists, working with numerous bands and artists both in France and across the globe.

We caught up with Sébastien and Yann to ask them to shed some light on their process and the inspiration behind their work.

How many types of drums do you play?

A ”classic” drum kit is basically already a mix of different percussive instruments. Bass drum, snare, hi-hat, toms, cymbals. So, in a way being a drummer means you’re already a multi-instrumentalist. When your hands and feet are trained to play different rhythms at the same time you can pretty much play all types of drums! But to challenge ourselves a bit further, we like to create our own instruments, like our unique electronic drum kit that we use in the show, which is almost a two-metre wide circle with drums instruments all around it!

Percussion is rarely the focus of a musical composition. Do you think we are collectively missing a trick here?

You’re right, percussive instruments aren’t usually the focus, but rhythm always is though. Because without rhythm, musicians wouldn’t be able to play together. Can you imagine a piece where musicians don’t focus on the same metrical skeleton? It would be terrible to listen to! Rhythm is the base of everything.So in creating We Will Drum You, we pretty much just stripped everything else away!

How many instruments are played during the show?

There are so many instruments in this show that it’s really difficult to know the exact number! It also depends on whether you consider a drum kit as one instrument or a mix of different instruments (there are almost 40 toms and cymbals for example!) There are acoustic instruments as well as electronic instruments, percussive instruments and melodic ones too. At one point I’m on the electric guitar strumming a folk-western number for example! There are also instruments that we’ve invented ourselves, for instance my bell suit, which is always a physical triumph to play! Some bells are played with my feet, some with my hands, and some even with my nose!

What is your favourite music style?

We really try to listen to and enjoy a range of music styles, from rock, jazz,Latin percussion to heavy metal! We see these styles like a large source of inspiration to create our universe and I think that’s why everyone can enjoy this stage show!

What is the age of your preferred audience? Or is it more about attitude or outlook?

There’s no age to come and see our show. You can come with your children and your parents! We’re really used to having all kinds of people in the venue; children, teenagers, adults, and older people and we enjoy having this diversity of people.

Have you, following your shows, inspired many people to pick up their own drum kits and start playing themselves?

Yeah. After our shows we meet a lot of young drummers who started playing drums after seeing our show! This young generation is really talented and there’s no doubt that they’re going to go way further than us! And it’s so great to have in some way been part of that journey.

Fills Monkey: We Will Drum You, Pleasance Courtyard (Grand), 4pm, 3-29 August (not 16 or 23)


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