We have been watching as Drummer Boy, progressed to a well known producer and musician. We thought it very interesting that one man could be so blessed with all these gifts. So, we sought him out of his Twitter hideout where he is easily found sharing about the things he is passionate about. In all honesty, this is one of the most interesting and insightful interviews we have had. Here is what we talked about.
Abaasa! Is that your real name?
Yep!The legit birth certificate name is Rwemereza Abaasa Kiremire.
There was a point in time when you were more popularly know as The Drummer Boy. Tell us about your love for playing drums and how it started.
There was a time, in s2 age 14, a friend of mine from back in the day came home to visit. He told me that he and some other friends of mine from confirmation class had this band they’d been thinking about starting. They’d met already and found out they needed a drummer and he’s like “and I hear you play drums..so would you like to join us?” We went to rehearsal the following day, it was dope. We were all learning how to play. We were all so curious about our instruments and what we could do with them. Our band was called Dios Amigos. We played at youth services and camps at our church.
When I was done with Secondary School, about 19, I managed to buy a drum set. It was stored in my room and I’d set it up so I could practice any time I got an idea. I’d watch YouTube videos and DVDs of one of my favorite drummers Tony Royster Jr and then go to my room and practice. Around the same time, my friends and I formed a band, Novell. We started practicing more often, playing at weddings and dinners. At one of the gigs we’d played, I started singing backup. Right now I don’t play as much.
VOTE UGANDA GOSPEL LIFE AS BEST BLOG/BLOGGER IN SOCIAL MEDIA AWARDS: CLICK HERE.
You come across as one of the most talented musicians too. Which songs have you let out and should we expect an album, EP, Mixtape or something along those line.
Thanks for saying that. 🙂
I released a song a while back, Tuesday Afternoon. I recorded it at C19 Studios. It was my first project… Trevor played me a chord progression some afternoon, I loved it so much. I told him we could make a song out of it. We’d been rehearsing (Novell Band) that afternoon and everyone but myself, Trevor and David had remained behind. We decided to call the song Tuesday Afternoon and made a fun instrumental out of it. It was great. A few months later I had the opportunity to record the song at C19. We must have used about a week or so to get Trevor in to lay down the progression and get David in for the rhythm guitar. I played the drums. We added everything else, Bvs, strings, bass and the song was sent for mixing. When it was done, I uploaded the song to soundcloud and sent it to the few radio presenters I knew at the time that could play the song.
Between then and now, I’ve uploaded a couple of Eps, vibes and collaborations on my SoundCloud.
I’ve been putting together a Mixtape, It’s like a series of stories that I’ve tied to a character. It’s called “Rukungiri”. We’re mixing the tracks right now. I’m working on having the audio on my Soundcloud and website ( http://www.abaasar.com ) later this year.
What are your hobbies?
I love taking walks. I also like taking pictures. If I’m super-duper bored I’ll read or find a guitar. Reading relaxes the brain, takes me to a whole other world. I recently got an adungu 🙂 It’s so much fun.
What was your most embarrassing moment if you can share with us?
Most embarrassing that I can think of right now – I was walking in the corridor of my hall, and at the end of the corridor was this flight of stairs to the kitchen. I’d been up and down this corridor a bunch of times so I knew my way around. At the time there were these bankers from Nigeria that had come to visit for a couple of weeks and were staying in the hall. On that fateful day, as I carried my bowl of cereal and milk to the kitchen, I got distracted by one of the girls and fell down the stairs. I had cereal and milk all over me and the girl was just standing there at the top of the stairs in shock! Luckily it was only me and her in the corridor that morning, so no one else saw 😀
What do you consider the highest point in your career at the moment?
You know what’s funny, I was just thinking about that this morning. I think success has a lot to do with whether or not an individual has put in their best effort to be the best they can be. In order to buy my 1st drum set, convincing my parents that I needed it wasn’t a straight forward task. They saw the need for a senior six vacist to have something to do, although they’d just hoped he’d want to do something else. But I wanted to be a drummer.
I consulted one of my cousins, who worked at a radio station. I felt like he could relate with what I was going through. I went to his office and asked for a job. He told me they didn’t have any jobs open at the time, but they needed someone to sell them juice at lunch break because their juice lady had stopped delivering. So I started selling juice to the employees.
