This week Ross of Songplistic got together with Connor McNeil to discuss his YouTube channel- TDR Drums and his new music project Ivory Saints.
Ross: Hi Connor, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. To start off tell me a bit about your YouTube channel?
Connor: I started a YouTube channel for drum covers at the beginning of lockdown last year when I got placed on furlough from my work. It was basically just a catalyst to encourage me to sit behind my kit a few times a week to practice. It’s the reason why my first few videos were relatively poor quality and done on an electric kit in the house. The more I played the better I felt myself getting and the more it encouraged me to practice and record new covers. I like the idea of people enjoying and watching the covers but if I’m honest, views and subscriptions don’t really mean all that much to me, I’m more than happy for the channel to continue as an excuse for me to rattle the kit as often as I can. It’s a great motivator. As I started to progress it came time for me to move away from my electric kit and attempt to build a “studio”. And that’s basically where we’re at now.
Ross: Alright, that's really great that you managed to make the most of the lockdowns! so, tell us about your new band?
Connor: Our name is Ivory Saints and we’re a two (hoping to be three) piece sleazy southern rock band from Glasgow. Before Christmas time I was on the hunt for bands that were looking for a drummer, as you know, its how we met, and trolling through Joinmyband I came across an ad for a band that I decided to apply for. It ended up not being a band by the time studios opened up but the guitarist Scott was still keen to get in and do a bit of jamming. A few months later and we’ve just finished recording our first single and on our way to recording the next one over the next few weeks. It’s been a great experience, him and I clicked instantly with music tastes and play style. We’re currently on the hunt for a bassist to complete the three piece.
Ross: And how did you go about recording the music, who produced the songs and also your YouTube videos?
Connor: As far as the Ivory Saints stuff goes, Scott and I do the recording together. I’m lucky enough to have the kit and mics set up ready to go for my YouTube channel so that’s a hurdle that’s crossed straight away. He basically does all of the production, with me over his shoulder giving criticisms and just generally being a pain in the ass. I do all of the video editing, sound recording & mixing for my channel on my own. They’re both skill sets that I’ve had to learn just to attempt to put out decent videos that don’t look and sound like complete trash. I’m far from an expert in either but as they say, practice makes perfect.
Ross: That's cool, we definitely support the do it yourself attitude at Songplistic. What do you have coming up?
Connor: I’m just continuing to put covers out, nothing major in the pipeline for the channel. Just keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully the channel can expand and grow but if it just continues the way it has over the past year then I’ll be happy. Like I say, ivory saints are looking for a bassist so that we can maybe start looking into gigging when things start to get back into full swing again. Like I said, we’re looking to release our first track in the next few weeks and we are gonna start working on putting the second one down when we have the time to do it. Hopefully it’ll be recorded and produced by the time the first one is released.
Ross: That's great, I'm excited to hear what you guys have come up with. I've noticed a bunch of varying genres on your YouTube channel and it made me wonder, what are your musical influences?
Connor: My “top 3 bands” I’m pretty sure have been the same for about 13 years as much as they swap positions depending on my mood! Alkaline Trio, Avenged Sevenfold and Black Stone Cherry. Each and every one of them have influenced me as a drummer and as a musician in general. I think I started listening to each because the drummers are amazing and stayed because they’re all fantastic bands, I mean, Matt Skiba alone is a poet as a lyricist and he has such a fantastic voice. Obviously when it comes to Avenged Sevenfold the stand out for me was always Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. I actually got my death bat tattoo after he died. Each and every member of Black Stone Cherry are just unbelievable musicians and every time I’ve seen them play they’ve blown me away more than the last. Some other drumming influences would be Phil Collins (Genesis), Gabe Helguera (I Prevail), Adam Grey (Texas In July), Travis Barker (Blink 182, +44), Branden Saller (Atreyu, Hell or Highwater), Dan Searle (Atreyu) Arejay Hale (Halestorm) & of course Joey Jordison (Slipknot).
Ross: Those are a lot of great musicians you just named! so before I let you go can you tell me a little bit about how you got into music?
Connor: My Mum & Dad both loved all different types of music and I grew up with the house filled by a wide array of genres. Between my dads love for the eagles and my mums love for Phil Collins I think I was always destined to play the drums. I initially started by learning how to play guitar but that very quickly grew old as I realised dexterity was something that didn’t come naturally to me. I mentioned in a post on my Instagram a few weeks ago when Kevin Clark unfortunately passed away, that it was actually going to see School of Rock that turned me on to the drums as his character Freddy was by far the coolest member of the school band and I so badly wanted to be him. The second I picked up the sticks and started bashing away I knew it was meant to be. I’ve loved every minute of my musical “career” if you can call it that and I hope that the future is bright! I know as long as I’m playing music then it will be.
Connor regularly uploads him drumming to covers on the TDR Drums YouTube Channel. Also expect some music from Ivory Saints in the near future! Follow their socials below:
YouTube: TDRDrums - YouTube
Facebook: TDR Drums | Facebook
Instagram: TDR DRUMS (@tdrdrums)
Facebook: Ivory Saints | Facebook
Instagram: IVORY SAINTS (@ivorysaintsband)