Start them young, they say. How young? For Kasey Todd, he took the stage at age two, yes two. His father was a member of the 50s and 60s tribute band, The Van-Dells, and his exposure to the world of music right from the start set him on the path to where he is today.
He currently tours the globe with country musician Aaron Goodvin, drumming and serving as the band’s bandleader. Kasey also has producer and arranger credits to his name with other artists in the industry.
And when the band scooped up the Songwriter of the Year at the CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) Awards it was only a matter of time before they became one of the most talked about new names in the Canadian country music scene.
We caught up with Kasey, an ardent MONO fan, and talked about his childhood drumming, work ethic and take a look inside his FlyBy backpack.
You started performing on stage at the age of two! Do you remember what that performance was and could you tell us more about it?
Oh wow, I know it was with my dad’s band, The Van-Dells, and I think it was in Dayton, OH. I honestly don’t remember much about it, but I do know that from that moment on, I was hooked, and wanted to be onstage ever since.
Who are some of your biggest influences in your drumming?
I’ve had a lot of influences through the years and like many people, that changes with musical phases. I think my overall biggest influence has been Steve Jordan. Once I learned who he was, I went down the rabbit hole.
Growing up, I was on the road with my dad, so all of the drummers that have drummed for The Van-Dells had a big influence on me when I was a kid. Some others would be Ringo, Hal Blaine, Ron Tutt, Al Jackson Jr., The Motown drummers, Roger Hawkins. This list could go on and on!
You’ve been called a “chameleon” in the studio and on stage. What’s a piece of advice you can give budding drummers to achieve that level of versatility and competence?
I’d say to always play to the situation you’re in, and being musically versatile, knowledge-wise, is key to that. I try to consume as much music as I can. Obviously, there are limitations to that. I’m not going to take a gig or session with a metal band, because I know that’s not me. But I approach a 90’s rock gig very differently than a 60’s soul gig, and both are different than an americana or country gig. It really comes down to being aware of your situation, and having a wide range of musical knowledge to pick from.
Has your approach to drumming changed through the years? What are some of your own current drummer goals?
Of course, as musicians, I think we are always growing. For me, if that ever stops, there’s a problem. Over the years, my set ups and technique have changed, both in trying to continue learning and what I’m into at the time.
As for current goals, it’s really just to be the best musician I can be, and play good music with friends.
What do you consider to be the key traits that let you balance your role as a musician and an arranger and bandleader.
I’m a pretty detail-oriented person, so I love digging deep into the music and making it the best it can be. I also try and pick the best players for the different situations I’m in. When I trust the musicians I’m with, it makes my job easier.
You’ve collaborated with a wide range of Nashville and international artists… what is it that you like the most about collaborating?
The best thing is just the variety of styles and music. It keeps everything interesting, and doesn’t let the music get stale.
What were some of the most profound lessons you’ve picked up working with others?
The biggest thing is to keep your ears open and listen, both on and off stage. Also, I lot of people say it, so it may sound cliche, but less is more.
What is it you love about your MONO bags.
The easy answer is everything! I’ve been using MONO bags since 2014. My FlyBy backpack has been on every gig since and has been around the world multiple times. It is the most durable bag I’ve ever had, and all of the pockets have the functionality of musicians in mind. I now have three MONO bags and the quality and style are just far above the competition!
View this post on Instagram
So, what’s next for you?
2019 looks to be a great year. I’ve spent lots of time in my home studio so far, and looking forward to playing on new projects. With Aaron Goodvin we’re coming off of a CCMA win and a new record deal in the states, so we’ll be releasing new music as well as a lot of touring. It also sounds like there will be some European touring and new music with Jace Everett and Dan Cohen.