I did this for about 6 weeks. I would walk with a jerrycan and cups to town, although, my parents helped sometimes. They’d help drop me in their cars when I needed to make a heavier delivery.
One day my mum must have just felt so much pity. lol. and said ,“Okay!! Come let’s go find out how much a drum set is! ”. And she topped up the money I had made during that period and we bought the drum set. That was a super high point in my life!
Since that time it’s been a crazy ride of challenge after challenge that’s shaping how I hustle for and appreciate the things I love in life in terms of relationships, education, and career goals.
If you were not into music as a singer, drummer and producer, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be a chef…lol. I think I’d be making the craziest mixes ever tasted. I’d work at a fancy restaurant. This past Christmas at home I made a mix dish of vanilla ice cream, grapes and jackfruit. It was magical.
From your short biography we noticed that you actually studied to be a Music Producer. Tell us about that.
In 2013 I got the opportunity to visit Los Angeles and study a diploma in Audio Engineering at SAE Institute, Hollywood . I realized how much I didn’t know about music, or anything in general. I met so many people who were having fun doing what they loved. I got Inspired. I felt like if I focused on what I wanted to do, I’d be able to achieve my dreams. I made the craziest friends of my life that time. I learned so much from them.
In class we learned to mix. I needed music to practice what I’d been learning in class. I didn’t think anyone at the time would’ve given me anything to practice with, so I started making music. After a while, the classes we were having switched to vocal mixing, and I used the same theory and started recording my own vocals. I started to experiment by re-making the music I was listening to.
There were other classes to do with sound design, sound for picture, songwriting and music business.
Right now the classes are more focused on how to use the technical knowledge you got in the first part of the program; cultural studies, electro-acoustic production, location recording, programming.
Why did you opt for taking a real audio production as opposed to learning on job as many producers in the industry?
I don’t think I studied to be a producer, I think I gained a set of skills. These skills can help you become a better producer. However, the best way to learn is through experience. My parents used to tell me “..the reason you go to school is to put you on a platform to meet friends..” The friends I’ve made throughout all my school time have made the biggest impact on my life.
Where does an artist who wants to record with you find you and about how much should money they plan to spend at your studios?
Any one can find me on twitter @AbaasaR , or via my email or on Facebook. I work a lot online.
About the money, it depends.
I like to work with an artist who has a clear sense of why they’re taking on the project, and what it means to them; What’ s the plan behind the project, and how they’re going to make it work. This way I get a clearer picture of how I can help the artist; whether I would be the best person for the idea or whether I’d need help from someone else to turn their ideas into a song and how much it’d cost them for that.
Being, The Drummer, Producer and artist all at the same time, we can’t help but wonder, what are you concentrating on the most at this moment?
Right now…. School. Life. Stuff. Music. I want to always be learning. I’m focusing on how I can make that happen.
Where do you see Abaasar in the near future?
Honestly, I have no idea. It’d be crazy cool if I knew that. I think in the near future I’m going to be really happy. I keep thinking I might become a dentist in a small village in Barbados. I’d be the local village chef as well. And part-time street musician lol – I don’t know man – I wish I knew!
Can you share your honest thoughts about the gospel music industry in Uganda.
Gospel Music should be looked at not as a genre, but as a huge pot of genres. There’s so many different talented hardworking people who can perform and hold an audience. A certain aspect that’s forgotten is that it’s a business and businesses need money to run. The fact that it’s gospel music doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be free. Churches should fund artists. And by churches I don’t mean just the leaders and councils. I mean everyone in the church, including the congregation. Buying tickets. CDs. T-shirts. DVDs. Attending shows.
An industry needs a large support network to grow. Right from you guys online, to the radio stations. There is a significant number of people who listen to gospel music in Uganda, and not as many radio stations. There should be more stations set up, that are as competitive as the ones available. That way more artists and more genres have opportunities to be heard.
Church camps help youth figure stuff out. If there were music oriented camps conducted by professionals that’d be dope. It’d see a fresh new breed of competitive learned musicians groomed, and the industry would thrive.
Thanks for honoring our call for an interview. May God bless you abundantly.