Since graduating from BIMM Brighton, Ben Thompson has flourished as Two Door Cinema Club’s live drummer and an in-demand session musician. Last month, we welcomed Ben to our Manchester campus for another of his excellent Masterclasses.
The interactive session took place in front of a packed room of students, all of whom were eager to ask questions about Ben’s time at BIMM and his all of his live work. They were extremely impressed to hear about how BIMM Brighton’s Head of Drums put Ben forward for an audition to join Two Door Cinema Club at the tender age of 17 – and he began rehearsing with the group the very next day!
Ben spoke enthusiastically about BIMM throughout the masterclass and the opportunities he’d received there. He opened up about how his ambition was to be one of BIMM Brighton’s best and brightest students while studying a Diploma in Drums.
“I understood how much competition there is in the music industry,” he explained. “The competition is high, and I wanted to set myself apart.Your career starts when you walk in the door. BIMM was a stepping stone for my career.”
Ben explained how hard work, punctuality, enthusiasm and ability to network were just a few key traits that have lead to his current success in music. The Masterclass was interactive throughout, with Ben taking questions from the floor, including one about his practice routine, to which he spoke about the benefit of playing to a click.
“Use the click as part of the rhythm section. Try with playing along to as many different genres as possible to get yourself used to playing to a click and stretch yourself as much as possible; a good trick would be just to put your iPod on shuffle and try and play along with anything.”
Ben gave a live performance of some Two Door Cinema Club tracks, with fellow BIMM alumnus Pete MacCourt – another seasoned live musician – on bass. The jam session was brilliant and gave our students a greater insight into Ben’s playing style.
Ben’s repertoire extends beyond his work with Two Door Cinema Club; he’s also worked with acclaimed producer, Hudson Mohawke and has had the benefit of playing for many artists as both a session drummer and live musician – a post of which he previously took up for acclaimed French rock band, Phoenix. His highlight? Playing in front of 20,000 people! Ben had got to know Phoenix while on tour with Two Door Cinema Club, proving that networking is everything in this industry.
The drummer explained the vast differences between indie and dance music, before demonstrating more techniques using a sample pad and programmed electric drum kit, which he later invited our students to test out.
Ben brought the class to a close with another impromptu performance, this time playing a Phoenix track. His professionalism and talent were displayed after he swapped a broken drum stick for a new one without missing a beat!
After the Masterclass, we caught up with two BIMM students to get their thoughts on the session.
BA1 Drums student Will Raybould praised Ben’s useful advice and was clearly inspired by the talk:
“This was a really great session. It was amazing to be able to hear from someone who has been in my position and made it. He offered some really useful advice that I hope to take on board that will allow me to develop,” he told BIMM.
Echoing his comments was BA3 Drums student Aaron Haigh, who said:
“This was a fun session. I had a go on Ben’s sample kit – it was great to be able to practice and get advice from him. That was amazing.”
We’re so proud of Ben and everything he’s gone on to achieve since leaving BIMM, it was great to invite him back as a special guest.