Young Drummer Of The Year finalists announced

The 10 finalists for next year's Young Drummer Of The Year 2010 final have been selected and will now be working hard on their chops for the final, set to take place in Leamington Spa on Sunday 24 January 2010.

The final, to be judged by a panel of pro drummers, will be a tough challenge for these young stars of the future. To find out who has made it to the final 10 read...

Ben Clark

“I have been playing the drum kit since the age of 10; I quickly progressed and went on to pass my grade 8 with distinction, two years after picking up my first pair of sticks. I am currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Saturday school, playing drums and percussion with some fantastic players and teachers.

“As well as performing regularly I also write music for Piano and Guitar which helped me to achieve an A* in my music GCSE a year early. I play the drums for various other ensembles; genres include Jazz, Funk, Latin and Rock one of which is my band The Axiom.

“Influences: Danny Pearson, Rob Farrer, Graham Thew (all great teachers and friends), Buddy Rich, Chad Smith, Jojo Mayer, Thomas Lang and Steve Gadd.

“I am ecstatic about reaching the finals; it still feels like a dream! I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and playing in front of the judges.”

Jake Brown

“I´ve been drumming for 4 years since I caught this infectious bug at the age of 9 playing at my church. I´ve always been around music, especially as my grandad plays his old fifties and sixties albums constantly! The Tornados, The Ventures and The Surfaris are amongst my favourites. I listen to all types of music from Buddy Rich to the Foo Fighters. I love to get up there and play and have performed drum solos at the Victoria Hall theatre and also play in a three-piece band The Fountain Of Youth.

“I practice every day on the kit and the pad and am heavily influenced by Ian Palmer, Jon Broberg, Steve White, Karl Brazil, and Steve Smith, they are all amazing guys and players.

“I have recently started studying percussion at the Royal College of Music in London every Saturday, which is awesome. My dream is to become a professional drummer and have learnt so much already from so many talented drummers. I think a big thing I have learnt so far is practice to play well, be nice and just be yourself, getting to the final of Young drummer will teach me even more and I am so proud, pleased and excited to have got this far.”

Lewis O'Neill

“I have been playing drums for 6 years and I have met many great people and had great opportunities. I love all styles of music and my influences come from Nirvana and Sonic Youth all the way to Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. My favourite drummers are Jojo Mayer, Dennis chambers and John Blackwell. I have played in many bands and have been performing in live venues since the age of 11. I have also recorded in many great places such as Steelworks with renowned producer/ songwriter Elliot Kennedy. This wouldn't be possible without my drum teacher and my parents. They inspire and encourage me to do the things I do. The competition is a great day for both performers and the audience as I have watched the show before entry. I am looking forward to the Young Drummer Of The Year competition and the fantastic opportunities it may bring!”

Matthew Arnold

“I started drumming at 10 years old with the inspiration of my mum. I was stunned by her and immediately wanted lessons. My first lesson was a dream for me and I decided to carry it on. I have been into music since I was very young and always wanted to make it into the music business because it is my passion in life. I have taken my Grade 7 drums and passed with 97 percent and am taking my Grade 8 drums this month. Playing the drums for me is what I love to do whether I am by myself, or with other musicians well established in their own field.

“At the moment I play in a band called Redshift and we write our own songs as well as cover songs that we love to listen to. I like to perform in front of lots of people sharing my passion with other musicians who share the same passion. If not I even try my best to inspire other potential young drummers to pick up two sticks and sit on the drum throne. I currently study music at The Royal Academy of Music Junior Department.

“Being a top 10 finalist is very satisfying. I am pleased that my hard work has paid off and that I will be able to gain a lot of experience from the competition. I have influences from the likes of: Steve White, Craig Blundell, Omar Abidi and Chris Adler making my favourite styles quite contrasting.”

Maxwell Marlow

“I was keen to learn an instrument from the age of 9, and after months of pestering, my parents finally gave in and bought me a small electronic drum kit. When they realised I was serious about learning the drums they got me an acoustic kit and I began my drum lessons at the age of 11, 5 years ago.

“Ever since I have been drumming I have jammed along with my dad, who plays bass and keyboards. This has helped me to develop my ability to improvise on the drum kit and helped me to play more confidently with other musicians.

“I formed my first group in year 7. We entered my school´s talent competition and beat the sixth form band! We played various gigs at friend´s parties and local events which led me to playing drums in school productions covering genres such as blues, funk, jazz, rock´n´roll and pop. In the past two years I have played in a number of covers bands playing at a variety of events.

“To be in the finals is a great achievement and I would like to thank my friends, family, and of course my excellent drum teacher Chris, for giving me the support and encouragement which helped me get this far.

“Influences: Tony Royster Jr, Thomas Pridgen, Dave Weckl, Chad Smith.”

