Nate Smith

245 – Nate Smith: Creating music in real time

Nate Smith, the Virginia native and current NYC resident, has been tearing up the scene for years but recently has been gaining more and more attention, mainly because of his use of social media. As someone who who has both an infectious groove and facility to wow the toughest of critics, Nate is quickly becoming a household name in for drummers around the world. Stemming from his work the great Betty Cater, Nate has since performed with luminaries like Dave Holland and Chris Potter, can be heard on Michael Jackson’s “Invincible” record and has written scores for documentaries for both The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. Interesting fact, he also made a brief appearance in “Birdman.”

“The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.” – (Tweet this)

Nate Smith talks about:

  • How he got into playing drums
  • The heavy marching band influence
  • Why it’s important to play with records
  • Vocalizing drum parts
  • The effectiveness of recording your practice routine
  • What practice means to him
  • The art of playing melodically
  • Applying the technical to drums and making it sound musical

Resources / Links / People mentioned:

Nate Smith Plays:

  • Ludwig Drums
  • Zildjian Cymbals
  • Vater Drumsticks
  • Evans Drumheads

Drummer’s Resource Podcast is free thanks to support from:

DW Drums: I’ve been playing DW for years…not only because they make high-quality, handcrafted drums but because they support and foster drumming initiatives all over the wold, much like this podcast. I’m thrilled to announce that DW has signed on to support Drummer’s Reosource for 2016! Be sure to check them out today at

Promark Drumsticks: Promark is Is now a sponsor of the podcast once again they were last year and now they are again. They just released the Mike Portnoy and Rich Redmond signature models with active grip. Activegrip Technology adjusts to your body temperature to give you the control you need so no matter how hard you play the active grip is going to help you handle it by getting tackier as it warms up. You can learn more about this great technology and the Mike Portnoy stick at

Drums, ETC: Hands down my favorite drum shop, located in Lancaster, PA. The great thing about Drums, etc is you don’t have to be in Pennsylvania to shop with them. With their online store and order by phone (1-800-922-DRUM) they’re accessible nationwide. I cannot recommend these guys enough…they offer awesome, personalized service, a wide selection (and if they don’t have it, they can get it) and you can call them to answer any questions you may have. Check them out today at

Musicians Institute: Musicians Institute (MI) is the official education partner of Drummer’s Resource. Located in the heart of Hollywood, CA, (where they’ve been since 1977) MI boats world class faculty, recording studios, curriculum and events for the aspiring musician. MI offers a chance to learn everything you need to create a successful music career by showing you how to get not only your drumming chops together but also your business and tech chops together too. Learn more at

2 replies
  1. John Foster
    John Foster says:

    Listening to this podcast on the way to work this morning and Nate is talking about vocalizing drum parts or vocalizing while playing. I have a funny story about that. When I was doing session work in Nashville, I had a session and everything was going well. When we went to the control room to listen back, the engineer said, “where is that sound coming from? Sounds like humming?” We were in an open room so it couldn’t be tracked down to a specific place. I realized, ‘oh no’, it was me – evidently I was making some humming/guttural sound while I was playing! The whole rest of the session I was paranoid I’d do it again. Never forgot that one! I still do some version of that to this day. I know because my throat is often hoarse after a gig! Nate talking about vocalizing brought back that memory!

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