Joey Pangilinan is a freelance drummer based in Sydney. He has been drumming since age 12 and has undertaken formal study at the renowned music school, Drummers Collective in New York City. Joey is well versed in many styles including Rock, Funk, Soul/RnB, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Big Band, Caribbean, Musical Theatre and Fusion. He maintains a busy gigging and teaching schedule by conducting private drumming lessons at Collective Sound Studios in Brand X’s Creative precinct at St Leonards. But now, he has moved his teaching practice online with private drum lessons being offered online.

Tell us a little bit about why you do what you do.


I play the drums because it is a passion of mine. I get so much enjoyment and fulfilment whenever I’m behind the kit playing with a band, or tapping out rhythms on a table, or even making beats with the chatter of my teeth. Rhythm is such a useful tool and a powerful form of expression. Body percussion were used by slaves to make music. Drums were used by the military to synchronise the marching soldiers. Even the beat of the heart has a special rhythm. I believe everyone is a drummer at heart. I always tell people if you have ever tapped your foot or nodded your head to music, you’re already a drummer in the making. 


When was the moment you realised that your creative practice was going to be your thing? And who in your life (at that time) thought that was a bad idea?


I started playing a musical instrument from age 9, and drums from age 12, but it wasn’t until I was 18 when I decided I wanted to take music seriously and pursue it as my career. 

I played in many different bands throughout primary school and high school, and took lessons from local teachers throughout my teenage years. I always loved to practice, and made a daily routine to work on my drum exercises everyday after school. I was interested in finding out who inspired my drum heroes and how they got to where they are, so I started researching where they studied and who they studied with. It was by this time I had made the decision to make music my thing. I was going to study either in Australia, the UK, or the States. After careful consideration, I chose to study abroad, at the world renowned Drummers Collective in New York City. I remember thinking to myself “yep, this is where I’m going to go”, so I calculated the total cost of the program fees, plus living expenses, and I gave myself a four year goal to save up enough money to afford my overseas schooling. 

When I told my Mum about my plans to study music in New York, she wasn’t too fond on the idea and tried to persuade me to take up engineering, to which I replied, “But Mum, I don’t like engines”.

Fast forward four years later to 2011, I had my suitcase packed and ready to board my flight to experience an adventure I will never forget. 


What is exciting you most about your practice right now?


As I have more spare time to work on my drumming, I’m able to focus on specific concepts and ideas that I’ve stored in my head for a while. I’m excited that most of these ideas are coming to fruition.


Given the opportunity to raid one of your suppliers for free, where would you go and what would you get?


I would visit the Zildjian cymbal factory in Massachusetts, and grab myself a set of K Custom Dark crashes. Mmm those are some tasty cymbals.


Is Covid-19 changing the way you work?


Yes, it definitely is. My work consists of playing live gigs and teaching private drum lessons. Due to the closure of pubs, clubs and music venues, gigs have ceased and live music has been temporarily put on hold.  Also, because of social distancing rules and restrictions, I’ve had to change face-to-face lessons to an online platform using Zoom.


What cultural/social activities are you craving right now?


I’m really craving and missing playing shows and watching live gigs . As much as I enjoy solo practice, it can’t substitute the feeling and energy of playing with other musicians. I feel there’s a special connection when everyone is on the same wave length in terms of creating and experiencing music, not only by the performers, but also the audience members.


Given the chance to attend one show, gig, festival, exhibition or event right now what would it be?


I was really looking forward to seeing Marc Rebillet. He’s a comedic improvisational performer, who creates his music on the spot, using a looper, keyboard, percussion and vocals. I highly recommend checking him out. 


What surprising thing have you learnt about yourself during lockdown?


I have learnt that I still have the capacity and desire to learn and study subjects other than music. Throughout this lockdown, I have had more time to appease my curiosity, so I started to study my native language (Tagalog) because of my Filipino roots, and I’m also doing online courses studying Food and Nutrition. 


Who is the first person you are going to hug when social distancing is removed?


I’m going to give a big hug to my best mate’s new born baby girl. 


When you were younger, who did you think you’d become as an adult?


I was an active kid, and was always running around and jumping off things. In my year 6 yearbook, we had a bunch of questions to answer, and one of them was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I loved physical activity, so I wrote “An Olympic athlete in any sport”.