Ollie Harding

Ollie is 15 years old and attends Builth Wells High School in Mid Wales. He began drumming after watching the first YDOTY competition back in 2002, where he was given his first set of sticks by one of the entrants, Brad Webb. Ollie was mesmerised by the drumming skills of the players and since then he has had made it his goal to make these finals. He has been to every event so far and to make these finals is a dream come true. Ollie has been fortunate to study with some great teachers, from his first teacher Janette Williams to Billy Cobham, the tutors at Rhythm and now Darby Todd and his main teacher Dave Hassell- they have all been inspirational.

In 2005/6 Ollie was one of the drummers in the national youth rock orchestra and performed in London and Bath along side guitar greats Scott Henderson and Paul Gilbert.

Ollie likes all styles of music playing and deps in several bands; he enjoys blues, jazz, funk, Latin & rock and is currently rehearsing for local pantomime.

Ollie wants to be a successful session player and hopes to study in America in the future.

Influences: Ian Thomas, Dave Hassell, Ralph Salmins, Pete Cater, Dewi Young, Brad Webb, Alex Bridge, Darby Todd,
Steve Gadd and his buddy George Barnett.

Paeris Giles

“I love drumming and even though people come up to me after gigs and say they´ve enjoyed the set, I´ve never been quite sure of my own ability. I´m constantly comparing myself against other players, checking out what cool stuff they´re doing and trying to incorporate some of their techniques into my own playing. Getting to the final of Young Drummer of the Year has given me the confidence to believe that maybe I´m quite good after all!“

Paeris joined his first band ‘GunAngel´ at just 11 and the band played their first gig at Bournemouth´s O2 Opera House in front of 700 people. GunAngel won Power FM´s ‘Rock School Competition´ and opened for The Zutons in front of 2,500 people at Southampton Guildhall when Paeris was just 12

Now 14, Paeris regularly plays The Joiners in Southampton and Mr Kyps in Poole.

Rhys Morgan

“I have loved music since I was little. I was always banging on saucepans or strumming a badminton racket. I had my first drum kit at 10 and began by playing percussion in my Primary School brass band. At twelve I started having drum lessons with my tutor Martin Webber and played in the school rock band and various shows including Godspell and We will Rock You. All these experiences developed my playing and my ability to perform as part of a band. In 2006 I attended a drumming course at the Drum Institute, London, which was a great experience for me.

“I play drums in the worship team in Kings Church Swansea with a great group of musicians and I love the dynamic we have together to worship God. This year I have also played with The Revelators blues band, playing festivals all over the UK, including Blues on the Farm at Chichester.

“I am currently studying a Diploma in Music and A level music at Neath College which I love, I get to drum all day and develop my musical performance. I am so thrilled to be through to the Young Drummer finals and really see it as an awesome privilege and opportunity to be part of something that raises the profile of up-and-coming drummers in the UK.

“Influences: Neal Peart, Jojo Mayer, Steve Gadd and Aaron Spears.”

Rob Hall

“I have been drumming for around 12 years. My main influences are Benny Greb, Thomas Pridgen and Stanton Moore. Stanton Moore has greatly influenced me with his New Orleans style of drumming since meeting him at the ‘Ultimate Drum Experience´. The week that took place last summer was inspiring and was great to meet such amazing people and talented musicians. It was an unforgettable experience and has development my drumming greatly. Since reaching the finals last year I have become a much more confident drummer and this has led me to new and exciting things. I am now the drummer and percussionist for a singer/songwriter called Gavin Mart which has given me the opportunity to play countless gigs around Leeds, the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham where we played six times in four days and to record an acoustic EP and, more recently, a new single.

“It is an amazing feeling to be playing at the finals again and I am grateful for the opportunities it is opening up for me. I know it is going to be a fantastic day and that I am looking forward to meeting everyone!”

Tristan Evans

“I joined my school Drum Corps aged 7 and became tipper drummer (lead drummer) at 9. My parents got me a five-piece kit for my birthday. I started having lessons and I was hooked. I enjoy drumming to different genres of music and play at school concerts covering rock, swing, jazz, plays and solos. I am in two school bands, Malicious and The Midnight Orange Monkeys gigging at places like Mama Stones and The Hub in Exeter, which have offered great experiences. Something I have always enjoyed doing is asking the performing band at functions, pubs, etc if I could drum with them and have had some excellent times!

“My first favourite band was Busted. Newer musical influences are Blink 182, Green Day and Hollywood Undead. Drummers I admire are Travis Barker, Joey Jordison, Thomas Lang, Gene Krupa and Carl Palmer. I love showmanship and my aim is to be in a band where the drummer is not at the back.

“Being chosen for the final 10 has made me extremely chuffed and proud and I look forward very much to playing for the judges, meeting the other drummers and seeing what possibilities I could achieve in the future.”

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.