Interviews

DRUMGILRS Interview

1 One word that describes you best.
Unpredictable!

2 Who is your inspiration?
Mirror.

3 Do you prefer Beatles or Rolling Stones? What is your favorite band?
Rolling Stones soundwise, Beatles songwriting… 2CELLOS is my current favourite band. I actually listen to it.

4 What are your favorite genres?
iPod says: Metal, Hip Hop and Jazz. But I don’t trust machines!

5 What’s your favorite song right now?
California Dreaming by The Mamas & The Papas.

6 Where do you stay when you’re not on tour? Are you moving to LA?
Yes, probably! Now I’m back home just till the end of this month and than we’re back on tour so I couldn’t really think about where to go to in the near future.

7 How much time do you practice every day?
I’m sad to say that my days of practicing 24 hours a day are gone. Still my whole day is music oriented and I always make progress. On tour I don’t practice at all but I’m living a life and it somehow makes the music better

8 When 2CELLOS are on tour in the US and they’re playin in Vegas with EJ, what do you do when the boys are on stage? Do you stay at the same place as the boys, and what’s your favorite place to hang out in Vegas?
If Elton’s shows are inbetween our tour, I stay in the backstage area and eat! I’m to lazy to take flights home. If I’m home I do lots of jazz concerts and watching awkward movies. And I love Vegas so much, I’d just get a steady gig there and not move for a while. It’s my Amusement Park. I stay at Caesars Palace and it is one of my favourite spots. Sometimes I just get lost, me and Stjepan love to take long walks out of town until all the shiny lights disappear.

9 Would you like to change something in your life?
Yes, I’d like to be on the longest tour ever right now because the last movie I’ve seen was just so bad…

10 Do you plan to stay with 2CELLOS for the rest of their career?
I’m with 2CELLOS always. These guys are my priority, my favourite musicians and I’m there for them! I feel like we could put on a show wherever on earth and there’s still so many styles we could explore together because it clicks and it’s always unique.

11 What makes the drums cooler than other instruments?
That beat when it hits you in the stomack! The energy, the groove that makes everybody jump, dance, clap, move or headbang… There is no modern music without it. Yes for a few songs. But you can surprise and shock in contrast like no other instrument can do. Or play a tribal thing that makes everybody feel crazy and powerful. And it is visually understandable. You don’t have to explain to people that you just played something really hard like crazy tone scales . It needs no explanation because the first thing you do is tap to the rhythm. While some other instruments take years of technique to get a proper sound out of them, this is easily understandable and catchy but really hard to gain control over. If you watch kids their eyes are always on the drummer.

12 What advice would you give to young drummers?
You are the backbone of the band, the foundation. People will remember the song by the motion your rhythm contributes to it. So many things rely on you, you keep the whole band together and that’s why someday you’ll become a man or a woman and rule the universe IF you don’t do drugs!

13 What’s your biggest dream right now?
My biggest dream is when I sleep 10 hours.

We respect your time and want to remain professional – but at the same time, we are also fans and know that this 2nd list would mean so much to all of the Drumgirls who love you.

14 What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in your life?
Reaching for a quarter inside a toilet.

15 What’s the craziest thing your fans have ever done?
Wanting me to sign… stuff!

16 If you could spend a day with the fans, would you? If so, what would you do?
I would probably take them to a pizza place.

17 Do you sing under the shower?
I think not.

18 If you went on a deserted island, which three things would you take with you?
A boat, something to open coconuts with and a teleportation device.

19 Could you survive a week without sweets? Or without drums?
People that witnessed me survive a week without drums have reported me being an extremely grumpy and unpleasant person to be around.

20 Who’s your best friend?
Stjepan Hauser, I have no choice… he makes me say that.

21 How come there’s no more Dumb & Drummer?
We had to take it off because it showed our exact IQ level.

22 What do you think of Cellogirls / Drumgirls?
Both Cellogirls and Drumgirls give us great support and inspiration. Knowing that we have a group of people online call themselves that and even make moves on social media is just outstanding and the most amazing validation of our work. We are so proud of you!

