Phil Minal – a brief biog
Born at an early age. I started playing drums aged 13, self-taught.. discovered Zappa aged 15 (Vinnie and Bozzio remain my heroes !) Played in lots of bands all kinds of styles all sorts of gigs. The usual stories of almost making it, getting stitched-up by managers and producers.
Bands of note were June de Cruze and The Catch and a cult Birmingham band called No Commercial Potential, a.k.a. NCP.
No Commercial Potential , formed with Dick Decent (keys and vox) and Jon Hunt (bass) in 1990, recruited John Weathered on guitar and The Curse of NCP was born. This consisted of performing items of musical complexity at venues around the country to an average audience of two. Both of whom seemed terribly impressed.
NCP eventually mutated into Swivel after some experimental sessions with Andi Rushton (keys and vox). An influx of technology in the shape of an Akai MPC2000 sampler was instrumental in helping to evolve the sound of the band. Building lots of rythmic textures and beats from the kit whilst keeping the real-time interaction with the other humans in a fluid state. Or something like that.
In parallel to this Funkpig was born kicking and squealing sometime near the turn of the century. A fine thrashing Bass ‘n’ Drum twinset.
I became interested in triggering and electronic percussion in 1984. Influenced by Bill Bruford’s work with King Crimson and Earthworks, and Ed Mann’s work with Zappa all of which were pushing the boundaries of electronic drumming and percussion.
An old friend who had since gone on to become chief design engineer at Simmons, Martin Weetman, did some radical tweaking of standard bits of Simmons gear to create a huge fully electronic sample-based kit. My first sampler was an Oberheim Prommer with a massive 64k memory stored on an EPROM chip!
After a few years of experimentation I returned to using an acoustic kit with triggers and a few pads connected via a Simmons MTM. The MTM was one of the few trigger to midi interfaces capable of complex midi processing (split and layered chords, stepped notes etc).
This concept has now been developed to it’s ultimate extreme by Alternate Mode with their incredible Drumkat which is the perfect musical interface between drummers and any sound we might wish to make.
As technology has become more available my rig has developed to include Ableton and an Akai APC20 controller.
In 2001 Hangar18 Studios was created at a secret location in Birmingham Heartlands. Since then, in addition to writing, gigging and recording with various artists, I’ve been collaborating with Mark Hartley as Funkpig – developing our ideas of ‘modular music’.
INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATION
My drumming influences are too numerous for an extensive list. Anyone who plays with passion and honesty – those who play with an identity of their own, a few of these being:
Ian Paice, Stewart Copeland, Stuart Elliot, Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio, Chad Wackerman, Manu Katche, Bill Bruford, John Bonham, Dave Weckl, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Matt Chamberlain, Keith leBlanc.
Further musical inspirations : Frank Zappa, Laurie Anderson, Todd Rundgren, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Leftfield, Massive Attack, Mike Keneally, King Crimson.
Life inspirations : Bill Hicks
When not drumming I can be found at Redpoint Climbing Centre.
My favourite colour hasn’t been invented yet.
My favourite terrorist is George Bush (either one)
I was a cartoon character in a previous life.