Dali Mraz, a drummer from Chech Republic, is a true innovator and a fantastic artist. In addition to drumming, he is also a piano player, composer and recording engineer. I met him some time ago in Bielsko Biała at a workshop which was organized by Krzysztof Dziedzic. It was an amazing experience, because of his great energy and kindness, making his playing on drums even more powerful for me.
We talked about music, grooves, music video recording, the speed of life nowadays and in the end of our meeting, we traded t-shirts for fun.
I felt like a young guy who had a chance to meet his greatest idol. My affection for this dude runs a bit deeper in that we are actually both in the DW Family and play on DW Drums. It was delightful to talk about these drums sets and hear what he likes about these drums and why he chose this company…
After this meeting I came back to my job and for quite a long time, I was very busy and during a recent holiday. I decided to make some time off from writing because of a demanding schedule, playing gigs and lack of balance in my life.
I have returned to writing and I thought that the next step will be to interview Dali, because he is such an interesting drummer and human being.
I hope, this interview is as interesting to read as it was to write, because Dali is very sincere and talks about his life with great passion.
I’ll start with a simple question. Do U remember the reason why did U start play on drums?
Hyperactivity and a lot of spare energy. Luckily, I found something like that, otherwise It would be really extremely difficult with me. Besides that, drums always fascinated me.
You are from Czech Republik and do you think that it is a good place for drummers who want to start a career?
It depends on what you expect. Every place has its pros and cons. I think my country is not inclined to the fusion genre that much as abroad but there are still plenty of opportunities to catch 🙂
Your mentality is great, because you are very positive, confident, you play with passion, so you have many advantages to be one of the greatest drummers around the world. What do you think about yourself?
When I was a kid, I had the goal of being the fastest, the loudest or the smoothest drummer. I have always been looking for some tops and I always cared mainly about that. However, the older I am, the more I experience the spiritual dimension of the thing and these tops lose their significance here. I try to capture the fragile emotion as much as I can, a passion, that should bloom every time a person plays. It is pity if one destroys it by technique or the ego. But it’s all just process as one gets older, and therefore the priorities and a view of the music and the instrument are changing. I think I can slowly find my own peace. One, that I’ve been looking for so long.
You are a different drummer than others, because you say that you are a composer, not just a drummer right?
I compose music for movies, programs and other diferent projects. I sit at the piano every day.
Is it better to look at drums like a composer, rather than a drummer, and what is the difference, what is better or maybe it is good to be both?
One should be both. Everyone takes care of something else. If the songwriter writes only one strike on the triangle in a classical music composition, it can be a beautiful climax of a musical sentence to the audience. And everything is for the benefit of the music itself. But from a drummer’s point of view it is just one note that he is waiting 30 minutes for. In this case, the drummer-songwriter would listen to the music for 30 minutes, and his single note would play as a whole with the same enthusiasm as if he there was 1000 of them, because it fits the musical concept. The drummer, who has ever tried to compose, usually accepts other playsers and serves the given sequences because he simply respects them.
What do you think about Drumeo, how important is it to drummers?
Definitely very important. This trip helped and supported me a lot and I got a lot of great experiences.
You were there not long ago and maybe you can tell us how it works.
Yes, everything there was very friendly and I always like to remember it with a smile on my face.
I saw the whole video on youtube and this material was amazing for me and still is. I watched this video with joy and the knowledge which you shared on camera about how to be a composer shows how passionate, truly passionate you are!
Thank you! It is like to share something that really resonates through your being and to talk about a small planet where you live. It is a beautiful experience.
I wonder who or what is your biggest motivation to develop your playing, be a drummer, achieve your music dreams and etc?
I have been in music since I was little kid and I always wanted to keep my integrity. Child playfulness that goes wiht my playing all my life. I wanted to be undeformed by the commercial life of a musician be at least one instrument.
Your career has developed very fast and it’s very cool. Do you make plans alone or do you have support from music companies or somebody else like family or friends or do you do everything solo?
Unfortunately, I have to do most of the things myself. If you want to play your music, you have to create it. You have to create the opportunity to play and everything around that as well. It’s a lot of worries. Fortunately, I have a lot of great musicians and a loving family around me and I appreciate that much.
You got married recently, so congratulations!!!
Yeeees. Thank you!
Your wife is also a drummer and I wonder how it works, are you an inspiration to each other or do you compete with each other?
It suits me perfectly. It is great to have a partner with whom you can talk from music to drumming „nerd” stuff. We are even in preparations of something, that we cooperate together on. So I’m curious how it goes.
Why did you choose DW Drums and what is special about this drums for you?
When I was young I had old Czech drums Amati. I liked DW as a kid, but I did not have the money to get DW kit. So I ordered the DW bass drum front head with the DW logo and kept rebuilding the drums so they looked completely like DW. So, when DW offer came in, I was very happy.
Tell me something about your drum set!
It is golden and silver and makes me very happy. But my biggest joy is the GONG drum.
You recorded your solo album, which is called „Level 25”. That sounds like a reference to your age because you are actually 25 years old, right?
I finished all the songs when I was 25. But there are more meanings to it 🙂
Tell me about this album, it’s inspiration, ideas, musicians who recorded for you on this cd?
I wanted to capture my three-year journey, when I decided to confront my ego and start pushing it out of the music. In my case, the drums represent the ego. On this trip, where I invited 20 guests from all over the world to help me cross that river. There are very early songs, which very technical but also the ones, that I composed later, completely wihtout drums. Collaboration with people such as Scott Kinsey, Federico Malaman, Marius Pop, Gergo Borlai, Anton Davidyants and others was like a great ride along that river from its springs until reaching the ocean.
Is it like story of your life?
It’s my testimony and a part of my life in 50 minutes. Stories of the songs are also featured in a mini book that is coming out with the album. It is like a path where you walk across the mountains and look for understanding but then you find it in your backpack.
Are you already planning your next album or will you try to focus more on drum workshops and concerts?
I’m definitely planning to work on another album, but I next albums will all be different. It’s a continuous journey I’ve been walking for a while. In 2019 I want to publish my book and concert with my music and other projects I’m working on. I am looking forward to it so much.
Dali! Thank you very much for interview and I hope to see you again in Poland!
I also thank you for great questions. It was a pleasure to answer them. See you soon!
Interview: Paweł 'Mr. Sticky' Larysz
Photos: Dali Mraz archives.