Dusan’s part from the book: CELLOGIRLS: Identity and Transformation in 2CELLOS Fan Culture

It is amazing to see what our music means to our fans. One of my old teachers said that “Being good is not enough, you have to be different!”
We are not just trying to be interactive. We are interactive. We love signing sessions. It’s fun for all of us. Sometimes after a performance, we do them for hours. I have personally never seen a band doing it for as long as we do and we are having a great time connecting with our fans like that. Of course it is hard to keep direct contact with everybody but I hope my chapter here will let our fans know how positively they affect us.
To me, CELLOGIRLS and DRUMGIRLS specifically stand for unity in all music because they seem to have a higher goal to represent than just a musical genre. It is hard to find a collective universal language in today’s pop culture because separation of styles all narrow it down to certain groups and sometimes even language becomes a barrier. Yet, these rules do not seem to apply to us. We have a different connection with our fan base and that’s what our music is all about. It’s just music! No matter what instrument you play or what style it is. Our fans don’t have to belong to any category, they understand musical expression and they love to be a part of that.
Through modern social media we are provided many new ways we can talk to our audience. This makes it a brand new world with a whole new view on fan culture. When we connect with our fans online, it matters because our work talks to the audience and gets them to respond to it and unite. It even influences our work.
I feel that my fans are all different and unique and I am proud of that. My fans can’t be labeled just as: young or old, drummers or musicians, male or female or in any other way. The amazing people who follow my work are quite a distinctive group from all over the world. That’s really inspiring to me as an artist, musician and human being.
Fans do shape the culture and they shape the individual artist’s work as well. Just recently somebody on social media concluded that I am right in the middle of two polar opposites. They remarked that Stjepan and Luka, 2CELLOS are like an angel and a demon on stage. A creative piece of fan art was created where I was drawn with both an angel and a demon wing. I found it so interesting that my whole musical philosophy could be contained inside of that drawing, that simple metaphor. I immediately realized that it fully expressed the balance I bring to 2CELLOS, I am the one in the middle. As the drummer, I know that drums fully support the band. Their rhythm keeps things within the pulse and contributes to the overall energy of each performance. I am a very balanced person and I realize that through my personal level of balance, I also outwardly balance Stjepan and Luka.
My greatest strength and quality as a musician is that I am a strong team player. I strive to always compliment the band and keep them together. My place is to keep that connection by taking on any form or style necessary to accomplish that goal. In the case of the drawing which was posted, the fans totally defined my role within my work with 2CELLOS.
At other times, the fans even describe my role in the band with their words or specially made collages and videos. To me this means that the message came across. I believe that the audiences who show their continued support, the fans, CELLOGIRLS and DRUMGIRLS are a validation of my work as a musician, artist and performer. A musician can play for himself as long as he wants but that’s like talking to walls.

With fans we know that what we express is something which is meaningful and relevant. It’s a deeper and more significant connection.
With that said, CELLOGIRLS and DRUMGIRLS have that kind of impact on me each and every day. Through their continuing support, outwardly communication and feedback they help define who I am. Our fans are the reason we are able to that sort of musical communication with the world. Their generosity, curiosity, inspiration, love and dedication are the most valuable gifts
which they share with us and they do so selflessly. Our exchange is mutual and it is also something that will hopefully shape them for the better in their individual lives.
Together, in this way, we all influence a lot of different people.
Dušan Kranjc

Interview with Dusan Kranjc exclusive to 2CellosBrasil

Hi Dusan! First of all, thank you so much to give this interview to 2CellosBrasil!
– You said on twitter some days ago, that you started to play drum when you was 5…6… Who influenced you?

I was mostly influenced by my father’s rock records. I was too young to remember what it was exactly that got me interested. I stared banging on pots and pans trying to imitate any beat I heard without knowing what it was or how my instrument should be played.

– About your parents, they works with music? They support your profession?

My parents are not musicians. But they both knew I had talent and supported me with music lessons. There are some musicians in my family though. My mom is an amazing artist and used to be a teacher. My dad always had a good ear for music and helped me never to give up with it.

-How do you joined 2Cellos with Luka and Stjepan?

I meet Stjepan a few months before Smooth Criminal came out. We were hanging out at a partyafter one of my concerts and we just clicked. We both looked alike, thought the same and behaved in the similar way. Then we started some jazz/classical projects together. Stjepan also told me about Luka Sulic and the 2CELLOS project they were starting together. We even planned to arrange rock music in a band setting similar to what we do now. A few months passed after their first video when they called me to help them out and we played one of our first shows at the iTunes festival in London.

– About the tour here in Brazil, many fans told us that the biggest surprise of the night was you! How was it for you to be here and play in Brazil?

I am really glad to hear that Brazilian fans thought so about me. Especially because our shows in Brazil mean much to us. The first reason are all the people that showed great enthusiasm to see us before we even got there. The expectations were high and the shows were awesome.
Secondly I find it amazing to play in such tropical parts of the world and I have developed a new coconut addiction!

