Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
My dad used to drive a taxi and he had a pair of drumsticks in his cab. He’d pick me up from infants school. That’s when I first picked them up and thought, what are these?

It probably started getting serious when I was about 11 and there was a Freddie Mercury tribute concert on TV. I was instantly infatuated with the drummers in particular. David Bowie was on it and the remaining members of Queen, and Guns ‘n’ Roses.

I got a snare drum first, because my parents were maybe thinking this would be a phase, which a lot of the time it is. From the snare drum I ended up getting a drum kit – it was probably about the age of 12, I got that for Christmas. And that was it. From that moment on I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

What has been the stand out moment/most enjoyable part of your career to date?
The first one that springs to mind is the very first gig I did in America, with the Bunnymen, and it was playing Radio City Music Hall in New York. It was a really special moment.

I guess, as well, putting The Black Velvets album out was a big moment because you write these songs and then all of a sudden it’s realised and professional and on a CD, and you go in to HMV and it’s there on the shelf. Whatever happened with that band that album will always be out there.

The Bunnymen also played with the RLPO in Sefton Park. Playing with an orchestra, it’s a ferocious sound around you. It sounds like a rocket taking off behind you. It’s such a powerful sound. That’s probably the biggest gig I’ve done in my home town. Just to see that many people in Sefton Park. That was a really good experience.

How long have you worked at LMA and what are the most rewarding parts about being a tutor at the college?
I joined in January 2017. I like a new challenge and after doing 15 years of touring and doing the whole industry thing, once you’ve achieved the things you want to you’re kind of looking for something else.

I left Echo & The Bunnymen a year ago. I’m an incredibly lucky person because I got to travel the world numerous times with the band, and play some really exciting places and some great gigs. I’ll forever be in debt to them, but it was just the right time.

Teaching was always something that interested me because I could share the knowledge and expertise I’ve developed over the years, and open eyes about how you go about things and how you can make a career out of music.
The most rewarding part is seeing when some information I’ve given across to students actually goes in and there’s a lightbulb moment. That’s the thrill.

How important was the training you received when you were starting out in your career, and what makes LMA such a good place to train in your opinion?
I used to go to a drum tutor called Red Carter, who’s sadly no longer with us, but I used to have lessons every Sunday up to the age of 18-19 so I was quite serious about it.

What those lessons did for me was to bring discipline to my playing and discipline to my career. It made me realise if I really wanted to be successful and to make something of this, then I had to put the hours in.
Having someone there guiding me in the right direction, and pushing me, more importantly, to better myself, is something I’ve been talking about recently with the students.

There’s good practise and bad practise. Bad practise is going over something you already know. You should do that a little bit but you should balance that with good practise where you’re actually pushing yourself forward.
One thing I really like about LMA is the amount of practical time they have with their instruments. It’s all underpinned by theory obviously, but the actual contact time that you have with an instrument, and more importantly, playing with other musicians, is something that’s really important to take you forward.
There’s also the family vibe LMA has, it’s a very encouraging and inspiring place to be and to teach.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?
The biggest one is just to listen. I’m talking from a musical point of view. Listen to what is going on around you. And the ability to be tasteful, not to throw all your ideas in at once. Listen to what’s going on in the room.

I guess on top of that it’s to listen to as much music and play as much as possible. Listen to a lot of different genres of music and absorb as much as you can. Even if you don’t like it, have a reason why you don’t like something. That will help you move forward.

Do you think it’s easier or harder to break in to the industry now compared to when you started? How have things changed, if at all, in that time?
It’s a lot easier for musicians now to be active and out there, but what’s really difficult is making people notice you’re out there. What sets you apart from everyone else? What is that thing that makes you different to the rest?

Once you’ve established that, it’s running with it and making sure you’re out there all the time.
With the invention of social media, and the fact now all your music is on your phone, I think it’s a lot easier to get yourself heard but a lot more difficult to stand out in the crowd.