Josh Dion? Ever heard of him? I think so, because he’s probably the most magical drummer in the world.
What style of music is he playing these days with his friend Geoff Kaly? He combines Funk with R&B music and they do this amazingly well. If you haven’t seen them, you should, because they are, in fact, the best duet I’ve ever heard live. In addition to being a world class drummer, Josh is a multi-instrumentalist, which is truly inspiring.
Paris Monster have many fans around the world. They put on great shows across the globe and their music flows the bottom of them hearts.
I first saw them at the great Śląski Festival Perkusyjny in Chorzów, Poland and I must say that it a was fantastic show, because those two guys sounded like a huge band with many musicians – WOW! I’m a big fan of this style of music and drummer-vocalists, but it’s not the only reason why I enjoy their music.
First, they are absolutely professional. Secondly, their music has power and a really positive vibe. The third reason is very simple: it has a great groove! I have one another thought… He is a composer and it’s very interesting, because most drummers are only drummers … but if you start composing songs, you will become a composer and start to be a consummate musician, who is able to play soulfully, without worrying about technique. They are currently touring in the United States but I hope that they will come back to Poland and play great another great concert for us in 2019.
It’s amazing to be able to play drums, while being a singer and piano player at the same time!
It was your idea to create yourself and do this in your life, I mean all in one?
It was my wife’s idea. But Geoff (from paris_monster) was supportive of trying it and we started a band involving it.
Tell me Josh, Is it hard to play all of these instruments at the same time?
It’s not hard when you’re thinking musically and concentrating on the vocals.
Who is your favorite old idol, Phil Collins?
No. Probably more like Earth, Wind and Fire or Levon Helm
I saw you live on stage in Chorzów at the Śląski Festival Perkusyjny a few weeks ago and I want to say it was an amazing show, because I’m a huge fan of this music and drummers who are singers and composers.
Thank you. I also love drummers who compose. It’s a special thing.
It is a mix of fusion-funky-progressive music, am I right? Tell me about this music, its inspiration and the feelings that go into it.
To me it’s more about blending Funk and R&B, electronics, and some avant garde Jazz attitudes.
I know that you like drinking beer on stage ;-)… Do you have a favorite?
I like beer sometimes, especially local.
Is it hard to find an audience for this music, what do you think?
We’ve found a good audience at the moment but I feel like the music has an opportunity to be accessible to large numbers of people. We shall see.
You travel around the world and play many concerts, so I wonder what is the difference between audiences in the USA and Europe, where do you feel more energy and where do you find your favorite audience?
We have toured much more in Europe. It seems like there’s less of a divide between jazz, song based and experimental music. That being said, I feel like there’s a strong fan base for us in both Europe and the USA.
I saw you for the first time on Drumeo on Youtube. I thought “WOW, this is my dude!” because you reminded me that I also love playing drums and singing at the same time ;-)… You know what I mean… emotions, feelings, passion and the rest!
I’m so glad. You want to make sure you’re playing music, and conveying emotion. That is art. The technique of how you arrive at the emotion is less important to me.
But continue about Drumeo. Tell me something about this channel and how important it is for drummers.
I am new to Drumeo. It’s a channel for drum tutorials and videos. It seems like a great way to learn and discover.
Let’s talk about composing. Who is the main composer in your band?
Geoff Kraly and I are both writers. Mostly, he writes the lyrics and I write the music. It’s always open and creative.
What is your system for composing? Do you start first on piano and after that put it together with drums or do vocals next and finish with drums?
I usually compose on the drums with the synth. But, sometimes I write on piano, or guitar, or just in the car while I drive!
Do you remember when you started thinking about music? When you started doing this, what instrument was your first, piano or drums?
Drums is my first and closest instrument. I don’t identify as a piano player.
How was it in the beginning, was it boring or fantastic for you?
I had a nice childhood. I played lots of drums ;-)…
Do you have a manager or do you cooperate with some agency?
We have booking agents and a manager.
Self-reliance, confidence, focus and sincerity in your passion, are these the major points that you need to develop your career? Tell me about it, because I think it’s very important for young drummers in this crazy world and I don’t think that many of them know what the goal is?
It is a crazy world. You have to do most things yourself, especially now. Not just in music, but with all aspects of the business. Video, artwork, communication, dealing with money. It’s important to always take time to be alone with your art. You have to know what you want, and be solid, otherwise it will be easy for others to change you.
Do you represent Yamaha drums and what about the rest, I mean cymbals, sticks, heads and others?
Meinl cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and Evans heads
Why Yamaha and how does your drum set look?
Yamaha has made great drums since the 60s and they are a solid company. I’ve had their support for over a decade. They rock.
I enjoy the ability to design custom drums through Yamaha. I’m also always on the outlook for vintage kits.
We are approaching the end of this interview but I have a few more important questions. Is it hard to be on top today, being around many great drummers, surrounded by both true and false information in social media and great music and shitty music. Do you have special advice for people in your position, especially for young drummers, because they need more great information?
Social media is saturated. My advice would be: don’t put everything on social media. Make sure you make music and videos that are on your highest level and representative of how you want to be seen. That being said, I don’t have the answers. I go between loving it and hating it. I’m inspiring and sometimes depressed. Human contact is much better.
One more, my friend… Tell me something about your new CD and where we can buy this album.
The new album is called “Lamplight” and it’s due to be released in early 2019. We will have an online store and it will be available on all social media platforms.
What plans do you have in the future?
We are going to be touring for the majority of 2019! Writing new music. Recording. Working on our show. I will also look forward to producing some other artists, as well as playing with some of the amazing musicians in New York!
Thank you for conversation and see you next time you are in Poland ;-)…
Thank you! I’m looking forward to the next hang.
Interview prepared: Paweł 'Mr Sticky’ Larysz
Photos by Josh Dion archives.