“Personal” question (Milene Mingotti @auflosen) :
I ‘m a musician twelve years ago, how was your journey studies from when you started until today?… We know it’s a journey that requires much effort and dedication. It was easy for you or there were times when you disheartened for some reason or always stood firm in what you wanted? Do you have any tips for someone starting this journey in music?

I always had a dream of what I wanted to do and I am lucky to be able to say I have fulfilled that. I would advise anybody to keep it up if they really love what they are doing. It is not easy. If it was, everybody would do it. And you always need to make that extra step and a little more effort. I’m still doing that same thing till this day.
I started too young and had times when I would be into hip hop culture, rapping, breakdancing and doing all sorts of stuff that other kids did instead of practicing music. I needed other distractions. However I would naturally get back to drums because that never left me.
Since I always wanted to communicate to the world musically I had a total commitment to that goal. It took me out of bad influences, wrong relationships and I will never regret that I chose music as my main path. So instead of being on the path of surprises and luck I was on the path of expectations and hard work. Yes, I would call that a musical journey of pure dedication.

Excerpted from an interview with Dusan done on October 27th after the Tampa concert (while eating pizza)

While on the recent 2CELLOS US tour, I had the opportunity to interview Dusan, to fill in a few of the gaps in our knowledge of our favorite drummer.

This is what he had to say:
“When I was 5 or 6, I got a kid’s drum kit and just fell in love with it. I liked the rhythms I could create and I just liked making the noise.”
When I was 7, I began private lessons in drum and began to study all aspects of percussion.
I can play the piano, but I can’t improvise the way I can on drums. I attended music school for drums and am trained as a “classical percussionist.”
I studied Jazz in Graz for a year (same school attended by Miron Hauser). The school in Graz is famous for Jazz percussion, and is considered the best in Europe for Jazz.

Other information he shared:

Dusan describes his mother as amazingly creative and credits her influence for his pursuit of some form of personal artistic expression. He has learned a great deal from her. His parents are both very supportive of his career efforts. His father, also retired now, worked in a yacht service on the coast of Pula, so the family spent a lot of time at sea while Dusan was growing up. His father was apparently the one who got him all sorts of instruments to play on/with when he was young, and who encouraged him in his musical experimentation. Dusan has said that although neither of his parents are musicians, they both have a very good ear for music. Which always helps when you have a musically talented child.

Dusan credits his American accent mostly to having a lot of American teachers. Jazz is basically an American music style and the teachers he worked with were primarily American.

He was working as a Session drummer when Stjepan called – they were introduced by Miron. Little known fact – this was before Smooth Criminal came out, while Stjepan was still searching for the right musical partnership and trying to figure out where he was going and how to get there. Apparently (according to Dusan), they were introduced by Miron and got together and started experimenting with a variety of sounds, before Dusan even met Luka. One thing they tried was a musical fusion of Bach and jazz. Then Smooth Criminal came out, and everyone’s life changed, although Stjepan and Dusan had apparently also already talked about doing what Dusan refers to as “some rock band stuff on cello.” And we all know what happened next.

According to Dusan, Stjepan can play ANYTHING!

Dusan had to quit his other obligations because of the time commitments for 2CELLOS. Even though 2CELLOS is not a full time commitment for him, it takes enough time that prevents him from making any other long term commitments, although he does play jazz sessions around Pula as time permits.

And he loves pizza (I think they all do)!!

Glas Istre headlines

Published 9 September 2013

And the translation:

Heading: Dusan Kranjc, Pula drummer, one third of the world famous duo, 2Cellos

Inspiration is everything for what’s played on drums

I’d like all of this a million times over, haha. I’ve achieved most of what I hoped for when I began playing the drums • We only had one rehearsal, with the 2Cellos. The idea was to turn what they were doing into a rock show, with a big ending, and they wanted it to be a cover of AC/DC. Our rehearsal was in Zagreb, where the energy just came together and we found we were on the same wavelength.

Insert Box 1 :
Vaseline and Stjepan’s sense of humor –
-About five months ago, there was a joke [online] that you and Stjepan were getting married. There were comments, along with photos of the two of you with a container that said Vaseline. A firestorm ensued.
-It really was Vaseline, but for lips. We had taken it from our manager and used it, and thought it was funny. The problem was that many people didn’t understand that we were joking; or about Stjepan’s sense of humour, haha.
The main problem is that we were writing this crap on Twitter for more than a year, but the media only got really interested when it was suggested that we were gay; I don’t know why, it’s really very strange, haha!
-Did someone provoke you?
-No. Gays started following me on Twitter, and I thought “well, ok, there are two or three more fans…”haha! But I have an alibi, because I have a girlfriend.

