Students at BIMM Bristol were recently treated to a masterclass from Sikth’s rhythm section, drummer Dan Foord and bassist James Leach. The band have been riding a wave of renewed success since their reformation back in 2014, having performed amazing sets at Download and Arctangent festivals in summer of 2017.
Students were able to witness the levels of dedication and skill required to execute the kind of performances the “Djent” sextet undertake regularly on stages across the world. Dan and James performed songs from each ‘Sikth’ album, gave advice on bass technique, drum technique, instrument setup for the style, tips on how to come up with original ideas and how to deal with personality clashes on tour.
They also had some sage advice to all the enthusiastic students in attendance.
“Doing other jobs within music doesn’t mean the death of your live playing career” exclaimed James. “To survive, members of Sikth have taught music, given masterclasses, tech’ed for other bands, driven the van for other touring bands and produced music for other artists. It’s important to learn other jobs that are going on within a tour. For example live sound, lighting, drum, bass, guitar tech’ing, van driving, tour managing, merch sales etc. Having some of these skills will keep you in work and it keeps you in the loop for opportunities or openings with other bands. For example, an up and coming guitarist’s band used to support Sikth, he developed his guitar tech’ing skills and tech’ed for Sikth and other bands. Through tech work he heard of the bass opening in Slipknot, auditioned and got the gig!”
Jamie Hunt, Head of Live Performance played host during the event and had this to say;
“This is the first masterclass (I’ve seen) where the whole audience were head banging! The live performances were insanely tight, which inspired a wide range of questions in the Q&A. Dan and James inspired the audience with their answers and offered a solid perspective on how to build a sustainable career as a touring artist.”
As a band who’ve toured the world a number of times, Dan and James also had some great advice on how to ensure you all stay friends whilst co-habiting for such long periods of time.
“Every member of a band is wired differently.” Said Dan. “If you realise this, you won’t get pissed off with band mates for having their own quirky ways of doing/ saying things. They aren’t trying to be a d***head to you; they just see things and do things slightly differently. If you can remember that, you’ll be O.K.”
James added “If your band plays music that fits into an existing scene, you’ll find it easier to get gigs with other bands and find an audience. However, if you start and develop a scene of your own, you have a better chance of having loyal fans and a longer career.”
It was an absolute pleasure having Dan and James come and perform for us and we’re certain each student in attendance walked away from the masterclass with some excellent advice and inspiration to harness in future.
Interested in studying on one of our performance courses? Check out the course options here, and start your journey towards a career in music today!