I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Davide Merlino, Italian drummer, percussionist, musical innovator and experimentalist - a very interesting name in the world of drums, but one you may well not have heard of...
I was first drawn to talk to Davide after seeing this video. However, this only shows one side to Davide's extremely interesting take on music, drums and percussion. He is obviously extremely talented and I suggest you check out more videos by him playing a variety of instruments in a variety of bands and and musical settings.
And, just as interesting as seeing him play was hearing what he had to say...
Drumazine: Hello Davide and welcome to Drumazine! For those people reading who might not already know you, please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Davide Merlino: Hello! It's a great pleasure to be a guest of Drumazine. My name is Davide Merlino and I am 34 years old and live in Verbania, a small town on Maggiore Lake, in Italy. I currently teach and collaborate in several musical projects as a percussionist and a drummer.
Dzn: An obvious question - how long have you been playing drums?
DM: I was 14 - it was 1991 when I was struck by Nirvana and their album Nevermind!
Dzn: And did you have lessons at school, or with a private drum teacher?
DM: I started out teaching myself, but then when I was 18 I started taking private lessons. Later I enrolled in the [Novara] Conservatory to study classical percussion.
Dzn: Was your teacher at that time an inspiration?
DM: My first teacher was my father, a drummer too: he was of course an inspiration.
Dzn: Have you had any other form of education in drums and/or music?
DM: I studied drums first, then Afro-Cuban percussion. At the Conservatory I studied classical and jazz percussion and I discovered the vibraphone which is now my main instrument. During my time at the Conservatory I had two great teachers who transmitted me passion and curiosity: Mr Matteo Moretti and Mr Ramberto Ciammarughi.
Dzn: What would you consider to be your first “success” in music? And would you describe this as a “defining moment” in your career?
Percfest, an important competition that (by winning) introduced me to radio and drum magazines.
Dzn: You’ve talked about success; have there been any failures, defeats or bad times you can tell us about?
DM: Ups and downs have marked my career, but the passion for music and for my instrument made me persevere. Teaching has always been important to me, and also the relationship with my students from whom I always learn a lot!
Dzn: Onto equipment! For all those gear-heads out there, what kit (drums/cymbals/anything else you would like to mention) do you play?
DM: I play a minimal kit for the drumset: 18" Bass Drum, 10" Snare Drum, 12" Tom and 14" Floor Tom... and Diril Cymbals - I love them! The right sound for my music!
Dzn: Is there any other advice you would like to give young drummers?
DM: A lot of love for your instrument, a lot of curiosity and never stop studying.
Dzn: Would you like to promote yourself a little bit?! Please tell us about any tours, releases, web links, endorsements etc…
DM: Wow, ok!
Merlino on tour here: www.myspace.com/merlinodavide/shows
More information here: www.davidemerlino.it and about my band here: www.mu-music.it
My endorsement with DIRIL cymbals here: www.dirilcymbals.com
It just remains for me to say a big thank you for your time and giving us some amazing insight into the world of one of the most interesting percussion players around; so, THANK YOU Davide Merlino!