Insert Box 2 :
The Arena Pula concert surpassed all our expectations
– Let’s get back to the concert at the amphitheater; as someone who was born in Pula, how did you like playing in the Arena?
There was a great deal of anticipation for the Arena concert, and as Stjepan has said, for some reason, there is both much love and also hate from people in Pula.
Pula and the Arena itself are among the most beautiful surroundings we’ve played in so far; and we recorded video of the whole performance; it was the fourth arena which we filled; filling the arenas surprised all of us. We had great expectations and are pleased that we achieved them, since filling four arenas isn’t easy. Especially not in our town, because we didn’t know how many people here in Pula actually listen. It turned out that we surpassed our own expectations.

Insert Box 3: Someone who opened my mind the most to the many possibilities of drumming that I had never even thought doable was Marco Minnemann.

Main Article:

Although they’re known as a duo, the two cellists in 2Cellos, Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, might not be able to create the atmosphere they do in concerts without the drumming of their third member, Dusan Kranjc, another young man from Pula.

Then, this August in a Croatian Drum Camp, meeting with drummers and percussionists in Grožnjan; he was giving a lecture which delighted more than thirty participants, sharing his experience with drumming techniques, and about the performances at the stadiums, etc. His nearly two-hour lecture was very interesting to hear, as was talking to him after. At that time, we asked him to remember how he became part of the currently most popular Croatian band in the world, which finally performed in the Pula Arena in early July. The drumming of Dusan Kranjc during “Highway to Hell” and other covers left us with wonderful memories after the concert as a result of the incredible energy he delivered along with Hauser and Sulic.

His roots are in jazz.
At the beginning of lecture, when you told the students that you’re actually a jazz drummer, it came as a little surprise given your recent stadium performances and playing a little fiercer music?
– I call myself a jazz drummer because my roots are in jazz and most of the professors where I studied were jazz drummers. This is the schooling that’s required for every drummer because drumming as we now know it originated in jazz music. The drum set that we see today was created by a drummer named Baby Dodds; and studying it is necessary for most people who want to be trained as a drummer. Someone who is educated, who can read music, finds it much easier to understand information from the world of music. This is why it’s all tightly related to jazz. I studied for about six or seven years, and I had already began to learn before that; started reading notes; those are the roots for what I am today and serve me well for my musical development in any direction.
– With which bands did you play before the 2Cellos?
– I played in many combinations while I was in college in Graz. The school band, the Stage Band at the University of Graz, was set up as a big band. I was the youngest member in the history of the university, and was invited [to participate] by a professor. I also played in the new lineup of HGM, the big band in Zagreb. I’ve done solos and played in sessions, which is an exceptional experience when you meet musicians that you’ve never met before in your life, and get to play with them. The combinations [groups] change, but I need to mention a good consistent jazz group from Pula led by Russian saxophonist Oleg Kirejev, who saved us when we were on the verge of playing in restaurants; because of him, we began to sound more like a jazz group. I played with other bands from Pula, including the metal band, Arthrone; all that is left of the band are recordings on the net.

There was lots of adrenalin
– How did you join the 2Cellos?
– This story begins with Stjepan’s brother Miron, with whom I’d played in a big band at the Croatian Veteran’s Home. I’d played some solo and apparently Stjepan liked the energy and remembered me when they needed someone for the tour. He and Luke wanted someone from Croatia.
– When you joined them, they were already famous. Where was your first performance together?
– We only had one rehearsal before the performance. It’s an interesting story because the idea was to turn what they were doing into a rock show, with a big ending and they wanted it to be a cover of AC/DC. They had lots of other ideas, for covers of Nirvana and Green Day, who are more or less well-known, but it’s important that it [the selected music] suits cellos. This is actually the most important part; their arrangements depend on it. Our first rehearsal was in Zagreb, where the energy just came together and we found we were on the same wavelength. The first concerts were a pretty big test. In Sarajevo, we had one slightly larger show, warming up for the iTunes festival in London, where other artists playing included Arctic Monkeys, Linkin Park, Adele, Paul Simon. It was the first big show we did together and it went quite well. We built on that; the energy was working and everything fell into place.
– How did it feel playing in such a spectacle after your previous experiences in Pula and Graz?
– It was the piece I was missing in my life. I always felt like, I can’t describe it, frustrated, unfulfilled, but just that I needed that charge and it’s good that they literally pushed me into the fire, pushed me to take those first steps.
– Were you nervous? Did you have stage fright?
– There was a lot of adrenalin, especially because it was iTunes. I can’t say it was difficult, nor that I had stage fright, because the set I played was pretty easy. If we look at hard rock as a music [genre], I don’t have to be constantly preoccupied with reacting to what they’re playing or how they’ll play it; I’ve got the basic idea of what I need to keep the rhythm and energy going and to share that energy with the band.

