When Robert "Sput" Searight forgets to renew his passport, Snarky Puppy bandleader Michael League calls Larnell Lewis - one of the best among the drummers that are not taking all the headlines. From Toronto, Canada, Larnell Lewis is without any doubt in the top league of the finest in the scene. Not entirely unfamiliar with the Snarky Puppy life - he subs regularly for "Sput", this time was a different session: in one afternoon he nailed nine songs for a week of Snarky Puppy dvd/live album recordings at the Kytopia Studios in Holland. A task only a few in the industry can manage.
The call After a last moment call, Larnell arrived the next day at Amsterdam airport at 7:00 am. Heading straight for the studio to set up the drums, having an intense and speeded up rehearsal session in the afternoon, and locking the nine tracks to be recorded for the dvd that very same evening. An enormous achievement considering the recordings covered four days: from Monday until Thursday with two shows a night, all being recorded for the upcoming Snarky Puppy dvd. On the last night, after the last session, Drummerszone was very fortunate to meet up with the lovely, humble and incredible drummer that Larnell Lewis is.
The dvd sessions The dvd recording session was a specialty. But not an entirely new one to Snarky Puppy; the band was set up all over the huge Kytopia studio room, with 70 people audience sitting and standing around them, almost too close and in any musician's comfort zone. Still the band managed to create the warmest atmosphere a band can possibly have with their audience. Take in mind that all evenings and sessions were official recordings; the band with headphones on, each member listening to a personal mix, while the audience with 'Silent Disco' headphones on, listened to a concert mix of the live recordings.
The drummer Imagine being the drummer in a setting like that, called in at the very last moment and knowing only three songs, or any new arrangement of those songs - with Snarky Puppy everything is possible in music. Drummerszone sat literally in the middle of Larnell Lewis and percussionist Nate Weth and experienced for over two hours nothing less then 100% energy, immense and intense talent attacks, while Michael League was just three meters away: grooving the impossible out off his bass and leading the complete band and Dutch string section at the same time.
Now imagine meeting the person that pulled it off. Every band member we talked to telling us he did the most incredible and impossible job they have ever seen. "He is on the highest level there is," as keys player Bill Laurance stated after the last session recorded.
In the interview Larnell summarizes his achievement humbly: "Owww yeah man! It was a big hang! [...] These people are so energetic and funny, it is a privilege and honor to play in this band."
Meet Larnell Lewis in the videos with this article or in his video channel. He tells about the recordings with Snarky Puppy, his gear, his dad and all the other influences, his first upcoming EP and... you get his main lesson for free as well. Of course, there is no video content available of the recordings of the evening but we made some cool pics of the setting of the evening and did a quick photo shoot with the master drummer himself.
Larnell Lewis is endorsed by Yamaha, Evans Drumheads, Pro-Mark sticks, Zildjian Cymbals and "anyone who is giving me a high five for doing a good job".
All references made in the interview are linked with this article.