As a professional session drummer and educator, BIMM Bristol graduate AJ Rousell has attended various drum camps in the past, often travelling long distances to receive tailored tuition from long-standing professional drummers. Frustrated with the fact that attending such events almost always involved contending with tricky travel logistics and accommodation costs, the young drummer and author took it upon himself to start his own drum camp – the Drummer’s Odyssey.
Within three years of completing his BA (Hons) Professional Musicianship Degree, AJ Rousell has – alongside this performance career- written two successful drumming books, ‘The Drummer’s Odyssey‘ and ‘The Field Manual for the Church Drummer‘. Both publications have been successful, with sales throughout the UK and across the Atlantic in America, but AJ still yearned to widen the scope of his drumming career.
Most recently, AJ has taken it upon himself to curate and implement his very own drum camp – also entitled ‘The Drummer’s Odyssey’. The inaugural event sees AJ putting together a brilliant line-up of three talented drummers, including;
Emmanuelle Caplette – A French Canadian session musician, clinician and educator who performed the main stage of UK Drum Show in 2017, Emmanuelle recently finished a week as the drummer for American TV show ‘Late Night with Seth Myers’.
Pete Riley – Pete is one of the main contributors for Rhythm Magazine and widely regarded as one of the leading lights of British drumming education. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Guthrie Govan, Billy Sheehan and Republica.
Pete Cater – A legend of the Big Band/Jazz world with his very own fifteen piece big band, Pete will also be playing the main stage at the London Drum Show in November 2018 and will offer a more traditional take on drumming education at the Drummer’s Odyssey camp.
As the instigator and lead curator of the event, we were interested to hear as to AJ’s motivations behind the camp. So, what lead him to branch out into organising a full weekend of drumming education?
“I have been a fan of Emmanuelle Caplette for years, and I saw that she was doing drum camps in France and Spain, and I thought that if she ever came to the UK I would sign up immediately. As there was no signs of a camp coming to the UK, I started to consider whether it was something I could make happen. That was the starting point; the idea that if I would love lessons with Emmanuelle, then surely other drummers will as well. It then grew into adding two UK drummers, and Pete Cater and Pete Riley were two of my top choices!”
The Drummer’s Odyssey camp will take place in AJ’s hometown of Bristol in October 2018, with tickets on sale through his official website. We’re sure it’ll be a resounding success, which begs the question, is there a chance drum camp curation could become a regular occurrence for AJ?
“I would like this to become a yearly event.” He confirmed.
“I’ve been on a number of drum camps before, and for anyone who takes their drumming seriously they are an invaluable source of knowledge and inspiration. Yet I have always had to travel to get to a drum camp, so to be able to provide one in my home city is really exciting.”
It’s always great to see one of our many graduates being so proactive and successful with their business endeavours, and we couldn’t help but inquire as to how exactly AJ’s course at BIMM Bristol has helped how him to reach his various career goals so far?
“Naturally BIMM was great for developing myself as a musician. It gave a space to practice, learn and grow as a drummer. But perhaps more importantly it taught me that in order to make a career, I needed to go get it and work for it. A lot of the advice from tutors always contained an element of ‘go the extra mile’ which is something I have implemented since graduating, and it has proven to be great advice.”
The Drummer’s Odyssey Camp takes place in Bristol on October 27th and 28th 2018. If you’re interested in booking yourself a place, get in touch by mailing AJ directly on [email protected]
For more information regarding ticket pricing/availability and to get in touch with AJ for sessions, pit work or drum lessons, check out ajrousell.com