Without a major disaster
– At the lecture in Grožnjan, you said that your part in “Highway to Hell,” recorded with Steve Vai, was not difficult to play?
– As far as playing the drums, the drum part for that song isn’t difficult in itself, but it is pretty difficult to get the energy, especially for AC/DC, which has so many fans… Their drummer, Phil Rudd, his playing is legendary. It’s very difficult to step into his shoes for this, even though my playing style is simple. The music Steve Vai plays is not simple; he is a virtuoso on the guitar, but [accompanying him] does not require a virtuoso drummer, especially for a song like AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” where he literally “killed” the guitar and my job was to keep the rhythm steady, in the groove and energetic.
– Which is the most complicated song you perform with 2Cellos ?
– There’s a song called “Tehničke Poteškoće” or translated “Technical Difficulties.” Paul Gilbert, of Racer X, wrote it. It’s technically challenging; I play a double pedal with both feet pretty quickly. Stjepan and Luka are doing the same on their cellos, using their exceptional technical skills; their playing is vigorous, fast… The song is rhythmically challenging, you have some tricky parts that must simply be earned by practice. It’s what it is, first a prayer, and then we start to play, haha!
– Have there been any performances that didn’t go as expected? In your lecture, you said yourself that when you’re performing with 2CELLOS, you don’t have the time to rehearse.
– There haven’t been any major disasters so far, performance-wise, because we’ve practiced. There have been mistakes, but not ones that were very noticeable, especially not to the general public; between ourselves, we know when we’ve screwed up. I don’t believe that people who come to enjoy the performances notice them. I remember one mistake from my first iTunes Festival; I missed one stroke on the bass drum. Speculating about mistakes is tough; especially with them, I’ve learned not to be so sarcastic about how I play those performances. I’m not Lady Gaga.
– After the Pula concert, Hauser and Sulic signed a lot of autographs. Do you also sign autographs after the concert?
– Yes, we sign after every concert. The plan is that I’m in the middle between them. I’m glad if someone notices what I do, since I’m not in the main role and I don’t try to be, but for now, I sign everything they sign.
– Do they recognize you on the streets?
– Yeah, I ‘m still not Lady Gaga, they don’t know me like that, haha, but they recognize me after the show.
– You’re the most popular in Japan, right?
– As far as we’re concerned, Japan is the No. 1 market in the world. This second album by the 2Cellos is, like the first, at the top of all the music charts; not only the charts integrating the classical and crossover performers, but all music genres. We have the greatest number of fans there; they’re so fascinated by us… They know when we land in Japan, which hotel we are in even though the two of them [Luka and Stjepan] register under false names; the fans are still waiting outside the hotel. They’re good people.
– During the lecture, you said you have no plans [for the future]; what are your hidden desires?
– As far as the desire, I’m on the right track; I’d like all of this a million times over, haha. I’ve achieved most of what I hoped for when I began playing the drums.
I’ve always wanted to be a rocker, filling stadiums, this desire in me that I couldn’t accomplish as jazz [drummer].
– Would you like to have your own band?
– I would, but I need to fulfill my creative side, to be the leader and to work on totally different things; I will definitely work on this in the future, but right now, I don’t have the time.
– As you travel and play around the world, have you made contacts, met people in the music industry who might be able to help you?
– Actually, we are constantly surrounded by good people who are very successful in the music industry from our record company, Sony, who are very dear to me and who really appreciate me as a drummer. There is an American tour manager who’s worked with Dream Theater, Metallica, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance and other strong bands. The more time you spend around such people, the greater your progress.
– Before you become a lecturer, you were a participant in the Grožnjan seminar program. Of all the drummers you met here as teachers and around the world, who are you most impressed by and who and influenced you the most?
– Someone who opened my mind the most to the many possibilities of drumming that I had never even thought doable was Marco Minnemann. Since then I began to think differently about the drum as an instrument; but it’s hard to single out a [single] person because even Marco now has no more effect on my style because what I play now has nothing to do with what he’s doing; but the drum as an instrument inspires me; whatever is played on this instrument is my inspiration.

 
«
»