Artist Interview: Derek Wolfford
(Marketing Manager of Integrated Media, Pearl)
Derek Wolfford has been professionally involved in the performance and business side of drumming. Over the last 19 years, he has also sustained a career in the music manufacturing industry with the leader in drums and percussion, Pearl Corporation. He is presently the Marketing Manager of Integrated Media specializing in web marketing/social analytics and audio/video productions.
He has maintained a healthy performance schedule and also ventured into studio work having played drums/percussion on Billboard Top 20 charting releases from James Wesley, David Ball, Craig Morgan, Bo Bice, Rodney Clawson, & countless custom sessions. Derek has also conducted numerous interviews and has had articles appear in Modern Drummer Magazine, Tom-Tom Magazine, Pearl Drums.com, Modern Drummer.com, and was featured in an issue of Drum Business Magazine.
Question: What was your first drum set?
My first drum kit was a used 4-piece Apollo Jazz Festival kit in a Red Agate finish.
Question: Did you ever take private lessons?
I took private lessons in middle school for snare drum and was self-taught on drum kit.
Question: Who is your favorite drummer and why?
Choosing one drummer that encapsulates everything is impossible as I like particular characteristics of many drummers. The finesse of Will Kennedy, the creativeness of Matt Chamberlain, the lilt of Levon Helm, the pocket of Terence Higgins, the voicings of Robert “Sput” Searight, the power of Kenny Aronoff, and there are numerous drummers I could plug into this list aside from these. An easier way to say this is that you can learn something from everyone.
Question: What makes the Pearl brand special?
Although Pearl is the largest manufacturer of drums and percussion in the world, our attention to detail is that of a custom company. We spend a tremendous amount of time to insure that we bring a variety of quality instruments at affordable pricing to as many people as possible. Stellar Customer Service, inventive Inbound Marketing, and our Lifetime Warranty are only some of the ways Pearl stands out from the competition.
Question: What are your thoughts on the electronic elements so common in percussion these days?
You have to do more than play drums to survive as a working drummer today. Having a familiarity with electronics such as programming or triggering is a necessity in large arenas and even at the club level. It’s acceptable to have a synth paired with a piano and hopefully drummers are getting to that point. Electronics are just another tool for a drummer’s ever growing bag of tricks.
Question: How did you make the transition from recreational drummer to professional drummer?
In my experience, both require perseverance and learning how to adapt your skills to fit with the times.
Question: What inspires you to continue drumming?
Drumming is magic. It’s a perfect marriage of mental and physical activity that you can do for your entire life. It can be an instrument for collaboration or one where you have total control of what’s played. Not to mention the endless amounts of new players and music I discover every day.
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